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Old 07-09-2003, 10:08 AM   #1
kadissie
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: UK
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Win ME and Linux dual boot


I'm currently in the planning stages of releasing my computer from the clutches of factory-installed Windoze, while keeping data and legacy software.

Most of the advice I've read has concerned dual booting the NTFS-based Windoze (NT, 2k, XP) with Linux. In this case, I would
1. boot from a M$DOS floppy and use the freely available program boot.exe to copy the Win MBR to floppy
2. attempt the nondestructive partitioning of my hard drive
3. boot from a linux distribution CD, and install
4. at the appropriate point, make a linux boot floppy just in case
5. install lilo to the MBR, with /boot on its own partition
6. boot from a M$DOS floppy and copy the lilo MBR to a file
7. overwrite the MBR with the Windoze version previously stored, using boot.exe again
8. boot to Windoze, copy lilo.MBR to the C:\ directory and make boot.ini point to this file

Why would I want to boot using Windoze, rather than stick with lilo? Because partitioning my HD is likely to leave Windoze at the start of the drive and I'll probably leave most of my 60GB for Win. That means my linux boot partition will start at about 40GB or later - and there lies the problem: the MBR does not understand locations beyond the 8GB mark. So the obvious solution is to let Windoze manage the OS selection process rather than lilo.

Unhappily I haven't been able to find any info about making WinME dual boot into things other than WinXP and M$DOS. So my options are
A. always boot from floppy disk
B. boot into Windoze and use loadlin
neither of which is satisfactory.

So I guess my question is: is there any way of getting around the 8GB/1024 cylinder limit, or can I convince the M$DOS bootloader underlying WinME to load another OS?

Thanks,
Robert.

PS - My problem is not even solved if the partitioning process goes awry. I could repartition my HD and try to put /boot up front, but I suspect my factory-supplied WinME installation (image?) disk will brutally fdisk and plonk itself down at the start of the drive.
 
Old 07-09-2003, 10:13 AM   #2
hairston4
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I'm dual booting ME and Red Hat 9 right now.

Just make the Linux partitions and when you install your distro from CD use the manual partitioning system (disk druid I think) and create mount points/install linux to them.

Then when you configure the boot loader just choose what you want as the defult boot (after 10 seconds) Linux or MSDOS (win ME), you can choose the other before 10 seconds is up.
 
Old 07-09-2003, 10:32 AM   #3
kadissie
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Does this mean that I am imagining my problem? (It's all just theoretical so far - I want to put as much thought into this as I can to avoid data destruction!)

hairston4: where on your hard disk does your linux boot partition sit? Is it after the 8GB/1024 cylinder mark? Is it after the 34GB limit? See http://www.win.tue.nl/~aeb/linux/Large-Disk.html
 
Old 07-09-2003, 12:11 PM   #4
slakmagik
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Maybe I shouldn't post as I've never used ME or RH but RH is a Linux, sort of, and ME is essentially DOS 8.0, I believe, like Win95 and 98 are DOS 7.0 and 7.1. So what I'm getting at is that RH will probably make it a breeze. Just follow the routine.

AFAIK, LILO used to have a 1024 cylinder limit but LILO doesn't care where Linux or Windows is now.

Assuming ME is FAT (it can't even do NTFS can it?) any of dozens of repartitioning programs will handle that. Parted, Ranish, anything. RH presumably comes with the tools you need.

/boot, alone, doesn't have to be on its own partition. You can have a single Linux / partition though a swap is a very very good idea - some installs make it mandatory - and you can have lots of partitions. It's up to you, mostly.

And I don't know about all the MBR copying and swapping and overwriting. Make a backup and just run the install CD, I guess.

It sounds like you may be making it into too big a deal and have overstudied with some old documentation. I mean, congrats for doing the studying but sometimes, with all the old documentation floating around, you can learn the wrong things. In all honesty it may crash and burn and chaos will reign over your computer but it should be pretty simple and go well.

And I could be wrong - maybe they changed ME more than I think and maybe RH is less competent at writing slick installers than I think, but if not, just go for it. As long as you backup, "data destruction" isn't likely to be an issue.
 
Old 07-09-2003, 12:26 PM   #5
kadissie
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Thanks folks - I probably am thinking too hard.

But I will be getting back to you when everything goes up in flames!
 
Old 07-09-2003, 01:03 PM   #6
hairston4
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Quote:
Originally posted by kadissie
Thanks folks - I probably am thinking too hard.

But I will be getting back to you when everything goes up in flames!
You are bud, you're just imagining things

Just create some partitions and try an install. You can always bail fromthe install. COme back and tell us about it
 
Old 07-09-2003, 05:57 PM   #7
Skyline
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Hi kadissie

You shouldn't have a problem dual booting Win Me and Linux. I'm assuming you want to use a MAJOR distribution like Red Hat or Mandrake ect.

Scenario 1

If youve already got Windows ME on your hard drive and you've definately got some free space left over on the drive, then just set your PC to boot from the cd-rom drive, put in your 1st Red Hat or Mandrake cd and boot up - these two distros will automatically recognise Windows ME - moving through the Linux installer you'll eventually get to a partitioning screen - if youve definately got free space left over then choose "use existing free space" ie your telling the Linux installer to create any Linux partitions in the free space left over on the hard drive - both Red HAT and Mandrake will create appropriate partitions in the free space - you can always manually edit/resive them later if you want to.

Scenario 2

If Windows ME currently takes up your whole hard drive - I personally would just back up what you need - then use FDISK to wipe your Win ME partition - then create a new FAT 32 partiton taking up say half your hard drive with which you can re-install Windows ME on to - after youve got your new Windows ME set up on say just half your hard drive, then revert to scenario 1 above to install Linux in the free space.

I personally would use Lilo as the bootloader - make sure you install it in the Master Boot Record of your Hard drive - on boot up, you'll see the Lilo boot menu with your two OS's listed - "DOS" for WIN ME and "Red Hat 9" for Red Hat (if you go with that distro rather than say Mandrake)

If ther are any problems- just post again - good luck
 
  


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