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I have been looking through these forums, and have found answers that were close, but I need specifics. I recently acquired a copy of RedHat. I had an extra HD lying around, so I removed my Windows HD and put in the other one and installed RedHat so I could play around with it. But I have decided I NEED to be able to read from my Windows HD for various reasons, so I need to get it to dual boot. But I am VERY afraid to do it, because I don't want to lose data from my Windows HD. So I had a theory of how to do it.. Please tell me if this will work: Make the Windows HD a slave, make Linux HD a master, slick the Linux HD, reinstall RedHat to Linux HD, use LILO or Grub to dual boot. Will LILO or Grub see the Windows OS and allow me to dual boot? Is it even necessary to slick the RedHat HD, or can I configure it in current install?

i am not an expert but my PC is a Windows XP/Core1 dual-boot machine and there is the set up that worked for me; mind you, this is just an outline, not a step-by-step manual; when people post different recommendations and you choose the best solution, then we can get down to details;

I have both Windows and Linux on the same, master hard-drive; then there is another disk installed in my PC as slave that I use for data; part of this slave disk is formatted as NTFS and holds Windows-specific data (downloads of drivers or software mainly); the other part of the slave drive is formatted in FAT32 and t holds the data that I want to share between Windows and Linux (mp3, photographs, text files). Linux can read/write FAT32 partitions.

when i tried to keep XP on master drive and install Linux on the slave my system ended up being unbootable, maybe Linux has trouble booting from slave disks? well, I did not feel like experimenting too much and I went with the configuration that is described above;

hope you find this helpful

I would actually recomend leaving your Windows drive as the Master. Windows is a snob and it likes to be the master. Linux will be just fine as slave, just install the bootloader (Grub or Lilo, I recomend Grub) to the MBR of the master, and it should all work out fine.

Having the FAT32 partition is a great idea because Linux can't write to NTFS in any stable manner yet.

Your going to be just fine having a dual boot system, Linux plays nice with Windows and Windows just sits in the corner by its self so there isn't much possibility of problems.

Your not going to be able to make your current instilation work. You are going to have to re-install one or the other or it wont know where it is. I would recomend putting your Windows drive back in the Master and than re-formating your linux drive on the slave channel and leaving some space for a FAT32 partition.
So, however I intend to go about it, I need to slick my Linux drive.... Correct me if this is an incorrect assumption: Reinstall Linux, and the partitioner can help me configure in the partitions and dual boot. The installation process should detect the FAT32 partition and the Win98 OS and not change any partitions on the physical Win98 HD?

I have a new stupid question that my wife brought up to me: If I install Linux and have a dual boot with 2 separate HDs with Win98 on one and Linux on the other, would it be possible at some point in time for who knows why to physically remove the Linux HD and then be able to boot directly from Win98?

After some responses to this question, then I'll quit bothering you with stupid questions for a little while and experiment with it myself....
well, installing GRUB (or LILO when experimenting with SUSE) in the MBR of my master was the very cause for losing my Windows installation together with all data, the whole hard-drive became unusable mess, so I would not recommend it as Windows does not like it when other OSes change MBR (Windows is as snob indeed, that is why you should leave your MBR alone); my solution is less risky as it does not do anything to any MBRs; lest's is more dangerous; i know everything SHOULD be OK if you take that route but it was not OK in my case and caused me a huge head-ache

the installer should not mess up your Windows partition, unless you specifically tell it to do so; as I said, you have to decide on your configuration first, there is no point giving detailed instructions now;

see, if you overwrite your MBR now (which is dangerous) and later on decide to ditch Windows or Linux, then you will have to change MBR back, taking a risk of loosing your data one more time;

good luck, whatever you do :-)

Yeah, I think I'll ghost my Win98 drive before I do anything, then it probably wouldn't matter as much if I lose everything, then I'll experiment....

Thank you both for your help.
Your bootloader (what ever it is) has to be installed in the first sector of the Master drive, other wise you wont have boot controle.

It is very possible to install Linux and Windows on two seperate hard-drives (in fact its probably the best way to do it) and than have the option to remove the linux drive and than resort the windows bootloader. However, if the Linux drive was on the slave channel, it would not be possible to remove the Windows drive, as you would have no boot loader.

My system is an 80 gig NTFS partition on the master that makes up XP on the master channel, and than I have a 40 gig hard drive that has all sorts of linux partitions on it for Mandrake and some other stuff. Grub is installed on the first sector of my Master hard-drive (MBR) and everything boots fine. I know of lots of people who run similar set-ups with no problems and no loss of data on thier windows drive.

lesio1974, I still don't understand how you are booting a system without having grub in the MBR of the master drive, I would like to know how you are doing it.
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