menu.lst

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menu.lst

Postby kaykav on Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:48 am

6.13...7:50am good afternoon' I am still not clear on the 'how' of the grub bootloader, if that is what it's called. I've read dozens of articles on the subject,and I couldn't explain it to anyone with clarity. My setup is 'Vista' 'Ubuntu' "LinuxMint'. Ubuntu has a file "/boot/grub/menu.lst" and so does LinuxMint. I think that is a bootloader,or maybe the MBR is the bootloader; I don't know. Anyway I changed the order of booting in the Ubuntu 'menu.lst' to boot Vista first. That worked fine. How come the order of boot is not changed in the 'LinuxMint' menu.lst? If I deleted Ubuntu would I still be able to boot into Vista or Mint? Thanks........Rich
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Re: menu.lst

Postby emorrp1 on Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:18 am

Ok, so you have a Master Boot Record, which is what your BIOS loads up - ubuntu's bootloader in your case - and it often points to some more info available from disk e.g. your menu.lst. Unless you change the defaults, each installation of Linux will override the MBR with its personal copy of the bootloader, changing the pointer appropriately. So Ubuntu and Mint both have their own boot configuration files in their respective installation partitions, but the MBR will only notice changes from the one it's pointing at - ubuntu. So to get Mint's bootloader, you have to reload it into the MBR (from its personal copy), destroying ubuntu's MBR.

One way to work around this (which Fred also uses, so he'll correct me if I'm wrong) is to have a (small - mine only uses 1.04MiB) dedicated grub partition, separate from any particular install, with its own boot configuration files, and remember to configure any new installations to install their bootloaders into their installation partitions (which is also possible - it's the advanced button in the last step (7) of Ubiquity)
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Re: menu.lst

Postby Aging Technogeek on Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:52 am

Grub (Grand Universal Bootloader) is the bootloader used by many Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Linux Mint. "/boot/grub/menu.lst" is the file that generates the list of Operating Systems you see every time you boot your computer.

Each Linux Operating System installed on your computer installs a Grub bootloader, erasing and overwriting the Grub loader installed by any prior installation. When you installed Ubuntu, it installed a Grub loader that detected your Vista installation and set up the required dual boot system and menu (which you edited to make Vista the default operating system).

When Mint was installed it replaced Ubuntu's Grub with its own version, in the process setting up a multiboot menu with Mint as the default O.S. Each time another Linux distro is added, the same thing will happen (as long as the new distro uses Grub as its bootloader). The last O.S. installed will always be the default unless you edit the Grub menu for that O.S. To regain Vista as your default O.S., you must edit the Grub menu in Mint just like you did in Ubuntu.

To avoid having to edit Grub from terminal, you can install a program called "startup manager". It is available from Synaptic Package Manager. Just open Synaptic and type "startupmanager" in the search box. There is a slight problem with the menu launcher for startup manager. See this for a fix: viewtopic.php?f=90&t=27518#p159803 . Startup manager will let you set your default O.S. without opening a terminal.

If Mint was installed after Ubuntu, its Grub will be the active bootloader so you should be able to remove Ubuntu without impairing your ability to boot into Vista or Mint. I have never tried this so I am not certain, but it is the logical answer based on the way Grub works. I multi boot all the time (right now I have Vista plus four versions of Mint on my laptop) and what I normally do to remove an O.S. is install another O.S. over it. This automatically rewrites Grub to reflect the new setup.

Edit
Emorrp1 posted his reply while I was composing mine. I hope we don't confuse you with the two posts and between us we answer your questions. Emorrp1's suggestion to use a dedicated Boot partition is a good one if you will be doing much distro hopping or replacing O.S. with newer versions with any frequency. If some one had suggested it to me when I first began in Linux, I would have used it. Now I am so used to just re-editing Grub whenever required that I don't even think about a dedicated Grub installation.
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Re: menu.lst

Postby kaykav on Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:59 pm

You guys are amazing! Thank you for your input..I read an article where some guy had like 140 operating systems,I think it was 140,anyway he used a dedicated partition for grub.Sounds good to me.. This Linux scenario is quite an adventure. There is so much to learn.....Thanks again.Rich
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Re: menu.lst

Postby Fred on Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:54 pm

kaykav,

You might want to look at the thread referenced below. It is long but information rich on Grub operation and booting configuration. Like me, it is a little dated but still valid.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10043&p=63253&hilit=Fred+gboot#p63253

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