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My setup is this: 100GB SATA drive w/ XP currently, 1st in boot order after CDROM 40GB IDE drive, unformatted I wish to retain XP on the SATA drive but ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie ThoughtVelocity's Avatar
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    Dual boot on seperate physical drives


    My setup is this:

    100GB SATA drive w/ XP currently, 1st in boot order after CDROM
    40GB IDE drive, unformatted

    I wish to retain XP on the SATA drive but put Debian or Gentoo(still deciding) on the IDE drive. Can I make this a dual boot machine because they are seperate drives, or is this impossible. I have a lot of data on the SATA and do not wish to wipe it out. Do I have to over-write the MBR? I am a bit nervous about this whole proposition. Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast puntmuts's Avatar
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    If your BIOS does support it you could try booting off your PATA(?) IDE disc. That way you could setup a bootmanager on your Linux drive into the MBR and boot Linux and Windows from it.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer rong's Avatar
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    Yes most certainly.

    As to dual-boot you can either create a boot floppy from whatever distro you choose and pop it in when you want to use linux (or use the install CD for that matter), or you can use the GRUB (as opposed to LILO which overwrites the mbr) bootloader that comes with *most* linux distros which though installing to the mbr *normally* works without a hitch. On those rare occassions where the MBR does get messed up you won't loose anything just have to do a bit 'sleeves up' fixing.
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  5. #4
    Linux Newbie ThoughtVelocity's Avatar
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    What kind of "sleeves up fixing" are we talking here? I think I am interested in the boot floppy option most. How is the process for that? Once the floppy is made does it just boot right into linux or do I have a string of commands to get me there. I guess it doesn't matter either way, just seeking some more information.

  6. #5
    Linux Engineer rong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThoughtVelocity
    What kind of "sleeves up fixing" are we talking here? I think I am interested in the boot floppy option most. How is the process for that? Once the floppy is made does it just boot right into linux or do I have a string of commands to get me there. I guess it doesn't matter either way, just seeking some more information.
    By "sleeves up" I mean having to repair the Master Boot Record on win drive if it happens to get zonked which then keeps you from booting to Windows. Not a big deal to fix but does take some doing. And of course there's always some risk involved when writing to a shared disk sector/partition, etc.

    Put the boot floppy in and just sit back and wait! Because it's a floppy it obviously takes a bit longer to load but not long enough to have a beer! It is a good option because it gives you more time to learn more about Linux. A lot of the linux stuff is very easy to use, configure and all but when things go wrong then it can be challenging. But there's always a solution. And your approach to have it on a seperate drive is smart because the majority of problems by linux newcomers are related to dual boots with Windows.
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  7. #6
    Linux Newbie ThoughtVelocity's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm definately going the boot floppy route for right now. I have been doing some reading about usingg a bootable floppy containing GRUB, and that looks like the perfect bandaid for now. The only problem is, all I can find is making this floppy from within a linux system. Can I make it from within XP or do I have to do the live cd thing with maybe like Knoppix?

  8. #7
    Linux Engineer rong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThoughtVelocity
    The only problem is, all I can find is making this floppy from within a linux system. Can I make it from within XP or do I have to do the live cd thing with maybe like Knoppix?
    You have to create it from the Linux OS. Windows knows nothing about the linux formats. Pick your distro, install it and then some distros will give you the option to create during the install and others you will do after the install. Until that point you will be doing the entire operation from the Installation CD or DVD.
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  9. #8
    Linux Engineer rong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThoughtVelocity
    Y I have been doing some reading about usingg a bootable floppy containing GRUB, and that looks like the perfect bandaid for now.
    Here is an excellent article on GRUB that will come in handy if you want to run multiple linux (and win for that matter) down the road.
    GRUB
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