View Full Version : Dual Boot is a failure...always.

04-16-2003, 10:16 AM
I have attempted numerous times to install a dual boot system without success.

Have tried this with Redhat 5, Mandrake 7, 8, 9, and Redhat 9.

Every time I either end up with bad mbr or with a linux install that only boots from the floppy (way too slow).

My most recent attempts (mandrake and redhat 9) have included trying to follow the instructions given at sites such as http://www.littlewhitedog.com/reviews_other_00011.asp.

The result is either just a single blinking cursor, or the word GRUB and single blinking cursor. It never pulls into linux (REDHAT).

I get the above results using the following config and the following attempts:

Currently dual-booting win98SE and win2K using the NTLoader.
Any attempt to put GRUb or LILO into the MBR on the primary disk (hda) results in a corrupt system that won't load anything (displays a screen of all 9's).

hda1 - win98SE - FAT32 (80Gb)
hdg - LINUX Install Drive (Auto-Partitioned) (10Gb)
hdg1 - /boot (GRUB or LILO installed here, have tried both)
hdg2 - /

from the root linux user login, typed in:

dd if=/dev/hdg1 bs=512 count=1 of=/mnt/floppy/linux.bin

This copies the file to the floppy.

Also tried mounting the win98SE Drive and changing the of parameter to /mnt/win/linux.bin which copies the file directly to the win98SE drive.

Modified the boot.ini file and added a line that says c:\linux.bin="Redhat Linux 9".

Is this failing because of the win2K boot loader or am I missing something obvious?

04-16-2003, 01:51 PM
I just finished redoing a multi boot system last night
( dos6.22,, win98,, winXP,,Mandrake)

I have found that unless everything is done in the exact order grub and or lilo will fail
Much the same way win98 or 2k will mess up your dos installed if done in the wrong order.

I also found that Ntloader will not start/load linux at all on my system

The problem is the ntloader does not map or reset the active partition
In grub/lilo you have a command to MAP the drive active for ntloader after the first start menu item is selected

In grub it also has a 2 stage operation first is loading from the primary active drive partition
and reads the settings from the grub partition .
When you select win anything it hands the process over to the nt loader
and NT loads from there.
In affect you have two boot loaders working

If you have 98 and 2k installed and dual boot set on your C: drive
You should be able to run the Mandrake 8 or above install
Allowing it to install
During that process it should install Lilo by default into the MBR of the c: drive

When started the system should list Linux and Windows.
When you select windows it will map the c: as active and hand off the boot process to Ntloader

What file system are you using for your primary boot partition ? (fat32 or NTFS)
With fat32 you can correct any mbr problems using the command fdisk /mbr

04-16-2003, 03:30 PM
Primary disk type is FAT32 and is running 98SE. win2K is installed on the second drive is running NTFS, I have a third drive which is running NTFS also and is currently serving as backup and storage until I have the time to clean it up. Redhat is installed on the 4th drive all by its lonesome.

I have been uneasy with even the thought of letting the dual boot go on the mbr for the c drive cause it has rendered my installations of win2k and 98SE useless in the past.

After reading back in time (pre-2000) I'm thinking that a free bootloader might solve the problem, maybe something like this (http://www.xosl.org/). Of course, is it possible to change the active partition / drive from dos? I'm thinking if I can change the active partition or drive, then I can make the linux install active to test the bootloader, if it works, then I've got no issues, if it doesn't, then I just reboot via the floppy and change it back. Just a thought.

04-16-2003, 06:20 PM
With fat32 on the primary boot drive.
You should be able to install the boot loader in MBR
IF it does cause a problem you can always boot from a win98 startup disk and run the fdisk /mbr to fix it..

This is one of the other reasons I like GRUB over Lilo
Being a two part program it doesnt place much in the MBR.
The core of the program is stored and loaded from your linux drive
( Screen should show Grub part 2 during boot)

Unfortunately with lilo you must access and run Lilo /u to remove it

If you run the mandrake install and it is an older version
It will install lilo by default.
All that is required to change to grub is Log on as root.
Then run control center and go into the Boot options.
It will list loader on that tab.
Just change the option to grub from there.
Exit and it will install and setup the program.

You can edit the grub.lst file at will after that with root permission even as super user

I have never used the XOSL so I can't be of any help there

04-16-2003, 11:48 PM
I am using XOSL.

I have 98, DOS, XP and Mandrake.... with XOSL I can get to all of them. I installed LILO on the the Linux partition and then used XOSL to "find" it.

04-17-2003, 01:58 AM
XOSL failed, just locked up and did nothing but display the XOSL Logo.

Attempted to use Bootmagic (Included with partitionmagic 5) and the LILO installed on LINUX and I just get a screen of zeros that continues on forever.

Attempted to use Bootmagic with GRUB and it just shows "GRUB " on the screen.

I have reached the conclusion that there must be something funky with either my drives, my system config, or maybe both.

I guess that I will have to live with being able to boot from a floppy for now.

Think I might have to get me a new gaming system and convert this one to a pure LINUX Box.

BTW, I am using the Redhat install to post this, so I know it's not an issue with the install itself, just seems to have issues when I attempt to boot from anything but the boot disk.

I just had a thought...first one in several days.

Would it be possible to dedicate a small partition on the HD to being a LINUX Boot disk and then just copy the files from the floppy into that partition and make it boot from there?

I wouldn't think that this would work, but maybe?

04-17-2003, 08:09 AM
Yes and NO

First that part of the drive is or should have already been made
/boot and marked as such by the partition creator

The No is a Little more involved.
It would require you to do a lot of edit and command line changes to all the files involved

Have you looked at the Boot floppy files yet?
Check them out and compare them to the files in /boot and or /boot/Grub or Lilo if used