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I'm trying a dual-boot installation of Ubuntu 9.04 parallel to an exisiting Windows XP. On first Ubuntu boot I get a Grub error 18. As I already found out the reason therefore is a unfortunate combination of problems:

  1. The Ubuntu partitions are at the end of the partion table probably too far in the back to get found by the old BIOS.
  2. I'm installing on a rather old laptop with a BIOS where I can't set the HDD mode (from LBA to CHS or normal). This was mentioned as a workaround to get Grub boot from drives too large for old BIOS (in my case 250GB).

One workaround mentioned was to create a boot partition as a first partition on the drive. But as the Ubuntu installer can't move partions, just resize them I can't make any free space that way.

Would there be any problem regarding my existing Windows installation if I used another partitioning tool to resize and move my first Windows partition a bit to the back?

If doing so would I still be able to reenable the Windows boot manager with fixboot/fixmbr?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Creating a new small first primary Ext2 partition for /boot with GParted did the trick. Then ran the Ubuntu Desktop installation and chose manual partioning. There I set /boot as the mountpoint for the small partition and put the rest of the Ubuntu partitions at the end. Works fine and Grub is able to boot both Ubuntu and Windows.

Just wondering if Windows fixboot/fixmbr could cope with the moved first Windows partition?

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@desolat: great stuff! Regarding this question, I'm not entirely sure. –  Aaron Jul 25 '09 at 16:35
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Have you considered Super Grub?

  • The Live CD, has several options which might be useful.
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How could that help me? Could it allow me anyhow to have the boot code behind the BIOS limit? –  desolat Jul 25 '09 at 14:46
    
SuperGrub site has changed to: supergrubdisk.org –  desolat Jul 25 '09 at 14:46
    
@desolat: Good 1st point, I'm not entirely sure. In actual fact, probably not. Can you find an up-to-date BIOS firmware, then flash accordingly? –  Aaron Jul 25 '09 at 15:43
    
@Aaron: no chance with the BIOS, too old a laptop –  desolat Jul 25 '09 at 15:47
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