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Hi everyone, I'm new on here, and I'm in need of some help. I've been searching Google for a while now with no luck, and I haven't found a similar ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Multiple OSs with GAG Bootloader


    Hi everyone,

    I'm new on here, and I'm in need of some help. I've been searching Google for a while now with no luck, and I haven't found a similar enough thread on here to help me out. Before we go on, I should probably point out that I'm a Linux newbie -- as many others, way too used to Microsoft's approach.

    I've just purchased a new 500 GB HDD to install 6 operating systems on:

    1) Scientific Linux
    2) Kubuntu
    3) Linux Mint
    4) Win XP
    5) Another Win XP
    6) Windows 7 RC1

    I currently have two Windows installations on another HDD, which are multibooted with Partition Magic (which doesn't work with Linux -- a death sentence for any developer, IMHO).

    I want to create a multiboot system, and I was thinking of using GAG bootloader for it. But my question is the following: in what order do I actually do these things?

    I imagine the first step is to format and partition the new HDD -- the Linuxes to ext3 and the Windows to NTFS. I was thinking of using gparted on the System Rescue CD for that.

    That should be simple enough, but where to from there? How do I access the right partition to install the required OS on it? What are the issues with GRUB or LILO? Do I need either at all when I have GAG?

    I'm somewhat worried about this first-time thing, in case something goes awry and I lose my current data, which is why I want to have a clear idea of what I'm doing and what to expect.

    I'll get the hang of Linux and all of this; I just need to get started! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Regards,
    Raskolnikov

  2. #2
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    First things to remember.
    1) you can only have 3 primary partitions all other will have to be logical volumes.
    2) When you install MS OS's , they will over write the MBR boot code 'GAG'. GAG will need to be reinstalled each time.
    3)Some software ,not many ' GHOST is one' that will corrupt any boot manager "GAG" that writes it boot code on the first track of hdd. GAG would need reinstalled.

    I would boot into old hdd's XP and make/format all MS partitions,
    3 primary for the MS OS's and 1 logical volume for sharing between all OS's. Dueing formatting give each partition a name, will help knowing just what each partition is.

    Next you can use 'gparted' to make the needed linux partitions. You will have do decide if you need '/home' partition for each , use a common '/home' or none. 'GRUB' will need to be installed on there own '/' partition.

    I would remove the old hdd when installing any OS to the new hdd.

    I think that 'gag' web site has steps to take to install the OS's.

    You can use 'GRUB' to boot all OS's instead of 'GAG' , but will require a little different install process.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Lostfarmer! That does give me a lot more insight.

    I can only really use the old HDD for one OS, since it's only 40 GB big -- using it for two as I do currently is very limiting.

    So could I do this?:

    On the old HDD, have only one primary partition in NTFS for one of the Windows installations.

    On the new HDD, split it into 3 primary partitions: 2 NTFS and 1 ext3. On each of the 2 NTFS ones, install a version of Windows. Split the ext3 one into 3 logical partitions, and on each of those logical partitions, install one of the 3 Linux distros.

    Does this sound about right?

    Regards,
    Raskolnikov

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
    On the new HDD, split it into 3 primary partitions: 2 NTFS and 1 ext3. On each of the 2 NTFS ones, install a version of Windows. Split the ext3 one into 3 logical partitions, and on each of those logical partitions, install one of the 3 Linux distros.
    Hold on, can I even split a primary partition into logical partitions? So rather than the above, how about: 2 primary partitions in NTFS for each of the Windows, and 1 extended partition in ext3 divided into 3 logical partitions for the Linuxes.

    Thoughts?

  5. #5
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    The extended partition you can look at as a box for the logical volumes, it in it-self does not contain any data nor can be used by the OS.

    On my comp hdd 160g, I basically have :
    Primary #1--XP --20g NTFS (sda1 or hd0,0)
    Primary #2--XP --20g NTFS (sda2 or hd0,1)
    Primary #3 --98 20g FAT32 (sda3 or hd0,2)
    extended partition 100g (hd0,3) a container for below:
    Logical #1 --storage for all OS's 40G FAT32 (sda5 or hd0,4)
    logical #2-- SuSe 20G ext3 (sda6 or hd0,5)
    logical #3-- Mepis 20G ext3 (sda7 or hd0,6)
    logical #4-- linux swap 4g (sda8 or hd0,7)
    Logical #5-- common '/home' partition for both linux's 16g (sda9 or hd0,

    The values in bold is how linux will basically see the partitions. There will be some differences on no. of hdd in comp and how they are connected to motherboard.

    When I boot into Pri #2 XP, I have Pri #1 hidden.

    You do not have to have Pri #3 and you have to decide on partition sizes.

    You can use 'grub' for the boot manager instead of GAG.

    On my logical #1 FAT32 could be a problem if one wants to put a 4g byte file onto it, can not do so.

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    Thanks, Lostfarmer! I got Kubuntu loading alongside the old XPs now!

    The Scientific Linux doesn't want to load after some "softreset failed" message, but that's a matter for another thread...

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    Ah, I spoke too soon. :/ Tried installing Kubuntu Karmic, and after following the exact same procedure as before, GAG can't boot it -- it can't handle GRUB2, I suspect. I'll start looking into the GRUB-for-booting-everything option. Will it pick up the OSs regardless of which HDD or partition they're on, and boot XP fine?

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    Have never use GRUB2. If you have 1 linux operational try useing its grub to boot into the others. Is Karmic on a ext3 file system or ext4 ? Where did you install Karmic's grub, in its '/' partition ?

    For GAG to work, grub must be installed on the OS's '/' partition and might not work with ext4.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all your help! Yeah, I got Kubuntu 9.10 working now, with GRUB2. Windows 7 can't boot fully now (i.e. it starts, but then stops), except that this, and other problems, seem to be quite common with Windows 7 and GRUB2, so I'll just have to wait for a fix.

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