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Hi Guys, I`m kinda lost after more than a week trying to get dual booting working with no success. I`ve been using EasyBCD 2.0, have tried probably all the variations ...
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy DualBoot VistaBusiness-Fedora13 Troubles


    Hi Guys,
    I`m kinda lost after more than a week trying to get dual booting working with no success. I`ve been using EasyBCD 2.0, have tried probably all the variations possible, but nothing works. Actually, just once, the very first time (using the last stable release of EasyBCD) it worked, but just once... since then it never worked. I`d really appreciate any help please.
    Some basic details:
    Intel, Vista Business 32bit installed first on built-in HDD, no troubles booting
    Fedora 13 Goddard DVD installed on external portable HDD Samsung S2, no troubles installing (Grub not installed to MBR, "other" device removed), no way to get it booting...
    EasyBCD 2.0 Beta (tried the last stable release previously as well), have tried all the possible combinations to add an entry for Linux...
    Now I can boot Vista, but have no option to access Fedora... Seems like it`s got something to do with GRUB configuration, but I don`t want to manage myself - I might mess up all the system.
    I`ve been going through many forums and FAQs in order to learn how to get it working the dualbooting first before I waste your time, but nothing works. Since I`m new to Linux it`s almost certain that I make some mistakes or take wrong steps despite following all the guides posted on the forums. But I can`t figure it out anymore... Anyone can help please?

  2. #2
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    When you installed Fedora, where did you install its Grub bootloader? If you want to use vista bootloader and are using EasyBCD, you should be able to put an entry for Fedora in the EasyBCD menu. If you did not install grub to the root partition of the external drive with Fedora, then it obviously won't boot.

    Boot your system with the Fedora DVD in the drive. Open a terminal and log in as root user and enter the command: fdisk -l (lower case Letter L) and post the output here. You obviously will need your external drive attached when you do this.

  3. #3
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    During the installation process I checked the button to install Grub to the bootsector of the Linux partition (unchecking the MBR of the harddrive), but something`s wrong, there`s actually no menu.lst or grub.conf file (it wouldn`t find the file in terminal). Meanwhile I`ve got a reply from the developer of the EasyBCD software saying this is due to "EasyBCD/NeoGrub doesn't have pitch-perfect USB support", so they suggest installing Fedora on an internal HDD.
    So it seems like I have to manage without EasyBCD somehow.

    Anyway, the output required:

    Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x49a549a4


    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System

    /dev/sda1 * 1 30400 244187968+ 7 HPFS/NTFS



    Disk /dev/dm-0: 3221 MB, 3221225472 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 391 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000


    Disk /dev/dm-0 doesn't contain a valid partition table



    Disk /dev/dm-1: 3221 MB, 3221225472 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 391 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000


    Disk /dev/dm-1 doesn't contain a valid partition table



    Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x000170b8



    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System

    /dev/sdb1 1 28047 225280000 7 HPFS/NTFS

    /dev/sdb2 28047 49719 174080000 7 HPFS/NTFS

    /dev/sdb3 * 49719 49782 512000 83 Linux

    /dev/sdb4 49782 60802 88513536 5 Extended

    /dev/sdb5 49783 60802 88512512 8e Linux LVM



    Disk /dev/sdc: 8168 MB, 8168931328 bytes
    39 heads, 5 sectors/track, 81820 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 195 * 512 = 99840 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000



    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System

    /dev/sdc1 * 43 81821 7973376 b W95 FAT32


    Disk /dev/dm-2: 44.5 GB, 44526731264 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 5413 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000


    Disk /dev/dm-2 doesn't contain a valid partition table



    Disk /dev/dm-3: 2080 MB, 2080374784 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 252 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000


    Disk /dev/dm-3 doesn't contain a valid partition table



    Disk /dev/dm-4: 44.0 GB, 44023414784 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 5352 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00000000


    Disk /dev/dm-4 doesn't contain a valid partition table

    Thanks for your time!

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  5. #4
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    If you installed Grub to the boot sector of the Linux partition, it should be on sdb3.
    I notice that you have two windows partitions on that drive also, sdb1 and sdb2. Is that another windows operating system or just data?

    If EasyBCD won't boot the external, then you will need to put Grub in the mbr of the external 500GB drive (since you indicated you did not wish to change the internal drives mbr) and change the boot priority in the BIOS each time you want to boot Fedora.

    I believe Fedora still uses grub legacy and if so, this would be a simple process. If you are not sure how to install Grub to the mbr of the external, post back. When you post back, provide information on Grub. Just type the word grub in the konsole or look in /boot/grub directory to see if you have a menu.lst or more likely, a grub.conf file. That will tell us if is grub legacy.

    Also, do you have another windows OS on that drive or is that data?

  6. #5
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    1/ Windows partitions - just data archive, no OS
    2/ GNU GRUB version 0.97, found both grub.conf and menu.lst manually, but using command in terminal it says no such file or directory (both). I use LiveCD to access Fedora, can`t think of any other way in such a situation.
    3/ Not sure how to install Grub to the mbr of the external, post details please.
    4/ However, after many days of doing research on the net, it seems like good idea to work with GAG software. I`m about to try it out now, will post details when done.

    Anyway, post your opinion on that, or any other solution you think is a good one, I`m open to anything so far I can keep the installs independent enough to avoid any troubles in the future with changing/upgrading/cloning/uninstalling any one of the installed OS.

  7. #6
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    No ideas anyone?

    Nothing works, having tried several software managing booting. I`m moving partitions on the disc, making free space to install Fedora to the very first partition and sectors of the disc. Perhaps it`ll help.

    BTW, I`ve just read in a similar thread that you have a ton of smart people to assist... , just one with an idea would be enough, or to let me know if I`m trying to do something impossible at least.

    I`ll manage somehow myself, having learned and tested a bit in more than two weeks time now. The time shall not be wasted.

    Just in case it might be helpful to someone else too, I`ll find and post a solution to the problem soon.
    Last edited by CompSol; 06-18-2010 at 09:27 PM. Reason: To add a note

  8. #7
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    In an earlier post, you show Fedora partition as sdb3. To install Grub to the mbr of that drive:

    login as root in terminal/konsole, enter password, enter following commands consecutively, hit enter after each line entry:

    root (h1,2)
    setup (hd1)
    quit

    To be extra sure, you could login as root, type grub at the prompt and then type: geometry (hd1)
    to assure that the partitions coincide with your fdisk output.

    This is assuming your partitions are the same as in your earlier post?

  9. #8
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    It`s solved, finally. However, I haven`t taken another chance to change the configuration of menu.lst.
    It seemed to me that the main problem was in the mbr of the disc. Probably it can be placed just to the first sector of the HDD, so there has to be space available in the very beginning of the disc. Since there was NTFS partition with no OS as the first partition, the external HDD was without mbr being present actually, and thus placing a boot sector anywhere was pointless. There might be a better explanation, I`m just a beginner.
    So, I resized and moved the first NTFS partition and made a free space before, so the first became an unallocated space on the HDD. Into that I installed Fedora, configured the /boot to be installed to the very first sector of the HDD, GRUB installed to the mbr in my case (since it`s the first and the only one OS on that HDD), and it works just fine. Now I can boot Fedora two ways without troubles. First when I set up BIOS to boot the external first, it boots straight away. Or I can set up BIOS to boot the internal first, and during BIOS start up press F8 (in my case) to choose where to boot from, select the external from the list and it works now.
    All that was not possible before without the mbr being present and installed in the first sector of the HDD.
    I don`t want to go into any more details so not to confuse anybody with a bit different environment, it can make a difference possibly. So anybody with a proper technical explanation/details welcome to post it here.

  10. #9
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    Your problems was resolved because you put the Grub stage1 file in the mbr. The master boot record is not on any partition and whether your boot partition is the first partition is really not significant with Grub. You indicated in your first post that you had not installed Grub to the mbr of the second disk and later indicated the people who write EasyBCD said their software didn't always work with USB drives, leaving you no way to boot Fedora.

    In the circumstances you describe, putting the Grub file in the mbr of that drive is what resolved your problem which is what the command I suggested in my last post would have done.

    Glad you got it working.

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