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Just starting with linux/mint. I have a system with an hdd for W7 (primary system), an hdd for W8, one for XP and now one for Linux. I can also ...
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  1. #1
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    newbee question re hdd usage/installation


    Just starting with linux/mint. I have a system with an hdd for W7 (primary system), an hdd for W8, one for XP and now one for Linux.
    I can also power each individually. I like my OSs completely independent. I installed mint but when I boot to W7 with power to both I can't see the mint hdd in explorer. I can see it in Disc management. It has 2 volumes, a main one and a small (~16GB) one. Can I not access the drive via W7 anymore?
    Also when I boot I must go into BIOS to select which drive I want to boot to - otherwise Linux will always boot. Tried using F12 but it does not do what it does with W7 & W8 drives powered.

    The 4 install options RE "erasing ...." to "something else" are my first mystery. I selected the first and it removed the 2 partitions I had created on the hdd and created it's own.

    Is there a tutorial on the above or can someone explain it?
    thx
    Last edited by ruggb; 02-13-2014 at 06:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    when I boot to W7 with power to both I can't see the mint hdd in explorer.
    A default install of windows is not capable of reading or writing to a Linux filesystem. You would have to install third party software to be able to do this.

    Also when I boot I must go into BIOS to select which drive I want to boot to - otherwise Linux will always boot.
    If Mint boots, that would mean you have its drive set to first boot priority in the BIOS. Windows bootloaders don't usually boot Linux. There is third party software (again) which would enable this. Given your situation, the simplest thing to do would be to boot Mint with all four drives plugged in and run: sudo update-grub. Watch the output. You should see it detecting the other operating systems. If it does, when you boot the drive with Mint, you should see a menu with options to boot the different drives with your different windows operating systems.

    If you used the options to "erase and install Mint", that is what would be expected. If there had been any data on the disk, it would be overwritten and new partitions would be created. The 'Something Else' option gives you more control and you can see what is being done step by step.

    I'm not sure what you want in a tutorial. If it is just the installation, there are hundreds if not thousands of different tutorials online. Just do a search.

  3. #3
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    Thx - if I do the sudo update-grub and later remove the linux hdd will that be a problem for the windows drives?
    If so what is needed to get back to where I am now before removing Linux drive?

    thx

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    A default install of windows is not capable of reading or writing to a Linux filesystem. You would have to install third party software to be able to do this.



    If Mint boots, that would mean you have its drive set to first boot priority in the BIOS. Windows bootloaders don't usually boot Linux. There is third party software (again) which would enable this. Given your situation, the simplest thing to do would be to boot Mint with all four drives plugged in and run: sudo update-grub. Watch the output. You should see it detecting the other operating systems. If it does, when you boot the drive with Mint, you should see a menu with options to boot the different drives with your different windows operating systems.

    If you used the options to "erase and install Mint", that is what would be expected. If there had been any data on the disk, it would be overwritten and new partitions would be created. The 'Something Else' option gives you more control and you can see what is being done step by step.

    I'm not sure what you want in a tutorial. If it is just the installation, there are hundreds if not thousands of different tutorials online. Just do a search.

  4. #4
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    You have to learn about and be careful about MBR bootloaders. Each physical drive has a Main Boot Record at the start, which can be a Windows bootloader, or it could be a Grub bootloader. A Grub bootloader is actually just a small incomplete bootloader which gets the rest of the required information from a /boot folder in your Linux install.

    When you run "update-grub", it does NOT install a Grub bootloader anywhere. It merely updates the grub files in /boot. In particular, it will auto-detect as many other OS's as it can find on any partitions on any drives currently attached, and it will add those to the menu options listed in /boot.

    In order to install the Grub bootloader on a drive's MBR, you would use the command "grub-install", to the specific device. This was automatically done for you by the Mint installer. Presumably it did to your Linux drive (only).

    As long as you don't manually run "grub-install", the Windows bootloaders should remain on those Windows drives.

    Now, there's the little issue of the default menu entry selection. By default, Grub will default to the first entry--which will be Linux, since the other OS's are added below. There is a way to change this so that the default selection will be the previously selected option. This may or may not be what you desire...
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  5. #5
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    If you have four separate hard drives with a different OS on each and if you NOW make no change/selection in the BIOS and that boots Mint then you already have Mints Grub bootloader in the master boot record of that drive. What you don't have, is the option to boot any of your windows. You should be able to add them to the menu of the Mint Grub with that command if each windows OS is on a separate drive. The command updates the Grub files on the Mint partition and should have no effect on anything on any other drives. The only thing I am not sure of and you did not mention is where you installed Grub. Did you install it to the mbr of the drive on which it resides? or did you accept the default? that would have installed it to the mbr of your first drive. Did you have any of the windows drives attached when you installed Mint?

    Also when I boot I must go into BIOS to select which drive I want to boot to - otherwise Linux will always boot.
    Since you have each OS on a separate drive, that is expected behavior.
    You didn't indicate whether you see the windows systems on the Grub boot menu?? If you did not have their drives attached when you installed Mint, Grub would obviously be unaware of them.
    Also, do you have the Mint drive set to first boot priority in the BIOS?

    It might be a good idea to go to the site below and read the instructions for the bootinfoscript, download it and run it (Must be done on Mint) and post the output, a results.txt file which will give more detail on your drives/partitions and boot files. Have all drives attached when you do this:

    Boot Info Script | Free System Administration software downloads at SourceForge.net
    zenwalker likes this.

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