How to reactivate OSS after Linux Install as 2nd OS

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by peteb_hwp, Mar 9, 2007.

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  1. peteb_hwp

    peteb_hwp Registered Member

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    I am trying to avoid problems before they occur rather than frantically search for a fix after the problem occurs. So, here is what I want to do and why I am concerned:

    I have DDS 10 installed on a WinXP machine. I also have installed the OSS which works fine at bootup if I want to, say, select a boot CD instead of the XP system to boot.

    So, the reason I got DDS10 was to enable me to install Linux in a separate partition on the same HDD as the XP system. According to the docs from Acronis, no problem doing this, and I an sure I can do it easily. But when I read the documentation and Help file, I see this one huge problem:

    The docs say that if youi install a Linux OS in a separate partition, the installation of Linux will deactivate the OSS because it will overwrite it in the MBR. Now the docs casually say that is no problem, you must just boot from the Rescue CD and then reactivate or even reinstall the OSS.

    That would seem reasonable but not on my PC, which boots by first looking for a boot floppy, then for a bootable HDD, and last it uses the DVD/CD device to boot --- but if it can boot from the HDD, it will not allow skipping that choice and go on to boot from CD, it will just boot from whatever boot OS it finds on the HDD.

    Well, that would be OK if it ended up booting XP, or if the OSS still worked, but if I have just installed Linux I have a sneaking suspicion that Linux will be the boot OS and I will be totally stuck with no way to get to WinXP nor to reactivate the now-deactivated OSS, I have never used Linux so I have no clue whether that would even be possible from Linux. Without using OSS I have no way to even boot from the Acronis Bootable Rescue CD if my HDD is still operating.

    So I guess my question is, how can I either get the Linux to install without deactivating OSS, or how can I get my PC to boot from the CD after Linux is installed since I will not have OSS to allow me to fix everything.

    I would maybe be able to set the BIOS option for bootable device boot sequence, to look at the CD first, but I have no inclination at all whatsoever :=) to mess with my BIOS settings since I will probably end up with a dead PC the way my luck runs.

    I have a WinXP boot diskette, but if I use it to boot up it will just leave me sitting at the DOS level, where I could (maybe) run a CD, I think it provides support for the CD from that level, but not enable me to boot from the CD. If necessary I could even get a WinME boot diskette which I know would allow me to use the CD drive from that DOS bootup, and run the Rescue CD where opresumably I can fix the OSS problem, will that work?

    Help would be appreciated. I seem to be heading to a vicous circle here, where I could install Linux but then not be able to run OSS because it is wiped out and the PC boots up in Linux, but if I still had the OSS I could go boot from the WinXP or the rescue CD and fix the broken OSS.....

    Pete B
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Pete:

    There are a few ways around this:

    1. When you install Linux, tell the installer to install the boot manager (usually GRUB or LILO) to your Linux partition. This is the recommended way to do this, according to Acronis. The Linux installer will not mess with the Master Boot Record (MBR) if you install its boot manager to the Linux partition. Since no changes will be made to the MBR, when you reboot, OS Selector will still start up and you can then set it to detect your Linux OS and add it to the OS Selector menu.

    2. If you forget and accidentally install the Linux boot manager to the Master Boot Record, you'll probably still be OK because most modern distributions will automatically detect that you have Windows installed and will add an entry for Windows to their boot manager. So you will still be able to boot into Windows.

    3. Be brave and change the boot order in your PC BIOS. It should be fairly easy to do this. Some PCs even have a special key that you can press during bootup (F11 or F12, usually) that will allow you to select the boot device on-the-fly. If your PC doesn't have this feature then just set the CD-ROM to be the first device to boot, followed by the hard disk. It's safe to do this and you shouldn't be afraid to try.
     
  3. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Just to add to K0lo's excellent advice: My experience is with Ubuntu and with that particular Linux distro, you need to install from the alternate install cd in order to be able to choose where to install Grub. The default install cd/dvd will automatically install Grub to the MBR.

    Depending on what distro you install you may want to check out how Grub or Lilo is installed.
     
  4. peteb_hwp

    peteb_hwp Registered Member

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    My thanks to you both for your excellent responses. I am indeed planning to install Ubuntu, I have a LiveCD that I have booted to explore Linux a bit but it is more like a demo than a real PC system OS. I know exactly what you mean when you say alternate install CD, I recall reading about that when I first downloaded the Ubunto file to make the CD, so I will check and use it for sure. You have answered my biggest questions, since I know now I can install it without messing up the MBR, and I know which Ubuntu version to use to be able to do that, and that it will safeguard my current OS.

    You gentlemen have given me the confidence to attempt the task. My son the Master Geek tells me it might be wise to record all my current XP network settings, TCP etc., before doing this just in case, and he is also going to send me a util to use to restore my MBR if it does get screwed, although I know the OSS or DDS can also do that. He also gave me the same advice as k0lo, saying not to be worried about altering the boot sequence of the BIOS which would be my last line of defense so to speak in case disaster does happen (which I now am sure it will not).

    Anyway, I shall give it a go. I am going to backup everything though before I do.

    One last dumb question: I don't suppose it is possible to install Linux to an external drive and be able to actually run it normally that way? I assume that the OSS cannot actually see that external HDD and allow it to function that way, am I correct? Because that would be my first choice if it could be done that way, since I have this great 160GB external USB HDD that I could totally mess up and not even care....

    Pete B
     
  5. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Here's an article on how to do that:
    http://doc.gwos.org/index.php/Edgy_USB_Install

    I'm using GRUB as a boot manager so I'm not that familiar with OS Selector and am not sure if OSS will work in this situation. I'll leave that for someone who is more familiar with OS Selector to answer for you.
     
  6. peteb_hwp

    peteb_hwp Registered Member

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    Per the link:

    "Remove all internal hard drives from the computer
    Grub by default installs to the first hard drive detected by the BIOS. The simplest way to ensure that it installs correctly is to make sure that the only hard drive available is the install target drive. ".....

    Thanks anyway, Mark, I think I'll pass on that :=).

    Anyway, reading the info on the Ubuntu web site, there is a page that details how toi do this in a slightly less, uhmmm, totally reconfiguring way, if you get my drift. But anyway, it was not really that important, OI decided against it.

    Thanks for the comment

    Pete B
     
  7. peteb_hwp

    peteb_hwp Registered Member

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    I should note that I tested the totally safe route to run Ubuntu as a second OS:

    I installed VMWare's virtual server for windows, created a vortual machine with Ubuntu OS on it, and ran Ubuntu that way. No mods to my system at all except the necessary install of the VNWare software.

    I love Ubuntu, but the VMWare leaves a bit to be desired, however it sure is great for testing stuff like this. You can even create a virtual WinXP sp2 machine, and install Ubuntu on that to do the testing if you want to go to all that trouble....

    and it all runs totally in virtual reality!! (and my PC's RAM...)

    Pete B
     
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