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Multi-Boot WinXP, Win2k and Linux

Posted on 2003-03-05
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Hi, i want to know how can I install Mandrake or SuSe Linux on my PC which dual boots between Windows XP and Windows 2000 Pro.
My harddisk configuration now is
1st 8GB, Pri (active), FAT32, WinXP
2nd 24GB, Ext, Log:8GB,4GB,6GB,6GB, all FAT32
3rd 4GB, Pri, NTFS5, Win2k
Last 4GB, unallocated

How do I create a swap partition (Pri?) and another partition (Pri or Ext?) for Linux ext2fs?  Or is there a better way?
Should I use WinXP OS loader or LILO?
Appreciate if anyone can comment on this.
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Question by:denver38
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8 Comments
 
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by:paneless
ID: 8085973
With such a partitioning scheme, I'd boot to the Linux CD, and partition/install to the 4G of free space and simply create a boot floppy to get there for the time being.  That should leave the XP, W2K, and other partitions to boot as they are.  Then, boot into Linux and create a grub floppy (grub-floppy /dev/fd0)and experiment with booting to the other partitions until you get each one to boot correctly.  Make note of how to successfully boot each OS and add them to the grub.conf file that you'll eventually use to multi-boot.
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neofire earned 100 total points
ID: 8092064
denver38,

LOL!  That's quite the scheme you've got going (not at all bad though).  And paneless is basically right.  Take your last 4GB, allocate a portion of it to a swap partition (if your system has 256MB RAM, I'd make the swap partition about 300-350MB).  Swap partitions have their own FS, so don't worry about that here.

Take the rest, and make a primary Linux partition.  If you have a newer distro, don't use ext2, use ext3(RedHat 8) or Reiser(anything else).  If Reiser is an option to you, go with it.

As for which bootloader, that's up to you.  GRUB is very nice, but I have little experience with it, so I can't step-by-step you through that one.  It's main feature though is the abillity to be configured without being re-installed  (unlike LILO).

Since you are dual-booting 2K and XP, I do recommend using the MS loader so that you can have your choice of Windows and Linux all at once, but doing so with Linux is not real straight forward.  Here's how using LILO:

When you install Linux, choose LILO as your bootloader.  Install LILO to the mbr for your Linux partition (note, it will not be bootable from this location, make sure you have a boot disk).  

Once you have Linux installed and running, open a shell and mount your partition that the first Win drive (C:) is on.  Then as root go to /etc and edit your lilo.conf file so that only has a Linux label (remove NT, failsafe, floppy ,etc) and remove the prompt.  Save it to something like lilo.conf.nt.  Then type:

lilo -C lilo.conf.nt

to re-install lilo with the new settings.  Then type (read notes below before doing this):

dd if=/dev/hda5 of=/mnt/win_c/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1

where hda5 is your primary Linux partition (I'm assuming that will be it) and /mnt/win_c is where your windows C: drive is mounted.

Now boot into Windows and edit your boot.ini (you'll have to turn off the read-only, system and hidden flags first) and add a line like this:

"Linux" = c:\bootsect.lnx

Save the file and reset all the flags.  You can now use the NT bootloader to load Linux.

If you have any questions, need more detail, etc, let us know.
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Expert Comment

by:sathishkumar_sri
ID: 8099983
Another alternative is to install a XOSL from the following URL:

http://xosl.org/
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Assisted Solution

by:simala
simala earned 100 total points
ID: 8105919
I just troubleshot multi boot among Netware, Windows2k,and Mandrake.

In your case, since 2k and xp already dual boot, then instal Mandrake. Use LILO or GRUB for booting. For sure you have to troubleshoot the booting as follows:

Error message related to NTLDR missing?
This means the LILO entry of 2K/XP (as one -- I don't think you can make 2 items of these appear in LILO. You select them as one and then go to your nt bootloader menu to further select) is wrong. Don't believe the "corrupt" msg.

Error message related to NTOSKRNL missing?
This means somehow (explained below) the "drive letter" of the partition where 2k or xp resides given by Mandrake has changed to a different one than the one stated in BOOT.INI in C drive. You need to edit boot.ini to change the partition number.

my scheme on 20G harddisk:
562M DR DOS for Netware dos partition (this file system is compatible for windows boot.ini etc to reside)
3G for Netware volume
3G for win2k

so at this stage the partition number for w2k is 3.
HOWEVER:
during mandrake installation:
250mb root hda6
400mb swap hda7
3G /usr hda8
400mb /var hda9
400mb /home hda10
500mb /tmp hda11

the remaining space I partition as FAT32 for storage use. Somehow this storage get hda3 while the windows partition number is replaced by 4 -- hda4. That's way without editing the boot.ini for sure the ntoskrnl.exe is "missing".

To edit LILO entry of 2k/xp (as one entry, not two), there is an interface bug: you can't edit unless you change from one bootloader (eg. LILO) to another (eg. GRUB). Once you change then you can find the related button to edit.

The steps: System Control > Boot > Boot cfg > Change. From a dropdown list you can select what kind of bootloader you want to change: LILO graphic, LILO text, or Grub. So during the installation, you can choose whatever: LILO or Grub. Because you can change it later.

I haven't tried to use NT bootloader to manage multiboot which includes Linux. I tend to believe it is easier to let LILO or GRUB manage it. Because: can NTFS recognizes with Linux file system?

Regarding the partitions in mandrake are pri or ext, you have no choice. You can only follow what the process of mounting let you. You can't miss it.

One more thing, install minimum amount of programs first to get the system running and then run the cd again to add programs. Otherwise, you spent quite a while and then get stuck and redo again. At the program installation stage, it seems to me to click "Details" button is good -- it can help the installation not to fall asleep due to busy showing progress indicators.

Hope my humble experience helps you.

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Expert Comment

by:simala
ID: 8105990
More:
You just prepare unpartition space for mandrake and then during the installation it is a fool-proof process to partition it.
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by:CleanupPing
ID: 9079585
denver38:
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