multiple booting problems

I am trying to triple boot a machine with win98, winXP, and Debian. I had Debian and XP dual booting happily, however I was getting increasing annoyed with XP's compatibly with DOS programs.

The oppertunity(sp?) arised (XP was giving me a BSOD just after bootup) so I backed up what I wanted to keep, and "nuked" the XP partition, making a partition for '98 in the process, and then by required procedures, installed '98 and then XP, leaving my Debian partitions alone. The install of '98 removed the LILO boot manager, and the installation of XP replaced it with MS's own boot manager.

naturally, I wanted to access my Debian install, so I used the faithfull linux boot disk, edited the LILO config file to include the windows OSs and ran LILO, this caused lilo to be reinstate as the boot manager. this was fine untill I wanted to get into either of th Windows, where both refused to boot. Win98 says something along the lines of "disk is not bootable, please insert a bootable disk" (I have set the partition's (hda1) "boot" flag to "true" so I see no reason whi this is not booting. WinXP does something different, after the "boot: " prompt, it displays a flashing cursor, and just sits there.

I have tried setting both MS partition's boot flag to true, to no avail.
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If lilo just sits after a "boot:" prompt flashing, it means that lilo's hasn't written the boot sector properly (actually to be technically accurate, it hasn't formed the load map properly, it HAS written the boot sector).  Anyways, make sure that in lilo.conf, everything is as it should be, meaning the proper location of the kernel, etc.  Then DONT FORGET to run "/sbin/lilo -v" to remake the load map.  See if there are any errors.  If there are none, then reboot and try lilo again.  It should work now.

At any rate, my experience suggests that the NT boot loader is the way to go to dual boot (or tri-boot) os's with XP.  The way this is done:

  1)  Install Linux (Already done)
  2)  Get into Linux
  3)  Install lilo to the boot record of the partition,
      NOT to the MBR.
  4)  Run "lilo -v" to make the boot record
  5)  Place floppy in drive, then run the following command:
      dd if=/dev/hda1 of=boot.lnx bs=512 count=1

      NOTE: replace if=/dev/hda1 with the proper location to your /boot directory in linux.  You can get this information from /etc/fstab, or by using df to see the mount points.  IT MUST BE the location of your /boot directory.

  6)  Copy the file onto the DOS-formatted floppy via the following command:

      mcopy boot.lnx a:


      mount /mnt/floppy
      cp boot.lnx /mnt/floppy
      umount /mnt/floppy

  7)  Install Other OS's with Windows XP last
  8)  Once in XP, copy the boot.lnx file to c:\boot.lnx
  9)  Edit c:\boot.ini and add the following line at the bootom:

      c:\boot.lnx="My Linux Installation"

 10)  Reboot and your good.

The latter half of this comment is my oppinion and my oppinion alone.  It may or may not be what your environment needs.

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not knowing what your system is and if your working in a profestional enviroment but a simple solution is to go out and buy several smaller drives for the respected OS's then instal each on on a drive installed as master then after wards decide which is to be your perment master drive from there on every time you boot up decide from your bios prompt what drive you want to boot from other wise youll need a partion manager program and then that will not work go to maximum exposeure they did an interveiw with a gent who had i think 80 diffrent os' installed on one drive there he explains how he did it and all of the pain he whent thru
candLeAuthor Commented:

can you point LILO at a particular file for booting into XP/98 as you do with linux (you point it at ..../"your kernel")

hda1 = 98
hda2 = XP
hda5 = Linux

I'll try your solution - I'll post/accept when I come out the other side :)
I believe you can point lilo to the device where the boot sector exists on.  For instance, if you install Linux to hda (your primary master) and install windows to hdb (either your primary slave, or your secondary master, or your secondary slave), then you can have an entry as follows for the windows booting:


If you have one drive you have to install windows then Linux to get it to work, to the best of my knowledge.
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