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Author Topic: extlinux and multiple operating systems?  (Read 6106 times)

Offline Guy

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extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« on: April 10, 2011, 09:05:15 AM »
Can extlinux be set up to boot multiple operating systems, or is it necessary to install Grub for that?

If so how?
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Offline curaga

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 09:07:27 AM »
All of the syslinux family have the same abilities, including menus. :)

See the syslinux documentation.
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Offline Guy

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Offline roberts

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 03:37:07 PM »
My question is to those who do use Windows, as I do not, is it typically that Windows is installed in the first partition?

I ask as I am contemplating further automating of the GUI Installer to support Tiny Core & Windows dual boot via Guy's wiki writeup.
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Offline gerald_clark

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 03:53:29 PM »
This machine has Windows XP Professional.
I shrank sda1 and installed Centos.

[root@sharp ~]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1        5100    40965718+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2   *        5101        5113      104422+  83  Linux
/dev/sda3            5114        5244     1052257+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda4            5245        9729    36025762+   5  Extended
/dev/sda5            5245        9729    36025731   83  Linux
[root@sharp ~]#

Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 05:07:45 PM »
Quote
is it typically that Windows is installed in the first partition?

I think you need to allow for the possibility of windows being in any primary partition.

Some people may even install two different versions of windows.

You may even allow for chainloading into other linux distros.

When installing windows and linux, the easiest way has been to install windows first. If you install most linux distros after windows they automatically include windows in the bootloader. Because it is installed first, people may be more likely to put it in the first partition, but it can be in any primary partition.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 05:17:00 PM by Guy »
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Offline roberts

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 06:07:41 PM »
My thoughts on this, is that, those that would need a GUI installer, would not even consider installing Windows, therefore the Windows partition would be "factory" installed. Being factory installed would most likely mean that the whole disk has been used. So the Windows user would be faced with shrinking their Windows partition.

On other Linux distributions, typically they are turnkey, therefore would already have a boot loader, and likely more robust, e.g., grub. I wouldn't want to be the tail trying to wag the dog.

Perhaps I was being too Pollyana with the effort not worth the result, At least in the initial version of the GUI installer. Afterall the extlinux boot loader only applies to primary partitions.

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Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 06:18:18 PM »
Some more thoughts.

A simple way to do it may be to ask

Do you have other operating system(s) on other partition(s)?

If they answer yes

have a window where they can enter the name of the operating system and the partition.

Repeat this until they say no.


Another option would be to scan the drive for partitions.

For every ntfs partition, call it windows and chainload

For every linux partition, call it linux and chainload

There may be some partitions without operating systems, which will result in false entries, but the user can delete them.

If using this method, some people will complain it put entries in partitions without operating systems.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 09:57:52 PM by Guy »
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Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 06:19:32 PM »
For those who just shrink the existing Windows partition, it would almost always be the first partition.
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Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 06:21:11 PM »
Quote
Afterall the extlinux boot loader only applies to primary partitions.

Can't it start operating systems on other partitions?
Many people see what is. Some people see what can be, and make a difference.

Offline Rich

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 08:00:32 PM »
Quote
My question is to those who do use Windows, as I do not, is it typically that Windows is installed in the first partition?

I have a Dell laptop.
The first partition is 50Mb containing diagnostic software on FAT16 with the diag flag set.
The second partition is Windows XP on NTFS with the boot flag set and occupied the rest of the drive
before I shrunk it.
Hope that helps.

Offline roberts

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 09:27:56 PM »
Ah, perhaps then if current active partition is of type (id) 7 on the target drive, then offer to setup extlinux menu to dual boot Windows and Linux via a check box in the GUI.

What about Windows 7? it is type 7? Is it capable of chain loading?
What about WinME, or Win9x ??
What types (ids) should be supported?
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Offline Rich

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 09:43:11 PM »
Hi roberts
I just booted my Win98 machine with a TC CD and fdisk reports id as  c  and system as  Win95 FAT32

Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 09:56:21 PM »
A lot of recent computers have windows on the first partition, then have a second partition (both ntfs) which may be used for reinstalling windows.
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Offline Guy

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Re: extlinux and multiple operating systems?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 10:08:05 PM »
Another option is to include # in front of some lines which users can delete, like this

# UI vesamenu.c32
# MENU TITLE Tiny Core Bootloader
# PROMT 0
# TIMEOUT 50
# MENU MASTER PASSWD MasterPassword

LABEL tinycore
# MENU PASSWD TinyCorePassword
KERNEL /boot/bzImage
APPEND initrd=/boot/tinycore.gz quiet waitusb=5:UUID="long-number" tce=UUID="long-number"

# LABEL windows
# MENU PASSWD WindowsPassword
# KERNEL chain.c32
# APPEND hd0 1

At the minimum, have the passwd lines with a # in front.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 10:54:17 PM by Guy »
Many people see what is. Some people see what can be, and make a difference.