• LMDE 5 32-bit dual boot on seperatd drives

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    So what I want to accomplish is having my current Dell Dimension 8250 dual boot XP and LMDE 5 on seperate drives. XP is already installed on an 500MB HDD. LMDE 5 will be installed on a 500GB SSD. I’ve been reading and watching YouTube videos but there seems to be so many ways to proceed.

    One option is to disable the XP drive, then install LMDE on the SSD but don’t know how to get grub installed.

    One issue I have is when I ran the Live DVD of LMDE I had to run it in compatibility mode. Is there away to do an install to compatibility mode?

    I’ll wait for feedback before I proceed.

    Viewing 6 reply threads
    • #2563214

      The only dual boots I’ve ever done are with both operating systems being on the same drive. I do have one computer that has Windows 7 and Mint dual booting on the same drive (the original HDD) and I have a separate SSD with just Mint on it that I can put in that computer in place of the dual boot drive. That works for me because I rarely need Windows 7 and Mint runs so much faster on the SSD (I use that computer almost exclusively with Mint).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2563215

      One option is to disable the XP drive, then install LMDE on the SSD but don’t know how to get grub installed.

      By far, most Linux distros will use GRUB, but not all of them. Assuming LMDE is like the other Mint editions, GRUB is automatically installed as part of the Linux installation. All you would need to do after the Linux installation would be to re-enable the Windows drive, boot to Linux, then enter this in the command line:

      sudo update-grub

      It should find and configure Windows for dual boot. If it says something about OS_PROBER being disabled, then you will need to add one more step. If it says OS_PROBER was called (or doesn’t mention OS_PROBER), and then that it found Windows boot loader, you’re good to go. The dual boot should work at that point. Just have the Linux drive as the boot drive in the UEFI/BIOS and it will give you a choice of Windows or Linux at boot time.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2563232

      Changing boot drive on XP can be fraught with difficulty because the disk and partition info is hard coded into the boot configuration and if you swap anything to change the disk info your boot will fail.

      Do not change the cable connecting the existing disk.
      Add the new disk on a new cable, then check you can still boot XP.
      Then boot from the Linux installer and check you can see both disks before installing.

      As always, make an image backup first.
      I would also take a photo of the disk connectors.

      cheers, Paul

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    • #2563407

      Thanks for everybody’s feedback. I hope I’m not going over my paygrade!

      One question I have, is which drive should be “master” and which should be “slave”? Or does it matter?

      Which option should I select for the instaĺlation? “Erase disk”or “Something else” ?

      One more question…when I boot from the Live DVD, I need to select “Compatability” to be able to use LMDE.  Is the installer smart enough to install to compatibility mode or will I atleast be given the option in the grub menu?



      • #2563485

        Wow, we’re talking about an IDE setup here, as we used to call the ATA drives (for integrated drive electronics. Prior to that, the drive control electronics were on a separate card, the hard drive controller. The IDE/PATA “controller” that was usually built into the motherboard was really just a host adapter, with the actual controller being in the drive itself).

        The original ATA was a parallel standard, which is why it uses those huge ribbon cables. When the upgraded serial ATA (SATA) arrived, the older ATA was renamed parallel ATA, or PATA.

        If the PC has two IDE/PATA ports, I would put one drive on each as separate masters. Otherwise, I would put the SSD as master and the HDD as slave.

        What kind of SSD are you using that works with PATA? Are you using an adapter?

        About the compatibility mode… I really don’t know. Only one way to find out!


        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

    • #2563491

      Putting the disks on the same IDE cable may change the drive order and invalidate the XP boot info.
      Plug the new disk in and see if it boots. If not, swap the cable connectors on the disks. (I did say take pictures.)
      If it still won’t boot you may need a second ribbon off the other IDE port.

      cheers, Paul

    • #2563748

      Thank you Ascaris and Paul T. I think I am definitely over my pay grade.

      This is how I think I will proceed:

      1. First check to see if I have a second ide port for new ssd. If not, plug into existing port.

      2. Boot the computer to see if I can boot into windows. This would mean the Windows drive is master and ssd would be slave.

      3. Boot into LMDE live DVD.

      4. Use the “Something else” option to install LMDE.

      5. Grub should be installed and can now boot into Windows or LMDE.

      Yes Ascaris I am using a sata to ide adapter. I am hoping it will work as advertised! It’s an old system and I have backed up all files to an external hdd. Not sure when I will have time to do the install. It’s been a busy month already.

    • #2568154

      An update, finally.

      I decided to disconnect my Windows disk and plug in my SSD to install LMDE 5. I didn’t want to accidentally format my Windows disk. I ran the Live DVD in compatability mode and selected “manual partitioning”. I created a root ( / ), home ( /home ) and swap ( /swap ) partitions. It took approximately 20 minutes to install.

      When I rebooted for the first time I had the same video issues when running in “normal” mode. So I followed the “boot options” on the Linux Mint installation page and edited the grub menu using the option “nomodeset”.  Continued to boot and voila it was running!

      I have only run Software Update to get my machine up to date. I did not install the Kernel since I was reading that the newer kernels might not contain code for older graphic cards. Is this right? Should I update my video driver through the drivers settings? I am a little hesitant to do much until I can get a external drive to make snapshots for backups.

      Another question I have is the grub menu. I know there is a way to add “nomodeset” to grub but where should I put it? Is it /etc/grub/grub.cfg or /etc/default/grub or something else?


      • #2568158

        There’s always some risk that new kernels will not handle older hardware, but at least in my experience, that’s been very rare. I would install the newest kernel Update Manager is offering. You can always revert to an older kernel.

        When you open Update Manager, pull down the View Menu and choose Linux Kernels. You’ll see a warning screen. Don’t let that scare you but make sure to read it because it tells you what to do if something’s not working after installing a new kernel.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2573964

          So I finally updated to the “new” kernel and now I no longer need to specify “nomodeset” when I boot into LMDE 5! Thanks for the advice DrBonzo.

          Unfortunately I have another issue with external drives but will start a new thread.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
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