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First off, hi all. I'm a new linux user, and am looking forward to figuring this stuff out. So here's my problem: I am attempting to install backtrack 4 to ...
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    external drive install causes error for other partition


    First off, hi all. I'm a new linux user, and am looking forward to figuring this stuff out. So here's my problem: I am attempting to install backtrack 4 to an external drive, partitioned as follows: ntfs (storing movies, etc), ext3 (linux partition), and a swap partition. Everything seems to work fine at first; I am able to boot into backtrack from the external, and boot into vista from my internal drive. However, any time I try to install linux, it screws up my ntfs partition on the external. Vista claims it isn't formatted; partition table doctor says theirs an error in the bootsector. I am always able to correct the error without data loss using fixboot from partition table doctor. After doing this however, grub fails to load when trying to boot off my external. I think it has something to do with the first partition on my drive being marked as bootable during the backtrack install process (or something along those lines). Anyways, what should I do to be able to both access my ntfs partition from vista, while also being able to boot linux off of my external. I'd rather not reformat my external if that can be avoided.

    Looking forward to a reply.

    -McPhale

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    Quote Originally Posted by McPhale View Post
    l. Vista claims it isn't formatted; partition table doctor says theirs an error in the bootsector. I am always able to correct the error without data loss using fixboot from partition table doctor. After doing this however, grub fails to load when trying to boot off my external.
    May be ur application has overwritten the MBR stored on the external HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by McPhale View Post
    Anyways, what should I do to be able to both access my ntfs partition from vista, while also being able to boot linux off of my external. I'd rather not reformat my external if that can be avoided.
    A partition on an external HDD formated as NTFS will be accessable on vista if the external is attached to the computer. Why dont you consider reformating it ( if no data is present).
    To make the external HDD bootable install a boot loader on it.
    Only if I could understand the man pages
    Registered Linux user #492640
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    Quote Originally Posted by vickey_20 View Post
    May be ur application has overwritten the MBR stored on the external HDD



    A partition on an external HDD formated as NTFS will be accessable on vista if the external is attached to the computer. Why dont you consider reformating it ( if no data is present).
    To make the external HDD bootable install a boot loader on it.
    -Yes, the drive is attached to the computer when I try to access it . There is data on the drive, and I have no space elsewhere to move it to during the reformatting process. The drive is bootable, grub is installed to the ext3 partition of the external. However the ntfs portion of my drive is marked as unformatted by vista. Whenever I fix that, trying to boot with grub just gives me garbage output where "grub stage x" would normally be.

    I think that the mbr may have been overwritten, as you suggested. Is there any way to be for vista to both read my ntfs partition, and still be able to boot into backtrack properly when the external is plugged in at boot time?

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    yes normally a NTFS partition created on Linux works well with Wind$. May you will have to reformat the ntfs partition ( back up the date before you do it). I suppose for backin up you need to go into your linux system for which we need a active and working MBR. So first thing I suggest is to repair the MBR of the external HDD with some live cd or through the rescue mode ( For RedHat).
    Which OS are you using??
    Only if I could understand the man pages
    Registered Linux user #492640
    OS: RHEL4,5 ,RH 9,Ubuntu

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    Quote Originally Posted by vickey_20 View Post
    yes normally a NTFS partition created on Linux works well with Wind$. May you will have to reformat the ntfs partition ( back up the date before you do it). I suppose for backin up you need to go into your linux system for which we need a active and working MBR. So first thing I suggest is to repair the MBR of the external HDD with some live cd or through the rescue mode ( For RedHat).
    Which OS are you using??
    Maybe I didn't describe my setup clearly enough. I have my internal hard drive, which has vista installed. I decided to try linux, so I grabbed my external hard drive and partitioned it. I then booted up my backtrack dvd I had (It's a security distro based on ubuntu) and ran the install procedure, setting up grub to install to my ext 3 partition on the external. Plug it in and turn it on at startup, everything runs great. Try and access the largest external partition, which has movies and such on it, from vista and it claims the drive (only after ubuntu install). All of the data is there, I just can't get to it without messing up ubuntu's bootloader.

    I did all of my partitioning within vista. The ntfs was what the external was formatted to when I bought it. The os I'm using is vista on the internal, backtrack 4 on the external.

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    sorry buddy but I can't uderstand what is your real problem??
    Only if I could understand the man pages
    Registered Linux user #492640
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    partition table doctor says theirs an error in the bootsector
    I would say GRUB is being installed into the XP's boot sector which is not good. When you are installing grub stage 1 be sure where you are installing it to. Install grub to the MBR of the external hdd, not to a partition.

    I think it has something to do with the first partition on my drive being marked as bootable
    I do not think so, but use Partition Table Doctor to remove the boot flag from the XP partition. XP partition being only for data there is no reason for it to be marked bootable/active.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostfarmer View Post
    I would say GRUB is being installed into the XP's boot sector which is not good. When you are installing grub stage 1 be sure where you are installing it to. Install grub to the MBR of the external hdd, not to a partition.

    I do not think so, but use Partition Table Doctor to remove the boot flag from the XP partition. XP partition being only for data there is no reason for it to be marked bootable/active.

    So grub shouldn't be installed to my linux partition? I'm a bit nervous about installing it anywhere else; I don't want to loose any data. I'm gonna check the installer and see if I can find anything pertaining to the mbr of the external. As for the boot flag, you seem to be correct about it not being the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vickey_20 View Post
    sorry buddy but I can't uderstand what is your real problem??
    Basically, installing linux to my external makes the ntfs portion of the external unreadable by vista. (Vista thinks it's unformatted). Sorry, I can be kind of wordy

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    ok post the o/p of fdisk -l from the external HDD.
    Only if I could understand the man pages
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