Triple boot (XP Vista Mepis) difficulties

#1
Greetings folks. My first post here; although, I have read many, many of the helpful replies provided.

I have 3 drives installed on my system and desire to boot between 4 OSs. The OSs are XP PRO, 2 different versions of Vista, and the newly released Mepis 6.5. I cannot get EasyBCD to boot to Mepis. I have no problems at all with the 3 different versions of Windows. I believe the problem lies in not knowing where to send the loader for Mepis. Mepis (Gparted) reports the root directory as HDC5. Windows Vista reports the Mepis partition as disk 1 partition 2. I have tried every combination (except the correct one) possible and rebooted several hundred times. I must add that I have never seen this install of Mepis run from a hard drive. When running Mepis from the DVD, I can mount & view the Mepis partition and view the menu.lst file and the rest of the Mepis files on the hard drive. I must also admit that I know very little about Linux. I feel pretty proficient with Windows.
My XP install is listed by Mepis as SDB1 It is a 74G Raptor drive Formatted NTFS. This is the boot drive.
My first Vista install is on the first partition of a 160G (I think) SATA drive reported by Mepis as SDA1, also formatted NTFS.
The second partition of that same drive is formatted NTFS and is used for backups. Mepis reports it as SDA4.
The other version of Vista is on an older IDE drive formatted NTFS and reported by mepis as HDC1.
The mepis root directory is on HDC5 and is formatted ext3.
Mepis Swap is HDC6.
Mepis Home is HDC7.

I am lost and frustrated. The NST directory on the XP disk has only the 512 byte nst_grub file in it. Is that correct? I have attempted the neogurb route, also with no success. I have uninstalled and reinstalled EasyBCD a few times with no noticeable differences.

I am not sure where to run the EasyBCD program from. I have tried both XP and one of the Vistas. The drive letters for the Windows installs change depending on which OS is being run. The Mepis drive matches the drive letter for the active Windows installation.

Are you totally confused like me now?

I'll be checking the forums frequently for replies. I get called out to work frequently, but am usually able to check/respond at least once per day.

Thanks,
Jerry in Anchorage, Alaska
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hello Jerry from Anchorage :smile:

With EasyBCD, the drive letter to use depends on the windows your in.
For instance, if you're using EasyBCD from Vista, you use the drive letters that Vista sees.

Are you using RAID? Or just SATA?
Do you have the sata drivers for the Mepis drive installed on Windows Vista?

Good luck! Post back soon :smile:
 
#3
I have modified my installs since the last post. I have removed the Vista install from the IDE drive and formatted it and it now only contains the 3 Mepis partitions. If I change the BIOS so that it is the boot drive, it boots correctly. I am also able to get GRUB to boot to the EasyBCD Vista boot loader; however, it will only boot Vista, not XP. If I change the BIOS to boot the XP drive, it loads the EasyBCD loader and allows me to boot either XP or Vista but not Mepis. I cannot remember if I made the Vista drive the boot drive. It is all running together now.
You asked about a raid. No, just 2 independent SATA drives plus the IDE drive.
You asked about the SATA drivers for the Mepis drive. I am unclear about that--Mepis is on an IDE drive.

Jerry in Anchorage
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
OK, what you need to do now is change your boot.ini

EasyBCD tells the Windows Vista bootloader "Hey, there's a copy of XP installed on this system. If you want to boot it, just ask boot.ini for the info you need"

Boot.ini drive numbers have now changed (c:\boot.ini most likely), and need to be updated.
Just shift the drive/partition numbers up/down depending on the new config.
Check out our XP + Vista configuration details in the documentation here: http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Windows+XP
And for boot.ini specifics, refer to Victor Laurie's excellent site at http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/bootini.htm (which recommends EasyBCD too! :grinning:)
 
#5
Thanks for the reply; however, I'm really confused now.
If I set the BIOS to boot from the XP disk, both XP & Vista boot just fine, Mepis will not.
If I set the BIOS to boot from the Mepis disk, GRUB starts and Mepis boots fine. If I select Vista from the GRUB menu, it boots fine. If I select XP from the GRUB menu, the computer reboots.
I am simply at a loss of ideas how to proceed. I understand about the drive letters changing (at least I think I do) based on which OS is running. I do not know how to determine how to select the proper drive for either EasyBCD or for GRUB.
I wonder if I installed all 3 OSs on a single drive, if that would help. That would be a royal PITA (as well as expensive).
Please don't give up on me.

Jerry in Anchorage
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
You don't have to install them all on one disk.
You need to modify your boot.ini to point to the right files. Then select XP from teh Vista boot menu, and you're all set.
 
#7
OK, obviously more help is needed. When I make the Mepis disk the boot disk, GRUB loads OK. Mepis will boot OK. For the Windows load option (in GRUB), I have only one entry. It points to the XP disk where EasyBCD is located. The EasyBCD loader runs fine and the options are XP and Vista. If I select Vista it loads OK. If I select XP, the computer reboots and starts back with GRUB again.

OK, now if I change nothing except the boot order and make the XP disk the boot disk, the EasyBCD loader appears and either XP or Vista will boot OK. Mepis does not show up. I tried adding Mepis 1035 times and it never worked one time. That is the reason I am back to using (trying to use) GRUB for the boot.

I guess one very large question I have is why will XP not boot when Vista will (when using the GRUB loader)?

Does the XP disk identifier change when using the GRUB loader? When I change the BIOS, I only swap the order for Mepis and XP. The Vista disk never changes its identifier.
Maybe that is why I cannot get Mepis to boot using EasyBCD. In Mepis, the disks are not called "C" or "D" but something like "sdb1".

If the XP disk identifier does change, how can I determine what it is so I can assign its new identifier to EasyBCD?

Jerry in Anchorage
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
I don't see the problem.
When you change the boot order you are actually changing the identifier for the hard drives as well.

In mepis run
Code:
fdisk -l
to list all drives. From there get the _new_ identifier for Windows XP.
In Vista (and WITHOUT CHANGING THE DRIVE ORDER AGAIN) change boot.ini to point to the new id. Reboot.

Use Vista's loader -> XP -> works.

No need for anything else.