[OpenIndiana-discuss] A few words about multiple operating systems with OpenIndiana
gu99roax at student.chalmers.se
Thu Dec 29 16:31:58 UTC 2011
During my install I have run into some problems that I resolved so I
think it is suitable to mention these solutions here:
When you have several operating systems in one system there are a few
things to consider when resolving conflicts that may occur when
installing updates and service packs which I will walk you through here.
Before we go on about installation a few words about the master boot
record is in place here. When you partition a boot hard drive, one of
these primary partitions is the boot partition, i.e. the partition the
BIOS will choose to boot from when the system is set to boot from that
particular disk. This is managed by a set of flags that let the BIOS
identify the purpose of each partition. The flag that is used to
identify the boot partition is called the "active" flag or "boot" flag.
This flag is set whenever you "Mark" a given partition as "active" in
the disk management tool in Windows or tick the "boot" flag in the
gparted tool that comes with the OpenIndiana LiveCD. Only one partition
on a hard drive can be flagged as active, so activating one partition
means that another partition is deactivated. Usually this is handled by
the installers so you generally don't have to worry about it, unlesss
you run into problems we will discuss below.
Let's say that you want to have three different operating systems on
your system hard drive on three separate partitions. Let us assume that
you want to have Windows XP x64, Windows 7 x64 and OpenIndiana installed
each having its own 50GB partition to play around with and you install
them in the order given.
So you begin by installing WinXP x64, a primary 51200MB partition is
created and WinXP is installed into it, that's it. This partition will
automatically be flagged as the active partition.
Then you install Windows 7 x64 on another primary partition of the same
size after the WinXP partition. What happens is that the Win7 installer
modifies the WinXP partition by adding a special boot menu that lets you
choose between Win7 and WinXP. The partition with Windows 7 in it is not
bootable and has no "ntloader" to boot. So the WinXP partition remains
the _active_ system partition.
Then you move on to install OpenIndiana on another partition created by
the gparted tool on the OI LiveCD. The OI installer detects the two
Windows partitions and configures grub to let you choose between the
three operating systems. One of the "Windows" choices however is not
viable because as we have stated, the Win7 partition is not bootable. It
has to be accessed through the boot menu of the WinXP partition. The
OpenIndiana partition is set by the installer as the active partition
and the grub boot environment that lets you choose between operating
systems is located in the OpenIndiana partition.
Now, if you want to install Service Pack 1 into Windows 7, the service
pack installer will not accept the OpenIndiana partition as the active
partition and it will fail miserably. The solution is to run the
computer management -> disk management tool and mark the Windows XP
partition as active. Then you can install the service pack onto the
system. Also note that you cannot do more than one change of active
partition per bootup with the Microsoft disk management tool and it
cannot mark non-Windows partitions as active. So when all updates are
finished you need to use e.g. the gparted tool to move the active flag
back to the OpenIndiana partition. So you can boot up the liveCD and
tick the "boot" flag of the OpenIndiana partition to revert back to the
old boot configuration.
If I had this information at hand it would save me many hours of
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