Bios as boot loader?

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curt_grymala
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Bios as boot loader?

Post by curt_grymala » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:47 am

As I've mentioned in a few places on these boards, I recently got a new computer. It's running a 64-bit dual-core processor, and came with an OEM version of Vista Home Premium pre-installed.

The first time I tried installing Linux, I killed the computer badly enough that I had to send it back to HP to get the hard drive repaired.

I then found out that Vista has a whole new file system, and that you can't resize any Vista partitions with conventional partitioning tools.

Needless to say, after having to send my computer back to get repaired, simply because I tried to install Linux, I am a little hesitant about the whole thing right now.

So, I had an idea. I can turn off my computer and remove the SATA drive on which Vista is installed. Then, I can hook up my secondary IDE drive and install Linux as though my computer is set up exclusively for Linux. Then, once I've got Linux up and running, and configured, I can put my SATA drive back in. Then, theoretically, I should be able to use my BIOS to decide which drive to boot from.

Does that sound like it will work? Has anyone else done anything like this?
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by henzenmann » Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:21 am

This should work even without removing the SATA drive.
The BIOS would not be the bootloader, but instead you'd have two bootloaders installed, the Windows one on the SATA drive, the Linux one (most likely grub) on the IDE drive.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by Sir Savant » Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:11 pm

If you can setup the IDE Drive as the first drive, then you can install GRUB to that drive and not touch the Vista drive at all. Remove the IDE Drive to go back to normal, or leave it in and dual-boot.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by nogginthenog » Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:02 am

I then found out that Vista has a whole new file system, and that you can't resize any Vista partitions with conventional partitioning tools.
AFAIK Vista still uses NTFS. I've got VIsta & XP installed on my work PC and XP can see the Vista partition no problem.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by curt_grymala » Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:20 pm

nogginthenog wrote:
I then found out that Vista has a whole new file system, and that you can't resize any Vista partitions with conventional partitioning tools.
AFAIK Vista still uses NTFS. I've got VIsta & XP installed on my work PC and XP can see the Vista partition no problem.
Vista uses NTFS, but it is apparently not the same NTFS that XP used. From what I can tell, it's actually called "Transactional NTFS". I'm not sure what all that means, but apparently it has something to do with being able to perform more actions at once.

Thanks for the info, guys. I'm downloading a Linux live DVD right now to see if I can get to the files on my external drive (at the moment, Windows crashes every time I try to access it, but I'm not sure which partition might have gone bad). Once I get them transferred properly, I plan to install SuSE as mentioned above.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by BlackAura » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:53 am

The on-disc format for Vista's version of NTFS is exactly the same as Windows XP's. They're both NTFS v3.1. Vista partitions can be freely read and written to by both Windows XP, and Linux (ntfs-3g).

However, some versions of ntfsresize (the tool Linux distros use to resize NTFS partitions) will damage Vista boot partitions, rendering them unbootable. All the other tools, including ntfsclone or partimage (to make an image of the partition) work just fine, so you can use a Linux boot disc to make an image of your Vista partition easily enough.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by Ex-Cyber » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:27 am

curt_grymala wrote:Vista uses NTFS, but it is apparently not the same NTFS that XP used. From what I can tell, it's actually called "Transactional NTFS". I'm not sure what all that means, but apparently it has something to do with being able to perform more actions at once.
"Transactional" is database jargon. What it means is that the system has the ability to commit a set of changes as a single unit, i.e. either all the changes are made, or none of them are made (in more general terms this is called atomicity). This is useful if you need to keep certain data structures synchronized. The classic example is transferring money from one account balance to another - you don't want to debit one account and then have the program or system interrupted by an error before you can credit the other.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the on-disk format changes at all.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by curt_grymala » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:01 pm

Okie dokie. Regardless, I have now installed OpenSuSE 10.2 on my IDE drive. It works. I've still got a lot of configuration to work on, especially considering that it did not seem to pick up on my network card (making it impossible for me to get on the Internet through SuSE - which is odd because the LiveDVD worked perfectly), but it does work. I then re-booted, and chose to boot off of my SATA drive, and Vista loaded up perfectly.

I then installed an ext2 driver on Vista, and was able to start pulling files off of my ext2 partition. I'm happy.

Thanks for all of the info, guys.
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by |darc| » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:12 pm

curt_grymala wrote:The first time I tried installing Linux, I killed the computer badly enough that I had to send it back to HP to get the hard drive repaired.

Uh, how the hell did you do that?
It's thinking...
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Re: Bios as boot loader?

Post by Calavera » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:13 pm

|darc| wrote:
curt_grymala wrote:The first time I tried installing Linux, I killed the computer badly enough that I had to send it back to HP to get the hard drive repaired.

Uh, how the hell did you do that?
Yeah I'm pretty interested in knowing that as well. :?
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