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What I'd like to do is shove my current drive to secondary master (hdb?) and slap in another as primary master (hda, right?) but I'm doing this as a learning ...
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  1. #1
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    Two hard drives, two OS's, and a question


    What I'd like to do is shove my current drive to secondary master (hdb?) and slap in another as primary master (hda, right?) but I'm doing this as a learning experience. I'm prepared to figure out as much as I need to, by whatever means are necessary, but there is a question before I start: will anything happen to my XP drive during installation? I'd like to have the bootloader on hda (likely going to be Debian, possibly Mepis), with preferably nothing changed on my XP drive.

    Why am I nervous? Well, I currently can't back anything up since my burner died (horrible story still in progress: CD burner died, thought I'd join the current decade and get a DVD burner; it arrived DOA, so I sent it back but the carrier delivered it to the wrong place and hasn't been able to retrieve it yet, and until its fate is decided I won't get a replacement. &*%$.) I understand that with XP not as the main boot drive I'll need to map it with grub, but can anyone settle my fears?

    Oh, I've been using knoppix off and on, but I can't get it to connect to the net. "Buy a router" isn't really all that helpful

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast puntmuts's Avatar
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    Just wait until you are able to backup
    About the IDE device names: the primary master is hda , the primary slave hdb, the secondary master is hdc , etc.

    But a multiboot using a bootmanager (grub, lilo) won't make a change on your XP drive as long as you set it as bootdevice (hda for example) and move the XP drive to hdb for example.

    But there are excellent HOWTO's available on this subject on www.tldp.org .
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/doc...with-GRUB.html

  3. #3
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    I suppose waiting until backing up is possible would be the wise decision. Perhaps I will borrow my brother's burner for a while... the way I see it, he owes me one for talking me into setting my drive up as ntfs in the first place

    Thanks very much for your help!

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  5. #4
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    Back it up first? Hell, haven't you heard that people always learn from mistakes?

    What's been said here about hda, hdb and all is correct: it's a hardware thing. Where it gets confusing is with Grub. If Grub is on the primary slave (hdb) and you have a hard drive on primary master, which drive does Grub call "hd0"? I'd have to try it and see, but it's not a big deal as long as you know a few things about Grub and you stay flexible.

    There are only 3 places where you need to have the drives correctly identified:
    1) in the Grub "root" line where Grub points to the partition with the boot files for the OS.
    2) in the Grub "kernel" line where you must tell the kernel what partition to mount as root ( / ).
    3) in /etc/fstab where you tell Linux where everything else is.

    If you know how to edit the Grub scripts >from within Grub< and if you know how to get the Grub command line, then you can check things out from within the context of Grub. Like if, at the Grub command line, you do 'root ( <tab>' Grub will tell you what drives it sees. Assuming one of them is hd0, if you do 'root (hd0, <tab>' Grub will tell you what partitions hd0 has. And if you do 'root (hd0,0)' and Grub tells you that it's some filesystem other than a Linux filesystem, you know you need to try again.

    And, finally, as long as you don't go formatting something or do something else weird, you won't lose your Windows as long as you have the install CD and can do 'fix MBR'.
    /IMHO
    //got nothin'
    ///this use to look better

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