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Old 08-25-2003, 11:49 PM   #1
Sadie Newlinux
Registered: Mar 2003
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
Posts: 112

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Question Fix the Bootloader or Reinstall the System?

Hi folks!

I finally made it back from my almost 3-month hiatus. After finally reinstalling everything in May, I wound up with a working copy of Windows XP and a copy of Mandrake 9.1 that I couldn't access from anywhere.

(Okay, so I could probably access it with a bootdisk, but I haven't tried that yet, and I don't know how to make one.)

I knew that I was either going to have to make a boot disk and then fuss around trying to get the bootloader to work right. Or - behind Door #2 - reinstall everything from scratch. So I freaked out and took a break. lol

I'm now ready to try this again. I would like suggestions please? Will it be easier to figure out how to make a boot disk, and then use it to get into Mandrake and try to fix the boot loader? Or will it be easier to reinstall the system? This will be my third time reinstalling, if that's the case.

My first time wasn't very successful because I used Partition Magic and lost the ability to access the NTFS drive. (After finding a reader I discovered the whole drive was corrupted and WinXP was useless.) My second, was less-so, because although I installed using the Mandrake 9.1 partion ability, I must've done something wrong - put Mandrake on the wrong partition or something. I never get a bootloader, WinXP just hogs the whole system, and I can't get into Mandrake at all.

Any advice folks? I'm already frustrated and it's been three months since I did anything! lol



BTW - it looks like my husband may finally be returning from overseas in November. Yay!
Old 08-26-2003, 12:23 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: Mint 13/15, CentOS 6.4
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edit: oops! I see you have been using XP. disregard my message about starting over (though that still might be the best way to go so that you're starting fresh). i'll leave the instructions anyway in case you decide to go that route. gl

what i would do is first boot to the XP disk and install XP. partition and format a new partition for that if you have to, leaving space for linux. i usually make 4-5 GB for the windows OS, then another partition/s of whatever size i need for programs and data. delete any other leftover partitions to leave the rest as "unallocated space."

once XP is up and running, boot to the mandrake boot disk and use the partition utility from within setup to make your linux partitions on whatever space you have allocated for linux. when it comes time during setup to install the bootloader, install it to the master boot record (MBR) of your windows XP drive. it probably defaults to that anyway, so you shouldn't have a problem. after that you should be able to boot into either OS, and you'll be good to go! gl

Last edited by synaptical; 08-26-2003 at 12:26 AM.
Old 08-26-2003, 06:07 AM   #3
Registered: May 2003
Location: Canberra, Australia
Distribution: openSUSE 11.3
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During the installation procedure you'll be prompted to make a bootdisk. Do make one when prompted; then you'll be able to sort out problems caused by not being able to boot into Linux from the hard disk. Good tips on installing Mandrake 9.1 here:
Old 08-26-2003, 06:12 AM   #4
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Location: UK
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You maybe able to use your Mandrake CD as a rescue disk, and install a bootloader now, rather than go through installing everthing again.
Old 08-26-2003, 10:21 AM   #5
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Registered: Jun 2003
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........and if you do decide to use the 1st Mandrake cd to re-install your bootloader its:

type - rescue at the prompt

I think its the first or second option in the menu to re-install LILO.
Old 08-26-2003, 03:47 PM   #6
Sadie Newlinux
Registered: Mar 2003
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
Posts: 112

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Thanks to everyone who responded! Looks like I'm getting a lot of good information and advice. Still leaves me having to make a decision, though.

Since I believe that somebody gave directions for reinstalling lilo and for also creating boot disk off the Mandrake 9.1 install disks, I may try that first. Since, if it doesn't work, I'm not really any worse off than already. (Meaning that I'll still have to reinstall the system either way.)

Is there anything else I should know when trying to get to bootloader reloaded?

Originally, when I installed the system, I created a partition for XP and then installed it. I followed this by installing Mandrake, and letting it define it's own partitions, although I'm having some confusion with the type of linux partitions avaialbe, and that may have had something to do with my problem. Perhaps I installed the bootloader on the linux partition? Or on the wrong one? I think I made all of the linux partitions j3 or something like that?

Gosh it's been a while. If I can get a boot disk to work, I'll probably be able to give you better information on what I did. If I can figure out how to check for the answers! lol (I'm really new at this and learning on the fly, if you can't tell!)

Again, thanks everyone for trying to help!

Old 08-26-2003, 10:44 PM   #7
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 6.10 / SUSE 10.1
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Do you want Linux or XP to control the boot process? With linux you can use lilo or grub as your boot loader and they will both detect your pre-existing XP installation, when you install Linux, and load it into their menus.
If you want XP to control the initial boot process you can do that too, but it requires a little extra work. What I did on one machine was install the Windows operating system, then Linux. When Mandrake's install process asked if I wanted to create a boot disk I said yes and used that to boot the first time after installing Linux. After logging in, I opened a terminal session and logged in as root in the terminal session. Then I chdir to the Windows C: drive (/mnt/win_c in this case) and issued the following command from the # prompt:

#dd if=/dev/hdb1 of=bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1

In my case the second hard drive (hdb) partition number 1 was where I told the Linux installation routine to put its boot sector. bootsect.lnx is a file for the XP boot loader to load. The next step can be done from either XP or Linux. Edit the boot.ini file in the root of C: and add the following line:
C:\Bootsect.lnx="Mandrake Linux"

The next time you restart your machine without the boot disk you will have an option Mandrake Linux which will start linux instead of XP. (If you edit boot.ini in XP, open a command window and issue the command
C:\attrib -h -r -s boot.ini
before editing. After you have saved boot.ini you will need to restore attributes with
C:\attrib +h +r +s boot.ini
This just shows how linux can be easier that Windows, doesn't it?

p.s. If you later upgrade your Linux kernel, you have to do the "dd" command line I showed you to copy the new boot sector for the Window boot loader.

Last edited by MultiBooter; 08-26-2003 at 11:13 PM.


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