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  1. #16
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Well if it makes you feel any better I never bought any windows operating system, my ex-wife bought it I just got a burned copy on CD. I kinda expected to be attacked when I came in here, I kinda figured no one would even try to answer my problem (I loved the "why didn't you type xxxxxx" post......can't you comprehend I had NO control when I booted to the HD??? It locked up with a black screen that said "grub". I could have typed the declaration of independance and it wouldn't have done squat. I also KNOW how to recover the boot sector by typing "fixmbr", the point was I COULDN'T) So I can't bitch about Linux because I didn't pay for it?? Uh I was THIS close to becoming a gold member of the Mandrake club, I was ready and WILLING to throw money at the Linux community. I however did a very smart thing, to see if Linux had progessed any over the last few years. To see if it was worth spending any money on................the fact is it isn't worth a plug nickle unless you have a masters degree in Linux. I realized after my last XP install I simply didn't have the time needed to try and make Linux a usable system. I mean I spent about 5 hours getting XP to run right............heck you can spend weeks trying to get your printer to work in Linux (something I have yet to do) let alone trying to get everything else working. It all boils down to the simple fact, Linux is about 5 years or more from being a viable Windows alternative-if it ever will be- for the AVERAGE computer user. For tech heads who can spend 10 hours a day tweaking at their computers its probably a great alternative.
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  2. #17
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Talonracer,

    I would have your feeling too but unless you have worked with Linux it is unfair for you to judge it as an outsider because you have not yet come to the parts that make Linux standout of all other systems, including the MS products.

    You can level your criticism on Linux because as a world class product you expect user friendliness and you didn't get it. Well I was the same too but when I read the help files and HOWTOs in various web site my face turned red. Here is the bible for Grub and it is almost a carbon copy from the book "LInux in a nutshell"

    Let's do the real challenge to go back to your case. You can achieve a whole lot more if you let Linux boot from a floppy first. It will not leave you with a Grub screen, which just an indication of your failed attempt to install Grub. If you have made a Grub bootable floppy you can load the Linux up immediately (assuming you have installed it successfully). When you are 100% satisfied that the floppy can boot both your Windows and Linux then you can put the bootloader into MBR. The command, which you can read from a Grub Manual, is just

    grub-install /dev/hdax, where x is the partition number of your LInux.

    You need to log in as the root user (adminstrator to the Windows user) to have the privileage to work with the bootloader.

    Linux does have good points and bad points but as an operating system it is formidable. Its bootloaders are simply light years ahead of the MS's NTbootloader.
    Last edited by saikee; 10-15-2004 at 06:52 PM.

  3. #18
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Thank you Saikee, finally someone who was willing to help. One major problem, you said I should have made a Grub boot disk. However , for one, after reading that link I went "huh". Masters degree in Linux needed..............have no idea how to even execute those commands in Linux. My major problems with Linux help sites. They assume you KNOW HOW to execute these commands. I tried to install software folloing instructions to the letter in things like the "terminal window" to no avail. They never specify the obvious...........how you even get to where to type that command! However all this is a totally moot point............I have been unable to get any Linux system up and running for more than a little bit. How am I supposed to make a Grub boot disk when I don't even have Linux on my computer (kinda the original point-Linux won't install) I mean if you already have Linux up and running......you kinda don't need a grub boot disk. No?? Point is Kernal 2.6 is major step back, it doesn't seem to run with anything.
    Last edited by Talonracer; 10-15-2004 at 07:42 PM.
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  4. #19
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    When you installed Linux it should have asked you if you wanted to create a boot floppy. Just answer yes and it will make the boot floppy for you. Then, if your system fails to boot using GRUB, or whatever bootloader you chose and set up, you can still boot your linux installation and fix it.

    Ned

  5. #20
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Thnaks Ned.........taking a deep breath here and may do another try another Linux install once I figure out HOW I'm gonna do it................Linux doesn't see a software Raid setup, Kernel 2.6 won't install on the same HD as XP. Dunno if my tower has room for a 4th HD.......we'll see.
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  6. #21
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Couple of things - if the RAID is empty, you could use native linux RAID instead of the proprietry windows software raid drivers.

    Also, 2.6 kernel will install on the same disk as windows, just correct your bios settings for the HD first. See here:

    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=353715

    Ned

  7. #22
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    My hard disk has XP in first primary partition as it is easiest to maintain. There after I installed a bunch of Linux. 9 of them have 2.6 kernels. I wouldn't consider a Linux bootable unless it boots Windows and all the other distros.

    I haven't run Linux on RAID mainly to eliminate the number of the new things I have to learn when starting Linux. However I did have many distros soliciting me to put them onto the RAID. I think Linux has many RAID drivers supplied as standard.

    Linux bootboader is part of the Linux system that comes in before the kernel is available. Thus it is very lonely and can't do very much on itself. It is designed to pull a kernel into the memory and disappear from the scene. To communicate with it one has to load a floppy or a CD. It operates only in command prompt due to the limit of boot code space reserved for a PC bootloader (every bootloader must reside in the first track of a partition or superblock and must not interfere with the space occupied by the partition table too).

    The exact step-by-step how a bootloader like Grub loading any OS is descibed by its boot menu file, which is a editable text file, always stored in /boot/grub/menu.lst. Grub is always loaded before the Linux. In Grub prompt, assuming Linux has difficulty to boot, one can type the selective lines, thus step by step, from /boot/grub/menu.lst to boot either Windows or Linux that he wishes.

    The bootloader is actually still available after Kernel takes command. Thus one can instruct Grub (or Lilo) to replicate the bootloader in positions other than the one specified in the installation.

    There can only be 2 locations for a Linux bootloader

    (1) In a floppy disk.
    (2) in the first track of a partition.

    The choice (2) is the one that confuses Linux users because

    (a) If the partition is the first primary people call it the MBR
    (b) A Linux distro always puts it either in the MBR or the root partition. The latter means inside its own partition.
    (c) Not many users are aware that a bootloader can be placed in a partition other than its own.
    (d) Extended partition has no space but can still accept a bootloader there. It can therefore boot the PC when the primary partitions are made inactive.
    (e) When an installed Linux has a bootloader in its partition a newly added Linux will automatically include it for booting. This is a Linux characteristic.
    Last edited by saikee; 10-16-2004 at 05:59 AM.

  8. #23
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by saikee
    There can only be 2 locations for a Linux bootloader

    (1) In a floppy disk.
    (2) in the first track of a partition.

    The choice (2) is the one that confuses Linux users because

    (a) If the partition is the first primary people call it the MBR
    (b) A Linux distro always puts it either in the MBR or the root partition. The latter means inside its own partition.
    (c) Not many users are aware that a bootloader can be placed in a partition other than its own.
    Yes, you can place the linux bootloader in the linux root partition and leave Windows bootloader in the MBR to control the boot process. This is a good way to dual boot Windows and Linux and should avoid any MBR problems with 2.6 kernels when dual-booting with windows. Here's how you do it:

    First, install Windows. If you want to share files between Windows and linux, I recommend you also set up a separate fat32 partition for this if your Windows install is not already on one. Linux fully supports fat32 but support for NTFS is still experimental and I wouldn't want to risk damaging my main windows partition if it's NTFS.

    Next, install linux. This is the important part: when installing the bootloader under Linux, install it to the root file system NOT the MBR (e.g. /dev/hdaXX, NOT /dev/hda, where XX is the partition number of the root file system). Make a note of the partition number (XX) as you'll need it in a moment and make sure you create a boot floppy when prompted during the install.

    After the install is complete, reboot linux using the boot floppy, log in as root and execute the following from a terminal (replacing the XX of hdaXX with the number of your linux root partition):

    Code:
    dd if=/dev/hdaXX of=bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1
    Insert an MSDOS formatted floppy and:

    Code:
    mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt
    cp bootsect.lnx /mnt
    umount /mnt
    Remove floppy and reboot box (shutdown -r now). Let Windows boot and drop to a command shell window and do:

    Code:
    cd \
    attrib -r -s -h boot.ini
    edit boot.ini
    Note: It's important to use edit to edit this file, not windows notepad or write. Add line at the bottom of the file and save

    Code:
    C:\BOOTSECT.LNX "My New Linux Distro"
    and reset the attributes

    Code:
    attrib +r +s +h boot.ini
    Insert floppy and copy bootsect.lnx from it to C:\

    Now reboot the box and the Windows bootloader will control the boot process and give you the option to boot either Windows (default) or your new Linux Install. By doing it this way the linux bootloader is not placed in the MBR so there will be no issues with the 2.6 kernel versions breaking your MBR or Windows installation. I do appreciate that this isn't at all obvious but it is all fully documented in the linux boot documentation.

    Ned
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 10-16-2004 at 11:53 PM.

  9. #24
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Thnaks Ned......you just reminded me why Linux is NOT for anyone but a computer wizard. I got a headache about halfway down your list. When I got to the "Insert an MSDOS formatted floppy and:" I just shook my head............... I'll try it Ned I swear. I don't wanna let you down I'm determined to get Linux back up. Should be a blast............I'll let ya know if I still have a computer tomorrow.

    BTW one small question. My XP uses the NTFS file system, Can i just convert it to FAT and go from there?? My last install of XP was a bit of a pain, but I'll do it again if i have to.
    Last edited by Talonracer; 10-16-2004 at 11:32 PM.
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  10. #25
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by Talonracer
    BTW one small question. My XP uses the NTFS file system, Can i just convert it to FAT and go from there?? My last install of XP was a bit of a pain, but I'll do it again if i have to.
    No problem

    Sorry - it's not important what filesystem your Windows install is using per se (I copied that from another post where it was important for the user to use fat32 for what he wanted to do - I'll go back and edit it out). If you're dual booting and want to access your windows partition from linux, then I'd recommend fat32 - this will give you full read/write access to it. There is support for NTFS in linux but it's still experimental and some distros don't include the kernel module by default meaning it takes a bit of work to get access (not for the newbie). Read access is not too bad, but writing to NTFS is still labelled as EXPERIMENTAL.

    So, it all depends whether you want read/write acces to your windows partition from linux.

    Personally, when I'm setting up a dual boot windows/linux box, I put the Windows system on NTFS (C:\), then have a second partition as fat32 (D:\) that can also be shared and accessed by linux, followed by further partition(s) for linux as needed. Personally I prefer the main windows system to be on NTFS as it's a much more robust filesystem than fat32, but I'm not prepared to risk writing to it from linux so use fat32 to share files between the two OSes.

    Hope that helps,

    Ned

  11. #26
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Talonracer,

    Ned Silder's instructions are delightful to read.

    Linux's dd can copy the machine code. Input file=1st track first 512 byte. output file named bootsect.lnx.

    To transfer the Linux's boot code to Windows a floppy is used. Linux can read a device, with non-Linux file system, after it has been mounted. CP is a copy command. Thus the machine code in passed onto a DOS floppy in FAT32 format.

    The Windows bits are easy. It is just editing the hidden file boot.ini to include the Linux boot code, with its attributes stripped and then later restored.

    Unlike DOS, Linux's command prompt has a full instruction set originated from mainframe computer systems. Their power is beyond the comprehension of a Window use.

    Linux can read NTFS files and write them on FAT32 partitions. No need to convert NTFS partitions, or you can ask Linux to convert it for you.

  12. #27
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    90

    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Hey Ned one tiny problem.....SuSe 9.1 doesn't ask you to make a boot Floppy........ bummer!! Didn't get far with your instructions. Suse is on there but the bootloader is one the Root partition. Gotta try to make a Linux boot disk I guess.......how is another question.
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  13. #28
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by Talonracer
    Hey Ned one tiny problem.....SuSe 9.1 doesn't ask you to make a boot Floppy........ bummer!! Didn't get far with your instructions. Suse is on there but the bootloader is one the Root partition. Gotta try to make a Linux boot disk I guess.......how is another question.
    Oh - OK, I've never used Suse so I didn't know that. So now presumably you can't boot your linux.

    Most distro's come with a script in /sbin called mkbootdisk for creating a bootdisk. the syntax is:

    Code:
    mkbootdisk --device /dev/fd0 2.6.8-1.521
    Place a blank floppy in the floppy drive and replace the version number with the version number of your kernel (the one you want on the boot disk).

    Anyway, you should be able to boot your system using the installation CD and enter a rescue mode (read the documentation for your distro) and mount the filesystem. From there you can just follow my procedure from above to copy off the linux boot sector to add to the windows boot manager, then you can boot directly from HD and won't need a boot floppy.

    Ned

  14. #29
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Ned I found instructions on another MB on the 'net telling me where to make Suse 9.1 boot floppies. I used rawrite and burned them to a floppy. Here's the hilarious part............

    I finally got to use your instructions, found I needed the "modules disk 4" . no biggie I burned that to a floppy and redid yourr instructions. Everything went easy as pie, the stuff actually worked. Then i rebooted to windows and presto there was the windows bootloader asking me which I wanted to boot................YAHOOOOOO it worked!!! So i clicked on "Suse 9.1" and glowing with pride was greeted with..........................

    Black screen with "Grub_"

    I almost died laughing, all this BS for the same result. The method you descibed doesn't work simple as that. One good advice you did give was to get boot disks and NOT put the grub bootloader on my Windows partition. So (obviously) windows works fine and I CAN use Linux if i use the boot floppies (MAJOR PIA)

    So anyone else have any way to make Kernel 2.6 work on the same HD as windows xp?? I'm THIS close to getting a cheap, small HD to mount Linux on (there is an empty spot on my primary IDE cable though there is no room in my tower for it....it will have to set on the bottom of my tower). Thanks Ned anyway, you did at least have some good advice for me to use.
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  15. #30
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    Re: Latest Linux adventure!

    Well, I don't know what went wrong, but I can assure you this method does work. It's a tried and tested method that's been around since dual booting with Windows NT 4, and I have personally used it to dual boot both Red Hat 9 and Fedora Core 1 on my Windows XP laptop without any problems.

    There are two things it could be. Firstly, are you sure you extracted the linux boot sector correctly? Secondly, you could post your grub.conf file so we could make sure it's configured properly.

    EDIT:

    First off, I must appologise as it seems I was wrong. I thought installing the linux boot loader to the linux root partition would avoid this bug, but apparently you can still be affected. Is your Windows partition larger than 8 GB, or more precisely, does the first hard disk partition end on cylinder 1024 or beyond? If so, for a possible quick solution, try the following:

    One quick solution is to activate the LBA or large access mode under which the hard disk was previously addressed for the hard disks in the computer's BIOS. It is important that the hard disk values not be set to "AUTO".
    /END EDIT

    But, like you say, the main thing is you haven't hosed your Windows partition and hopefully you've learnt a little about linux in the process

    Certainly, installing to a second HD is a lot simpler option. You may even get away with just installing Suse to the MBR, but personally I wouldn't take the chance based on experiences of others.

    Ned
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 10-27-2004 at 01:22 AM.

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