Linux, WinXP dual boot

Microsoft Windows XP
After installing and running MEPIS Linux, I decided to try setting up dual booting with WinXP Pro. Now, when I load the XP CD and start setup, it eventually says "cannot load operating system". I assume I have corrupted the MBR or there is a problem with the partition I am using for XP. Can you provide a procedure I can use to properly partition the disk and install these OSs?

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The easiest method of creating a dual boot system is to load Windows first then load your version of Linux. Most of the Linux installers will recognize a Windows installation and partition the disk correctly. Windows lacks that feature…

I would suggest you load VMware Workstation and run Windows inside that, though. Then you have both operating systems running at the same time.


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  • Bobkberg
    Kind of digressing off-topic, but if you want both systems running effectively using vmware, I strongly recommend that you use a dual (or more) processor machine. That way both the virtual machine and the host o/s get pretty much all the cpu bandwidth they need. Bob
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  • RoyatRCDC
    I agree with " khavekost " in that as long as you install Windows first, a subsequent Linux install will recognise the presence of Windows and give you options to re-partition "around it". This will leave you with LILO or GRUB for boot managers UNTIL you need to reinstall WINDOWS, and then you'll lose them again. I like to use GAG as a boot manager as I can always put it back after Windows overwrites the MBR and not have to re-install any OS. Find it at GAG.SOURCEFORGE.NET
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  • petkoa
    Hi, I think that vmware "solution" is not relevant i this case, since you have to have a working winxp installation to start it under vmware. The best practice, of coarse, is to install windows first; if you can go for removing Linux, do it and then install winxp on the first partition, and linux on some other; but before removing linux, uninstall the boot manager to restore the MBR and boot sector (lilo -u if you use lilo, something similar should exist for grub). If you don't want to erase linux installation, maybe you should copy it to another partition, restart with root device pointing to the new copy (e.g., linux root=/dev/hda7 at lilo boot prompt, or whatever necessary in grub). Then run fdisk to set the appropriate partion type to the old linux partition (I'd guess it is the first one), then uninstall the boot manager and try to install winxp. Whether it installs or not, you need to start you linux from rescue cd with your new root partition (again, something like resque root=/dev/hda7 at the bootloader prompt). Then reconfigure the boot manager to boot alternative OS'es (not forgetting to define the new linux root device so not to set it manually at every boot). Hope this will help. BR Petko
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