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 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup
I recently installed redhat 9, rebooted, and received the GRUB geom
error.  I then blindly followed instructions at to
manually install GRUB. (/sbin/grub-install /dev/hda).

Now I receive ..grub loading .. ERROR 18 message.  Ok, what I would
like to do is setup a bootloader to dual boot: Windows 98/ Windows XP/
Redhat Linux 9.

Here is my current harddrive configuration:

Partitions on Primary Hard Drive #1
1 FAT32 40gig (hda1)
Extended Partition (hda2)
2 NTFS 30 gig (hda5)
3 FAT32 60gig (hda6)
4 hda8 19gig (linux partition (logical drive setup with XP on extended
5 hda7 102MB (ext3)
6 hda9 510MB (linux-swap)

Partitions on Slave Drive
1 fat32 12gig (hdb1)
Extended Partition (hdb2)
2 hdb5 NTFS 7gig

This information was provided by the Redhat Hardware Browser.  Now
that I've installed linux I can no longer boot to XP or 98 because my
MBR has been destroyed.  Does linux back the MBR upon install?  My OEM
version of XP from DELL does not provide a bootable XP CD so there is
no way to run the recovery console without reinstalling XP.  So now I
can't boot XP and I have to load a floppy just to get into linux.
Does anyone have any suggestions?  Although I'm new to linux I do
understand unix (grep sed awk ...etc).  Any help would be appreciated.

 Thu, 20 Oct 2005 23:54:14 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

I'm not clear what entry 4 means -- is it Linux or XP?
(If it actually contains XP but has partition type Linux
this might well cause confusion.)

If you are lucky, a copy of your MBR may have been saved in /boot/boot.0*
If I'm right you could restore this with dd:

dd if=boot.0800 of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

But save your present MBR first with

dd if=/dev/hda of=mbr bs=512 count=1

Timothy Murphy  
tel: +353-86-233 6090
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

 Fri, 21 Oct 2005 02:07:46 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

Entry 4 is Linux. I just used XP to create the logical drive.  Thanks
for your quick response.  I'll give it a try.  Any ideas on why the
GRUB won't work for booting linux from the hard drive?

 Fri, 21 Oct 2005 05:34:09 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

Well, I fixed the mbr problem by simply using fdisk /mbr.  I thought
this would destroy my xp installation but it did not.  I can safely
load the xp bootloader to get into xp.  However I did some research I
found that I must install /boot to the first 1024 cylindars of the
primary drive not the extended partition.  I guess what these means is
that I'll have to free up space on the win98 partition which contains
boot.ini.  I hope fips works for this because I'm not going to run out
and buy partition magic.  The question now is how can I safely move
boot.ini out of the first 1024 cylinders so that I can partition the
primary with /boot.  It seems to me if I did this I would have to
re-install every operating system I currently have.  Is this really
necessary to be able to boot linux from the hard drive?  I would
rather try and use some other unix bootloader like lilo if it's
possible to boot linux from the hard drive.  I can easily boot linux
from the floppy why can't I get this thing to boot from the hard
drive?  What options do I have?

 Fri, 21 Oct 2005 20:08:57 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

FWIW, if you're planning to use the WinXP boot loader to launch the GRUB
boot loader, and then to use the GRUB boot loader to boot Red Hat Linux
(this sequence is common on dual-boot systems),

    WinXP boot loader +--> GRUB boot loader +--> Red Hat Linux

then you probably do not need to worry about the 1024 cylinder limit WRT
your Linux /boot partition. IOW, the WinXP boot loader is probably
located within the 1024 cylinder limit. So once the WinXP boot loader is
running, you can use it to launch (for example) another boot loader
(GRUB) that is not located within the 1024 cylinder limit.

FWIW2, I cannot tell from your previous messages how, exactly, you're
intending to set up Linux on your hard disk. Here's what I see:

    hda7  102MB (ext3)
    hda8  19GB  (ext3 <?>)
    hda9  510MB (swap)

Specifically, I'm not sure how you are planning to use the two 'ext3'
partitions, hda7 and hda8. For example, do you want hda7 to be used for
your Linux /boot partition? If so, then you need to install the GRUB
boot loader on the hda7 partition, e.g.,

    /sbin/grub-install /dev/hda7

and not on the hard drive's master boot record (MBR).

After you install the GRUB boot loader on the Linux /boot partition
(which I'm assuming is hda7), I recommend you edit the GRUB config file
'/etc/grub.conf' and add/change the following comment line:
     # boot=/dev/hda7

Once you've installed the GRUB boot loader on your /boot partition, you
need to create a file that contains a copy of the first 512 bytes of the
/boot partition:

    dd if=/dev/hda7 of=bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1

The 'bootsect.lnx' file must now be moved/copied into the WinXP boot
directory -- i.e., the directory where WinXP's 'boot.ini' file resides.
If boot.ini is located on the NTFS partition (hda5), you'll need to copy
the file 'bootsect.lnx' onto a floppy,

    mcopy bootsect.lnx a:

reboot the machine into WinXP, and then copy the file 'bootsect.lnx'
from the floppy into the WinXP boot directory (i.e., into the directory
that has WinXP's 'boot.ini' file). [FWIW, you can use these same
instructions if your WinXP boot partition is the FAT32 partition (hda1),
rather than the NTFS partition.]

For example, if the 'boot.ini' file is located in the WinXP directory
"D:\", you would boot the machine into WinXP, open a Win32 console
window (a.k.a., a "DOS" window), and copy the file 'bootsect.lnx' from
the floppy into the "D:\" directory:

    copy  A:\bootsect.lnx  D:\

Now that the 'bootsect.lnx' file is in place, you need to edit the file
'boot.ini' and add an entry in the '[operating systems]' section for the
'bootsect.lnx' file, e.g.,

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    D:\bootsect.lnx="GRUB Boot Loader"

Of course, the descriptive text within the quotes can be anything you
like; it doesn't have to say, "GRUB Boot Loader".

Now reboot your machine. When the WinXP boot loader appears, it should
now have a new option

    GRUB Boot Loader

along with the original WinXP boot options. If you select the "GRUB Boot
Loader" option, this *should* (famous last words) launch the GRUB boot
loader. You can then use the GRUB boot loader to boot Red Hat Linux.


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 Sat, 22 Oct 2005 06:24:24 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

my /boot-partition is on an extended one; hda9
the cylinder thing is old.
and i use grub

 Sat, 22 Oct 2005 07:02:49 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

I thought I would give you a little more info.  I am still getting the
GRUB geom error after following the bootsect.lnx procedure.  What am I
doing wrong.  Within grub in linux when I type find /boot/grub/stage1
the system says that it is stored under (hd0,6).  I think I have the
grub.conf setup correctly maybe I'm wrong.  Also my BIOS tells me my
160 gig hard drive is only 131gig (XP does report correctly 160gig) Is
this the problem.  Thanks in advance for your help. One last note I
did update the boot.ini per the procedure.

info from the df linux command
[root@localhost root]# df
Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda8             19544272   1676864  16874596  10% /
/dev/hda7               101089      9500     86370  10% /boot
none                    127536         0    127536   0% /dev/shm
[root@localhost root]#

info from redhat's hardware browser
hda2 extended
 hda5 ntfs  (windows xp) (40 gig)
 hda6 fat32  (80 gig)
 hda7 ext3  /boot  (102 meg)
 hda8 ext3  /       (19gig)
 hda9 linux-swap     (510meg)
hda1  fat32          (dos boot windows 98)

hdb    (spare hard drive on slave ide)
hdb2 extended
 hdb5 ntfs
 hdb1 fat32

contents of grub.conf
# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,6)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda8
#          initrd /initrd-version.img LABEL=/ hdd=ide-scsi
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.20-8)
        root (hd0,6)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.20-8 ro root=/dev/hda8 hdd=ide-scsi
        initrd /initrd-2.4.20-8.img

 Sat, 22 Oct 2005 20:24:26 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

Your 'grub.conf' file (below) looks OK to me...

I'm no GRUB expert, but after reading performing a Google web search
using the keywords,

     grub geom error

I found some web sites that describe some of the conditions that cause
GRUB to emit the "Geom ERROR" error message. One of these conditions is
that the BIOS is unable to detect the full hard disk capacity. For
example, in case of a 40 GB disk, if the BIOS detects only the first 32
GB, and Linux is installed on the last 8 GB, GRUB will emit the "Geom
ERROR" error message.[1]

Looking at the hard disk info you provided (from the redhat hardware
browser), it looks to me like this might your situation -- i.e., your
Linux /boot partition is located beyond the BIOS's 131GB boundary. It's
hard to say, for sure, however, since you didn't mention the size of
your 'hda1' partition. I'll assume that your hda1 partition occupies
more-or-less all of the remaining space on your hda disk:

    hda1 = 161G - 40G - 80G - 102M - 19G - 501M ~= 21G


     hda1   21 GB   ~0-21 GB
     hda5   40 GB   ~21-61 GB
     hda6   80 GB   ~61-141 GB
     hda7   102 MB  ~141-141.1 GB

Note that the hda7 partition starts an an offset of approximately 141GB,
which is beyond the BIOS-reported limit of 131GB. This may be why the
BIOS is unable to access the /boot partition.



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 Sun, 23 Oct 2005 05:56:02 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

Think Jim is onto the nature of your problem.  My WD hard disk install
guide mentions that the "current standard" IDE/ATA interface cannot
handle space above 137.4 GB (28 bit address scheme).  Result:  you
need a BIOS update for the bios to see the whole disk.  Have you
checked your BIOS's notion of your hard disk layout?  I think GRUB
needs to work with BIOS disk info to find Stage 2 (Linux is not loaded
yet).  BTW the 1024 cylinder limit should not apply to a system less
that 5 years old or so.

IF you can get your BIOS to see the whole hd, you may still have a
problem with XP.  From the same guide:  "Current Windows operating
systems (98,NT,Me,2000,XP) do NOT support hard drives larger than
137GB."  Info to the same effect could be found at the MS site, but
can't remember just where.  This is why newer, larger hd's include a
controller card and system drivers!  Almost all desktop systems need
them.  And they generated lots of mail traffic after Christmas!  If XP
can see 160GB you've probably got updated drivers on your system,

You did not mention how this 160GB hd came to be in your system.  Did
you add it to an "older" (ie., < 6 mos) system?  Did you install a hd
controller card?  Did you check out the web site of your hd
manufacturer for updated utilities / advice?  (Maxtor and WD were
awfully slow back in Jan-Feb).  In case your wondering,  once Linux is
up it sees the hd without the aid of BIOS calls or info, so is not so
easily baffled by your 160GB hd.

FWIW do NOT trust Win's fdisk to touch an extended partition it shares
with Linux!  I managed to zero out some 10MB of Linux that way and had
to re-install after confirming the damage with a disk editor.  So you
may want to look into Partition Magic or Norton's Disk Utilities in
the long run.

Hope you get it running,

 Tue, 25 Oct 2005 02:10:15 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup

The hard drive I recently purchased was a Maxtor 160Gig with a free
ATA133 promise card (179$ - $50 rebate still no rebate yet).  I first
installed the drive with the card and everything seemed fine but then
I started getting the dos message 'abort/retry/ignore' error reading
drive message.  FDISK would'nt even recognize the drive at all at
times.  I figured either the card was bad or my cable connector was
bad since it started to come apart slightly at the end of the master
ide connector.  That's when I decided to stick with the primary ide
mobo port.  FWIW here is the specs of my system:

DELL 4100 DIMENSION (may 2001)
20gig quantam fire ball
160gig maxtor diamond plus
DVD - ?
256M ram
32M ATI 128 RAGE Video
P3 933MHZ

One BIOS update I downloaded on DELL's sight mentioned that is was for
correcting the HDD size.  But I did not notice a difference when I
upgraded.  I also have not been able to confirm that I have the BIOS
limitation.  Is there software that I can use to check this?  Also if
I decide to repartition I would prefer to use XP on my 20gig drive.
The XP utility seems straight forward and it actually worked the first
time I used it even though it warned that the MAXTOR was currently in
use.  Has anyone else used this XP utility for partitioning and

 Tue, 25 Oct 2005 21:43:04 GMT   
 GRUB optimal dual xp boot setup


Sorry I missed you yesterday, couldn't get to the computer.

Not sure that the BIOS, per se, will present any limitations once the
Promise card is functioning properly in your system.  It will
effectively take over the BIOS functions regarding the hard disk once
your booted.  Double check you have the latest BIOS update for your
system just in case.
Consider your options, check with MS regarding large HD issues.  I
know they were working on newer utility versions so check for any that
apply to you.  Check the Linux How 2's for large disk support if you
want some background.  Also try Googling to see if any issues crop up
with your card or disk or Linux or XP.  It's amazing what you can turn
up when you throw several key terms into the search box.

You need to get XP running properly first, and I'm not much help there
(stuck at 98 on a new 40GB hd with Linux using 30GB).  The WD drive
sheet mentions that they use a Promise Ultra100 TX2 IDE Contoller
(card software), so I'm assumming your's is same or similar.  Also I'm
not familiar with the software included with the Maxtor for setting up
your HD, but in the past both used the same engine, tuned to their own

Mine included a handy utility for copying a drive image from the old
drive to the new one (like Norton Ghost with just 2 options).  Did you
simply copy your XP from the old to the new drive?
Is the old drive still carrying that original XP image?  If so, I
think I would start over by deleting everything on the new drive,
partitions and all, just as it came from the box.  And_ be sure_ to
use the new ribbon cable (or comparable) that came with the new unit
if you can.  These newer, faster drives are picky about the quality of
the signal on the wire.

If you still have a working XP image on the old drive, you can copy it
to the new drvie, or as you say, keep XP on the 20GB unit, and use
some portion of the 160GB unit for Linux, and save the rest for later?
 You've certainly got lot's of choices, but the first thing is to get
your new drive working with XP, and I bet your instructions assume you
want your new drive to boot to Windows.  And with XP on the new drive
and the old drive you'ld have a ready made backup system of sorts.

I would be concerned to verify that my new drive/card are properly
working, and it may be easier and more important to do that with XP
than Linux (both because you're more familiar with XP and there are
dual-boot issues which generally say to get XP running right first).
160 GB is certainly big enough to hold both with lots of room for

I am certain you will have to get the card/system/disk working
correctly to get full use of the new drive and to avoid possible
corruption from utilities that don't know better.  Once you get that
settled you can then get Linux running fairly easy.  But DO check out
how to dual-boot XP and Linux _before_  you start the Linux install,
so you know your options and how to implement them.


 Thu, 27 Oct 2005 16:02:38 GMT   
   [ 11 post ] 

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