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Re: dumb question about dual booting debian and Windows 7 on separate drives.....

On Wed, Dec 08, 2010 at 11:43:02AM +0000, Michael Fothergill wrote:
> Dear Debian folks,
> I an running Lenny on an AMD64 box.....  I have 8GB of RAM on the
> machine in anticipation of putting Windows 7 on the machine.  I know
> many Debian folks don't bother with Windows but I need it for certain
> things I do......
> I bought an extra SATA drive and hooked it up so now I have two one
> with Debian on it.   My plan is to install Windows on the new
> drive......  If you installed Windows on the new drive and then
> installed Debian grub would see the Windows on the other drive and
> create a boot option for you to fire it up if you wanted to when you
> boot the PC up.....

I believe windows won't boot unless it is on the primary harddisk.
Linux is much less picky.  This is why people usualyl say to install
windows first, then install linux.  linux knows how to share a machine,
windows does not believe in sharing.

Making your current debian install move from being the first harddisk
to being the second might break things (although all fixable, it is all
fstab and bootloader related, unless you happen to be using UUID based
fstab and grub in which case everything might just work anyhow).
Unfortunately Lenny does NOT use UUIDs normally, while Squeeze appears
to default to it.  You will want to switch to that first to make the
fstab much more flexible about rearranging drives.

> But if you installed debian first as I have on one disk and then add
> Windows on the other one then if you boot up the machine it will load
> Windows and you won't get a choice to fire up Linux (at least I don't
> expect it).

You can certainly have grub know about windows, it tends to detect that
automaticly in most cases.

> I had a piece of software for Windows called Partition Magic which I
> seem to have lost.   If I still had it I could install it on Windows
> (after installed that OS) and it would see the Linux on the other
> drive.......  I could set up its bootloading program and then when the
> machine rebooted it would give me choice to boot either Linux or the
> Windows......

Partition magic really isn't worth it anymore.  It rarely works with
modern large disks.

> That would be a way to load Linux first and Windows second on two
> separate drives and still be able to get a choice to load either OS on
> boot up of the PC......

Just have grub in the MBR of the primary disk with an option for both.
Simple and reliable.

> Except of course there would be other ways because I have sent you
> this email and if you were kind you might point out some of them.
> I could cheat and install the Windows and then reinstall Debian and
> grub would see it but I don't want to do that.   I want to keep the
> old installation.

Well without fixing the config to have debian work from what would be
the second disk after adding a new one, I don't believe you can get
windows to work.

> How would you modify grub to see a Windows OS that hasn't been
> installed yet?  Could I use the installer in Debian to make Windows
> partition on the new drive and then install the Windows on it and then
> grub would see it and boot up seeing both OSes?
> It is possible I think to modify the bootloader in Windows (without
> using e.g. Partition Magic) to sniff out the Linux and allow you to
> choice of booting it when you boot up the PC......

Yes, but it's fragile and not worth doing that way.

Len Sorensen

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