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SDB:Dual boot on 2 drives

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If you are using openSUSE 11.1 or a higher version, you should not have to worry about any of the following information as YaST should take care of this for you.

If you are using an older version of openSUSE/SUSE Linux and have both Windows and Linux installed on the same computer, but on separate drives, some changes may need to be made to the GRUB or LILO configuration. To ensure that both systems are bootable and more importantly GRUB or LILO can start both systems. It should not matter if your computer has just SATA disks or just PATA (normal IDE) disks.

GRUB boot manager

GRUB is the default boot manager for openSUSE/SUSE Linux as well as many other well known Linux distributions. It is selected by default in YaST when you install openSUSE/SUSE Linux, therefore it's most probably the one installed on your computer. GRUB uses a file called /boot/grub/menu.lst to store it's configuration information (this file may be different on another Linux distribution).

LILO boot manager

LILO is the Linux boot manager which was used as the default instead of GRUB in the beginning of Linux, openSUSE still has the option to use LILO if you would like to. As LILO uses pretty much the same naming convention as GRUB most of the following information still applies, with a few exceptions like the GRUB commands (eg. map). The configuration file for LILO is /etc/lilo.conf, so edit that file if you use LILO instead of GRUB.

Warning: You should make a backup of /boot/grub/menu.lst before modifying it unless you are very fimilar with how /boot/grub/menu.lst works.

Booting Windows Vista from the first hard drive

To enable the booting of Vista add the following to /boot/grub/menu.lst under the "Windows" section:

title Windows Vista
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

Starting Windows from a hard disk other than the first hard disk

Because Windows must be started from the first hard disk, you need to use the map command in the GRUB configuration file. If Windows is installed on a third hard disk, change (hd1,0) to (hd2,0)

Add the following to /boot/grub/menu.lst under the "Windows" section:

map (hd0,0) (hd1,0)
map (hd1,0) (hd0,0)
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1
  • The map commands change the way GRUB sees your hard drives, in this case swapping hd1 (hard disk 1) with hd2 (hard disk 2).
  • The root command tells grub which hard drive to boot.

GRUB should then give you the option to boot into Windows on the second drive. Very Handy !!.

See Also