Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice) - Setup

This is a discussion on Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice) - Setup ; Some years ago I had a multi-boot setup. I used Partition Magic to partition the HD, System Commander to manage the boot. For those not familiar with SC, it hides in the master boot record (MBR). It keeps copies of ...

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Thread: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

  1. Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    Some years ago I had a multi-boot setup. I used Partition Magic to
    partition the HD, System Commander to manage the boot. For those not
    familiar with SC, it hides in the master boot record (MBR). It keeps
    copies of the OS's "real" MBR in a disc file. When a system boots, SC
    flips in the appropriate MBR, then executes it. As far as the OS is
    concerned, it just got booted, and it never knows the difference.

    My multi-boot setup worked just fine, supporting DOS/Win3.1, Win95,
    Win98, and Red Hat Linux.

    I'd like to do this again. I have PM on my current computer. I have
    tried installing Red Hat, but made the mistake of telling it to use
    "express" installation. It reformatted my HD, hidden partitions and
    all. Not good.

    More recently, I've been told that VmWare is a better way to go. You can
    switch OS's by switching virtual machines, without rebooting.

    Last night I talked to a "Geeks on Call" guy about helping me with the
    setup. In part, I was fishing for advice, whether to go the PM or
    VmWare route. He told me some things that were pretty off-putting.

    1) Can use VmWare, no problem. But I'd need _LOTS_ of RAM; 2Gb as a
    minimum, 4 Gb preferred. Also, he says it slows down the execution of
    everything.

    2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily. Using the system in
    a dual-boot way makes it unstable.

    3) He didn't seem to have heard of PM or Boot Magic (which replaces
    System Commander) at all. He said that you'd have to use a Linux utility
    (Grub?) to manage it.

    4) He recommended against dual-boot entirely. When I told him that's
    what I wanted, he refused to do it.

    Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).

    My question to the group: Is this guy in the know, or just blowing
    smoke? Any advice?

    Jack

  2. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On Fri, 18 May 2007 16:45:52 GMT, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    > Some years ago I had a multi-boot setup. I used Partition Magic to
    > partition the HD,


    I quit using PM around release 8. Now I use
    http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...kage_id=173828


    >
    > 2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    > Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily.


    Writes to MBR only once during install and any OS has to read MBR to
    boot unless booting from diskette/cd/dvd.

    > Using the system in a dual-boot way makes it unstable.


    Must have been talking about VM and maybe lilo if you forget to update
    MBR after moving the location of the booting kernel files. Grub users
    do not have to worry when kernel files move around during kernel
    updates.

    > Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    > knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).


    Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a /Windows/ geek
    who neither knows nor likes much about linux

    > Any advice?


    I use the MBR on my multi-boot system for XP Home, SuSe, Fedora Core,
    Ubuntu, Mandriva (3 different versions), Kubuntu, Ulteo.
    I use lilo or grub depending on the last release installed.


  3. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On 2007-05-18, Jack Crenshaw wrote:

    > I'd like to do this again. I have PM on my current computer. I have
    > tried installing Red Hat, but made the mistake of telling it to use
    > "express" installation. It reformatted my HD, hidden partitions and
    > all. Not good.


    Well, *you* told the installer to do that. ;-)

    > 2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    > Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily. Using the system in
    > a dual-boot way makes it unstable.


    Has he ever used linux? No version of linux I know writes to the
    MBR unless the admin changes something about the boot configuration.
    Even then, only lilo requires rewriting the MBR; grub knows enough to
    scan the config file on the linux partition, so grub is basically
    written to the MBR exactly once.

    Neither grub nor lilo cause any problems whatsoever with the OS
    once it's up.

    > 3) He didn't seem to have heard of PM or Boot Magic (which replaces
    > System Commander) at all. He said that you'd have to use a Linux utility
    > (Grub?) to manage it.


    Grub is a bootloader. It won't manage PM or Boot Magic directly, but
    you don't need either of those with grub anyway.

    > 4) He recommended against dual-boot entirely. When I told him that's
    > what I wanted, he refused to do it.
    >
    > Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    > knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).


    I suspect he's never used linux ever if he is spreading such blatant
    misinformation.

    > My question to the group: Is this guy in the know, or just blowing
    > smoke? Any advice?


    I would go back to the guy, ask for his advice, and do the exact
    opposite of what he suggests.

    --keith

    --
    kkeller-usenet@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
    (try just my userid to email me)
    AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
    see X- headers for PGP signature information


  4. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    Many thanks to those who responded. I guess the bottom line is:

    Suspicions Confirmed.

    Keith Keller wrote:
    > On 2007-05-18, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I'd like to do this again. I have PM on my current computer. I have
    >>tried installing Red Hat, but made the mistake of telling it to use
    >>"express" installation. It reformatted my HD, hidden partitions and
    >>all. Not good.

    >
    >
    > Well, *you* told the installer to do that. ;-)


    Well, yeah, but not intentionally. Partition Magic works by creating up
    to four primary partitions (therefore potential "C" drives). At any
    given time, only one of them is designated the "real" C:. Each OS
    thinks it's on that drive, and owns it exclusively.

    On this fateful day, I had already created the Linux ext2 partitions,
    and switched to the partition I wanted to put Linux in. When the Red
    Hat installer told me it was going to reformat the "drive," I assumed it
    was talking about the virtual drive I'd set up for Linux. I had no ides
    it would reformat the whole magilla.

    Looking back, I realize that the mistake I made was to ask for the
    "Express" (aka, Linux dummy) installation. I should have claimed to be
    an expert, and insisted that the installer let me drive.
    >
    >
    >>2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    >>Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily. Using the system in
    >>a dual-boot way makes it unstable.

    >
    >
    > Has he ever used linux?


    Accortind to his cohorts, yes; he uses Linux exclusively. Since he also
    uses VmWare, I assume he must have multiple versions.

    Now, we can speculate as to what he uses it _FOR_. Perhaps multi-player
    gaming???

    No version of linux I know writes to the
    > MBR unless the admin changes something about the boot configuration.
    > Even then, only lilo requires rewriting the MBR; grub knows enough to
    > scan the config file on the linux partition, so grub is basically
    > written to the MBR exactly once.
    >
    > Neither grub nor lilo cause any problems whatsoever with the OS
    > once it's up.


    Looking back, I finally remember the trick. With Linux (I'm told, you
    have your choice of putting Lilo in the MBR, or in an ordinary file.
    According to the PM docs, the trick is to _NOT_ put it in the MBR. Boot
    Magic inserts itself there, and flips the "virtual" MBRs in and out as
    needed.

    >
    >
    >>3) He didn't seem to have heard of PM or Boot Magic (which replaces
    >>System Commander) at all. He said that you'd have to use a Linux utility
    >>(Grub?) to manage it.

    >
    >
    > Grub is a bootloader. It won't manage PM or Boot Magic directly, but
    > you don't need either of those with grub anyway.


    As near as I can tell, Grub serves the exact same function as Boot
    Magixc or System Commander. I get it, that Grub comes with Linux
    installations, but in fact I don't think any of the boot managers use OS
    resouces at all (would be difficult, since the OS hasn't booted yet). I
    suspect that they all just call BIOS functions directly.
    >
    >
    >>4) He recommended against dual-boot entirely. When I told him that's
    >>what I wanted, he refused to do it.
    >>
    >>Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    >>knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).

    >
    >
    > I suspect he's never used linux ever if he is spreading such blatant
    > misinformation.


    Yeah, you're the second person to suggest that. It does seem to be true
    that he uses Linux exclusively. But this doesn't say that he's
    knowledgeable about it. Could be just a user who thinks he's much more
    of an expert than he is.
    >
    >
    >>My question to the group: Is this guy in the know, or just blowing
    >>smoke? Any advice?

    >
    >
    > I would go back to the guy, ask for his advice, and do the exact
    > opposite of what he suggests.


    Good advice. Thanks
    >
    > --keith
    >


  5. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    Bit Twister wrote:
    > On Fri, 18 May 2007 16:45:52 GMT, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    >
    >>Some years ago I had a multi-boot setup. I used Partition Magic to
    >>partition the HD,

    >
    >
    > I quit using PM around release 8. Now I use
    > http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...kage_id=173828


    Thanks for the lead. AFAIK, PM is still at version 8. All development
    on it (and useful support for it) seems to have halted when Symantec
    bought it. I used to clsim PM was my favorite Windows app, mainly
    because it was the _ONLY_ one I had, that never crashed. Good thing,
    too, since it does critical brain surgery on the HD.

    I also loved dealing with PowerQuest tech support. They were famous for
    helping with problems caused by other programs (like, for example,
    Norton GoBack). All that vanished after Symantec, of course.

    System Commander, OTOH, has continued to evolve. It's corrently in
    version 10, and includes all the functionality of PM. It supports
    Vista, if anyone cares.

    Jack

  6. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On 2007-05-19, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    >
    > Looking back, I finally remember the trick. With Linux (I'm told, you
    > have your choice of putting Lilo in the MBR, or in an ordinary file.
    > According to the PM docs, the trick is to _NOT_ put it in the MBR. Boot
    > Magic inserts itself there, and flips the "virtual" MBRs in and out as
    > needed.


    Strictly speaking, you'd install grub/lilo into the superblock of your
    ....uh, either root or boot filesystem (I can't recall ATM--probably boot
    if you forced me to guess).

    > As near as I can tell, Grub serves the exact same function as Boot
    > Magixc or System Commander. I get it, that Grub comes with Linux
    > installations, but in fact I don't think any of the boot managers use OS
    > resouces at all (would be difficult, since the OS hasn't booted yet). I
    > suspect that they all just call BIOS functions directly.


    Grub *does* use the filesystem to read its configuration file. This is
    a major difference between grub and other bootloaders like lilo. This
    is why, if you install grub, then erase linux for some reason, grub no
    longer works, whereas lilo continues to work fine. (IIRC you can still
    get into the grub CLI, but then you need to know the syntax for booting
    your other OSes.)

    >> I would go back to the guy, ask for his advice, and do the exact
    >> opposite of what he suggests.

    >
    > Good advice. Thanks


    Thanks. ;-) Just remember that you don't know us, either, so you
    should try to confirm what we're saying with other docs if you feel
    you need a third opinion.

    --keith

    --
    kkeller-usenet@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
    (try just my userid to email me)
    AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
    see X- headers for PGP signature information


  7. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On Fri, 18 May 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup, in article
    <4Lk3i.11990$j63.2982@newsread2.news.pas.earthlink. net>, Jack Crenshaw wrote:

    >Last night I talked to a "Geeks on Call" guy about helping me with the
    >setup. In part, I was fishing for advice, whether to go the PM or
    >VmWare route.


    What city - what franchise? I knew these guys were "certified experts"
    (which means they passed someone's test by remembering the stuff they
    were taught to pass the certification test - which means virtually
    nothing about real situations), but I had no idea they were _that_
    clueless.

    >1) Can use VmWare, no problem. But I'd need _LOTS_ of RAM; 2Gb as a
    >minimum, 4 Gb preferred. Also, he says it slows down the execution of
    >everything.


    Did you go to the web site?
    http://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/do...ostreq_ws.html says

    Memory

    128 MB minimum (256 MB recommended)

    You must have enough memory to run the host operating system, plus the
    memory required for each guest operating system and for applications on
    the host and guest. See your guest operating system and application
    documentation for their memory requirements.

    >2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    >Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily.


    The MBR is written to when installing. Only.

    >Using the system in a dual-boot way makes it unstable.


    The only thing that is unstable is the displayed clock times if you
    don't tell *nix that the BIOS clock is set to localtime because windoze
    is a single user system trying to act as if it has heard that the world
    is round, but is quite sure that story is propaganda from the commies or
    somethin'.

    >3) He didn't seem to have heard of PM or Boot Magic (which replaces>
    >System Commander) at all. He said that you'd have to use a Linux utility
    >(Grub?) to manage it.


    Yeah, PM and Boot Magic weren't on the notes he used to "pass" his
    certification test. What else is new?

    >4) He recommended against dual-boot entirely. When I told him that's
    >what I wanted, he refused to do it.


    Hopefully, you didn't have to pay this @$$h0le for his mis-information.
    Five strikes out of four - he's out.

    >Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    >knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).


    No, he's a MSCE-wannabe who lacks the knowledge to pass the microsoft
    tests, and is faking it as best he can.

    >My question to the group: Is this guy in the know, or just blowing
    >smoke? Any advice?


    You can''t say that he is lying - because that implies that he should
    know the real answer, and is intentionally telling you something else.
    No - this guy is just another example if the brain-dead technical support
    types that are out there ripping off consumers. He's not even worth
    giving a free CD with any of several hundred available Linux distros.
    It wasn't on the cheat sheet he used to pass his certification, so it
    must not exist.

    What's really sad is that all of these questions can be answered in a
    few seconds search at google. I guess that's another item he's never
    heard of.

    Move along - there is nothing to be found there, unless you are looking
    for new lows on the scale of intelligence.

    Old guy

  8. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On 2007-05-19, Moe Trin wrote:
    >
    > The MBR is written to when installing. Only.


    As I mentioned in another post in this thread, the MBR does need to be
    rewritten if you use lilo, change your lilo.conf file, and wish those
    changes to be reflected in the bootloader. Most distros are using grub,
    but some do not, and some admins actually prefer lilo over grub. (This
    writing the MBR is certainly at worst infrequent, unless you're going
    crazy with compiling new kernels.)

    --keith

    --
    kkeller-usenet@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
    (try just my userid to email me)
    AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
    see X- headers for PGP signature information


  9. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    Moe Trin wrote:
    > On Fri, 18 May 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup, in article
    > <4Lk3i.11990$j63.2982@newsread2.news.pas.earthlink. net>, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Last night I talked to a "Geeks on Call" guy about helping me with the
    >>setup. In part, I was fishing for advice, whether to go the PM or
    >>VmWare route.

    >
    >
    > What city - what franchise? I knew these guys were "certified experts"
    > (which means they passed someone's test by remembering the stuff they
    > were taught to pass the certification test - which means virtually
    > nothing about real situations), but I had no idea they were _that_
    > clueless.


    I'd love to tell you, but I hate to make that many waves. This guy was
    apparently still in training, so I think it likely that he was still
    pretty clueless. I'd hate to extrapolate that to the entire company.
    >
    >
    >>1) Can use VmWare, no problem. But I'd need _LOTS_ of RAM; 2Gb as a
    >>minimum, 4 Gb preferred. Also, he says it slows down the execution of
    >>everything.

    >
    >
    > Did you go to the web site?
    > http://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/do...ostreq_ws.html says
    >
    > Memory
    >
    > 128 MB minimum (256 MB recommended)
    >
    > You must have enough memory to run the host operating system, plus the
    > memory required for each guest operating system and for applications on
    > the host and guest. See your guest operating system and application
    > documentation for their memory requirements.


    Ok, so he was wrong about that, too.
    >
    >
    >>2) He says dual boot "is not recommended." He says modern versions of
    >>Linux read from and write to the MBR quite heavily.

    >
    >
    > The MBR is written to when installing. Only.
    >
    >
    >>Using the system in a dual-boot way makes it unstable.

    >
    >
    > The only thing that is unstable is the displayed clock times if you
    > don't tell *nix that the BIOS clock is set to localtime because windoze
    > is a single user system trying to act as if it has heard that the world
    > is round, but is quite sure that story is propaganda from the commies or
    > somethin'.
    >
    >
    >>3) He didn't seem to have heard of PM or Boot Magic (which replaces>
    >>System Commander) at all. He said that you'd have to use a Linux utility
    >>(Grub?) to manage it.

    >
    >
    > Yeah, PM and Boot Magic weren't on the notes he used to "pass" his
    > certification test. What else is new?
    >
    >
    >>4) He recommended against dual-boot entirely. When I told him that's
    >>what I wanted, he refused to do it.

    >
    >
    > Hopefully, you didn't have to pay this @$$h0le for his mis-information.
    > Five strikes out of four - he's out.
    >
    >
    >>Color me confused. I suspect that this guy is a Linux geek who neither
    >>knows nor likes much about Windows (I'm now using XP Pro, BTW).

    >
    >
    > No, he's a MSCE-wannabe who lacks the knowledge to pass the microsoft
    > tests, and is faking it as best he can.
    >
    >
    >>My question to the group: Is this guy in the know, or just blowing
    >>smoke? Any advice?

    >
    >
    > You can''t say that he is lying - because that implies that he should
    > know the real answer, and is intentionally telling you something else.
    > No - this guy is just another example if the brain-dead technical support
    > types that are out there ripping off consumers. He's not even worth
    > giving a free CD with any of several hundred available Linux distros.
    > It wasn't on the cheat sheet he used to pass his certification, so it
    > must not exist.
    >
    > What's really sad is that all of these questions can be answered in a
    > few seconds search at google. I guess that's another item he's never
    > heard of.
    >
    > Move along - there is nothing to be found there, unless you are looking
    > for new lows on the scale of intelligence.
    >
    > Old guy


  10. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    On Tue, 22 May 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup, in article
    <8Rw4i.12250$Ut6.5502@newsread1.news.pas.earthlink. net>, Jack Crenshaw wrote:

    >Moe Trin wrote:


    >> What city - what franchise? I knew these guys were "certified experts"
    >> (which means they passed someone's test by remembering the stuff they
    >> were taught to pass the certification test - which means virtually
    >> nothing about real situations), but I had no idea they were _that_
    >> clueless.

    >
    >I'd love to tell you, but I hate to make that many waves. This guy was
    >apparently still in training, so I think it likely that he was still
    >pretty clueless. I'd hate to extrapolate that to the entire company.


    They're a national franchise, apparently started in Norfolk, Virginia
    about eight years ago. I've heard mixed reports, not just about my
    local (Phoenix) franchise, that they are limited to handling the
    normal windoze crap. A friend using OSX on a Macintosh was not
    impressed.

    >>> 1) Can use VmWare, no problem. But I'd need _LOTS_ of RAM; 2Gb as a
    >>> minimum, 4 Gb preferred. Also, he says it slows down the execution of
    >>> everything.


    >> Memory
    >>
    >> 128 MB minimum (256 MB recommended)
    >>
    >> You must have enough memory to run the host operating system, plus the
    >> memory required for each guest operating system and for applications on
    >> the host and guest. See your guest operating system and application
    >> documentation for their memory requirements.

    >
    >Ok, so he was wrong about that, too.


    So far, I haven't seen a system that _requires_ 2 Gigs (although both Bob
    Metcalfe [inventor of Ethernet] and Henry Petroski [civil engineering
    professor at Duke.edu] both predict [1] that day is not far away). Last I
    looked at the RAM requirements for a (bloated) popular Linux distribution
    (FC6), it said:

    RAM 128 Mb for text-mode, 192 Mb for GUI, 256MB Recommended for GUI

    Old guy

    [1] "Grove giveth and Gates taketh away."
    -- Bob Metcalfe at UofVirginia May 30, 1996
    "The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its
    continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the
    computer hardware industry..." -- Henry Petroski

  11. Re: Geek blowing smoke? (dual-boot advice)

    You're in the Phoenix area? Small world. Me too.

    Jack

    Moe Trin wrote:
    > On Tue, 22 May 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup, in article
    > <8Rw4i.12250$Ut6.5502@newsread1.news.pas.earthlink. net>, Jack Crenshaw wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Moe Trin wrote:

    >
    >
    >>>What city - what franchise? I knew these guys were "certified experts"
    >>>(which means they passed someone's test by remembering the stuff they
    >>>were taught to pass the certification test - which means virtually
    >>>nothing about real situations), but I had no idea they were _that_
    >>>clueless.

    >>
    >>I'd love to tell you, but I hate to make that many waves. This guy was
    >>apparently still in training, so I think it likely that he was still
    >>pretty clueless. I'd hate to extrapolate that to the entire company.

    >
    >
    > They're a national franchise, apparently started in Norfolk, Virginia
    > about eight years ago. I've heard mixed reports, not just about my
    > local (Phoenix) franchise, that they are limited to handling the
    > normal windoze crap. A friend using OSX on a Macintosh was not
    > impressed.
    >
    >
    >>>>1) Can use VmWare, no problem. But I'd need _LOTS_ of RAM; 2Gb as a
    >>>>minimum, 4 Gb preferred. Also, he says it slows down the execution of
    >>>>everything.

    >
    >
    >>> Memory
    >>>
    >>> 128 MB minimum (256 MB recommended)
    >>>
    >>> You must have enough memory to run the host operating system, plus the
    >>> memory required for each guest operating system and for applications on
    >>> the host and guest. See your guest operating system and application
    >>> documentation for their memory requirements.

    >>
    >>Ok, so he was wrong about that, too.

    >
    >
    > So far, I haven't seen a system that _requires_ 2 Gigs (although both Bob
    > Metcalfe [inventor of Ethernet] and Henry Petroski [civil engineering
    > professor at Duke.edu] both predict [1] that day is not far away). Last I
    > looked at the RAM requirements for a (bloated) popular Linux distribution
    > (FC6), it said:
    >
    > RAM 128 Mb for text-mode, 192 Mb for GUI, 256MB Recommended for GUI
    >
    > Old guy
    >
    > [1] "Grove giveth and Gates taketh away."
    > -- Bob Metcalfe at UofVirginia May 30, 1996
    > "The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its
    > continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the
    > computer hardware industry..." -- Henry Petroski


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