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  1. #1

    Question How Do I Install GRUB Program Files to FAT32 Partition

    I plan to create a multiboot system with several versions of Windows and also 2 or 3 Linux distros, Solaris, and FreeBSD. I want to use GRUB for my boot loader. The first partition on HD0 will be for a DOS v7.10 rescue os formatted FAT32. This DOS will be used strictly for utility purposes like image & restore, file recovery, etc. I would like also to store my GRUB stage_1.5 and stage_2 here with stage_1 in the MBR. The linux distros should all be completely contained on a single logical partition for each. How do I do this?

    Can it be done from the Knoppix Live CD? This would work best because I would like to get GRUB and Windows going quickly before I get into the Linux installs. I'm using GRUB for Windows now and read the GRUB manual a few times, but it is not installed to the MBR.

    I have limited Linux experience (used Knoppix a few times), so please be specific. I also have some limited experience on various UNIX's. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer d38dm8nw81k1ng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    DISCLAIMER: i've never tried this so it might not work

    FreeBSD can only be installed on a primary partition and i'm sure this is the case with solaris. however, one of those primary partitions MUST be set as an extended partition (for the logical partitions). here's what i'd do: scratch DOS. for windows recovery, you can use the windows recovery console (it's on the install CD somewhere).
    use fdisk to create the second and third primary partitons then assign the rest of the space to an extended partition. install FreeBSD then solaris on primary 2 and 3. you are then free to install linux distros on the extended partitions. install grub to the MBR and have it load everything.

    ok, that's a general outline if you only have a single hdd. if you have more then you can install DOS and windows on one, then the *NIXs on the other. if you want more detail for anything just post back and i'll try and help.
    Here's why Linux is easier than Windows:
    Package Managers! Apt-Get and Portage (among others) allow users to install programs MUCH easier than Windows can.
    Hardware Drivers. In SuSE, ALL the hardware is detected and installed automatically! How is this harder than Windows' constant disc changing and rebooting?

  3. #3
    A) I think I read that FreeBSD uses GRUB by default now and I know for sure that Solaris v10 does, and as you said they do both have to be on primaries. Are you suggesting that:

    I install the GRUB program files in "/boot" in the FreeBSD partition or in "/boot" in the Solaris partition,
    Primary1 should be a small ~100MB ext3 partition to hold only the Linux's "/boot" (& GRUB files)?
    Primary1=Windows, Primary2=FreeBSD, Primary3=Solaris, Primary4=Extended containing the 3 Linux distros plus the other logical partitions?

    B) About installing several os's that all want to install GRUB to the MBR and also create their own "/boot" for the GRUB files, does GRUB manage these files so that they exist in only one location in the end, or do the older versions of "menu.lst", etc. get left behind?

    C) I have two 80GB HD's so I am a little more flexible. Still, I want to have DOS on HD0 because I am very familiar with it and I have a lot of tools that work in DOS. Maybe after I get more familiar with Linux I'll find equivalent tools to replace the DOS ones. Anyway, if I don't need to create the separate small ext3 partition for "/boot" (GRUB), then I can image/restore only a single partition for each Linux. Much simpler than having separate root and system partitions.

    D) Further, if I put the GRUB program files in "\boot" on the DOS partition, then in the event of total system failure I can restore track0 and the DOS partition in just a few minutes and have GRUB back and all my disk editing tools at hand. I expect that it is probably rare that anyone installs the Stage_1.5 and Stage_2 files to a FAT partition. The GRUB manual implies that it is flexible this way but does not give any specific examples. Is there a forum that is dedicated entirely to GRUB?

    E) I think it was in one of the "HOW TO's" I read they must be installed in the order Windows -> Linux -> FreeBSD -> Solaris, but I was never really convinced that it mattered that much. I sure changing the order may require backup/restore of track0 during the process. Anything else? Can I install in any order?

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  5. #4
    I will study the GRUB manual some more to try to get a rough draft of the commands I need to put the GRUB files on hda1, but can someone please answer the other questions regarding os installations and GRUB? Thanks.

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