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Old 09-13-2001, 09:20 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2001
Posts: 78

Rep: Reputation: 15
Writing to the MBR

I've gotten many contradictory remarks about writing Linux to the MBR.

Some people say "Don't do it! It 'll kill all your Windows already on your MBR!"

Some other people say "You should write to the MBR in a dual boot, cause this way you don't have to disk boot everytime and you can also choose your OS to boot from."

And yet some other people say "Ah, either way should work. I never done this before. If you lose your precious data, you lose your precious data. That's fine by me."

Of course, when I'm deciding what to do under mountains of frustration, I just can't help but think of how to make those last guy suffer.

Can anyone give me an accurate sum of what would happen if I write Lnux onto the MBR with Win2K already on it?

Please back up with actual experimentation. (ie. don't say
"It theoretically should work." <-- If you make up a jumble of theorems, of course anything can work. Also, please no
"The chance that this will happen is 49.0000% of the time. The other will happen 49.0000% of the time. And the 1.0000% of time you don't listen to what I'm saying, I don't know what's going to happen. ")
Old 09-15-2001, 08:24 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2001
Location: Moody, AL
Distribution: Debian and Kubuntu
Posts: 249

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the reason ppl used to say not to do it, wus because lilo had some problems with large hard drives. if you are using a newer distro with a newer version of lilo or grub it should be fine
Old 09-16-2001, 03:23 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2000
Location: Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Distribution: OpenSUSE 10.3
Posts: 1,028

Rep: Reputation: 45
I have two machines both running w2k and Red Hat.

Machine 1
First installed w2k and then installed linux with lilo to partition header, not master boot. Here I use w2k's own boot menu. It takes some extra work as I have to copy my lilo loader to a floppy and then boot into windows and add it in w2k's menu. If you skip this extra work then you will have to boot your linux from boot floppies all the time.
On this machine I first get the w2k menu, then if I choose linux then I get lilo prompt with linux as the only option.

Mchine 2
This one has lilo installed to MBR and w2k was the last of three os installed.
w98, linux and then w2k. Here I just started w2k installation from a working w98 and that's it. On this one I get the lilo to choose either linux or windows, then the w2k menu appears letting me choose either w2k or w98.

I heard that NT preferes to use it's own loader ntloader to boot NT. As w2k also uses ntloader I guess that that might applies to w2k as well.
Old 09-17-2001, 12:47 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2001
Posts: 78

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for you replies.

It turned out that the MIS dept. at the company I'm at decided to do the dual boot themselves.
From what I see, they put Linux on the MBR. Now, when I boot up, I get RedHat Linux and a choice of whether I want to boot into Linux or Dos. Once I click DOs, I get to choose between Win2K or MS-DOS. All fine for now.
BUT..... when I click on Linux to boot up, my /root part has problem. I'm thinking that the person who did the dual boot must not have
1) logged out of Linux as he should have.
2) Thus causing a check of all partitions (ie. /, /boot, etc.)

Does anybody know what's wrong?

Many thanks in advance!

(Oh, and sorry for 2 long messages in a row...)
Old 09-17-2001, 01:52 PM   #5
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

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usually if it checks the way you described, it could be that someone didn't log out properly. test it yourself, you can try to shutdown and reboot properly and see if it boot back up ok with no problems and you cn probably check some temp log files....
Old 09-17-2001, 06:55 PM   #6
Registered: Jun 2001
Posts: 78

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
The problem is actually that:

1) Someone did not shutdown the usual way
2)Once /root is checked, there is a message saying

"Unexpected inconsistancy-run fsck manually without the
-a and -p dunction"

After this, it asks for you to either supply the root password or press Ctrl + D to reboot. When pressing Ctrl.+D you end up with the same message. When suppling the root password (which I'm not supposed to know--), the MIS couldn't do anything to the system. Even when booting from the boot disk this, we get the same message.

The Linux used in this dual boot is Red Hat 7.1 . I was informed by the MIS that RedHat 7.1 has problems.

They've just taken the box and siaid that they will wipe out everything and start again.

Does anyone know what the message above means? Does it mean that there is internal damage? I'd hate to lose something this expensive this fast.

Many thanks!

(Sorry for long message #3)


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