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dual boot system

XO Laptop: Hello Windows ~ Goodbye Linux :(

The One Laptop Per Child Project and Microsoft plan to make both Windows and Linux available on a version of the project's XO Laptop. It means the little green laptop would now run Windows XP as well as Linux. According to Nicholas Negroponte:

OLPC is not in the open-source advocacy business ... we're in the education business.

This will not just kill enthusiasm for the project but the project itself. Windows XP will not run smoothly on low end hardware. It will be now dual-boot system with Sugar and Microsoft's Student Innovation Suite, a US$3 software (Windows XP, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office and Windows Live Mail software).

More information available here.

OLPC did not specify the price of the dual-boot system.

OLPC Dual Boot Windows and Linux PC Coming Soon

This is not good news as it may increase the project cost. The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) and Microsoft are working together to develop a dual-boot system to put both Linux and Windows on laptops aimed at kids in developing countries, the head of OLPC said in an interview Tuesday. The OLPC laptop currently runs a Fedora-based Linux OS, and Microsoft has offered a version of Windows XP for the laptop project. There had been speculation that OLPC would simply offer two separate laptop PCs, but a dual-boot system could remove the need to offer two separate laptops.

Fix a dual boot Windows Vista and Linux problem

How do you fix a dual boot system if you had to reinstall Windows Vista and you can no longer boot to Fedora Core 6 (FC6) or Fedora Linux ? Nobody wants to reinstall FC 6 or Fedora Linux again!

Almost all versions of Microsoft Windows (including XP, Vista and old versions) overwrite GRUB bootloader in MBR (master boot record). As a result Windows boot loader becomes a new boot loader and GRUB will not appear on screen (you will not able to see GRUB menu options).

But don't worry you can easily fix the problem. Please note that if you are using Debian or Ubentu Linux just follow these instructions. Following instuctions are Fedora Linux only and should work with RHEL / CentOS too:

Step # 1: Boot from Fedora Core Linux 1st CD or DVD

Set BIOS to boot from CD/DVD rom. At boot: prompt type command linux rescue
boot: linux rescue

Just follow on screen instructions, when prompted let installer search Linux installation. If the search operation is successful, your old Linux installation will be available at special directory called /mnt/sysimage.

Step # 2: Prepare system for GRUB reinstallation

Type the following commands at shell prompt:
# chroot /mnt/sysimage
# cd /boot/grub

chroot command allows to run rest of all *COMMAND* with root directory set to NEWROOT called /mnt/sysimage. Without chroot environment you will not able to restore GRUB on Fedora Core 6.

Step # 3: Find out your GRUB bootloader installation location

If you have only one IDE hard disk default should be /dev/hda. You can use any of the following command to determine your device name:
# grep '#boot' grub.confOuput:

#boot=/dev/sda

Above output clearly point out that /dev/sda device where my GRUB bootloader was previously installed.

You can also try out fdisk -l command to list partitions and disk information:
# fdisk -l

Step # 4: Reinstall GRUB

Use grub-install command to install GRUB on your drive /dev/sda
# grub-install /dev/sda

Please note that if above command returned any error return with --recheck option to probe a device map even if it already exists
# grub-install --recheck /dev/sda

Step # 5: Reboot system

Exit from chrooted environment and reboot Linux:
# sync;sync;exit;exit
# reboot

Now GRUB will be able to boot both Windows Vista and Fedora Core 6. In UNIX/Linux dd command can be used to backup and restore the MBR :)