Dual Boot Problem

Questions about Grub, UEFI,the liveCD and the installer
Forum rules
Before you post please read this

Dual Boot Problem

Postby Razah on Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:33 am

Hi guys! I am brand new to the world of Linux. Yep, another Windows sheep! I've been playing with Mint 6 on a live CD for a little while and have decided to install, but I'm not entirely ready to eliminate Windows just yet. So I decided to dual boot. The instructions in the Definitive Dual Boot Guide (sticky topic above) are very simple and easy to follow. But they don't work!
You'll have to excuse me here. I have a 1-year-old and little time to devote to the computer. As I mentioned, I am brand new to Linux and also to disk partitioning and playing with the MBR...
So, here's what I've done. Following the dual boot guide, I got to the point of partitioning the disk. Note that my HD is not partitioned, so Mint gives me 2 options: Guided, which would use the entire disk, or Manual, which would use any amount I specify. However, manual only allows me to put the partition at the very beginning or the very end. Putting it at the end makes the disk unbootable. At the beginning, Linux boots but Windows does not.
So, I learned a little about disk partitioning and reformatted the drive. I split it into 3 partitions, with the intention of putting Windows in 1 partition, Linux in another, and using the 3rd as the swap partition. However, this does not work either. Whichever OS is in the first partition is the one that the computer boots into. Seems like there's something obvious that I'm missing here...
So, I throw myself on the mercy of the gurus here. Anyone know how to fix this? I've seen other posts where you ask people for things that look like bits of code; I don't know how to find this information so if you need something please walk me through how to get it!
Razah
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:39 am

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby emorrp1 on Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:52 am

Hello, and welcome to Linux Mint :) First of all, mint 7 is out. Now, on old computers, the bootloader has to be near the beginning of the disk, but Windows also requires a primary partition. The solution is to first install windows into one of the not-first partitions (note that until you install linux it won't boot), then install linux however you choose, but making sure that the root partition is the first one. This'll allow your computer to boot. See also the "partitioning guide" from Fred elsewhere on the forums, I really recommend using a data partition, and hence only needing a small partition near the beginning for linux's root partition.
If you have a question that has been answered and solved, then please edit your original post and put a [SOLVED] at the end of your subject header
Hint - use a google search including the search term site:forums.linuxmint.com
emorrp1
Level 8
Level 8
 
Posts: 2322
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:58 pm

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby Razah on Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:05 am

Thank you for the info! I have tried that already but I'm not sure in what order I installed the systems. I will give it another go and see what happens! In the past setting up as you mentioned, the computer would immediately boot into Linux and show the windows partition as "unused space".
What I need (I think) is a way to choose between the two. Likely I will get rid of windows in the future, but for the time being I would like to hang on to it. (Change is difficult I guess!)
Razah
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:39 am

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby markcynt on Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:10 pm

If you're using Vista you should use Vista's partitioning tool to create Vista's partition.
Image
P5N-E SLI, Core2Duo E6850 3GHZ X 2
2 GB DDR2 800MHZ
EVGA 8800GTS 320MB
2x320GB Hitachi
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
User avatar
markcynt
Level 6
Level 6
 
Posts: 1131
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Lakeland Florida

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby Razah on Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:41 pm

So yeah, same ol', same ol'... Something I forgot to mention earlier was that I'm using XP, not Vista.
Here's what I did:
Set the HD as a slave to another Windows drive. Reformatted the drive, removed all partitions. Reinstalled partitions (on a 40Gb drive, 15Gb to sda1, 1 Gb to sda2, and the remainder to sda3). Installed Windows to the end of the disk (sda3). Rebooted with the Mint CD and installed Mint to the beginning of the disk (sda1) and the swap to the middle (sda2). Removed CD and rebooted. Result is that the computer boots into Mint with no option of going to Windows. In the Partition Editor, it shows the end of the disk (sda3) as "unused space."
I've reached the extent of my knowledge (which was very limited to begin with!), so if anyone has other ideas please let me know! Thanks in advance!
Razah
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:39 am

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby silentstone on Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:56 pm

Razah wrote:As I mentioned, I am brand new to Linux and also to disk partitioning and playing with the MBR...
So, here's what I've done. Following the dual boot guide, I got to the point of partitioning the disk. Note that my HD is not partitioned, so Mint gives me 2 options: Guided, which would use the entire disk, or Manual, which would use any amount I specify. However, manual only allows me to put the partition at the very beginning or the very end. Putting it at the end makes the disk unbootable. At the beginning, Linux boots but Windows does not.
So, I learned a little about disk partitioning and reformatted the drive. I split it into 3 partitions, with the intention of putting Windows in 1 partition, Linux in another, and using the 3rd as the swap partition. However, this does not work either. Whichever OS is in the first partition is the one that the computer boots into. Seems like there's something obvious that I'm missing here...


Okay, partitioning is inherently destructive and dangerous, and things can get funky as each OS and tool likes to do things a little differently. A tip is to let each operating system do its own partitioning (during its installation).

To clear out any inconsistencies, start over pretty much from scratch, saying goodbye to all the partitions on that drive. Install Windows first, letting it format the whole drive. It will automatically create one partition that takes up the whole drive, install itself to that partition, and write its bootloader to the MBR and put its essential boot files on that partition. It doesn't really TELL you it's doing all this, but it's all part of the standard installation. Also, installing Windows to a slave drive may have complicated matters; it would have installed Windows to whatever drive and partition you indicated, but the essential boot files get installed to whatever is the first partition on the first (master) drive, leaving you with an unbootable installation on that slave drive, something the Mint installer wouldn't have recognized as an operating system installation at all. Also, if your intention is to move that slave drive to a master drive (on another computer), then both the Windows and Linux bootloaders are messed up because they're still expecting all the drives that were present during installation...it's doable, but takes extra care and time.

Once Windows is installed and bootable (make sure it's bootable!), you can attend to the Linux Mint installation, which allows repartitioning hard drives, shrinking/copying/moving Windows partitions, creating its own root/swap/whatever partitions, installing the GRUB bootloader to the MBR or the Linux root partition or not at all, and adding the Windows installation to GRUB so that you can boot into either operating system.

You have Mint 6 "Felicia"? Boot the live CD, start the installer. It asks for your language and timezone and keyboard, then automatically starts the partitioner, analyzing the hard drive. Once it finishes analyzing your current partitions, it offers suggestions for repartitioning, and asks you for Guided-take over whole drive (you may also see Guided-choose largest free space, and Guided-resize) or Manual partitioning. Assuming you have that Windows already installed and taking up the whole disk right now, choose Manual (or Guided-resize, which would make the following suggestions moot).

Say, you chose Manual partitioning. It should do some more analyzing, then present a list of the current partitioning table, which is one partition taking up the whole drive. Select that partition, and Choose "Edit" (or resize, if it's available). Change the size to whatever smaller amount you prefer and make sure that the starting point of the Windows partition remains the same, at the beginning of the hard drive, otherwise the addition of a new partition before it could ruin Windows's bootloader. Anyway, resizing the Windows partition should provide unused space on the rest of the drive. Select that in the list, choosing to "Edit" (or "create new partition" if it's an available option). Create all the partitions, making sure to select a filesystem type, and a mount point for anything other than swap (and the Windows partition). I think that that finishes the partitioner, so Okay that. The installer should provide a summary before committing any changes now. At the summary, there should be an "Advanced" button. Choose that, and it should bring up GRUB configurations. Make sure the bootloader gets installed to the MBR. Check all that, continue the installer, and it should perform the actual partitioning and installing now.

Once Mint finishes installing, shutdown and reboot the system, making sure to remove the live CD during shutdown. It should reboot, show "GRUB loading...." lines, then a boot menu that lists Linux Mint and Windows XP. If not, then your computer may be too old to recognize bootable partitions beyond the 8GB mark (IIRC), or the MBR may be locked against edits as a security feature. Post your computer model and age, and BIOS version for someone to help you with that.

Also, look through the Mint 6 User Guide: http://ftp.heanet.ie/pub/linuxmint.com/stable/6/user-guide/english.pdf It provides some more in-depth installation information.

Anyway, that's the process if you don't mind starting over from scratch. If you don't want to do that, and you have Windows and or Linux installed to the drive already, there are ways to access those installations, see if they're salvagable, reinstall or reconfigure just the bootloader.
silentstone
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:46 am

Re: Dual Boot Problem

Postby Razah on Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:17 am

Sorry for the very slow reply. I've been away from home and away from computer access... it was like a vacation! Haha... anyway....
Thank you very much for the in-depth response. I will try it tonight and let you know what happens. Fortunately (I think!) the HD I am using is "expendable" and contains no useful information, which allows me to reformat/repartition/experiment as many times as I need to. Right now it is removed from the machine. When I try this I will remove my "real" HD and put in this other just to try it out.
Thanks again for all your help!!
Razah
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:39 am

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Return to Installation & Boot

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Derek_S and 14 guests