I have the identical configuation described in the origional posting, but I am
trying to manage it a little better and would greatly appreciate any help any
of you may offer.
I too highly recommend a product from www.powerquest.com, PartionMagic which
contains BootMagic. That is how I initially partitioned my hard drive. The
latest version of PartionMagic even formats linux ext2 and swap drives. Since
I just went through this process, I'll explain it in painful detail here.
First, I partitioned three primary partitions, in the following order, on the
hard disk: one about 100M for LILO, one about 750M for NT's primary partion in
which I just put the OS files, and one 750M primary partition for Win98 which
again only holds the OS files. Then I have a large extended partion which
holds the following logical partions in the following order: a 125M linux
swap partition, a 1G linux ex2 partition mounted as /usr which holds all the
linux installation, a 750M linux ext2 partion mounted as /home for personal
files, a 1.25G NTFS partition for WinNT application files, a 750M NTFS partion
for personal files for WinNT, a 1G FAT32 partion for Win98 application files,
a 1G FAT32 partition for Win98 personal files and finally a 500M FAT disk for
any files I want shared across all three platforms. This may seem a little
bizerko overkill, but in terms of both organization and ease of use, it is
virtually ideal. The only reason it's not ideal is my problem which I will
describe below. But first I'll outline what I learned during this
First: Get PartionMagic or possibly it's only real competitor System
Commander Deluxe (only if it supports formating linux disks). It may seem a
little pricey, at like 45-65 dollars, but it is worth it's weight in gold for
several reasons that I would gladly expound upon if anyone is interested. But
the bottom line was that it was what made this entire setup possible, because
it could format linux ext2 and swap disks/partitions.
Second: As Derek stated, install linux last and only use Disk Druid or their
fdisk utility to set the mount points for the linux disks/partitions. As I
understand it, this is sort of like a naming and recognition funtion more than
anything else, so that linux knows what disks are what. When I tried to do
this by installing linux first and let it format the linux disks/partitions,
it did some wacky things, got very confused and had some problems with setting
the active primary partition properly.
Third: Use PartionMagic to partition the drives and format them first. Then
set the active primary partition to either the WinNT or Win98 primary
partition and install that operating system. Then install, switch the active
primary partition to the other Windows disk and install that operating
system. Some items to note. Win98 doesn't understand anything about NTFS or
linux disks/partitions, so it totally ignores them. Thus, in the
implementation described above, Win98 sees the FAT32 primary partition as C:,
the FAT32 Win98 Apps partition as D:,the Win98 Data parition as E:, and the
common FAT parition as F:. WinNT doesn't really understand linux partitions
at all, and is unsure of FAT32 partitions. So it "sees" its primary NTFS
partition as C:, the NTFS WinNT Apps partition as D:, and the NTFS WinNT Data
partition as E:. Then it gets unsure of the FAT32 paritions. It sees
something there, but is confused by what exactly it is. This initially caused
confusion in Windows Explorer, but there is a Disk Administrator utility under
the start menu, under Administrative Tools. With this, you can assign drive
letters to the various paritions. What I then did was set the Win98 Apps
FAT32 partition to F:, the Win98 Data FAT32 partiton to G: and the common FAT
parition H:. Now NT understood the exsistence of the FAT32 partitions, but
couldn't read or write to them. This isn't really a problem. Finally, and
this is what keeps this from being absolutely perfect, I installed linux,
putting LILO in the first primary linux ext2 partition.
This virtually works like a champ because each OS is compartmentalized and I
have a FAT disk at the end which all three OSs can share and use. The ONLY
problem with this is in switching between the OSs. When I initally loaded
linux first, LILO said that it could optionally boot to any OS on the machine,
which would have been perfect. I start up the machine, pick what OS I want to
use then and away it goes. If I want to switch between them, I just had to
reboot and rechoose. Unfortunately this wasn't entirely accurate. I believe
the problem is that when LILO goes to do it's thing, it just seems to launch
off the appropriate OS without doing some additional work to the primary
partitions. The problems lies with WinNT and Win98 and how they handle
primary partitions. See, only one of the three primary partitions can be set
to active at once. And for minimum confusion, the others should be hidden.
Win95/98 has the biggest problem with this, but with it's primary parition
located after the other two, this didn't seem to be an issue. However, it can
potentially lead to very bad behavior. Furthermore, when I used LILO to load
either of the Win OSs, and their primary parition was set to hidden, or if the
other Win OS was not hidden, the Wins got very confused. Now, the beauty of
BootMagic is that it handles this sort of thing for you. When you tell it
what OS you want to use, it hides the other primary partitions and reboots and
starts the new OS. A small glitch in this is in the BootMagic for WinNT
executable because when it starts up, it says it can't read the first primary
partition, but it doesn't have any problem setting that one (LILO and hence
linux) as the active primary partition at reseting the configuration
correctly. So, I can be in either Win98 or WinNT and switch to any OS
easily. If I am in linux however, I have to either use a BootMagic disk or
the PartitionMagic rescue disk to switch to a new OS. However, I believe
there is a solution to this.
First, there are some files on the PartitionMagic disk which have something to
do with installing at least some part of PartitionMagic in linux. I haven't
really had a chance to fully explore this option however.
What I really want to do is install BootMagic on the hard drive and move LILO
to an new logical parition that I'll create with ParitionMagic. Then
BootMagic will take charge on start up and handle all the uglyness of setting
the active partition and hiding the other two. Then the worst case senerio to
switching between OSs is a reboot of the machine. So my question really boils
down to how do I install just LILO and install it to a logical partition?
This really was quite verbose and some small details were left out because
it's so long now, that I wonder if anyone will read it. This really is a FAQ
entry or HOWTO waiting to happen. If anyone has any questions or suggestions,
please just let me know. Hope this is helpful.
Derek Bem wrote:
> I have identical configuration (with 95, not 98), and Linux installed in
> series of logical drives in extended partiton. A few remarks:
> * I would very highly recommend BootMagic (www.powerquest.com), which
> allows you to manipulate partitions (now, from ver 4, also Linux
> partitions), change their size, position, select which primary is
> active. I use BM from ver 2 and found it to be the best tool for
> managing hard disks. Very reliable too. Not too many people know that it
> can also be run from diskette on any machine -- it does NOT have to be
> installed on your disk! You can even use it for partition management on
> Linux only machine! It boots it's own mini-DOS (Caldera), so in a sense
> it is not a Microsoft dependent tool.
> * from some reason LILO refused to install itself to hard disk, but
> installed itself happily to a diskette. Now I can dual boot NT - Win95,
> or boot Linux when I use booting diskette. This may actually be safer,
> as opposed to fiddling with boot sectors and LILO. This is only booting
> diskette, so once Linux is up you remove it and forget about it. And
> whatever happens to my NT/Win95 partitions, I can always boot Linux.
> For your reference this is my setup which works very well:
> (1) primary with NT4
> (2) primary with Win95
> only one of (1) or (2) is selected as active on boot with BootMagic (a
> part of PartitionMagic), but can also be selected from NT boot loader if
> prefered. Second, inactive primary partition is not visible after boot
> (3) extended partition with many logical partitions inside:
> (3a) series of logical partitions for Linux and swap
> (3b) FAT disk D: accessible from NT, Win95 or Linux
> (3c) FAT disk E: accessible from NT, Win95 or Linux
> Oded Arbel wrote:
> > Mike Varley wrote:
> > > I've just received delivery of a new box specs: dual PII 450, Asus MB
> > > with on board SCSI, 9GB
> > > Seagate Cheeta HD and 128MB RAM.
> > WOW !!
> > > I want to be able to boot into any of Win NT, Win 98 and
> > > Linux (Redhet 5.2 probably). Can anyone give me some guidance on the
> > > best order to install them, what partions to create and things to be
> > > careful about.
> > Install Win98, WinNT, and only then Linux.
> > WinNT will detect Win98 and setup it's bootloader to load both. then
> > RedHat will detect the two wins and set LILO to load all three of them.
> > you can setup WinNT's OS Loader to run Linux (theoreticly) but I'm not
> > sure how it's done, you better stick with LILO (much safer from the
> > Linux stand point) also, when WinNT first boots after you installed
> > Linux, it will probably complain about Linux and advise you to remove
> > it, or at least LILO. do what you think is right :-) , just make sure it
> > doesn't do it for you.
> > Also , Linux doesnot read NTFS currently, so you might want to install
> > WinNT on a FAT partition, maybe on the same
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