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Pardon me for my ignorance, but as a new Linux user, I honestly know little to nothing about these things. I'm trying to set up an MBR install for Arch alongside Windows 8, though it doesn't make much sense to me. I'm using this ( https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Grub#Install_to_440-byte_MBR_boot_code_region ) URL to see how it's done, but I'm not sure on a few things.

1) Do I install GRUB beforehand when using the MBR tutorial area.

2) Where and how do I create the .cfg file for GRUB

3) Will it wipe my current Win8 installation

4) Which SDA am I choosing to enter the data for? The Arch install, the Windows install, or what? (The step I'm reffering to is '# grub-install --recheck /dev/sda' )

And, before someone says it, don't tell me to use a different distro. My heart is set on Arch, and I acknowledge the steep learning curve I'm undertaking by installing and using it. (Also, my crumby laptop can't run Ubuntu and other stuff seamlessly, and a barebones OS seems nice, as well as heavily modable)

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2 Answers 2

Where and how do I create the .cfg file for GRUB

The grub.cfg is generated by grub-mkconfig command - you can see it's one of the steps on that tutorial.

Will it wipe my current Win8 installation

No. Your risk here is missing something and end with a system that can't boot neither Windows 8 or Arch Linux. In that case you'd have to install again the bootloader by other means, or recover Windows bootloader. No big deal compared to lose all your data.

Which SDA am I choosing to enter the data for? The Arch install, the Windows install, or what?

The device you have to pass here is the appropriate disk, not a partition, so your question doesn't make sense. Assuming you have just one HD in your computer, partitioned between Windows and Arch, you'd have to pass that device as argument - probably /dev/sda.

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grub is harder to setup than syslinux, you can try syslinux first: install syslinux

and it's better to setup windows bcd than touch mbr: load syslinux from win bootmgr

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Could you explain why modifying windows bcd is better than overwriting the MBR? –  Nicolas May 22 '13 at 20:50
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@Nicolas mbr contains not only bytes of boot code but also part of partition table. writing to it is always considered dangerous. Try to use win bootmgr to load a copy of your mbr, this will not mess your win installation at least. use 'dd' to get your mbr copy(or by some way else) and try this to add altmbr code into it. –  picospuch May 23 '13 at 3:02
    
thanks for the clarification. –  Nicolas May 24 '13 at 23:28

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