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Thread: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

  1. #1

    Question Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Hi

    I want to upgrade one of my rigs from pure SuSE 10.3 to multiboot SuSE 11 / Windoze XP /C.A.E. Linux 2008 (it's based on PCLinux 2007).

    Hardware works 100% (...tested separately for each OS - no surprises here...).

    HDD will be 320GB. PCLinux 2007 must go on a single (root & user unified,...required by software...) partition 20-25GB in size. The rest can be shared between XP and SuSE with two partitions for each.

    Since I haven't tried this before, I am looking for advice:

    1. Am I right, that I should start with XP installation first?
    2. Which one to install second, SuSE or PCLinux?
    3. GRUB is set up automatically or do I have to do it manually?

    Any hints, suggestions, points of caution, pointers?


    Many Thanks in advance
    JR

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    From reading up on it, and from dual-booting OpenSUSE 11.0 and XP myself, I believe that you must install XP first for OpenSUSE to recognize it and be able to boot into it through GRUB. As for the second question: I'm not sure which you should install next. My suggestion (not a fact, because I am not sure if this is correct) would be to install PCLinux first so OpenSUSE can recognize the Operating Systems and create mount points for them. The last question: I only have XP installed, other than OpenSUSE, but when you install OpenSUSE, YaST will automatically create a mount point for XP, but I'm not sure with PCLinux. If GRUB does not automatically recognize PCL, then when you get to the Disk section of your installation, you can edit the partitioning settings for GRUB and your OpenSUSE system to create a mount point for it. I have not done this personally, so I don't want to lead you off in the wrong direction, but this would be where you can create the mount point if you know what you are doing. Sorry for the lack of knowledge on the PCLinux section of your question, but I have only dual-booted Windows XP with OpenSUSE 10.3 and then OpenSUSE 11.0.

    Hope that clears some questions up.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    XP requires you to set aside the first partition on the first drive for the Microsoft bootloader codes. You can get around this with fancy footwork but with a fresh hard drive to work with there's no point or apparent reason to circumvent XP's requirement.

    I think you should install Suse last so Suse can include the prior two into it's Grub code in menu.lst. We can assist if something strange happens because we understand Suse (a bit) whereas we can't be quite a s supportive if you do the reverse and try to get PCLinux to incorporate Suse & windows into its boot code.

    Suse's Grub sets itself up automatically during the installation. There are magic scripts in Yast that make the correct entries for the other OSes in Suse's Grub menu file (menu.lst).

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Apologizing for the late reply (had some major DSL problems) here is an update:

    I carried out all of the OS installs following provided advice and everything went really smooth. To be specific, the installation sequence is WinXP first, then CAELinux (PCLOS2007) and finally SuSE. Both SuSE and PCLOS recognize WinXP and automatically allocate mount points for the relevant partitions but they are agnostic to one another. Even SuSE, that was installed last, ignores the PCLOS partition. That could be either a plus or a minus - depending on how you look at it... For me it is definitively preferable, so I'm happy with it. The chain loading sequence with GRUB works Ok too with SuSE loading its boot options by default and showing WinXP and CAELinux entries. If CAELinux is chosen, the PCLOS boot screen gets loaded having separate CAELinux and WinXP options. My only problem is that I'm out of partitions. Originally what would be ideal in terms of partitioning scheme was:
    - 1 swap partition
    - 1 NTFS partition for WinXP
    - 1 FAT32 partition to store files accessible to all OSes
    - 1 ext3 partition for CAELinux/PCLOS (root+user)
    - 1 ext3 partition for SuSE (root)
    - 1 ext3 partition for SUSE (user)

    That makes number of primary partitions 5 whereas 4 is the limit and hence SuSE is forced to install to a single partition .
    Is there any way to circumvent this?

    Many Thanks for the help
    Best Regards
    JR

  5. #5

    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    ...to clarify my last question, is it possible to have the installer allocate an extended partition for SuSE with two logical drives one for root and the other for user?

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    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroberts View Post
    ...to clarify my last question, is it possible to have the installer allocate an extended partition for SuSE with two logical drives one for root and the other for user?
    If you wish to have more than 4 functional partitions, then you must use 1 of the 4 as an extended, containing the remaining partitions as logicals. So, according to your post above, you cannot use logicals because all 4 of the primary slots have been used for regular primaries, i.e., you don't have a primary available to use as the extended. I'm afraid that you'll need to delete the 4th, re-create it as an extended, create a first logical (so this is now partition 5) and re-install PCL on it, and then create how ever many more logicals you want for SuSE.

    There are alternatives to the above, but unless you really want to go there, I won't. In each, you're doing even more re-installs and/or the numbering in the partition table gets strange and/or other risks get enter in. Best to keep it straightforward.

    The conventional approach would have been to install XP on the first partition. Also just fyi note that this is not strictly required for XP; what is required is that the Windows "system volume" which holds the boot loader, be on the partition that is marked "active" (in the table). The Windows MBR bootstrap program is hard-coded to hand-off to the active partition's boot sector, whichever partition that may be. Chain loading from grub is doing exactly the same thing, i.e., handing off to the Windows system volume boot sector, except, that grub does not use the active flag to find it, you tell it which partition in menu.lst (and hence the active flag is not used).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    No problem about the reinstall; I was going to do it anyway -
    for unrelated reasons (...to try a newer PCLos version).
    To retrace my installation steps:
    > I started out with the HDD maker's software to allocate two primary partitions one NTFS the other FAT32, leaving the rest of the space unallocated
    > I installed normally WinXP
    > I installed PCLos. After examination, it seems the installer that PCLos uses, does create an extended partition with two logicals one main partition and one for swap.
    > Finally I installed SuSE. It appears (if I'm guessing correctly...) that since there already was an extended partition (occupied by PCLos) and SuSE could not allocate space on it the only allowable partitioning scheme could be for one more primary and this was what actually happened...

    If I got it right, and use a partitioning tool like GParted beforehand, I would create manually a swap partition and a primary for PCLos and force it to install there instead of leaving it to create an extended for itself. In that case will SuSE go for an extended during installation, or should I prepare all partitions beforehand?

    Thanks
    Best Regards
    JR

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    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Sorry, I mis-read your earlier post listing the partitions. I incorrectly read this to be the order you were using, with swap the first. My bad.

    I have to assume that the PCL install partition logic determined to create an extended because otherwise it would have taken the two remaining primaries, leaving no room for expansion. So the extended is in the 3rd primary slot. Leaving only the remaining primary for openSUSE. So, yes, your conclusions are right.

    I don't know whether the PCL installer gives the same granular control as does SuSE's. So, you may want/need to set the PCL partitions up beforehand. How you set it up is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I would use #1 #2 as you have for XP and FAT32, then #3 for swap, then make #4 the extended which will use all the remaining space. Then add the logicals (i.e., #5, etc.) - as long as you have sufficient space, you can create however many makes sense, in the order that makes sense (e.g., 1 for root, 1 for /home for PCL, then again the same for SuSE).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Many thanks for the input. Agrees with what I was thinking.
    Will do with a fresh install from scratch and revert with an update. Will have to try some things first, though...I would like to use the newer CAELinux 2008 which is based on an updated PCL. Problem is there is a bug in a kernel module that hangs during bootup from the LiveDVD. Only safe mode w/o ACPI starts normally. I will try to see if I can install it like that and then do an update (will probably update the kernel as well...) to see if this fixes the problem. Well, anyway this is irrelevant to my original question, but an in-between hindrance nevertheless...

    Best Regards
    JR

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Multiboot config with SuSE 11, PCLinux2007 and XP?

    Just one additional thought . . . if you want to create the partition setup in advance (it's not wise to create the Linux partitions with XP), you can use a live-CD to do that. You can also format in advance, although it is preferable to format with the distro that you are installing.

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