Reversing a dual-boot setup

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Reversing a dual-boot setup

Postby Nicholas on Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:10 am

In setting up a dual-boot with XP and Linux Mint on a SATA two drive system, I've had problems when I either uninstalled Mint or removed the disk containing Mint from the computer. I wasn't able to boot into Windows anymore - I just received an error, so I finally gave up and reinstalled Windows, quite a task with all the downloads from Microsoft, in contrast, Linux is easy to install. I would also think it would be a problem if I were to change from one Linux distribution to another; such as to Ubuntu from Mint - or the like, since the boot loader would not recognize either Windows anymore nor Ubuntu. Since I'm relatively new to Linux, I could use some help on this.
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Re: Reversing a dual-boot setup

Postby Ripose on Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:40 am

It should work fine if you install Windows first.

Before you deleted (reinstalled) XP you should have tried using the restore option from the XP install menu, this worked on my machine to restore the boot loader.

Multi-boot Ubuntu/Mint will be no problem for the boot loader.

BTW Mint is based on Ubuntu.
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Re: Reversing a dual-boot setup

Postby DataMan on Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:14 am

I'd add one additional recommendation (personal). If real estate permits, make your multi-boot life a whole lot easier by installing your ops on the same H/D versus spanning multiple drives.

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Re: Reversing a dual-boot setup

Postby AK Dave on Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:59 pm

There are many good guides on how to dual-boot XP and linux. None that I'm familiar with advise you to install Windows on one drive, Linux on another, and have the grub on one drive's MBR point to a grub menu stored on another drive.

But thats what you did.

If you physically yank the linux drive, the MBR on the Windows drive doesn't know what to do. So the boot fails with "some error" that you kindly don't demonstrate or copy for us. But the error is self-evident.

Of course you can fix the MBR on the Windows disc using common Windows utility software. I believe that the tool you need is on a Windows install CD. No problem finding that, right?

If your concern is that you won't be able to install another version of Mint or Ubuntu, don't worry. You can install right over the top of your old version. But when it comes time to do so, I recommend that FIRST you restore the MBR on the first drive using a Windows install CD's utility to fix the MBR. The follow a reputable "dual boot windows & linux" guide such as the one referenced from the linuxmint wiki.

But until that time, just keep chugging along with what you have since it seems to be working. May not be optimal, but it works for now.
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