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Ok, I've been reading about this, and I've found stories of people putting the bootloader in the wrong partition, and screwing things up. What's this all about? Some people say not to put it in the MBR, but instead to put it in the 1st partition. Some people say just the opposite (explicitly saying to install it to the Master Boot Record). When I get to this step, what do I do?

And then I read this weird thing about using the 'dd' command to export the boot partition to a drive accessible to Windows, and then boot up windows normally, and make a few changes.

It's all very confusing with all the conflicting instructions. Anyone care to clarify for me? While we're at it, are there any more things I should know before shutting down Windows and starting the install?
 
RubiksMaster said:
Ok, I've been reading about this, and I've found stories of people putting the bootloader in the wrong partition, and screwing things up. What's this all about? Some people say not to put it in the MBR, but instead to put it in the 1st partition. Some people say just the opposite (explicitly saying to install it to the Master Boot Record). When I get to this step, what do I do?
I've got GRUB in the MBR. If you don't do this, windows will boot every time you start the computer (you won't get the GRUB menu), and you'll need the Linux boot floppy if you want to boot Linux.

One possible difficulty is that GRUB might have trouble reading NTFS partitions (and therefore be unable to boot WinXP). I had this problem when I tried to get WinXP and Red Hat 9 to dual boot, but that was with an older GRUB so it might not be an issue anymore. I'd say, put it on the MBR and hope for the best. If it doesn't work, you can always restore the Windows MBR later (using the recovery console mentioned earlier).

The boot arrangement I've got right now is actually quite interesting: I've got GRUB in the MBR, and the windows boot loader on a small (5 GB) FAT32 partition with Windows 98 on it. When I boot up, GRUB gives me the option of booting either Linux or Windows. If I pick "Windows", the windows boot loader then gives me its own menu, allowing me to start either Windows 98 or 2000.
And then I read this weird thing about using the 'dd' command to export the boot partition to a drive accessible to Windows, and then boot up windows normally, and make a few changes.
I've never had to worry about the 'dd' command. I don't even know what it is (something to pull up a man page for next time I use Linux, I guess).
It's all very confusing with all the conflicting instructions. Anyone care to clarify for me? While we're at it, are there any more things I should know before shutting down Windows and starting the install?
The only difficulties I ever encountered were boot-related. Just start up the Fedora installer - it should guide you through the installation procedure. Also, it doesn't make any permanent changes to your system (such as formatting partitions) until the install actually starts, so you can have a look at all the options to see if there's anything that worries you.
 
I read a little bit more, and I figured out what people were saying about not installing GRUB to the MBR. Apparently that's the way to continue using NTLDR. You have to install GRUB to the 1st linux partition, and then export it to a drive that Windows can use. Then you have to put it in your main Windows partition, and configure the NTLDR bootloader to recognize the linux partition you just copied. It's all very complicated.

Anyway, that would be a good way to go if it turns out that GRUB can't load Windows XP. So I guess now I just have to format my drive that linux is going into, back up my important data (in case something catastrophic happens!), and then I will install Fedora. I'm a little nervous, but I do have the XP disc, so I should be able to recover painlessly.

I don't need a floppy disk drive do I? Everything I read seems to mention making a boot disk. If I do, I'll have to steal the one from my old computer.
 
Hi,

Good luck with your install. As for the floppy drive, its definitely a good thing to have. As far as I know, it's the simplest "alternative" way of booting Linux (you're given the option of creating a boot floppy during the install). If you have a floppy drive available, I highly recommend using it.

There's a rescue mode on the DVD, or a rescue CD if you downloaded the CD ISOs. It's essentially the equivalent of the Windows recovery console, and about as user friendly (ie. not very). I've never succeeded in using it to actually boot Linux, though I've used it to reinstall the boot loader a couple of times.
 
ok, that's good to know about the rescue cd.

EDIT:
OK, that was weird. I went through the whole installation. First of all, it never asked me how I wanted to set up my partitions. Then when it finished, it asked me to take out the disk, and reboot my computer. At that point, I would have expected GRUB to ask me which OS I wanted to run. Or at least load Linux by default. It just loaded Windows XP as if nothing had ever happened!

During the installation, it asked me which OS I wanted as the default. I chose Windows XP, because I plan on mainly using that. Is this what caused the problem?
 
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1. I use Grub, it's stored on MBR, it boots winxp just fine (I have always put it on MBR, because otherwise something doesn't work).
2. If you did everything properly then for 5 seconds you'd see a blue Fedora screen with a countdown asking to press something in order to see the menu. If nothing is pressed, it boots Fedora (for me), I haven't used the win partition in a looooooooong time (for 2 years or so), but I checked out to see if it works.
I suggest you just set it to boot Fedora by default and then within Fedora later set the first partition to boot be windows.
And don't do any hacks with windows bootloader, it doesn't understand Linux well.
 
Well then it should work. But it doesn't. I made sure it installed to the MBR. Then I tried it with Windows being the default, and then I tried it with Fedora being the default.

When I turn on my computer, I don't see anything except the intel splashscreen (I have an intel motherboard). Then it goes immediately to the screen that says "Windows XP" and shows the progress bar.

Is there maybe some kind of key I have to press during the initial startup? (almost like the BIOS setup key, but one that starts up GRUB)

I know Fedora is installed, because I can't access the drive from Windows, and when I boot from the Fedora CD, it detects the previous installation. So I know the problem is something with the bootloader.
 
Where's it installed? Older bioses sometimes have trouble reading beyond the first 1024 cylinders of the hard disk, requiring /boot to be near the beginning of the drive. I don't know what GRUB will think of booting from your second hard drive, so if you feel like reinstalling, you can try putting a /boot partition on the first hard drive.

If you want manual control of your partitioning, you need to explicity tell the installer this. On the screen that let's you pick the installation drive (I think its the third, following the language and keyboard selections), there's a check box on the lower left you should select (review/modify partitioning, or something along those lines).

Alternatively, you can check your BIOS and see if there's an option that might help, like telling it to boot your 2nd hard disk.
 
przyk said:
Alternatively, you can check your BIOS and see if there's an option that might help, like telling it to boot your 2nd hard disk.
I thought of that already. It just says "Error loading operating system" and I have to hit the reset button.


przyk said:
If you want manual control of your partitioning, you need to explicity tell the installer this. On the screen that let's you pick the installation drive (I think its the third, following the language and keyboard selections), there's a check box on the lower left you should select (review/modify partitioning, or something along those lines).
I tried that, but I had trouble setting my own partitions. No matter what partition I tried to create, it gave me some error message about setting it as the primary partition (or something like that). I can tell you exactly what it says tomorrow when I try it again.


przyk said:
Where's it installed? Older bioses sometimes have trouble reading beyond the first 1024 cylinders of the hard disk, requiring /boot to be near the beginning of the drive. I don't know what GRUB will think of booting from your second hard drive, so if you feel like reinstalling, you can try putting a /boot partition on the first hard drive.
Would that mean having to reinstall Windows? Or can I just tell it to make the boot partition on. And I don't know if that's even a problem, because mine is a newer BIOS.
 
Would that mean having to reinstall Windows?
Nah, in the worst case it'd mean reinstalling Linux with the boot partition closer to the begining of the drive. For me it is the second partition anyway - starting from 11gb out of 120
 
I looked at that forum from your link, and I think I found a thread that was the problem I was having. it has step by step instructions. I'll try it tomorrow.
 
leopold99,

i just purchased linux in a box for 5 bucks.
it has 6 cd's and a couple of boot floppies and a 1 inch thick manual
on the front of the box it says 6.2 suse linux.
it also says kde-1.1.1 and kernel 2.2
can someone tell me if i got a good deal or not?
SUSE 10.1 was released this May. What you have is sorta outdated.

You can get Ubuntu 6.06, released this month, in the mail for free. I've read somewhere, though, that it's almost shit compared to the versions before it.

i am currently running OLDER software ! windows millenium
Upgrade.

my connection speed is 120 KB/s(actual) it will take me at least a couple of days to download 6 cds
You think you have it bad? My connection is theoretically 50KB/s, and the best average download speed I can ever manage is 2KB/s.
 
RubiksMaster,

You should have done all that after getting a bigger hard drive. Come on - 76GB?? You need at least 120 nowadays.
I'm only using a bit under half of it, currently. So it's sufficient. But I would very much like to upgrade my memory, which is currently 224MB. Which reminds me: Do you happen to have any extra memory laying around which you don't need? :D

Out of curiocity, if you did do that, would it also have to be formatted with FAT32? I wouldn't imagine you could even access an NTFS drive through linux, let alone boot from it.
I'm not sure. I have learned, however, that Linux can read my NTFS (Windows) partition, but it can't write to it. And I haven't had any weird boot problems since I got everything sorted out. Dunno if that helps answer your question any.

While you are on your big OS streak, so to speak, you might as well update your Windows. Service Pack 1?! I really hope that was a typo.
'Twas not. This computer was bought in March 2003.

I think I mentioned getting a new Windows CD in this thread. Putting Mandrake on the computer was the perfect opportunity to erase my harddrive and get rid of my old Windows, which had been turning into shit exponentially since I got it. The buttons for my running programs wouldn't appear on the taskbar, sometimes explorer.exe would freeze up and become unresponsive upon boot-up, and sometimes the computer wouldn't start transfering data when it connected to the Internet, all of which would make me restart several times (which was so fucking slow a process) until it finally worked an hour later. And that wasn't the limit of my problems either. Add the fact that I was using Panda Titanium Antivirus, which slowed down my computer profoundly, and also that it's all Microsoft shit that I'm dealing with... :(

I now have Windows XP Home SP2. It's running smoothly(er).

I thought about doing a dual boot for a while, but then I realized I would have to reformat my drive, and it just wasn't worth it. That, and I just don't really like using linux.
Reformatting is worth it when your current Windows is a piece of shit. And besides, it's not too painful a process. But I guess there's no point in saying so since you don't like Linux.

Can I create a FAT32 partition on my main drive without having to reformat it? It's a 250Gb drive, with 187 being used. I've only ever messed with partitions on new drives, straight out of the box.
Yes you can! And I've done it too! My Mandrake CDs, as well as the installed Mandrake itself, let me repartition the harddrive instantly. And it doesn't even hurt the data on the harddrive, though it does have the potental. I wouldn't know how else you could go about it, other than what Avatar mentioned.

Ok, I've been reading about this, and I've found stories of people putting the bootloader in the wrong partition, and screwing things up.
Did you read my particular story in this thread? I put the bootloader on the Linux partition instead of the MBR, thinking that it was the most logical place for it. It turns out the computer doesn't see it first, and instead loads a command-line interface bootloader. It was called GNU Grub or something.

Me + CLIs = dumb.

*twitches eye*

Anyway, yeah, that's my story. You can add it to your personal list of computer geek anecdotes, if you keep one. :p
 
Athelwulf said:
My connection is theoretically 50KB/s, and the best average download speed I can ever manage is 2KB/s.
56K modem huh? Join the club. Just in case there's any confusion, by the way, transmission speeds are usually measured in bits per second, not bytes, so your theoretical maximum is actually 7 KB/s, not allowing for overhead (like info about where the data's going, etc.). I never get a download rate higher than about 5.5 KB/s.
 
Athelwulf said:
My connection is theoretically 50KB/s, and the best average download speed I can ever manage is 2KB/s.
are you sure your speed isn't 56 kiloBITS per second?
it sounds like you have dial-up

connection speeds vary by a bunch
mine varies by the time of day and the servers i connect to
when i said actual i meant actual average
on average i get anywhere between 30 and 150 KB/s
my theoritical maximum is 186 KB/s

as for the upgrade my os serves me well
 
leopold99 said:
are you sure your speed isn't 56 kiloBITS per second?
it sounds like you have dial-up
The pop-up dialog tells me "Speed: 50.6 Kbps". I'm guessing there's a difference between "KB" and "Kb"?

But yeah, I do have dial-up.
 
Athelwulf said:
The pop-up dialog tells me "Speed: 50.6 Kbps". I'm guessing there's a difference between "KB" and "Kb"?

But yeah, I do have dial-up.
yes, KB is kilobytes and kb is kilobits
you divide kb by 8 to get KB
then to get the average speed for your connection divide that result by 2
 
Athelwulf said:
I'm only using a bit under half of it, currently. So it's sufficient. But I would very much like to upgrade my memory, which is currently 224MB. Which reminds me: Do you happen to have any extra memory laying around which you don't need?
You know me well! But... with RAM, it has to be the same number of pins, and the same speed. I have 2 sticks of 128MB (so it could double your memory) that I'm not using (and in about a week, I'll have another 2 sticks of something else). Find out what speed of RAM your motherboard supports, and how many pins (my guess is 184 pin). If they would work in your computer, I'd be happy to let you have them. Hell, I'd even install it.


Athelwulf said:
Did you read my particular story in this thread? I put the bootloader on the Linux partition instead of the MBR, thinking that it was the most logical place for it. It turns out the computer doesn't see it first, and instead loads a command-line interface bootloader. It was called GNU Grub or something.
Yeah, I made sure mine went into the MBR, but it still loads XP without even asking me.


So anyway, here's an update with my problem. I tried booting from the Fedora rescue cd, thinking that if I could get into linux I could mess with a few settings. But it just hung on a black screen, and didn't load. I think I have a problem with my partitions. Does linux have problems with SATA, or large drives?


Athelwulf said:
You think you have it bad? My connection is theoretically 50KB/s, and the best average download speed I can ever manage is 2KB/s.
I remember having dialup less than a year ago. Now I'm on "high speed" cable. I miss the T3 connection I had at school! I could several megabytes per second!
 
RubiksMaster said:
You know me well! But... with RAM, it has to be the same number of pins, and the same speed. I have 2 sticks of 128MB (so it could double your memory) that I'm not using (and in about a week, I'll have another 2 sticks of something else). Find out what speed of RAM your motherboard supports, and how many pins (my guess is 184 pin). If they would work in your computer, I'd be happy to let you have them. Hell, I'd even install it.
Sounds great. :)

Now, how do I find out what speed and number of pins? Does it require looking at the guts of the computer, or will something inside Windows tell me?

RubiksMaster said:
I remember having dialup less than a year ago. Now I'm on "high speed" cable. I miss the T3 connection I had at school! I could several megabytes per second!
Yeah, the school's connection is hella fast (I assume you mean KU).
 
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