Dual Boot - Vista and Kubuntu

#1
I have been unsuccessful in dual-booting my system with Vista and Kubuntu through multiple methods and installations.

My System:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+ 2.01 GHz
1 GB RAM (single channel)
Vista Home Premium 64bit edition
Primary HD - 80GB Western Digital (split 50% for Vista/50% Kubuntu)
Other HD's - 400GB, 250GB Western Digital (not used for installation)

When Installing Linux, I used this setup every time:
(I don't completely understand why Kubuntu names the partitions starting at #5 when the root partition sits at the beginning of the second partition)
/root #5 (mount point - /dev/sdb5)
swap #6 (mount point - /dev/sdb6)
home #7 (mount point - /dev/sdb7)

1st attempt:
  • Installed Vista, then Kubuntu 7.04 with alternate install CD (text-based)
  • Setup partitions for Linux
  • *Did not install boot loader*
  • Finished installation
  • Booted into Vista
  • Installed EasyBCD
  • Installed NeoGrub
  • Configured Neo Grub
    • title Kubuntu
      root (hd1,4)
      kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic ro root=/dev/sdb5
      initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.20-15-generic
    • Can boot into Vista, but when booting with NeoGrub I get a black screen with GRUB and a rapidly blinking _
2nd attempt:
  • Everything is the same, just a new configuration for NeoGrub
  • Configured Neo Grub
    • title Kubuntu
      root (hd1,5)
      kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic ro root=/dev/sdb5
      initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.20-15-generic
    • Can boot into Vista, but when booting with NeoGrub I get a black screen with GRUB and a rapidly blinking _
 
#2
**Forgot to mention in the previous post that all of my HD's are SATA 3.0Gb/sec**

3rd attempt:
  • Everything is the same, just a new configuration for NeoGrub
  • Configured Neo Grub
    • title Kubuntu
      root (hd1,1)
      kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic ro root=/dev/sdb2
      initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.20-15-generic
    • Can boot into Vista, but when booting with NeoGrub I get a black screen with GRUB and a rapidly blinking _
Booted into a Kubuntu Live CD, mounted the partition that Kubuntu installed to, and checked /boot to make sure I had the correct partition, HD, and kernal name.
/dev/sdb5
kernel - vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic ro root=/dev/sdb5
initrd - initrd.img-2.6.20-15-generic

4th attempt:
  • Everything is the same, just a new configuration for NeoGrub
  • Configured Neo Grub
    • title Kubuntu
      root (hd1,1)
      kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic ro root=/dev/sdb5
      initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.20-15-generic
    • Can boot into Vista, but when booting with NeoGrub I get a black screen with GRUB and a rapidly blinking _
Still nothing.... Gave up on NeoGrub
 
#3
Uninstalled NeoGrub, Vista boots just fine

5th attempt:
  • Reinstalled Kubuntu
  • Installed Grub to the root partition of the Linux installation (hd1,4)
  • Booted into Vista, added new Linux entry to EasyBCD (Type: Grub, Name: Kubuntu, Drive: Drive 0, Partition 2 [9GB entry, the only size that matched my /root partition which I set to 10GB - the rest were swap 3GB, and home 25GB ]
  • Reboot, chose Kubuntu from boot options
  • Grub starts, but then when selecting the kernal I want to boot 2.6.20-15-generic I get a message that the Partition does not exist!
I have tried a multitude of times before keeping record of my installation history, and still cannot boot into Kubuntu. Most of the information I have tried on this and other forums have not worked. Some sites for Ubuntu even say you don't need EasyBCD for the installation at all, and just install Grub to the MBR (which I have also tried with Kubuntu and have been unsuccessful)

On a separate occasion I tried installing LiLo a few times and every time I get a message when the machine posts "Missing Operating System"

I would be very grateful for any help or insight someone can provide, thank you.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
Hi,

Welcome to NeoSmart Technologies, mrLucky!

I'm really sorry for all that trouble - you really should have posted here from the beginning and saved yourself a lot of trouble: NeoGrub was pretty much broken (technically "experimental") in 1.6 and below. However, we know have a 1.61 BETA which has a totally rewritten from scratch NeoGrub that is better than the original by leaps and bounds.

I'm really sorry for the time wasted configuring NeoGrub when it didn't even work, but if you download the latest beta you shouldn't have a problem getting NeoGrub to run.
 
#5
Hello, and thank you for your assistance. I will give the latest beta a shot; however, I think I might have another problem. Call it bad luck, or incompatible software, but I can't even get Kubuntu to work when it's the only OS on the hard drive. I really can't see why I'm having this problem or what might be causing it... but something isn't right. When I find a solution, I'll be sure to post the solution here. Again, thank you for your time :smile:
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
I'm not sure I understand.

You had no OSes installed, installed Kubuntu, and yet it won't boot?

Probably your MBR needs to be scrubbed.... EasyBCD can do that.
 
#7
That's exactly the case. After about the 10th try, I decided to try Kubuntu on it's own. After I installed, I got an "Error 15: Can't find the partition."

I didn't know the MBR was a physical part of the drive. I had just assumed it was created when you installed an OS and formatted. Anyway, if EasyBCD can fix this, I'll be REALLY impressed!
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
The MBR is like a table of contents at the start of the drive.
It has the bootloader and a list of partitions. When you format, you "empty out" that chapter in the book. When you delete a partition you "remove" that chapter from the book. When you add a partition, it's like you're adding a new chapter.

The MBR (table of contents) gets updated each time you do something with information on what partitions are on your machine, where they are located, what filesystems they have, how big they are, how big the clusters are, etc. You must explicitly clear the MBR if you want to clean it up.

Note that clearing out the MBR resets the entire drive.

EasyBCD | Useful Utilities | Power Console
Code:
mbrfix clean
Maybe 1.61 will add it to the GUI - maybe not. It's a very dangerous feature that can create problems if one doesn't really mean to clear out the MBR.
 

scott

New Member
#9
Note that clearing out the MBR resets the entire drive.

EasyBCD | Useful Utilities | Power Console
Code:
mbrfix clean
Maybe 1.61 will add it to the GUI - maybe not. It's a very dangerous feature that can create problems if one doesn't really mean to clear out the MBR.

Hello Guru,

So what should one do with the MBR in preparation for a complete reformat or in event of deleting just one partition?

Thanks,

Scott
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#10
IF you're going to do a complete format, that is the code to use.

However, if you're only going to delete partition, there shouldn't be any problem. In your case, the constant install and reinstall of one bootloader then the other fsck'd up your MBR. Normally, that shouldn't happen.

So just run that command, install Kubuntu, then install Vista.
 

scott

New Member
#11
Guru,

Not trying to hijack as this is on topic...
I just need to know if I scrub the MBR, do I then immediately reformat/delete partition?

Scott
 
#12
No worries scott, I have the same question, and a similar one...

Does one have to reformat the drive after cleaning the MBR? Boy am I glad I have all of my docs, vids, pics etc on a separate HD!

Also, do you recommend installing Kubuntu/Linux before installing Vista? Or is it just to make sure I can get Kubuntu up and working, before I waste all that time again?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#13
No.

An MBR basically "forgets" that any data exists. Everything becomes marked as "ready for writing" although it contains the old data.

I do recommend installing Linux first if you're going to use EasyBCD to manage the bootloader - that way Vista's BCD will be installed last and without conflict.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#15
Good luck, and do let us know how it goes, Scott :smile:
 
#16
Yes, thank you for all of you help and time devoted to this. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I definitely will this weekend. I'll post my results, good or bad. Cross your fingers!
 
#17
***UPDATE***

I haven't had the time to nuke the partition table and start over just yet (I've been really busy).

I just recently acquired a new HD and was able to install and get Kubuntu working. This confirms that the partition table is corrupt on my primary drive. After I got it working, I tried using EasyBCD to boot grub on the new drive... and it did not work. That was with the old beta build. I still have yet to try it with the most recent one that just came out. Not really sure why its not working this time...

Hopefully I can take a few hours to install both operating systems on my primary drive next week...
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#18
Try using "grubless-Linux" mode.