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Author Topic: saving the MBR? lilo, grub,  (Read 3299 times)
Windozer
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« on: October 24, 2008, 05:17:46 pm »

Hi, well may be there's no such thing as a dumb question, but I'll vote for myself as today's dumb questioner.

... need some confidence support from the more experienced users here as this is such a common problem, I bet.

I've been reading (too much) about lilo, grub, master boot records, pmajic, gparted, manuals and howto's... and, OMG ... I STILL don't know if I can install grub or lilo on top of my existing XP HD without destroying my XP set up. The box has been partitioned only for XP, NTFS - that's all it's had.

Yes, a search here for 'lilo grub mbr' get a lot of good hits ... so too google'ing for 'saving MBR' --- but my eyes are now crossing...

So, if you please, a simple YEAH or NEY will suffice for me to take the plunge (and not the plunger) to my WinDoze box:

Can I install lilo or grub without clobbering the MBR?

(OK, I fibbed... is there a SIMPLE tutorial somewhere on how to do this??)

thanks so much!
-Howard
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bigpaws
Vectorian
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Posts: 1833


« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2008, 05:43:04 pm »

This is not a dumb question.

There is alot of documentation out there. Some can even
be daunting and frightening.

Here is a link to some documentation:

http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/vl59/manuals/vl5_installation_guide_en.html

The warnings about installing to the MBR are real. My advice is to always have a backup
so that you can feel a little more comfortable with this install.

I have over the years installed lilo to the MBR without any problems. Not many problems have been put on the forum.

So after you feel comfortable with this, go for it. If this system is not able to be down then
either pick a day it can be, or try on another machine.

Bigpaws
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Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 06:05:20 pm »

Bigpaws,

Yes, backing up is surely necessary! Have you tried this on an existing XP system?

I sure owe you some extra thanks today. You've replied promptly to several of my posts/questions quickly with to-the-point info. 

BTW, I've been here off and on a long while - even posting > 1yr ago under same UID (which went stale I guess, inbetween) --- one of the many reasons I like VL is because of you all and the great, friendly support you provide. KUDOS!

- Howard
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bigpaws
Vectorian
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Posts: 1833


« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 07:19:08 pm »

Yes I have used Lilo with W2K, and XP without any problems.

I just wanted to make sure that if (even if small) a problem arises
that you are prepared for it.

Bigpaws
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The Headacher
Louder than you
Global Moderator
Vectorian
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 01:45:59 am »

when you install lilo, it will create a backup of the MBR if there isn't one already. This will be a file called /boot/boot.xxxx where xxxx depends on what harddrive and partition it's intalled to.

if WinXP cannot be booted anymore, you can put back the MBR with
Code:
lilo -U
Since this is just a straight copy of the MBR, you can also put it back with dd, for example like this (depending on what the backup is called and where your MBR is, for instance on sata drives you should use /dev/sda):

Code:
dd if=/boot/boot.0000 of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

Another way to make sure you don't break your XP loader, is to keep the XP loader and have that boot Linux, as described in GrannyGeek's Howto: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=1073.0

I have never had a problem dualbooting VL and winXP though, XP always started just dandy from Lilo. Vista is a whole different story though. It's really picky about being started from it's own loader.
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budulay
Packager
Vectorian
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Posts: 568


NewComer


« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2008, 09:22:32 am »

Hi
I had similar doubts when I was installing Vector on my father's box.
It had 3 FAT32 partitions end win98 installed.(pretty rear, though, to see somebody using fdisk from under DOS)
I resized one of the partitions(it gave me dozen of warnings, then few error messages, but in the end everything turned out fine without any data loses), then installed Vector. Lilo found both Vector and win98 and I did not have to even edit lilo.conf(well, I did edited it, but for a different purpose).

But still, backing up your data is a nice thing to do. Especially if you are going to resize your partition(and as far as I see you will).
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DrCR
Vectorite
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Posts: 166


« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 05:23:57 pm »

Welcome to the Linux fold. Smiley

Backing up your MBR and the partition table is a good idea to do in addition to your regular data backup regmine -- you do have one right? Wink The MBR and partition table lies within the first 512, um, units (bytes?) of the hard drive. To back that up, boot up with a live CD, make a backup with dd, and email yourself the file from the live CD:
dd if=/dev/sda of=/home/johndoe/Desktop/mbrbackup.bin bs=512 count = 1

You can also backup solely the partition table with this nice little sfdisk bit I learned from this Slackware help txt:
sfdisk -d /dev/sdx > partitiontablebackup

If I recall correctly you have to boot up from something other than the hard drive with the MBR that you want to backup i.e. just use a live CD, but that is not required for the sfdisk bit, again, iirc. Might as well just do it all in your live CD environment. You may perhaps find the Grub-related linked thread in my sig helpful as well.

Best Regards,
DrCR


p.s. When it comes to resizing partitions and what not, you may find the bespoke PartedMagic distro helpful. Smiley

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« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 05:37:42 pm by DrCR » Logged
overthere
Vectorian
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Posts: 1224



« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 06:24:41 pm »

well..I know how you likely feel about reinstalling xp.

.I thought the default was to install lilo to the master boot record
 BUT there are additional options like to add lilo to a floppy and set the bios to boot the floppy or something..

.personally I went to the army surplus and picked up a box with a mobo and rounded up some linux friendly parts at yard sales and made a vl machine..it gets more play than xp...

additionally you could checkout the live cds..and you can also consider removeing the hard drive and sticking in a good used one....then again maby your heart is set on a dual boot on the same drive..heed the warnings, clear your head and have fun
cheers

edit: I just installed vl to a spare 4gig and put lilo on a floppy..the floppy has to be linux formatted ( in terminal type fdformat /dev/fd0)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 07:53:08 pm by overthere » Logged

Everything Is Relative
jklslvch
Member
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Posts: 33


« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2008, 02:07:34 pm »

I know this doesnt have to do with actually "saving" the MBR but if your afraid that something goes wrong while installing linux and it doesnt let you boot into windows afterwords you can just boot from the Windows XP cd and repair the MBR with fixboot and mbrfix.. itlll rewrite the MBR so you can boot back into windows... nothing will happen to your windows setup itll still be there
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Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 03:29:50 pm »

>> I just wanted to make sure that if (even if small) a problem
>> arises that you are prepared for it.

thanks, Bigpaws.  I appreciate your keeping watch over the shoulders of us newbees.


>> just boot from the Windows XP cd and repair the MBR with fixboot and mbrfix.

Thanks for the reply, jklslvch. Interesting - I didn't know that. Loading the windows install cds always makes me a tad nervious. Unlike Linux, you never really know what's going on behind the closed Windows ;-)


>> .personally I went to the army surplus and picked up a box  ...

Wow, OverThere. Your cool idea just helped me graduate up from electronic Dumpster Diving!


>> checkout the live cds...

Yes, I've been evaluating a lot of these - I like KillBill, and that Network-oriented distro --- can't recall it's name at the moment. But you know, I've looked now at probably 10 - 12 different flavors of *nix, and I keep coming back to Vector!


>> Welcome to the Linux fold.

Thanks, DrCR!

actually, it's back to the future for me, having started out on BSD and AT&T, then a long slog through WinWorld, falling into the ditch called OS2 )Ouch(,  then back to WinDozing... and before being sucked into the vortex called Vista, I wised up and came *back* into the fold! Ahh, life is good again :0)

Thanks too for the specific tips on backups.  The one downside of re/learning *nix stuff is all the weird conventions (?!) for naming and options, which, of course, like mathematics, make sense *after* you understand them!  Take 'dd' for instance - is that Disk Dump, Disk Data, Duh Duh, or what? <G>  My current  favorites are 'klogd'- as in my drain is clogged, and, the infamous 'rc' - my small but nimble mind tells me that stands for 'Resource Control' ... :-)

>> the bespoke PartedMagic distro helpful.

Yes, it us very useful, but I've yet to find the courage to resize a partition that holds real, useful data. Will it end up in the BitBucket()?  (And, btw,
an old IBM'er told me once that the BitBucket secretly resides deep in the bowels of a data center in Hobokin, New Jersey...)

I'll check out your link re GRUB.... been interested in it because it seems more flexible than lilo. Been also studying U-boot (u-boot.sourceforge.net) as I'm learning about embedded linux too.


>> similar doubts [...] but in the end everything turned out fine without any data loses

Hi, budulay. Thanks for the vote of confidence... much appreciated!
 

>> Code: lilo -U
>> Code: dd if=/boot/boot.0000 of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

Thanks much, Headacher for the exact code. Help like this is one of the main reasons I like Vector!


cheers to all,
- Howard in FL
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 03:46:13 pm by WinDoze » Logged

483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
DrCR
Vectorite
***
Posts: 166


« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 10:28:06 pm »

Hey Howard aka "WinDoze". Did you ever get your dual-boot config setup?

Was doing a google search for a post of mine and came across this one (helping others can also serve as a nice summary reminder for yourself later on Smiley ). And since this one isn't too old, I thought I would check back with you. All vectorized nice and solid now?
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EyesOnly
Member
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Posts: 78



« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2008, 10:39:51 am »

That's a great question DrCR and glad you thought of it and reminded me as well! Thanks! How about it Howard? "Enquiring minds wanna know?" to steal a catch-phrase from years ago. LOL. Wink But in all seriousness our Fellow Vector Buddy: Just how did you make out in this endeavour?

Hope you can make it back to let us know, and if so, thanks for keeping us posted. Smiley

Amicalement/Cheers!

Eyes-Only
"L'Peau-Rouge"
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"We never know just how much a kind word, or a gesture, will lift the spirits of a friend, or person, in need and heal them." (jimmymac)
Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2008, 01:34:48 pm »

Happy Holidays all...

thanks for checking in on me, DrCR and Eyes-Only. I'll post a detailed reply of multi-boot adventures here before too long.

fun fun! Cheesy
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483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
EyesOnly
Member
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Posts: 78



« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2008, 08:34:51 am »

Good Howard! And umm... I hope you "brought your lunch". LOL! Grin

In all seriousness though: I wished that I could've helped you out in some small (or big) way Howard. Myself, I don't use Lilo as I use Grub, and this is one thing I love about VL: Whereas so many distros out there force you into accepting either "one or the other" VL allows me to select "NONE" for an option which is just wonderful! It confused the life out of me when I started 4 years ago, but now where I use my own system it's a small godsend. I can install VL, select "none", and then when finished go to where I keep my main Grub and simply add it into the list with the other 5. Wink

Shazaam! And then I'm in business, rebooted up into my shinny-new VL-Light and doing my email or surfing the net. Life can't get much better than this!

Happy Holidays to you too Howard, and everyone else on the forums and reading this too!

Amicalement/Cheers!

Eyes-Only
"L'Peau-Rouge"
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"We never know just how much a kind word, or a gesture, will lift the spirits of a friend, or person, in need and heal them." (jimmymac)
Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2008, 02:49:25 pm »

Quote
And umm... I hope you "brought your lunch". LOL! Grin

yuummm ... it's very tasty, but I need a *large* portion to get me across the multi-boot desert (which is oddly close to dessert  Cheesy )

ciao
- H
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