ebcd + (vista+recovery part) + xp + Fedora linux

Ok first off thanks for making this great util freely available. It's very useful and I easily transitioned my XP/linux knowledge of booting to a Vista environment in no time at all.

Here is the scenario I am fooling around with. New HP 'entertainment' laptop (tx1000). It come with Vista Home premium preinstalled and a recovery partition (both primary partitions). I shrunk the vista partition and in the free space I created a new partition for XP. Installed XP. Cool. Everything hunky dory after reverting the mbr to a vista mbr and running through the EasyBCD magic. I can boot into vista, xp and my recovery partition. (I now have 3 primary partitions - more on this later).

Now I wanted to check out Fedora 8 test 3 as I understand that on thursday (release day) I can easily upgrade to Fedora 8 final (just couldn't wait that long..)

Installed Fedora 8 in some more free space I had on the drive. A standard install which uses a grub partition and a second partition (both primary partitions). Again everything rocks. When the machine boots it goes into the fedora grub which gives me two options, fedora and other. Booting Fedora works great. If I choose other I get the Vista boot loader and I can boot vista and XP as before.

Being super lazy I wanted to avoid having to go through two menu's to get to XP (my main work OS). So I reverted back to the Vista MBR (losing the grub mbr and not having a bootsector on the grub partition). Vista and XP boot ok. Fedora no more :frowning:

The problem seems to be grub from grub4dos. It seems to have the old 3 primary partitions limitation (linux seems to be unfazed by this, Vista as well although it reports the last two primary partitions created as a broken extended partition). I have 5 primary partitions (Vista, XP, Recovery, Grub, Fedora Root). EasyBCD also reports the linux partion information incorrectly.

The solution is to use neogrub I guess. What I want to avoid is having to edit some file (I did say super lazy...) everytime the kernel gets updated in fedora which can be (relatively) quite often especially the weeks after a release.

Is there an easy way to do this?


Ok I have found a way to do this properly! I'll just post up what I did in case it helps anyone.

So I assumed most things were installed correctly and after some googling I found that I can write an MBR equivalent to the boot sector of my grub partition. To do this I couldn't use grub4dos as it did not read the linux partitions (as they were primaries). So I booted off the fredora install dvd and went to the recovery console.

From here I poked around the partitions using root (hd0,x) until I found the number that reported back as a ext2fs which I know fedora grub uses. The number I got was 4.

I then used

setup (hd0,4)

to write a linux boot sector to that partition.

Rebooted to Vista and EasyBCD and setup a new linux entry (no neogrub installed) pointing to the partition labelled 'linux native - 0GB' (as I said vista could not figure out the post linux partitioning scheme properly). Rebooted again and voila! I can get into Fedora from the Vista bootloader.

Thanks again for a great tool.



It seems that the recovery partition doesn't work any more (partition 5, at the very end of the disk). I guess this is because it is partition 5 and vista only understands 3 primary partitions. I will try and fix this by moving the recovery partition to earlier in the disk (after the vista and XP partitions).

Can anyone confirm that this will fix the issue?


BTW the recovery partition is a winpe type of setup. The current partition setup is :

[Vista (NTFS, Pri)] [XP (NTFS, Pri)] [Grub (ext2, Pri)] [Fedora (ext3, Pri)] [Recovery (NTFS, Pri)]

and I am thinking that changing it to

[Vista (NTFS, Pri)] [XP (NTFS, Pri)] [Recovery (NTFS, Pri)] [Grub (ext2, Pri)] [Fedora (ext3, Pri)]

so that I can get the recovery partition working. Can anyone also suggest any tools that would work well with Vista's ntfs version when moving partitions around. I used to use Acronis for this kind of thing in XP.
Last edited:

Mak 2.0

Staff member
There is a version of Acronis that does work in Vista. The newest version of Acronis (Version 11 i believe) is compatibile. Try that.

As for your setup. It still might not work. For the fact that even though you will haev it within the 3 Primary that Vista will recognize...It still has more than Vista can handle.

Just a question. How did you get 5 primary partitions on a hard drive? The limit i know of is 4. So it could jsut be that the Recovery partition isnt working cause of this limit. So no matter what partition you put in the 5th spot if they are all primary the last one ight not work cause of the 4 Primary Partition limit.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Good question :smile: