Fix a dual boot Windows Vista and Linux problem

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux desktop, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Troubleshooting, Ubuntu Linux, Windows last updated January 8, 2008

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:


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 :)

Linux Limiting or restricting SMP CPU activation in SMP mode

Posted on in Categories Hardware, Linux, Troubleshooting last updated November 6, 2007

Q. I would like to restrict number of CPU activated for some software licensing issues under Linux kernel 2.6.xx.. How can I limit the number of CPUs activated in SMP mode?

A. Pass a special parameter called maxcpus to kernel. It specify maximum number of processors that an SMP Linux kernel should make use of. For example if you have four cpus and would like to use 2 CPU then pass 2 as a number to maxcpus.

This is useful to test different software performances and configurations. Some commercial software such as ERP software or Oracle are licenced per CPU. In such a case maxcpus is a life saver.

Edit your grub.conf file:
# vi grub.conf
Append parameter maxcpus at the end of Kernel line. A the end it should read as follows:
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.13-Ora10g root=/dev/sda1 ro maxcpus=2
Save and close the file. Reboot system:
# reboot
Alternatively, you need to enter parameter at grub or lilo boot prompt. For example if you are using Grub as a boot loader, at Grub prompt press ‘e’ to edit command before booting.

  1. Select second line
  2. Again, press ‘e’ to edit selected command
  3. Select kernel line
  4. Append maxcpus=2 parameters.
  5. Press b to boot system

See also:

UPDATED for accuracy.