Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

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Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby catmother on Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:50 pm

New to Mint but not to linux.
Having read many of the threads dealing with grub/loading problems and seen a lot of good info there here is a procedure which works for me.
For those users who dual/multiboot boot windows and mint (or any flavor of linux) this is the method I use. BTW I did not invent this.

http://www.tprthai.net/bootmgr.htm
describes the procedure.
Basically it copies the linux boot sector using the dd command (bytes=512) (count=1) to the windows boot drive (generally C:) and modifying boot.ini by adding a line:to boot.ini:

I use C:\mintboot.dos="Linux Mint"

For PCLinuxOS, also on my system, C:\pclboot.dos="PCLinuxOS)

Reboot to windows and you will see 'Linux Mint' on the menu.. Select that entry and boot to Mint
If you are nervous about writing directly to your boot drive,write to a floppy or USB flashdrive and copy to the windows boot drive after booting to windows.

It is also possible to add Mint to the Vista boot menu using easybcd. This is a bit tricky since easybcd asks for a partition in DOS terms. Depending on where your Mint is located say hda4 or 8, the translation can be tricky.
My PCLinux is on/dev/hda19 but boots from a 75 MB boot partition /dev/hda6. It turned out that entering partition 3 in bcdedit did the trick.
Normally subtract 3 from your Mint partition and enter that value.
Easybcd has a menu entry to add an OS. Select Linux, name your OS and set the harddisk and partition e.g. disk 0, partition 20 in my case where mint is on /dev/hda23.
It really works, I can boot Mint from the Vista boot menu.

Trial and error works here. A wrong entry will not harm your system.

To really ice the cake I added PCLinuxOS to the Mint boot menu and Mint to the PCLinuxOS boot menu. Not needed but it is a way to learn more about linux.

BTW I use System Commander to boot about 5 OS's on my system and have entries on the Commander menu for PCLinuxOS but that does not work for Mint probably because Mint is on /dev/hda23 and for some reason setting that partition bootable does not work.

Edited to replace bcdedit with easybcd.
Last edited by catmother on Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boot Linux from windows

Postby Husse on Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:24 am

/dev/hda23

??
A warning - you can't change this setup to SATA. There the max number of partitions is 15
The method seems to me to be a bit elaborated.... :)
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Re: Boot Linux from windows

Postby catmother on Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:33 am

Husse wrote:
/dev/hda23

??
A warning - you can't change this setup to SATA. There the max number of partitions is 15
The method seems to me to be a bit elaborated.... :)


Did not know that, my computers all have the primary HDD on IDE.

Few users, except for us computer geeks, would have more then a half dozen logical drives in an extended partition.

How about creating a second primary partition in that case ?
And find a boot manager that can see the hidden primary partitions and unhide them for booting.
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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby Fred on Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:03 pm

catmother,

You could use a dedicated boot partition, I prefer grub, to hide partitions and boot all but the Windows install. The Windows boot loader could hand off to the grub partition and you could select the other installs from there.

The problem I see with the whole thing though is why go through all the gymnastics just to use some part of the Windows boot loader? I see it is an academic exercise with little practical value. But maybe I am missing something. :-)

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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby Fred on Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:40 pm

catmother,

You might know that as soon as I said I didn't see much of a practical application for this, I would run across a situation where this might be useful. :-)

In the thread below your suggestion of booting from the Windows boot loader may be the best solution and just what the doctor ordered. :-)

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=11709

It would be nice if you could drop-in and share a solution to his problem with him.

Fred
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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby catmother on Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:18 pm

Fred wrote:catmother,

You could use a dedicated boot partition, I prefer grub, to hide partitions and boot all but the Windows install. The Windows boot loader could hand off to the grub partition and you could select the other installs from there.

The problem I see with the whole thing though is why go through all the gymnastics just to use some part of the Windows boot loader? I see it is an academic exercise with little practical value. But maybe I am missing something. :-)

Fred


The procedure I describe avoids all the problems associated with booting through grub directly.. This thread has numerous posts complaining about grub errors, inability to boot via grub etc. Using ntldr or Vista BCD to boot linux eliminates the need to install grub in the boot MBR or in a boot partition. Grub safely remains in the linux partition.
It is useful for users that are primarily win users but also want to run linux.

I do have a linux boot partition, hda6, where PCLinuxOS boots from. To boot other versions of linux that way would require installing additional boot partitions.
Using the XP and/or Vista loaders is just easier for me.
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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby Ookami on Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:02 pm

Well, every time I install any distro of Linux (I distro hop a lot) the Windows partition appears on the menu automatically and boots fine.

I didn't know there were problems with using GRUB.
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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby MagnusB on Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:12 am

Most distributions detect a Windows partition fine and add an entry for that in GRUB, but some has issues detecting other Linux installations, for some reason. But using the XP bootloader could be useful for people who want to keep a recovery partition or similar, as they usually rely on the XP bootloader to function properly.
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Re: Dual Booting using Windows XP Boot Loader

Postby Husse on Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:45 pm

And I can see the use for people with Toshiba laptops as it has been reported that the BIOS detects if the MBR has been changed and change it back so nothing but Vista can boot
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