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dual boot using windows boot loader [SOLVED]

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:54 am
by turboscrew
I run Mint 9 live and tried to install.
So far so good, but there is an old windows 2000 running on the machine and about 70 GB free disk space left for linux.
At the end of HDD partition, I entered the settings and selected boot loader to be installed at the beginning of the root partition
(/dev/sda3). The selection was there, but "OK"-button was not. Only /dev/sda seems good - overwriting the windows boot loader.

Why doesn't Mint allow installing the boot loader on its root partition? Even if it allows selection of it for boot loader installation?

The free space is there, because I used to have Mint there. A MoBo-failure crashed my machine, and I had to install windows 2000
again. Fortunately I managed to get everything worth something onto a external HD using TRK.
The Windows 2000 installation, however got rid of my Mint (the boot loader) as well.

Because I guess it's the windows 2000 that is going to get messed up rather than Mint, and because the windows 2000 rescue tends to ignore
other operating systems, I'd like to use windows 2000 boot loader with Mint boot sector image back-upped in one of the data partitions.

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:07 pm
by grimdestripador
It seems you need to pick a single strategy of booting. I suggest you not install many boot loaders on each partition and the MBR.
Simplify your life, connect only this drive. Use windows recoery mode (boot from cd, press R), write a new MBR. Install Linux mint. Bam. There are many instructions on how do accomplish a dual boot. Many are valid, most are confusing and outdated... I've given up on trying to learn the best way and have found a process which is consistent.

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:40 pm
by Cato2
Have you double-checked that sda3 is the right partition, not swap or something else? Silly question I know...

You should be able to use the Win2000 boot loader, I have done this in the past. Mint 11 certainly gives the option of installing grub to the root partition (/dev/sdaX) not the MBR, and most distros do provide this option to enable easier multi-booting with Windows.

This might help: ... opic=395.0

If you look at these instructions and replace the lilo commands with suitable GRUB2 commands, that would work: - the principle is to get the GRUB2 MBR on the root partition, then mount the NTFS partition in Mint and copy (using dd) the MBR to a file (boot.lnx) on the Windows partition, then add that boot.lnx file to a line within the NT boot loader's boot.ini.

Finally - get hold of SuperGrubDisk, it's a really excellent live CD that can boot almost any unbootable system, and you can use it to install the right MBR to the right partition even if the Mint 9 installer doesn't do what you need.

@grimdestripador - this is a valid boot strategy, not a mix of strategies.

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:50 pm
by turboscrew
OK, first:
sda1 = win2k
sda2 = extended partition with
sda5 = NTFS/data
sda6 = FAT/data (don't laugh)
sda3 = ext3/ Mint root
sda4 = linux swap

In the times of lilo/Grub1 I used to install the boot loader on root partition and
copy the first 512-byte block into a file using dd.
Then I copied the file somewhere (usually the root directory) on the windows partition and
added that into the boot.ini of the windows.

On Vista I used EasyBCD to add linux boot to the windows boot.

I guess things got a bit different by Grub2.

I remember, to do the Grub installation on root partition with Ubuntu (or was it Debian?)
An alternate installation (text based installer) was needed.
I didn't find anything mentioned about existence of an alternate installation CD for Mint.

If I try the SuperGrubDisk, should I install Mint without a boot loader?
Otherwise it does not even start installing unless the windows boot loader is written over.

BTW, sorry guys, I still have 2 PCs (one at home, one at work) that DOESN't have Linux installed. :-(
(2 machines at work, 4 at home)

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:35 pm
by turboscrew
BTW, Cato2 (Delende Carthago2 ?), Is it now Super Grub2 Disk?

It says:

Super Grub Disk is outdated.
Please use one of the following tools:
Rescatux. Tool for fixing Grub.
Super Grub2 Disk. Tool for booting into your system.

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:55 pm
by Cato2
Seems like Super Grub2 Disk and Rescatux are the more recent versions - however Super Grub Disk using GRUB1 works fine for most purposes. The main reason for GRUB2 is to support GPT partitioned disks (more than 2TB typically) and LVM.

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:02 am
by turboscrew
So the idea is to force Grub1 in root partition as Mint's bootloader and proceed as in the old days?

Does anybody know if in case of Grub2 that copied first block can be used in pre-vista windows for booting linux?
Does the block contain all that is needed to be used for secondary boot by Grub2?

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader [SOLVED]

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:34 am
by turboscrew
I gave up and installed Katya - it had no objections about writing the boot loader on root partition.
Also "dd if=/dev/sda3 of=mint_boot.lnx bs=512 count=1" was enough to generate a file that Win2k boot loader
could use. The booting took some time (>10 seconds to show any actions), but Katya got up fine.

I would have liked to install LTS, though...

Re: dual boot using windows boot loader [SOLVED]

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:38 pm
by Talim
A clarifying question, if I may - the last post seems to suggest that the old method of chainloading from the windows NTLDR to GRUB stills works with GRUB2 - is this the case?