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Best Boot Manager?

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ToledoSteel

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2003
I run WinXP Pro, but want to install RedHat, Mandrake and Suse on another drive. Question is what boot manager is best for the job. I have read that some people have problems with lilo. I don't know that much about Linux OS's, that's what I'm doing this for. Also is it easy to install multiple Linux OS's one 1 hdd?
 

Too Smart

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2002
Everyone has their own opinion but my opinion is that the best boot manager for you would be Grub.

You should have no problem installing multiple Linuxes on the same drive. But if you are not comfortable with partitioning, then it would probably be easier to create the partitions in advance with Partition Magic. For each linux distro you intend to install, you need a linux native and a linux swap partition. The Linux native would be as large as you think you need for Linux that linux distro, and the swap would be pretty small (200 megs should be fine).

And this is only a guess, but if there are multiple linux distros on the same drive, would it be possible for them to all share the same swap partition? Would anyone know?
 

moorcito

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Too Smart said:
And this is only a guess, but if there are multiple linux distros on the same drive, would it be possible for them to all share the same swap partition? Would anyone know?

Yes, you can share a swap partition between different distros. A swap file is a swap file. And I agree about keeping the swap file small, if you have an ungodly amount of ram, you'll never even touch the swap file.

I've never had any problems with LILO, and while people will mention bugs in LILO, or how it won't support booting from past the 8.4GB mark, all that has been fixed for years. As for Grub, some people sware by it, but I've never used it. Just like anything in linux, if you ask about a bootloader/program/distro/etc. you'll get a thousand different opinions, that's why I recommend trying both lilo and grub and seeing which you like the best.
 

Titan386

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2002
Well, I wouldn't bother creating partitions with Partition Magic, the installers can handle that themselves.

Grub and LILO are really quite similar in their capabilties. There shouldn't be any difference for what you are trying to do.

Installation of multiple Linux's on one hard drive should be pretty simple. You'll probably want to only install a bootloader once though, and edit its config file for each distro you install. At least that's the way I do it, but if you do it that way, you'll need to know certain information about the install, such as where the kernel is located.

Yes, you can use the same swap partition for as many installs as you want.
 

Audioaficionado

Sparkomatic Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
XOSL will work for all OS but you still need grub/lilo on their root partitions to boot linux.
 

djand

Registered
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
My solution is a two layer boot for linux & freebsd. My main boot manager is BootMagic that lives on a fat partition and the main boot record. This allows me to boot WinXP or Mandrake. Grub is installed on the boot record of my second drive and controls the booting of linux.

The reason for my two layer approach is that MS software assumes that the entire universe runs their stuff. They seem quite happy to update the boot record with their stuff whenever possible. If I have to do a repair install or upgrade, then NT4/Win2k/WinXP will happily wipe grub/lilo off the master boot record and leave me with no easy way to boot linux. I have been the rescue disk route many times to manually repair my linux bootloader, not fun. With bootmagic, all that has to be done is boot from a dos floppy and reactivate it as the boot manager. Then all is right with linux again.

Xosl works well for this too, plus it is free. :D
 

Audioaficionado

Sparkomatic Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
djand said:
If I have to do a repair install or upgrade, then NT4/Win2k/WinXP will happily wipe grub/lilo off the master boot record and leave me with no easy way to boot linux.

This hasn't been my expirence at all. I had w2k & Libranet Linux on differant partitions and GRUB as the master boot manager. I installed, reinstalled and repaired w2k after GRUB was installed on the MBR. Never had any problems with w2k bothering GRUB. Win9x is an entirerly differant animal however.
 

Audioaficionado

Sparkomatic Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
Now that I've just done it twice, 98 & ME are NT OS aware and won't wipe out w2k bootloaders either if they're installed after w2k. I don't know if win9x will leave lilo or grub alone though.
 
Last edited:

penquissciguy

Member
Joined
May 6, 2003
Location
Maine
I like LILO myself due to its simple config file and the fact I've been using it for a looooong time. I too have run into no problems using large hard drives w/LILO for years now. Grub is somewhat interactive at boot-up with a limited shell interface, but I never found any use for that. Try 'em both and see what you think - fdisk /mbr is your friend.

Ken
 

slyy

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Location
Dallas, Texas
Well I am currently running a multi boo system which includes all of the operating systems you wish to install except mandrake. Personaly i have found that with lilo and grub it's just a matter of what kind of screen you want to see when you boot up. I won't warn against using the Boot Magic since it would require yet another partition and then you still have to install boot magic! You will though need to know your install config and for boot lilo and grub the menu.lst file located in /boot/grub/ (i think i check later for you). Once you add the right lines you'll be up and going.