dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

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dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby userbrackish on Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:42 pm

So i just started using Linux mint and i absolutely love it. I even convinced my friend to have it dual booted on his laptop with Vista. The only thing he didn't like was BRUB's bootloader. So i was wondering if there was a way around that with the alternative installation disk. specifically i want to know...

-if i install GRUB somewhere else will M$'s bootloader recognize and let me boot linux?
-if not, is there a way to force the option, or do i have to edit the MBR?
-does Vista often give problems with dual boots?

Thanks in advanced to anyone that responds. I have taken some time to search around the site but couldn't find anything specific enough, so if there's a tutorial/guide that I missed then a link would be helpful.
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby kansasnoob on Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:18 pm

Look at the last page of this guide:

http://apcmag.com/how_to_dualboot_vista ... _first.htm

In fact the entire guide is a good resource.
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby Fred on Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:44 pm

userbrackish,

There are lots of ways to dual boot. It might be helpful to understand the boot process a little better. The BIOS is where everything starts. Let me say first that BIOSs are notorious for being buggy. Some are better than others. It really doesn't surprise me that it didn't honor the usb boot preference you chose. Of course there could be other reasons it didn't boot the usb drive too.

The BIOS turns the boot process over to whatever is in the first 446 bytes of the first 512 byte sector of the first hard drive. The first hard drive having been defined in the BIOS. This first sector of the hard drive is what is called the MBR.

In Window's case there is, for the lack of a better term, a pointer in the MBR that directs the continuation of the boot process to the Windows boot loader which is located in the Windows partition. Windows is started from there.

Windows is not a nice playmate. It wants everything for itself and does not have any resources to boot other OSs. Vista is even less friendly than XP in this respect. There are Windows programs that you can use to get other OSs to boot from Windows, EasyBCD comes to mind, but I have never used it. Some seem to like it however. I don't know if it will serve your purpose or not.

Grub is one of a number of boot loaders that are used with Linux. Grub is the choice that Mint and many other Linux distros use. Grub is a mini operating system in itself. The grub kernel is placed in the first 446 bytes of the MBR sector and points to the stage 1.5 and 2 files, and the menu.lst in the /boot/grub folder of Mint. The options chosen here determine the path of the remainder of the boot process. Gurb constructs a boot command that has been determined by the options in menu.lst and points to the kernel that has been chosen to continue. This could be another Grub kernel, another boot loader kernel, or a Linux or other OS kernel. The criteria is it must be bootable.

I hope this helps you understand the boot process better. There is more in depth discussion of Grub in the thread below.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10043&p=63253&hilit=fred+chainload+grub#p63253

Fred
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby userbrackish on Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:07 pm

Thanks Kansasnoob and Fred, both of these replys helped a lot. i totally agree that M$ is not a team player and vista is worse as it wants all the resources for itself. I think i'm going to try that dual install tomorrow. i was just wondering if there was a way to use that M$ boot loader instead of GRUB.

random question -at what age did you write your first program?
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby piratesmack on Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:48 pm

userbrackish wrote: i was just wondering if there was a way to use that M$ boot loader instead of GRUB.


The M$ bootloader can't boot Linux directly, just like Grub can't boot Windows directly.
But you can install Grub to the superblock of the Linux partition and chainload it from the Windows bootloader:
That's the way I do it when installing Mint on other people's computers.
It makes going back to a single-boot a lot easier if they don't like it.

But before you follow these instructions, back up the executive code section of the mbr just in case something goes wrong (be careful with this command, dd can be dangerous):
Code: Select all
sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.bin bs=446 count=1

Copy mbr.bin somewhere safe
If something does go wrong, you can restore the mbr with (again, be careful):
Code: Select all
sudo dd if=mbr.bin of=/dev/sda bs=446 count=1


Basic instructions:
-Start the Linux Mint installer
-Choose your language, timezone, and all that
-At the part where it asks you to review your settings, click "Advanced"
-Choose to install the bootloader to /dev/sdax (Where ever you chose to install Linux) instead of the mbr (hd0)
-Let Linux Mint install, then reboot.
-The computer will boot back into Vista, download and install EasyBCD:
http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1
-Start EasyBCD and go to "Add/Remove entries"
-Choose the "Linux" tab
-Choose "Grub" from the bootloader drop down menu
-Give the entry a name. (Maybe Linux Mint?)
-Choose your hard drive and the Linux partition
-And click "Add entry"

Then just reboot and you will have the option either boot into Windows or to chainload Grub and boot Linux
Hope this helps
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby Fred on Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:08 am

userbrackish wrote:
random question -at what age did you write your first program?


Well... calling it a "program" would probably be somewhat of an embellishment. But probably about 20 years ago. I would have been about 50 years young then. How I long for the days of my youth, when I was young and foolish. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby altair4 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:49 am

userbrackish wrote: i was just wondering if there was a way to use that M$ boot loader instead of GRUB.

Yes, it's called EasyBCD - it's just for Vista. It's not a bootloader, it's a way to edit Vista's BCD bootloader to include Linux or just about anything else.

EasyBCD: http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1

A HowTo Guide: http://www.pclosmag.com/html/Issues/200708/page03.html
The guide above is from another distro but it's mostly about Vista so the procedures are pretty much the same. It's about the same thing piratesmack said but with screenshots :wink:
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby userbrackish on Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm

Oh thanks, i think that BCD thing is exactly what i need. Well, i'm on spring brake this week so i'll try that and post my results when i'm done.

Fred wrote:userbrackish wrote:
random question -at what age did you write your first program?


Well... calling it a "program" would probably be somewhat of an embellishment. But probably about 20 years ago. I would have been about 50 years young then. How I long for the days of my youth, when I was young and foolish. :-)

Fred

i know i'm getting off topic, i was wondering because i here about people that made their first program at the age of 12 and its kind of discouraging because i'm 20 and can't program. i just got used to HTML/CSS about a year or two ago.
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Re: dual boot without GRUB bootloader?

Postby Fred on Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:26 pm

userbrackish,

You and I have a completely different frame of reference. The world I grew up in is not the one you live in. When I was a young boy refrigeration had been invented but most people still used an ice box. Nobody ever heard of a TV, let alone had one. As for computers? What is that? :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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