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Old 02-15-2009, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default Multibooting Linux Problems

So I wanted to try out a couple different linux distros all at once and install them all onto my partitioned hard drive. Windows XP is on another drive. I can install one and it will work fine with dual booting XP and that distro. Once I install the other it doesn't recognize the previously installed distro in the bootloader, so I can't boot to it... The distros I have installed so far are Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10. I tried wiping out the partitioned hard drive and starting over, but Ubuntu installed the GRUB bootloader on my Windows hard drive, so if Ubuntu is not installed, it's not going to load anything... How do I get this to work with all 3 first, and then go on to maybe 2 more Linux distros and Windows 7 beta 1? Also, I'd like Xp to be the main boot OS. So like if I turn on my computer and don't select any OS to startup, it will start automatically with XP. Does XP have to be installed last to do this? I might be having to reinstall XP anyway to get rid of the GRUB bootloader... Thanks for any help. I'm not exactly new to Linux, just never installed more than 1 distro with Windows at a time.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

Wow that was a mouthfull, and a handful to take in all at one time. Let me see if I have this all down. You have 1 hdd. On that hdd you have XP and GRUB, which you got from Ubuntu. You have also tried to install Fedora but it wouldn't boot Ubuntu after that.

Next you uninstalled Fedora and Ubuntu and are left with GRUB on your windows partition. Why is GRUB on your windows partition to begin with, did you install it there?

Lets start there and I will do my best to help you with this.

cheers!
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

I had this problem when I was multi booting with Linux. I don't remember all the steps but I think all you have to do is manually add the OS entries and where they are on the HDD to GRUB. Some google searches should start you off well if no one here can help.

Every OS likes to think they are the most important one ever so they always rewrite the boot loader and mess up everything else, that's why doing it manually is the only way to go. Presuming you installed the OS's correctly onto the HDD.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

I ended up figuring the thing out. Here's how I did it:

Drive setup:
Drive 1: Windows XP
Drive 2: Data drive
Drive 3: Ubuntu|Fedora|Mint|Future Linux install|Winows Vista|Windows 7|Linux swap|extra space
Drive 4: Data drive

I did it all right the first 2 times except that it installed the GRUB loader on the MBR automatically because I wasn't aware this was a bad thing. I found out how to restore the MBR and formatted the Linux drive again. I found a deal called EasyBCD, and figured it would work with XP, but it wouldn't. So I installed Vista to be able to use EasyBCD. I got that running and followed instructions on the EasyBCD site on how to set it up, installing the boot loaders of every Linux distro on it's own partition instead of messing with the master boot. It wasn't too hard after all, and now I am running 6, and soon to be 7 OSes. I just partitioned the drive beforehand to make it easier to install all the OSes without dealing with that during install. I setup XP as the default boot OS as I wanted as well. I wrote this post using Linux Mint.

Thanks for you who tried to understand and help my situation.

Also, anyone have a suggestion for a 4th Linux distro to play around with that's totally different from Ubuntu and Fedora? So far based on the installer, Mint looks like a derivative of Ubuntu. I tried OpenSuse, but it's not wanting to look at the partitions of my 3rd drive. I guess it wants a whole drive to install to or something...
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

Hi,

Glad to hear that you were able to get thing under control. I would recommend Slackware or one of the slack derivatives. Take a look at Distrowatch They should be able to help you to find a 4th distro.

Cheers!
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

Alright, d/ling Slackware now. Looks alright from info and screenshots. Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Multibooting Linux Problems

Good luck on our install. I haven't had enough room on my hdd, to do a multi-boot linux install, or really wanted to do it for some of my projects. If you need any help just ask and you shall receive.

Cheers!
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