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Thread: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

  1. #1
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    Default Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    I've been roundly criticised for holding/saying that the windows 2000 and xp installation disks will refuse to install if there is not a windows compatible partition first up on the hard drive. That's fine with me if I'm wrong so I seek your advice: Am I wrong or am I right?

    Thanks
    swerdna
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    If there is a primary partition marked Active/bootable and is not a Fat32 or NTFS then XP/2000 might not install, not sure due to not trying.

    XP on most comps does not need to be at sda1 as long as there is any primary partition of fat32/ntfs that it's boot files can be installed to. XP it self can be on a logical volume. Dueing install XP will make its partition with boot files active/bootable and write its boot code in the MBR.

    With some comps-- (XP will not install if 'grub' is installed in the MBR for some reason. There is also some indications XP might have problems if there is any linux partition.)

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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by LostFarmer View Post
    If there is a primary partition marked Active/bootable and is not a Fat32 or NTFS then XP/2000 might not install, not sure due to not trying.

    XP on most comps does not need to be at sda1 as long as there is any primary partition of fat32/ntfs that it's boot files can be installed to. XP it self can be on a logical volume. Dueing install XP will make its partition with boot files active/bootable and write its boot code in the MBR.

    With some comps-- (XP will not install if 'grub' is installed in the MBR for some reason. There is also some indications XP might have problems if there is any linux partition.)
    So let me get this right. Are you saying that the requirement is that either ntfs or fat must be in a primary partition, not necessarily the first, is that it?
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    When I get enough free time on hand. I'm going to try some combinations of partitioning to see what exactly can or cannot be done.
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    I create a Virtual Box HD and partitioned it like this:


    hda1 = linux ext3 primary
    hda2 = win ntfs primary

    hda3 = extended
    hda5 = win ntfs logical

    On booting the XP disc I could format and install to either hda2 or hda5

    I'm going to run an install proper and report back. See if it will actually boot.
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    I went back and changed the partitioning to leave windows with the only option of a logical partition - I removed the other ntfs primary. Windows could see the partition but didn't like it, no go for install. Yet it would install to the logical partition in the picture I gave above with another ntfs primary in place.

    This picture is showing Linux on the first primary
    Then XP primary and swap

    XP installed fine and then linux - and grub booting XP
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    So now I went back to the original setup, well thereabouts:


    Having the primary ntfs fools XP. Because it lets you select and format the logical partition and start the install:

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    However. Once windows gets to the next step after loading the files, it reboots. And of course it can't continue.

    So to summarize:

    Whilst I could do the above. It couldn't really install in the logical.

    It is however possible to install XP on a partition other than the FIRST primary, so long as it is installing to a Primary.

    Does that make sense?
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    I found a similar problem with windows 7. It refused to install on a pure linux box with no fat or ntfs primary partition.
    It needs this partition for ntldr.
    To get around boot problems in the old days, we would make the first bootable partition on the drive a small primary dos parttion, enough to hold lilo and the dos root.
    This overcame the problem of the bios not being able to see large drives.
    Linux and lilo never had a problem booting to anywhere on a large drive.

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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    Thanks very much for all of that Carl.

    In my head it's like this now:

    Primary partitions: One can install to any primary partition. If there is no windows-compatible partition earlier on the drive,the boot files (boot.ini etc) will go into the installation partition. If there is a windows-compatible partition earlier on the drive, the boot files will go into that partition rather than the installation partition.

    Extended partitions: You can install to an extended partition only if there exists a windows-compatible primary partition wher the windows installer can place the bootloader files.

    Is that the way you see it?
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    Default Re: Multibooting windows 2000 or xp from Linux

    @swerdna: there can be issues, but yes you can install XP without having a partition on the HDD. I've built numerous systems with new hdd's and installed XP to them.
    I did have troubles on used HDD's. I then use the dd command to clear the MBR, remove the partition table, and off I go, on a clean disk.
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