Booting several operating systems

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This article is intended to collect and organize all the necessary information to install and boot several operating systems in your computer. New operating systems (and versions of them), and boot managers (like IBM's one or Grub, or any other one) can be added, with the tips related to it. Before you add any information to this article, please, see the structure and maintain it. This is for quick user search.

Contents

Problems that can arise

OS/2 and eCs issues

LVM complaints and does not allow any changes to your hard disk

This applies to

OS/2 2.x OS/2 3.0 OS/2 4.0 OS/2 4.5x eCS 1.2R eCs 2.x Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Yes Not reported

Description

Within OS/2 or eCs installation process, you must mark a partition as installable. Although the user does not know it, when he is establishing a volume as startable, he is using a program called LVM (logical volume manager). This is also the program used to install and configure Boot Manager. Another way to access LVM without having to wait the corresponding screen in the installation process to appear, is pressing the cancel button and choose the console button. This brings a new screen with a menu from which you can run two versions of the LVM: a graphical one, and another one in text mode, that allows you a greater control of what you are doing.

The point is that LVM can complaint about a corrupted partition table and does not allow to make any changes on the disk. So you cannot mark a partition as instalable, nor delete or create new partitions. And so, you cannot install OS/2.

Cause

This is because you have touched your partitions with DiskPart from WindowsXP. DiskPart form Windows introduces an error in the mbr that only Windows itself will ignore. So, this is really a Windows issue, not an OS/2 one. But there can be another reason: somebody reported that LVM, doesn't like the way in wich other operating systems make the partitioning.

Somebody should describe the errors introduced by Window's DiskPart in another article linked here. Also, somebody should describe (in another article linked here) what does LVM expect to be in mbr to not complaint.

If you boot from linux (either installed on your hard disk, or from a boot CD), and run the program cfdisk, it says that there is a problem with the geometry (the error introduced by Window's DiskPart), but allows you to make any changes. So, Why does not OS/2's LVM allow any change?. The answer follows.

Solutions

You have the following options:

  • Delete all partitions with cfdisk from linux. Then allow only OS/2's LVM touch your hard disk, or at least, don't use never Windows to touch the hard disk. If you delete all partitions with DiskPart from Windows, you will still get the problem. Before you delete all partitions, you can make security copies of each installed system. For Windows XP backup, you can use the free backup program drive image xml installed on a Windows XP bootable CD made with the free utility BartPe. But I advise you: you have to restore the Windows backup on a partition equal or bigger than the one from you backed it up.
  • If you don't want to delete everything in your hard disk, the solution that you are looking for is in a short article in the eCs FAQ here. I have not tried this solution never. So, I can't say if it functions.

Linux partition is corrupted by OS/2 Boot Manager or the hard disk mbr is erased

This applies to

This applies to the old pre-LVM Boot Manager. If you use eCs, don't worry about this issue. Please, correct the following table (I don't know what versions use non LVM-Boot Managers): OS/2 2.x OS/2 3.0 OS/2 4.0 OS/2 4.5x eCS 1.2R eCs 2.x Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported No No

Description

When booting Linux from Boot Manager, you loose data in your hard disk, perhaps, the entire linux partition, or perhaps, the hole disk.

Cause

Old pre-LVM Boot Managers, actully execute whatever randomly is on the boot sector of the partition selected to boot. This is only dangerous if installed linux without any loader, because then, you don't know what is in the linux partition boot sector.

Solution

You have two options:

  • Use an updated Boot Manager (LVM enabled).
  • Don't select to boot linux from Boot Manager, unless you have properly installed a linux loader like Grub, in the boot sector of the linux partition.

Windows issues

DiskPart introduces an error in your mbr

This applies to

Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 2000 Windows Me Windows NT Windows XP Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Yes

Description

DiskPart from windows introduces an error in the mbr that only Windows itself will ignore, but LVM will detect it and will prevent any change to your hard disk. This leads to the problem Booting_several_operating_systems#LVM complaints and does not allow any changes to yo your hard disk. So, you can read it.

Cause

Perhaps, a bug.

Solution

Read #LVM_complaints_and_does_not_allow_any_changes_to_yo_your_hard_disk.

Windows installation process stops

This applies to

Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 2000 Windows Me Windows NT Windows XP Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Yes

Description

You begin installing from Windows installation CD, and the process reaches a point in wich the system is restarted to boot from hard disk and continue from there. But, at booting, the system stops, perhaps with an error message, or perhaps with only a blank screen.

Cause

Windows installation process assumes that he will boot from the first primary partition, but, when you installed Boot Manager, the partition in which it was installed was marked as the first primary partition. So the primary partition in which you are installing Windows, will be marked as second or third, or fourth primary partition.

Solution

At this point of Windows installation, there is a file named boot.ini in the root directory of the partition on which you are installing. It contets, surely, are:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect 
/NoExecute=OptIn

You can see the number "1" between parenthesis after the word "partition". It is in the third and fifth lines. You must change this number in the two lines, to the one that matches the primary partition number in wich you are installing Windows. If you don't know the correct number, you can try: there are only four options: 1, 2, 3 or 4.

To edit boot.ini and make the changes, you have two options:

  • Install Windows XP on Fat32, not ntfs. So, you can access the partition from another operating system with read and write access. The operating system can be an installed one, or you can boot from a CD. When Windows is completely installed, you can convert the Fat32 format to NTFS without loosing any data.
  • Install Windows XP on NTFS, and access the partition with a Windows XP bootable CD made with the free utility BartPe and your Windows XP installation CD.

Later in Windows installation process, the partition where you install Windows, can be renumbered to be the first primary partition. So, it will present the same error again: it won't boot, only appears a blank screen, perhaps, with an error message. So, you wil have to edit boot.ini again and restore the number 1 where you changed it.

Windows do not recognize HDD

This applies to

Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 2000 Windows Me Windows NT Windows XP Windows Vista Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported Yes Not reported

Description

After a clean install of eComStation 2.0 RC4 with the first partition (7MB) being Boot Manager. The second one (6GB) with eCS 2.0 RC4, installed on a JFS Partition. When you boot the Windows XP Boot CD it do not recognize the HDD. So you are unable to install it for a mult-boot system.

Cause

It is possible because Windows XP SP2 installer do not recognize SATA drives. (ex: Thinkpad T60)

Solution

You had to turn on the compatibility mode of the SATA feature on the machine's BIOS. Once you installed Windows XP, update the SATA drivers and you can turn off that companility mode on the BIOS.

Linux issues

Linux installation process overwrites OS/2 Boot Manager to install Grub

This applies to

Specially with distributions that doesn't ask the user if he/she wants to install Grub in the hard disk's mbr, or in the partition were linux is being installed.

Description

You have OS/2 Boot Manager properly installed, or any other boot manager, like GAG or Airboot, but, when installed Linux, Grub appears (perhaps, without being able to boot the OS/2 partition) without trace of the other boot manager.

Cause

The user allowed the installation program to install Grub, or the installtion program does it without querying the user.

Solution

Don't allow the installation process to install Grub. When the installation ends, you can install Grub after booting from the linux CD that corresponds to the distribution and version what you have installed. When booted from the Linux CD, do the following:

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Log in as superuser.
  3. Issue the followong command: fdisk -l /dev/hda
    You will see several partitions named /dev/hda#, where # is a number. Locate which of those partitions is the one with linux installed on it. From now on, let's use the # symbol to denote the corresponding number that appears in its /dev/hda# name.
  4. Subtract one from the number #. Let's name k the new number. So, we have: k = # - 1.
  5. From a terminal and logged in as superuser, you have to issue the command grub
    This brings you to the Grub's command line.
  6. In Grub's command line, issue the following command: root (hd0,k)
    where k is the number we obtained above. We can get a message like
    Filesystem type is ext2fs, partition type 0x83
    or similar
  7. Issue the command: setup (hd0,k) where k is the number we obtained above. We can get a message like
    Checking if "/boot/grub/stage1" exists... yes
    Checking if "/boot/grub/stage2" exists... yes
    Checking if "/boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5" exists... yes
    Running "embed /boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5 (hd0,5)"... failed (this is not fatal)
    Running "embed /boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5 (hd0,5)"... failed (this is not fatal)
    Running "install /boot/grub/stage1 (hd0,5) /boot/grub/stage2 p /boot/grub/menu
    .lst "... succeeded
    Done.

    Note that, in this example, k=5.
  8. And that's all. Now, you can restart your computer and select any operating system from boot manager. If you choose Linux, Grub will appear.

Various HOWTOs

Dual Boot Windows Vista and OS/2-eComStation

See the article Dual Boot.

Adding OS/2 to Windows Boot Manager

See the article Dual Boot.

Reference

  • OS/2 World forum
  • Spanish language Yahoo forum for OS/2