As to what possessed me; it’s any body’s guess really, but I did it.
As if I didn’t have enough work to do this weekend, I noticed that that new version of Ubuntu had been released on the 18th; Ubuntu 7.10. There were a lot of reviews about how it’s so much better and makes life so much simpler than the previous versions.
So like an idiot, I dropped all the projects that I had waiting and decided to poke around Ubuntu. I figured, “how long can this take anyway?”. Well, there’s a process involved.
Understanding My Windows Setup
When I got my new computer, I got a 250 GB SATA drive, which I partitioned down the middle. This is my main drive that I use for Windows XP. The first partition is the operation system and programs and the second partition holds data, music, etc.
I also had my old 120 GB IDE that was also partitioned down the middle. On this drive I have a bunch of stuff (files, downloads, movies, music, etc) that I’ve collected over the last four (4) years. I’m scared to throw out anything, because you never know. I think what I need is one very specific hard drive crash (knock on wood) that would just clear out all that data that I think I need.
Now what I’m planning is to continue to boot up on my SATA drive and have a partition on the IDE drive for my Linux experiments.
Linux or Windows Gets Confused With Boot Drives
Now I don’t really blame the operating system, because this stuff confuses me too. Back in the days when all I had was IDE drives, setup was simple. You configure jumpers in a Master/Slave configuration and that, for the most part, determined your boot sequence. Going a bit further, you had a Primary IDE controller and a Secondary one. Everyone was happy.
When I got my SATA drive all that went out the drain. To make a long story very short, I have to manually specify my boot drives in the BIOS. Now, this is actually and vast improvement on what I just stated above, but it poses some problems.
From the little I gather, Linux gets confused when I boot from the SATA drive. And that’s all I’ve been able to gather. I could resolve this buy having Linux install GRUB (the boot loader) onto my SATA and have everything routed through there. To this I say: Hell No! I’ve had enough Linux problems in the past to know much better than this.
In the past what I’ve done is set up a program called BootPart after I’ve installed Linux. BootPart basically setups a configuration on the Windows boot loader to point to a specific partition where you’re Linux stuff would be. This has worked fine for me in the past, when all I had was IDE drives, but from the little I understand it either has a problem jumping drives or jumping SATA drives. Who cares? The crap doesn’t work.
My Solution – Sort Of
This is the solution that I’ve come up, if you can call it a solution. I let Linux install GRUB to the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the IDE drives. I won’t be booting to there, since this isn’t my Windows drive, so I don’t really care what it does down there. My Bios has an option that allows you to hit F11 on boot up and pick a drive to boot to. That’s it. Sorry it’s not more glamorous.
From here, when GRUB loads, I can pick to go to my Windows install and it magically works. So what I could do, is set up my BIOS to have my IDE drive as the boot drive and have GRUB administer everything for me. That’s an idea.
Now if I could only get the crap to work properly with my Wide Screen display. That’s a fight for another day though.
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