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Thread: Dual Boot on Two Drives

  1. #41
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    I'm glad I found this post. I currently have a machine with 3 SATA drives running sda: WinXp; WinXPMedia Edit.//sdb:SUSE10.0; Ubuntu 6.10RC and Kubuntu 6.10RC. I had Ubuntu CE on sdb also yesterday.

    I was booting them all from the Grub entry on the MBR, with the default Kubuntu6.10RC. I had intended partitioning sdc for several Linux installs, as FedoraC6 is due out next week and I wanted to try it. I'm going to change the installs on sdb shortly, as I want to add Xubuntu to the mix.

    I didn't realize that there was a problem with booting with GRUB installed into the MBR. What happens to GRUB that causes problems if it is located in the MBR? I need to know before a problem comes up. The installer always recognizes the other installed OS(s) and always tells me that there shouldn't be any problems if it puts GRUB into the MBR of sda.

    GRUB updates the config when a kernel is updated which is handy, I think.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by kondor; October 20th, 2006 at 10:59 PM.

  2. #42
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    quick question from a bonda-fine noob:
    i have 2 sata drives, one already has a winblows xp installation. do i need to disconnect it from the MB to install ubuntu to the other drive? or can i just select it from the GUI installer?
    Hello liveforfunnow,
    The currently popular Ubuntu 'Desktop' Live/Install .iso , or CD, is the one that has the 'GUI' partitioner, which is very good. It installs Grub to MBR of the first hard disk.
    Here's a good how-to about that, Install Desktop CD Ubuntu

    The Ubuntu 'Alternate' .iso (CD) is menu based (or text based if you like). That one allows you to perform special installations of Ubuntu. You can have a choice of Grub or Lilo bootloaders, and choose to install one of them to any hard disk, floppy disk, or to a partition's first sector.
    Here's an illustrated how-to for that one, Install Alternate CD Ubuntu

    You don't really need to unplug any hard disks or open your computer case to install Ubuntu, but you can do so if you want to.
    Most people would not be comfortable with opening up their computer cases themselves and messing around in there without the proper tools and training, you can ruin your computer in just a few seconds. I don't mean just the software and data either. But if you are comfortable with that and you know what you are doing, then by all means, do whatever you think will be easiest and best for you and your machine. Sometimes that really is the best thing to do, but mainly only if you have a machine that is a little different in some way, and Grub doesn't install and work well for some reason.

    Regard, Herman
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  3. #43
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    I didn't realize that there was a problem with booting with GRUB installed into the MBR. What happens to GRUB that causes problems if it is located in the MBR? I need to know before a problem comes up. The installer always recognizes the other installed OS(s) and always tells me that there shouldn't be any problems if it puts GRUB into the MBR of sda.

    GRUB updates the config when a kernel is updated which is handy, I think.
    Hello, kondor
    Nothing bad happens, it's just that there are a few machines that grub has trouble automatically configuring itself in, and if the user doesn't know how to configure Grub, and is too shy to ask for help, they become distressed and sometimes angry.
    Grub can easily be configured most of the time if the user gets help, or does a little reading and learns how to use Grub.

    Regards, Herman
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  4. #44
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by bullinchinashop View Post
    This is one of the few things about Ubuntu that really ticks me off. Zenwalk Slackware SUSE & Vector let you decide where the boot loader is installed. You can also choose to not install a boot loader or to install it to a floppy (of course I yanked out my floppy ages ago...might be time to go buy another )
    Automatically installing a bootloader is nice for absolute beginners but Ubuntu really should give you the option to control how where and if a boot loader is installed.
    And warn of the implications if you subsequently want to remove Ubuntu and Grub.

    fixnbr will not always work, and getting the space used by Ubuntu back isn't always easy. gparted sure isn't Partition Magic, and most PC owners don't have a Windows disc, just recovery software.

  5. #45
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by gn2 View Post
    And warn of the implications if you subsequently want to remove Ubuntu and Grub.

    fixnbr will not always work, and getting the space used by Ubuntu back isn't always easy. gparted sure isn't Partition Magic, and most PC owners don't have a Windows disc, just recovery software.
    The biggest problem I've had outting Grub/LILO on the MBR is when I install a different distro. I had aLinux installed and installed Zenwalk over it. I deleted & recreated the aLinux partition but when I tried to boot into ZenwalkI still got the aLinux boot manager (Can't remember which it was,sorry). If I chose aLinux on the boot loader I would get about 10 seconds of aLinux's splash screen and then then a lot of noise in the picture and then Zenwalk would finally load.
    I wish there was some way to write the boot loader to a bootable cd-r (I got rid of my floppy ages ago & I'd have to get rid of a hard drive to put in another one). Most disto's give you the option to write LILO/Grub to a floppy but do they realize that there are more & more computers being shipped w/out floppies? I'm pretty sure my sister's Dell came w/out a floppy drive...

  6. #46
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by Herman View Post
    Hello bullinchinashop, bulldog, gn2 and others,
    The 'Alternate' Installations CD has always catered for that, and is the original Ubuntu installer, the only type of installation available for the earlier releases of Ubuntu.
    Many people didn't like having so many options, they found it 'confusing', they wanted the install to be simpler, therefore the 'Desktop' Live/Install CD was developed for those people.

    The Ubuntu 'Alternate CD .iso is available for each release, downloadable from the same site where you downloaded your 'Desktop CD .iso from. It is quite easy to use, refer to my signature links for some illustrated examples of it's use. It's actually quite straighforward, most people can follow it.

    This page (Click Here) shows how you can choose between Grub or Lilo, or continue without a bootloader at all if you like. Grub can be installed almost anywhere, including to the MBR of any hard disk the user cares to specify. (See figure 10). Lilo can be installed anywhere too. (See figure 13).

    If you install with the 'Alternate' CD, (with all your disks plugged in), the installer will have a chance detect your other installed operating systems, and add those to the Grub menu automatically for you. It might automatically mount you other partitions for you in /etc/fstab as well.
    It will be less confusing for you in the long run too, as instead of having every disk set up and configured as 'drive C', like an all Windows system, (or all thinking they are 'hda', ignorant of the other disks and partitions in the computer), operating systems on each disk will be set up with thier correct hard drive number.

    If you want to see in advance how to later remove Grub from the MBR, I listed quite a few ways on this page, if one doesn't work, you can choose another. Un-install Page
    There is nothing sacred about the MBR, it is made of the same materail as the rest of the hard disk, and can be written to and overwritten as many times as you like. It won't wear out. Grub is easily removed if you no longer need it or decide it isn't working well in your particular installation.

    You can use GAG Boot Manager from a floppy disk, GAG Page
    to boot your computer with, or install GAG to MBR, if you wish.

    However, it is useful to be aware of the idea of running the installer with the disks unplugged and using the F8 key to boot up with if your particular PC configuration is confusing for the installer and Grub, such as when IDE and SCSI disk are mixed, or when people have a modified computer, with drives plugged in in unique ways. The F8 key idea is a great idea for those installations, and I would like to thank gn2 for thinking of it, realizing it's usefulness, and promoting it, it's a great workaround for some of those tricky situations, so gn2 has done us all a great service by making us all aware of that possibility's usefulness. gn2 really does deserve a pat on the back. =D>

    Regards, Herman

    I would argue that Ubuntu should have explicit warnings and give prospective dual-booters full information about loading Grub in their Windows MBR.

    Should the new or first-time user decide to remove Ubuntu and Grub, he/she can end up without a working PC.

    Should fixmbr fail, as indeed it can, they can end up having to re-install Windows, which is a major P.I.T.A. and potentially disastrous in terms of data loss.

    I got caught out this way, fortunately I am a fastidious backer-upper, so it was just a nuisance. Others may not be so lucky.

    As for Grub, a quick scan of the forums will easily reveal the true story of it's reliability...

    (As I know you are well aware of Herman)

    So again I urge the Ubuntu staff to look at things from the perspective of someone coming to Ubuntu full of hope ad expectation, but with little or no knowledge of the implications of over-writing their Windows MBR with Grub.

    It's easy once you know how, but the innocent newccomer doesn't know what he doesn't know. It's up to the install software to tell/warn him fully. With detailed explanations.

  7. #47
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by gn2 View Post
    I would argue that Ubuntu should have explicit warnings and give prospective dual-booters full information about loading Grub in their Windows MBR.

    Should the new or first-time user decide to remove Ubuntu and Grub, he/she can end up without a working PC.

    Should fixmbr fail, as indeed it can, they can end up having to re-install Windows, which is a major P.I.T.A. and potentially disastrous in terms of data loss.

    I got caught out this way, fortunately I am a fastidious backer-upper, so it was just a nuisance. Others may not be so lucky.

    As for Grub, a quick scan of the forums will easily reveal the true story of it's reliability...

    (As I know you are well aware of Herman)

    So again I urge the Ubuntu staff to look at things from the perspective of someone coming to Ubuntu full of hope ad expectation, but with little or no knowledge of the implications of over-writing their Windows MBR with Grub.

    It's easy once you know how, but the innocent newccomer doesn't know what he doesn't know. It's up to the install software to tell/warn him fully. With detailed explanations.
    I haven't stored anything important on my Windows drive for years. Everything that I save goes on a seperate drive that is used for that purpose only.I very strongly recommend getting an extra drive (even if it's just a USB 2.0 external) to save anything important on. saving anything important on the drive that houses you OS is just asking for trouble.

  8. #48
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by bullinchinashop View Post
    I haven't stored anything important on my Windows drive for years. Everything that I save goes on a seperate drive that is used for that purpose only.I very strongly recommend getting an extra drive (even if it's just a USB 2.0 external) to save anything important on. saving anything important on the drive that houses you OS is just asking for trouble.
    I wholeheartedly agree. But not everyone is as savvy as us......

  9. #49
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Hard Drives

    truly lucky ... fixMBR did not "Fix" the MBR when I had my little disaster. However I just finished setting using bulldogs method and all is well.

  10. #50
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    Re: Dual Boot on Two Drives

    when I tried to boot into ZenwalkI still got the aLinux boot manager
    Well of course you would, Zenwalk is a Linux distro, naturally it has a Linux bootloader. I have Zenwalk here here too, but it isn't installed at the moment, I have tried it out though.

    I wish there was some way to write the boot loader to a bootable cd-r (I got rid of my floppy ages ago & I'd have to get rid of a hard drive to put in another one). Most disto's give you the option to write LILO/Grub to a floppy but do they realize that there are more & more computers being shipped w/out floppies? I'm pretty sure my sister's Dell came w/out a floppy drive...
    Hello bullinchinashop
    I wrote a how-to about how to make your own personal Grub CD , would you like to try that one?
    How to make a Grub CD-RW................................................ ....................................GO

    I haven't stored anything important on my Windows drive for years. Everything that I save goes on a seperate drive that is used for that purpose only.I very strongly recommend getting an extra drive (even if it's just a USB 2.0 external) to save anything important on. saving anything important on the drive that houses you OS is just asking for trouble.
    I agree with you on that one, I use a seperate USB drive too. 8)

    Have fun and all the best, Regards, Herman
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

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