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GRUB booting from FAT32?

From: Greg Trounson
Subject: GRUB booting from FAT32?
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 10:43:40 +1300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-GB; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030624


I have a dual-boot Linux/WinXP system that needs to be able to reboot to
either OS on demand.

I figured the best(tidiest) way to do this is to have each OS modify
GRUBs menu.lst and set the default before rebooting.  This would mean
putting menu.lst et. al. somewhere where both Windows and Linux can see
them, either installing an EXT2/3 writing driver under windows, or
putting menu.lst on a FAT partition.  After playing with some windows
EXT2 drivers, I decided to go with making the /boot partition FAT.

My /boot resides on a 256MB EXT3 partition at the beginning of the disk

I would much rather use FAT32 than FAT16, as I don't fancy having to
truncate all my kernel names and system maps to 8.3 characters.

I copied all files from the /boot partition to a safe location,
re-defined /boot as FAT32 (with fdisk and mkdosfs) and copied the files
back.  I had to copy grub.conf to menu.lst, as it used to be symlinked.

Now when I reboot, I get an Error 17 ("cannot mount selected partition").

If I redefine the partition as FAT16(again with fdisk and mkdosfs) and
re-copy the files, I don't get Error 17, I get Error 15 ("file not
found").  I think I know why the Error 15 occurrs, since the menu.lst is
located in /grub relative to the partition, not /boot/grub.

This would suggest to me that GRUB can read FAT16 but not FAT32, which
seems to go against what's stated in the GRUB manual.

Has anyone else had any luck getting GRUB to read FAT32?


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