memilanuk wrote:So I would install the new distro, allow its installer to over-write the existing grub2 boot loader, finish the install (some distros reboot partways through the install), then reboot from the new distro and the version of grub2 that it installed should show an entry for the previously existing Mint 14 install... I'm assuming I would select that, and then from Mint re-install its version of grub2 and then update it with entries for the new distro?
The big question in my mind is... if the new distro - for whatever reason - *doesn't* pick up the existing Mint install partition as part of its grub2 options... then what? How do I get back into Mint?
All boils down to your choice of what I called the 'master boot loader', which is the one you will use to control the hard disk MBR.
Since you are going to play multiboot you would need to deal with a mixture of several boot loaders that are default by the OS or distros, such as
Debian based, usually grub2
Fedora based, was grub legacy, Fedora18 had grub 2.00
Slackware based distros, like slackware, salix, zenwalk etc, usually Lilo
PCLinuxOS, still grub legacy, similarly some distros are still using grub legacy like SL, antiX, etc.
When you mix distros that has grub legacy and grub2, these two boot loader does not play well with each other.
So, when you add a new distros, you must first determine which 'master boot loader' you want to use, it does not necessarily that you MUST use the default boot loader of the New distros, it should be up to your choice.
Usually distros' installer let you decide for yourself whether you want to install boot loader to MBR, to root partition, or to somewhere else, some distros also let you choose NOT to install boot loader because they knew you might have already some other boot loader as 'master boot loader'.
For me, I stayed mostly with two method of installing Linux OS in my multiboot systems.
1. usually i used grub legacy to control MBR, and for any other linux OS and winOS, I chainload into their respective root partition and simply use their own default boot loader installed onto the root partition.
There are many posts/forums that discourage installing boot loader onto root partition, so if you read them, do not be surprised.
I used this method for 2-3 years, and can say very little problem.
2. when I have to keep win7/vista because of users need as well as 'warranty' I would normally let Win7/vista control MBR, and add a free EasyBCD ( from Newsmart) , then add entry to the particular Linux OS,
For those with grub2, I add entry on grub2
For those with grub legacy, I add entry on grub legacy
For those with lilo, I add entry on lilo...
So i summary, what I think you need to consider is, which master boot loader you want to use to control your MBR?.
Hope you find one that is suitable for your usage.