[clug] Any 'triple boot' experts on list? (Vista, XP, Linux) [SOLVED]

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Thu Jul 17 13:38:20 GMT 2008

steve jenkin wrote on 10/7/08 9:42 AM:

[Documented in case anyone diagnoses this as a linux problem]

As a number of you pointed out, "My grandma dual boots and reconfigures
XP & Linux ". Absolutely correct - and I've done it myself for yonks.

Here's what was wrong...

I'd zapped the XP bootloader (NTLDR/NTDETECT/BOOT.INI) with the Vista
loader by running, within XP, Neosmart's 'EasyBCD' - it didn't just
modify the Vista partition - I hadn't understood fully just what it did.

The Vista bootloader (BCD/winload) is like early LILO - it remembers
block numbers, doesn't understand the filesystem & paths like grub.
What I was seeing was Vista bootloader being started and then completely
failing. No errors, no identification, no nothing. Black screen.

XP boot normally needs:
 - MBR (maybe plus a boot sector in block 0 of partition)
 - partition marked 'active'
 - /NTLDR (same as /BOOT/NTLDR)
 - /NTDETECT (same as in /BOOT)
 - (valid) BOOT.INI - pointing to the current partition

The solution was 2 steps:

(1) boot XP via recovery CD (FixNTLDR from <http://ntldrmissing.com>) in
lieu of having full install disks and selecting the 'R' for Recovery
mode & running 'FIXMBR'.
Having booted XP, run 'EasyBCD' again and delete the BCD setup, then use
'diagnostics' menu to reset the MBR of the disk.

This wipes any other bootloader config (ie removed grub install).

(2) reinstall grub onto HDD. [note: following not literal commands]
boot ubuntu from CD.
mount ubuntu partition of /dev/sda on /XXX
run grub-install --root-directory=/XXX /dev/sda
umount /XXX
backup disk
Enjoy :-)

> I'd settle for any 'Vista' plus anything expert :-)
> -> Does anyone else on the group boot Vista-XP-Linux, especially w/o
> install media? How have you managed/solve it?
> I've discovered a major difference with managing/moving/co-booting Vista:
>   they *finally* run a 'boot manager' (think LILO).
> It comprehensively ignores the normal 'active' flag in partitions by
> fdisk. i.e. with a Vista & XP partition, marking the 'XP' partition the
> only active partition changes nothing. Still boots into Vista.
> And you can't move the position of the Vista boot loader (winload.exe) -
> think early LILO. (The Neosmart Visa Repair CD sorta fixes this.)
> If the laptop vendor actually supplied 'install media', not "preloaded"
> system (with rescue/recovery - revert to factory state) this would be a
> lot easier.  I have yet to follow the 'convert/manipulate the preload'
> line of investigation.
> I've discovered some tools (Neosmart "Vista Repair Disk" & EasyBCD), the
> new (BOOTMGR) and old (NTLDR), and the new Vista tool bcdedit.

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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