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Constructing a dual boot system

From: Helge Fredriksen
Subject: Constructing a dual boot system
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 21:06:54 +0200


We have developed our own stripped version of a Ubuntu 8.04 system that launch our own software at boot time. The distro is so small that it fits to a 1.5 Gb partition. The PC is setup with only one partition /dev/sda1.  We tailor this PC the way we like it and then makes an installer when we want to deploy.

Our installer works in the following way:

* Take a dd copy of /dev/sda to a image file.
* Store this image in a Slax environment, and create a slax bootable CD image.
* When installing, the slax environment starts a script upon startup where the user can make some choises on IP address, name of PC etc.
* The whole template image of /dev/sda is copied directly to /dev/sda on the target PC.
* The partition table is a bit altered, adding a swap partition and a giving the rest of the space to /dev/sda3

Now, this has worked quite fine until many customers require us to make this a multi boot system, where the existing Windows installation is kept.

I managed to use ntfsresize to shrink the existing partition and use parted to delete the existing + add a new smaller windows partition.

My idea then was to add another bootable partition immediatly following the windows partition (/dev/sda2). I thought that copying the template PC /dev/sda1 into this partition should then enable me to boot from here instead! Then I could just add another entry into menu.grub with hd(0,0) as boot entry to allow me to get to the Windows booting of /dev/sda1.

But I'm not able to boot the Linux kernel in /dev/sda2 after doing this dd copy. Any ideas why?

Any help or links to further reading on how to solve this problem would be much appreciated.

Best regards,
Helge Fredriksen

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