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GRUB and that "other" OS...

From: Hans Quennet
Subject: GRUB and that "other" OS...
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 07:46:20 -0700 (PDT)

Hi!  Here's hoping that this amuses you, if nothing
else.  Any comments will be welcomed,
helpful ones even more so...

I've fooled with computers for years; my first being a
TI-99/4A.  Talk about capabilities!
My first IBM-style box was an 8088.  And so came the
world of MS-DOS, etc.

I've tried various versions of Linux over the past few
years, starting with Slackware, RedHat 6.1 and an
earlier version of Mandrake, FreeBSD, then SuSE 7.0,
now RedHat 7.2.

I reckon I understand DOS; I've learned to appreciate
the Linux way of computing; harddrive crashes seem to
run hand in hand with trying Linux on the same drive
as Windows.  I think I finally learned to stop doing
that.  Once harddrive capacities grew to the 40GB
size, one just hates to have to start over from
scratch.  Several partitions are better than one; so
much less trouble...

Next, networking!  Thankfully, I've figured out how to
add my Linux systems to the Windows network, and am
happy moving files back and forth, able to save my
most "important" stuff, particularly large downloaded
installation files.  The other two current machines
are a P133 with Win98SE and SuSE 7.0 on a second
drive.  The third is an even older system with a 5400
rpm 20GB drive, my official "filing cabinet."  All
three boxes are networked together and any version of
Linux or Win98 are quite able to read all other

When I first set up RedHat on the P4, I intentionally
declined installing a boot loader, opting for the
"boot from floppy" option instead.  This worked fine,

My problem, since installing GRUB yesterday morning,
is that RedHat 7.2 now boots from the hard drive but
the "C" drive, containing Win98SE is no longer
bootable, neither via GRUB boot loader, nor any other
mechanism, boot floppies of various configurations,
CDRom, whatever.  And, since SuSE on the other
harddrive launched via Win98's Boot Magic, it is also
unbootable now, it's own boot floppy simply ends in a
"kernel panic" state.

When I installed GRUB, options to the DOS menu item
included the recommended 

   grub> rootnoverify (hd0,0)
   grub> makeactive
   grub> chainloader +1

as I believe the instructions indicated.  Once I ran
/sbin/grub-install /dev/hda1
my happy little world changed somewhat.

To describe the system, 

Pentium P4, 1.6, 512 RAM, 32MB NVidia AGP, PCI
netcard, one 40GB drive (5 8MB partitions)
one cleared for the RedHat installation, leaving 4 DOS
partitions, C, D, E, and F.

RedHat installed nicely and recognized all hardware
whereas the SUSE 7.0 could not.  SuSE is installed on
the 15GB drive and is happy with the video card but
cannot deal with PCI sound (SB PCI128).

>From Windows, using PowerQuest's Boot Magic, I could
launch either Win98 on the C drive or SuSE on the
second harddrive.  Both drives are on one controller,
using the cable select setting on an 80 wire ribbon
cable.  LBA mode is obviously active.  DOS partitions
are set at Fat32.

Using GRUB again, I thought I'd try it on the RedHat
boot partition; no go.  No initial boot either.  Just
the happy word "GRUB" and nothing else.  Launched
RedHat from it's boot floppy, changed GRUB back again
to hda1.

RedHat boots, DOS does not.  LILO will not cooperate
as bootloader.  Booting the computer using the Win98
rescue floppy fails to recognize the first partition
(C drive).  Fdisk /mbr will not work since DOS can't
recognize the C drive at all.  Neither will BootMagic
rescue floppies, another rescue disk I created using
an AV package which has supposedly stored all
important disk sector data, and has been useful before
in recreating that drive's boot sector.  The C drive
is not accessible from any other mechanism but RedHat
where it is mounted as hda1.

RedHat can see it fine as it does the other three DOS

My last hope is to move various DOS files, using
RedHat and copying them to my other networked
machines, then doing a system format on the C drive.  

Never again will I have DOS and Linux on one
harddrive.  Too many failures, too much time spent
reinstalling and setting up operating systems.

I guess I'm hoping that you good folks might have some
helpful ideas on letting me recover this silly system.
 I can't say that I've ever been impressed with any
versions of RedHat that I have tried.  It was their
website and searching for boot loader options that led
me to GRUB and my current predicament.  So far, I have
found SuSE more "user friendly", easier to configure,
and hope to find the latest, 8.0, due for release next
week, as my (final) Linux distrubtion.

So, whenever you're done laughing, would you be kind
enough to send back a note, even if it's only to tell
me to go back to whatever I was doing before computers
came into my life?


Hans Quennet, address@hidden

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