viking wrote:Thanks for the explanation, I might start over and partition everything first, then start installing the distros. I will try grub again then and hopefully it will let me boot into xp this time.
Windows freaks out if it's not at the beginning of the disk. I'm sure there's a way to rig it so it doesn't have to be, but this probably wouldn't be the effort. Besides, there's a block of sectors that all have to be together towards the beginning of the disk, so I feel it's best not to tempt fate and just park Windows in front.
I'm currently running Fedora; I used GParted to set up my partitions as follows:
/hda1 - Windows XP
/hda3 - subdivided
/hda4 - extended: Fedora Core
/hda5 - extended: FAT32 storage (used as fileswap between the two OS's)
/hda6 - Linux swap
/hda2 - boot (with GRUB)
As you can see, I have my Windows XP partition at the beginning of the disk, and it's the first partition. In my experience, this is pretty much necessary. (As I said above, it may be possible to do this differently, but might as well give MS what they want as long as you already paid for the OS.) My boot partition is the second partition but at the end of the disk -- in my experience this makes absolutely no difference. The only requirements I ran into installing FC were that it be a logical partition (and not an extended one) and that it be identified as /boot during the install process.
Of course, your order of operations should be: create partitions, install windows on the first partition, install on the rest of the partitions. If you've created your partitions correctly, you should have no problem installing Windows to the first logical partition. Of course, after that, you can do whatever you like with the rest and just not tell Windows. Once you identify another partition as /boot, BIOS should pass over Windows at startup until GRUB redirects it there.