[lug] laptop partioning, boot loaders

David L. Anselmi anselmi at anselmi.us
Sat Jun 10 21:13:46 MDT 2006

D. Stimits wrote:
> Eventually, I'd like to have xp run under vmware to do web 
> development testing from (if not for this I'd probably just erase 
> windows, but it has to be available with networking). Vmware is for 
> later, I can just dual boot for now.

Networking is easy in VMware.  It would be cleaner to erase Windows. 
But whatever.  Have you googled for any docs on the Dell utilities + Linux?

I have a Dell server that I erased and recreated the utility partition 
on.  But lilo doesn't boot it so my advice is based on that experience.

> But...this is a dell, and it has some sort of VFAT support partition as 
> the first partition. I think this would be a "good thing" to keep as is. 

I agree.  You can probably (try it) press F12 to get a boot menu that 
will let you pick booting to the utility partition, which will allow you 
to run diagnostics when you call support.  Check your docs and see if 
you can boot that from CD or restore it or whatever.

> The laptop has an option from in windows to do a certain amount of 
> restore, which is probably based on what is in this partition.

Don't know about that, how big is it?  I've seen about 30MB, which would 
be too small to do much recovery.  There may be space on the NTFS 
partition used for restores.

> I don't know if the partition itself is being pointed at by the boot
> loader or not...or whether the windows programs simply access it
> during dell utility operations. Can anyone tell me if changing the
> boot loader will alter whether this partition does what it should?
> And if I do alter the windows partition itself, does anyone know if
> the dell restore utilities (which I have not actually used) will muck
> with partitions and break any custom schemes with linux?

I wouldn't put GRUB on hda, but on hda3 (assuming VFAT=hda1, NTFS=hda2). 
  Make hda3 bootable and maybe the Dell boot loader will pick it up 
automatically.  Or check the docs for how to add boot menu options.

> Are there any opinions if in the long run I can boot with grub and
> get rid of the windows boot loader?

Mu.  You probably have Dell, not Windows in the MBR.  Windows is on hda2 
and is chained to from Dell (or Grub if you put Grub on the MBR).

> I've heard this can cause antivirus software to complain. I also
> don't know if it would break any windows rescue options.

Maybe.  AV checksums the boot records.  But boot sector infectors are so 
passe.  I doubt that it would affect anything done from Windows.

> If I do you grub, I'd have to completely move windows, 
> because the first partition is the VFAT dell partition, and the second 
> NTFS partition would extend beyond the 1024th cylinder.

1024 cylinders is no longer a limit.


More information about the LUG mailing list