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Dual Boot/Multi Linux Distro Help


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#1 slashuser

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 09:05 AM

i have a few questions regarding a setup that will allow me to (1) use bootmagic as my bootloader (2) have multiple versions of linux installed (3) operate XP on drive 1 and various linux distros on drive 2.

here's what i've accomplished so far:

(1) xp is installed on an ntfs partition on drive 1
(2) boot magic and partition magic are installed. i had to make a fat partition on drive 1, which exists before the xp ntfs partition.

i moved on to tacking the install of linux and partitioning of drive 2...here's where things stopped working:

(3) i installed fedora core 4 and used disk druid to auto partition. it created an LVR partition with a /boot, /swap and /. i also set the boot loader to install to the first partition of the 2nd hard drive so as not to interfere with the MBR on drive 1. this worked nicely and i am able to use bootmagic to launch fedora or XP.

problems now:
i really want to mess with SUSE and Ubuntu but haven't figured out a proper way to configure the partitions on the 2nd drive to accomplish a multi-boot environment.

i don't mind going back and redoing things on the 2nd HD but i have no clue what i need to do partition wise. any ideas? suggestions?

the reason i want to use bootmagic is because it's already installed and seems to be just fine. XP is necessary for some crappy programs i need to run. linux is necessary for some development work i am doing. haven't picked a flavor yet and want to play around.

i really appreciate your feedback and in-depth suggestions.

#2 danleff

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 01:02 PM

I have PartitonMagic, but do not use Boot Magic, as any Linux distro will find the Windows installation. I currently have 10 distros working on my system, all configured with Grub. But, i would be interested to see how it works.

You do have your two OS' configured correctly. How to add another?

First, see the PowerQuest article here.

Let me look at this further, but, the following should apply.

But, let me ask first, what Linux bootloader did you use, Lilo or Grub?

I suggest making as many logical partitions on the second drive as you will need for the task. This means as many ext3 partitions that you need for each distro. Keep track of the location of each partition. If you have trouble with this, you can use the current Linux distro that you have to tell you what the logical partitions are and their names.

Only use PartitionMagic for this, do not allow each distro to format the partition during it's installation. Tell it to use the already existing partition that you created with PartitionMagic.

No need for multiple swap partitons, as each distro will use the one that it finds, the original one that you created.

Once we see how Boot Magic does it's work and if you are using Lilo or Grub, we can go further.


#3 slashuser

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 07:42 AM

thank you for responding.

yes, i have the two OS's working.

i got fedora core 4 installed and allowed Grub to install to the partition that fedora went on (not the MBR on drive 1).

the second drive consists of an LVM with 5 seperate groups. i don't think this is such a great way to go because i'm now running into issues with other distro's being able to install onto an LVM. it appears i need to repartition the 2nd HD and start over.

once i sort out precisely HOW to partition the 2nd HD i will be more than happy to try installing various distro's and write a more thorough walkthru. the drive has approx 56gb of space. your suggestions for taking care of setting up the partitions are greatly appreciated. what i want to do is setup format the 2nd drive using partition magic for the 4 linux distro's i want to try out.

i should note i am unclear what mount points are and if i need to set them up, am not particularly clued into what and how LVM's work, am not particularly familiar with extended vs primary partitions, and am obviously also a bit unclear what i need to setup for these linux installers. i'm guessing root/boot/swap partitions. another thing i don't get is how i have multiple /root partitions. also, how do i have a /boot partition on drive 2 with the multiple bootloaders? do they get overwritten? will i need to add references to vmlinuz somewhere??

unfortunately, right now i am unclear on a few things.

more than anything tho, i could use guidance on precisely how to format the drive so as to make it friendly to a bootloader like Grub and multiple linux partitions. for right now i want to play with unbutu, suse, fedora and debian (to compare and contrast the differences.)

the links you posted were helpful but i've already passed through them and they didn't quite answer my questions. hopefully, this is enough to chew on for a bit.

cheers!!

#4 slashuser

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 07:35 PM

ok, here's a little followup:

i am running a multi-boot environment with a PIII 450

HD1=20gb (has XP on it)
HD2=60gb (has multiple linux distros on it)

here's how things are setup on HD1:
HDA0 is a 50mb FAT partition with bootmagic installed (primary)
HDA1 is an NTFS partition with XP installed (primary)

i wiped the 2nd HD and set it up as follows using partition magic (it's a 60gb HD):

HDB0 ext3 /boot 100mb (primary)
HDB1 ext3 /swap 1200mb (extended)
HDB2 ext3 14000mb (extended)
HDB3 ext3 14000mb (extended)
HDB4 ext3 14000mb (extended)
HDB5 ext3 13000mb (extended)

first, i installed unbutu on HDB2
during the installation just be certain *NOT* to install grub to the MBR of HDA1
you want GRUB to be installed to the /boot of the HDB0 partition

i installed suse on HDB3, i had to point GRUB to install to the same partition HDB3

i am gonna use HDB4 and 5 for fedora and debian...

to configure bootmagic properly to see the linux distros you need to bootup from the cd, then set it up manually to point to the proper partitions

once configured bootmagic popsup and i see XP, unbutu, suse
if i select XP it goes direct to XP
if i select unbutu or suse i get a screen with GRUB where i can then decide which linux distro to launch, including XP

that's the story, sorry it's not more in depth but hopefully this sheds light on the setup

installing GRUB and the bootloader for each linux distro is the only real tricky part
also, pointing each linux distro to the proper partition requires keeping track of each HDB partition you are installing on

#5 danleff

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:50 PM

Exactly! Now I'm getting to understand Boot Magic.

In theory, and I have not used Boot Magic, this is one way to go. As each distro is installed, you should be able to add the newest grub to hdb0. If each distro picks up the previously installed distros, then you should get an option for each.

But, the other way is the one that you are trying. Installing grub into / (root) of each new distro that you install should give you all the options for the previously installed distros. Again, this is in theory, assuming that each new distro picks up the boot options that it sees.

Or, you can choose unbutu as the main Grub boot loader and add the boot lines from each new distro installed to the /boot/menu.lst file (or grub.conf, if that is what unbutu uses)manually.

So, as you have it right now, if you point Boot Magic to the SuSE /boot/grub/whatever file, you should see unbutu, SuSE and Windows as options.

This is why it is important to remember the partitions and what distro is on each. Try installing grub on a floppy from SuSE as a backup, in case something goes wrong. When you install each distro, do the same thing. As you get more confident, you can choose which grub install to boot all your distos (and Windows) from.

The newer versions of Linux distros are more intuitive and more likely to pick up previously installed distros, as a boot option. But don't assume this. Be safe and have floppy grub backups, just in case.

Search on Google on multiple boot via grub and you will get the idea. The difference here is that you have Boot Magic installed and probably know how to recover, if something goes wrong.

Nice work so far. I have learned something also, in the process.

#6 Sharon K

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 08:18 AM

Originally Posted By: slashuser
i have a few questions regarding a setup that will allow me to (1) use bootmagic as my bootloader (2) have multiple versions of linux installed (3) operate XP on drive 1 and various linux distros on drive 2.

here's what i've accomplished so far:

(1) xp is installed on an ntfs partition on drive 1
(2) boot magic and partition magic are installed. i had to make a fat partition on drive 1, which exists before the xp ntfs partition.

i moved on to tacking the install of linux and partitioning of drive 2...here's where things stopped working:

(3) i installed fedora core 4 and used disk druid to auto partition. it created an LVR partition with a /boot, /swap and /. i also set the boot loader to install to the first partition of the 2nd hard drive so as not to interfere with the MBR on drive 1. this worked nicely and i am able to use bootmagic to launch fedora or XP.

problems now:
i really want to mess with SUSE and Ubuntu but haven't figured out a proper way to configure the partitions on the 2nd drive to accomplish a multi-boot environment.

i don't mind going back and redoing things on the 2nd HD but i have no clue what i need to do partition wise. any ideas? suggestions?

the reason i want to use bootmagic is because it's already installed and seems to be just fine. XP is necessary for some crappy programs i need to run. linux is necessary for some development work i am doing. haven't picked a flavor yet and want to play around.

i really appreciate your feedback and in-depth suggestions.


Thanks you for the post.
Hi guys, Im a newbie. Nice to join this forum.




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