[techtalk] Other OSes on a Linux box

Caitlyn Martin caitlyn at netferrets.net
Wed Jan 5 10:59:56 EST 2000

Hi, Courtney,
> As far as I know, windows (any flavor) wants to be at the beginning of
> your hard drive, because it epects to be able to put certain things in
> certain places that are relative to the first track (if my memory
> isn't being spotty).

NT is the exception.  It takes over the MBR, but can go on *any* partition,
even a logical one.  It does like that *some* MS OS be first, though.  A
common thing I did was to put a small DOS maintenance partition with System
Commander first, OS/2 second, various *nix wherever, and NT somewhere,
anywhere else.  I've had it on a slave drive with no problems.

If you use the Boot Manager from Partition Magic or OS/2, it will leave the
NT boot loader intact, and let you point to your NT partition.  It also
doesn't need a DOS or Win9x FAT partition to work the way System Commander

> Any flavor of windows *will* overwrite the
> master boot record and punt lilo.

This part is absolutely true. With Win9x, though, you can install Linux and
LILO second, and use LILO to boot either Windows or Linux.  Caldera
OpenLinux makes this easy from a partitioning standpoint, though it is
really inflexible about what it's crippled version of Partition Magic will
do about creating partitions.  What the Caldera install does is make LILO
your boot loader, but it fails to add your Windows partition to LILO.  If
you do that manually, you can then set either Windows or Linux as your
default OS at boot.

With Red Hat you basically need to put a very small /boot partition first,
Windows 9x second, create your Linux partitions after, and let LILO write to
the MBR, then edit it's configuration file to allow booting to either OS.
Windows should be installed first, though.

Do *NOT* do either of the above with NT.  You will clobber NT for sure.  It
is always best to install NT last and recover your other OSes.
> Method 1:
> Partition the drive, windows partition physically first.  Install
> Linux.  Configure lilo.  Make a boot disk, including all of the lilo
> configuration information (so that it will boot off the floppy the way
> you eventually want it to boot normally).  Install windows.  Boot from
> floppy.  Rerun lilo and check configurations.  Pray at appropriate
> points during the process.

This won't work for Red Hat if your Linux partition is beyond (or extends
beyond) cylinder 1024.  You really need that /boot partition first.  16MB is
big enough.
> Method 2:
> Partition the drive, windows partition physically first.  Install
> windows.  Install Linux.  Configure lilo.  Pray at appropriate points.

Again, this will clobber NT.
> Of course, both of these methods assume you'd rather use lilo than
> something third-party.

Something third party is often easier.  It also often means buying yet more
proprietary software :(

Take care,

techtalk at linuxchix.org   http://www.linuxchix.org

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