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  1. #1

    Dual-booting Linux, but Keeping It Hidden

    I want to install linux on a computer that is already running Winblows XP, but I don't want to be able to see any evidence of the installation during boot-up. So basically a hidden OS that I can tap F12 (or something) to boot into, otherwise it just boots Windows without showing any signs of the other OS.
    Does anyone know of such a distro, or a way to do it? A LiveCD just won't fill the niche.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    One way you could pull this off is to install a separate harddrive, unplug the XP drive, and install Linux onto the Master Boot Record of the new drive. Most modern BIOSes I've dealt with allow you to select the boot device with some sort of function key at boot (like F12). That way if you set your default boot device to the XP drive, you'd never know (unless of course you noticed the extra harddrive with "unknown healthy partition" on it).
    Registered Linux user #270181

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer Zelmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Riverton, UT, USA
    When I first used SuSE a few years ago, I installed it alongside Windows 98 but put the bootloader on a floppy (which was a standard option in YaST). So if I booted with the floppy in the drive, it would load Linux (assuming the boot order is floppy before HDD). Without the floppy, the regular boot loader installed by Windows on the hard disk just booted straight to Windows, no questions asked.
    Stand up and be counted as a Linux user!

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  5. #4
    Oooh... thats perfect! How do I put the boot loader on a floppy disk with Knoppix? Anyone?

  6. #5
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    See the grub documentation.

    Another option would be to edit your menu.lst file so Windows will boot automatically.
    Set the timer to 0.
    Or see here for a hiddenmenu option.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  7. #6
    I would have to suggest the same. However, in my case, I would much rather "hide" both OSes for two reasons: 1) deter everyone else from using my box, as it has the best performance in the house and 2) Only those in the know could get into it. Though I haven't set up my box like this (yet) - and if you're interested in my take on it - I'd first hide the Linux bootloader as described by budman7, then with the Windows loader set up a false disk to boot from inside boot.ini and set that timer also to 0.
    As a result, the computer should constantly reboot until you force it to go into your OS of choice.....theoretically. Then again, if M$ changed something about their bootloader since I've actually used it, this might be a bunch a crockery.

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