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I am pondering installing linux along side my xp on sda1. My bios will only let me install grub2 in sda1, But wonder, if linux drive goes missing (breaks or ...
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  1. #1
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    2 grub2 basic, basic questions.


    I am pondering installing linux along side my xp on sda1. My bios will only let me install grub2 in sda1, But wonder, if linux drive goes missing (breaks or take to work), will grub menu fail to load and lock me out of windows xp. This might be true for grub1, but of grub2?


    Also, I don't see a simple way to uninstall grub and return control to ntbtldr. This should be built into grub itself, I would think.

    To recap, if grub2 is worth a nickel, it will boot no matter which OS is missing or corrupt, into the present or working OS. And uninstalling, should be a grub menu item. Perhaps, this is possible. If so, I will continue to install linux on main desktop, if not, my better judgement says keep it on kids computers only.

  2. #2
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    My bios will only let me install grub2 in sda1
    Your BIOS doesn't have any control over where you install a bootloader. The BIOS goes to the master boot record to look for code there and whatever is there is responsible for booting the system, Grub, linlo, windows bootloaders.

    If you put your unidentified(?) Linux distribution on the computer with Grub and use it to boot both Linux and xp with Grub code in the master boot record, you will not be able to boot if you delete the Linux partition. The reason for this is that most of the Grub boot files are on the Linux partition.

    Also, I don't see a simple way to uninstall grub and return control to ntbtldr. This should be built into grub itself, I would think.
    You don't need to uninstall Grub. You should be able to just install the xp bootloader file (ntldr, ntdetect, boot.ini,etc) from your installation cd. If you didn't get an installation CD and only have a Recovery CD, it probably won't work as most re-sellers do not include the programs needed in a Recovery CD. If you windows CD fails, it is a weakness on the part of the windows program. Grub doesn't have that problem.

    To recap, if grub2 is worth a nickel, it will boot no matter which OS is missing or corrupt, into the present or working OS
    How could it boot if necessary files are missing due to user error or some other problem. If you delete ntldr on your xp, do you think it will boot?

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    Well, I want to install Linux on a drive I don't trust, which jumps from sdd to sde if printer card reader is turned on, and occasionally we walk off with the drive. Essentially, you are saying someone with older machines, small internal drives, cannot install linux on a new external drive . (my bios won't boot from anything but sda1)

    I installed grub to sdd, but machine just uses sda to boot. 2002 machine. (bios says it should boot to ext drive. ) But then, I tried installing like 4 times. I am unsure if grub would even install with linux on sdd5. I just tried a manual sudo mount /dev/sdd but it didn't mount the ext4 partition, just echoed me "killed "back in terminal. Then tried sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/sdx but is complained it wasn't mounted. what ever.

    An alternative to grub?

    Ubuntu 10.10

    I have many times added extra multiple xp installs, deleted some of these xp installs, moved drives, left dead entries in ntbtlrd and always could get into which ever xp was present. Grub should be a stand alone loader, I don't care if they bloated it up to own gig partition and extra cd.
    Last edited by degarb; 12-17-2010 at 09:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    You have a number of options ...
    a) use Windows bootloader to chainload grub (I have done this with Windows 2000/XP home edition and grub legacy - have not tried to do this with grub2)
    b) get a copy of supergrub and use that to fix the Windows boot if you decide to remove Linux
    c) backup the mbr for example using dd command before you install
    d) create a separate boot partition which will contain kernel and grub config files (you could remove the Linux install later but would need to retain the boot partition to allow grub to continue to work)
    e) do a Wubi install of Ubuntu (Linux is installed like a Windows application)
    f) run Linux in a VM in Windows
    g) don't install Linux on the PC
    h) run Linux from a live CD
    i) other options I have not thought of ...
    I can't say which option will be best for you ... btw backup data before changing partition layout and make sure that during the install that the default - Ubuntu to use the whole hard disk not used
    Last edited by Jonathan183; 12-17-2010 at 11:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan183 View Post
    You have a number of options ...
    a) use Windows bootloader to chainload grub I have done this[with Windows 2000/XP home edition and grub legacy - have not tried to do this with grub2)
    b) get a copy of supergrub] and use that to fix the Windows boot if you decide to remove Linux
    c) backup the mbr for example using dd command before you install
    d) create a separate boot partition which will contain kernel and grub config files (you could remove the Linux install later but would need to retain the boot partition to allow grub to continue to work)

    I like a to d.

    a. I think is outdated for ubuntu 10.
    b. on supergrubdisk dot org has three programs and I have no idea what to download.
    c. I tried dd once from live cd only to have terminal complain there was no such program .
    I will need to research that one.
    d. Someone need to create a site with real instructions on this. Not theory.

    e. should be to try another distro cause in bios it talks about booting from usb. I wonder if ubuntu (i verified media and check sums) I am trying now to install Mint debian. But installer has hung for last hour on copying usr/share/locale/ca/LCMESSAGES/vlc.mo checked for scratches. How big is this file?

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    This is another reason installing grub2 too is insane: if the installation fails, you wipe out access to any other OS or distros on the system.

    The whole thing is not a selling point for Linux, and so hurts growth and adoption by outsiders. But probably will go ignored by the community since 'life without linux' is inconceivable.

  7. #7
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    Grub2 is beta (test) software.
    Ubuntu and a few other distributions are the only ones that use it. Grub Legacy will be around for many years but eventually Grub2 will be used.

    if the installation fails, you wipe out access to any other OS or distros on the system.
    No. You don't need to install Grub to the master boot record. If you are a long time windows user and familiar with it, you can modify your windows bootloader to boot Linux with xp, vista or win 7.

    You can create a separate grub partition with the instructions on this page:

    GRUB2 Linux bash Commands

    I'd read through it carefully before beginning.

    I'm not clear on what your BIOS says about booting. You should be able to set an external drive to first boot priority but if you can't, your options are limited. There is not reason Ubuntu or any other Linux will not boot from an external drive or a logical partition. If your BIOS only allows you to boot from the one internal drive you will need to install the Grub stage1 file to the master boot record of the internal drive to boot all systems. You indicate you don't want to do this so you will then need to boot from xp. This can be done. I would suggest you google booting Linux from xp. I had a link but installed a new OS and didn't keep the bookmarks.

    If you were able to boot from the external, you could install Ubuntu on it and put its stage1 in the master boot record of the external drive.

    It rarely takes more than 30 minutes for a complete install unless you spend a lot of time reading at each step (which is usually a good idea for someone new!).

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    I just installed Mint Debian edition to sdd5, installing grub there. But it still is not booting to any grub on sdd . I think the first failure was a typical day at the races, with random processes becoming unstable. I rebooted and tried again, with success.

    I tried the dd thing to write to bin. However, no luck.

    I really would love to get grub4dos to work, seems powerful--just too undocumented, forum less, and hard.

    Can I install a 2 or 3 gig linux in sda that don't ever intend to use. (to conserve space.) Then, that os will pick up the external sdd Linux and install it into grub, alongside xp and its self?

  9. #9
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    Decided to reply. There is another option you might try. I am replying on a Acer Aspire 5534 Windows 7 only Laptop. But replying using Linux. This is my Wifes Laptop. She is a die hard Windows User. How you may ask am I replying using Linux?

    By plugging in my AntiX 11 Beta Testing Live persistent USB and adjusting Bios to boot from Usb first. My Generic How to I made if interested .

    Yet Another Technology Site: AntiX 8.5 Persistent Flash Drive.

    This way. You don't have to deal with grub2,grub4dos,windows bootloader, yadda yadda yadda.

    I am only allowed to touch and run this laptop in this manner as my wife will emasculate me if I install Linux internally on any of her computers (which are much nicer and newer than mine by the way). If not interested using my tutorial.

    Boot and run Linux from a USB flash memory stick | USB Pen Drive Linux

    As always. You can take what I suggest or leave it. Up to you as always.

    Merry Christmas And Happy Trails, Rok
    Linux Registered User # 475019
    Lead,Follow, or get the heck out of the way. I Have a Masters in Raising Hell
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  10. #10
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    I like a to d.
    a. I think is outdated for ubuntu 10.
    b. on supergrubdisk dot org has three programs and I have no idea what to download.
    c. I tried dd once from live cd only to have terminal complain there was no such program .
    I will need to research that one.
    d. Someone need to create a site with real instructions on this. Not theory.
    a) Ubuntu will boot from grub legacy provided you use ext3 rather than ext4 as the filesystem. You should be able to install grub to the root/boot partition. Info on grub2 including removing grub2 and using grub-legacy here.
    b) the last version of supergrub I downloaded was 0.9766 which would allow me to fix Windows boot. I think PartedMagic now includes supergrub as well but again versions I have downloaded and used are older versions.
    c)
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/sda of=/path_to_file/file_name_for_mbr_backup_file bs=446 count=1
    should do what you need.

    d) during install create a separate boot partition (about 100MB should be sufficient) and select mount point as /boot for that partition using the installer. Create seaparte root partition (mount to / ) and if you want home partitions etc.

    You are likely to need the boot partition at the beginning of the disk as some BIOS versions are only able to boot from a partition which does not span a 1024 cylinder limit.

    Most distros provide tutorials for installation, exact details of setting up boot partition during install vary between distros (and whether the distro is the first you install) so a howto for all situations would soon become very complicated.

    If you put the boot partition on the internal hard drive you should be able to put root and home partitions on a pen drive or external hard drive - even when BIOS does not support boot from USB.
    Last edited by Jonathan183; 12-18-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Addition of grub2 link information

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