boot Ubuntu to its own partition, not MBR

Asked by craig christensen on 2012-02-03

I have 3 Hard drives and all OS's are installed as the FIRST hard drive in my system(1TB,250GB,1TB).

Hello, I had posted the same but got moved to another category. I am re-posting it with more info, thanks.
I have the 2nd disk with 2 partitions on it already; HP_Recovery and Windows XP. I have room for a third partition (100 GB) and want to install Ubuntu 11.10. Problem is I want the boot-loader and boot sector for Ubuntu to be in its own partition, NOT in the MBR. I have a boot manager (Boot-US) that will choose my operating systems (Win7, Winxp, Winxp Recovery, Ubuntu, and a common data drive [not boot-able]) while the boot manager hides the partition information of the other OS's. Its important so Windoz doesn't overwrite the other while booting and thinking it is the first hard drive in the system.

The problem with Ubuntu 11.10, it wants to write the boot info in the MBR. I want it to write the boot stuff to its own partition.
How do I do this?
I have read the document: and says to use Ubuntu 9.04 server. I like that idea except the filesystem is ext3 and NOT ext4 which I want.
If all fails, then I will be forced to put in the 4th hard drive and use it all for Ubuntu 11.10 and no partitions except for the swap; not so GREEN idea.
If someone suggest to install Ubuntu manually, please tell me how or where to get this info.

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I closed other question 186570, I still want this one open; please.

Best Chris (fabricator4) said : #3

You can install grub to the partition that you are installing Ubuntu to.

When you get the part in the installer that asks how you want to install select "do something else" and it will open the partitioner part of the program. Specify that Ubuntu / (root) is to be installed on the third partition and make a note of the device name for that partition (eg /dev/sda3 assuming it is the first physical drive in the computer)

Then down the bottom of the same screen where it talks about where to install grub2, change where it says '/dev/sda' to 'dev/sda3' or whatever the correct partition is. You will then have to set up your boot loader to chain boot into grub2. I've never used boot-US so don't know how.

Why don't you like the grub2 bootloader? Another option is lilo.


delance (olivier-delance) said : #4

Grub2 comes by default in three part:
  1-the first sector of disk
  2-the 63 first sectors of disk
  3-the /boot folder
If you ask to put Grub2 in a partition, it will copy the (2) part into partition but I don't know about (1)
If you want to chain boot loaders; you will have to read documentation and become expert in this.
I could help you to boot Grub2 and after Boot.US but not in opposite direction.

I already answered you in another thread, and I think you don't need Boot.US.

Thanks Chris, that solved my question.

Hi Chris, Your instructions were GREAT, Thanks. The installation only took about 10 min and GRUB2 installed only on the logical partition; exactly where I wanted it. The MBR was left alone. Boot-US only looks into partitions for boot info and found it so I can boot my 2nd physical hard drive as if it was the first hard drive in the system. I configured the boot manager (boot-us) to "True Hide" Windows 7 partition (first HD) when windows xp or Ubuntu loads(2nd Hard drive); that is important! Because, I installed all the OS's as onto the First Hard drive and no other hard drives were attached. So, Windows XP was installed as a first hard drive and when I plugin all the other hard drives and configure the boot manager to hide the others, it works great just like it was the first hard drive.
After 27 years of playing with operating systems and windows/windoz and programming, I come to the conclusion that life is too short to sit in front of a PC reloading something. If a drive fails, fine, i have a ghost copy but i can put one of the hard drive in the first position and keep going without too much time.
I still have a minor problem with my graphics card driver, it won't see or detect my second screen so i will post it somewhere else.
Thanks again, GREAT team you guys are doing getting people interested in Unix/Linux.

Hi delance
Grub2 put the loader in the logical partition but not the MBR; that is what I wanted.
I am not familiar with GRUB2 to use it for my purpose because I don't think it can HIDE the hard drives I want hidden when I select 1 of 4 operating systems. Boot-us is a programming-less program that is easy to configure. GRUB2 on the other hand may need an editor and script programming skills. I only have C++ programming skills and getting too old to learn other languages right now....maybe later.
However, thanks for your help; all you guys saved me hours.

delance (olivier-delance) said : #8

Grub2 can hide hard drives. On my previous configuration, Windows was on second disk.

Hi delance,
About Win XP, if installed on the first drive in the system, then it thinks it is drive C:\ When you physically move it to the second drive in the system, it becomes drive D: but will overwrite anything that is drive C: trying to boot from there. Windows is not smart. Have done this a few times in my life to know not to do it again.
GRUB2: If you can point me to the programming reference for this scripting language and you say it can truly hide the drives/partition you desire, then I want to learn more. It might save me 24 Euros from buying Boot-US.
Also, I have notice in some documentation that GRUB2 has a splash screen but haven't found how to do it yet.
Thanks for the info.