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1. Install a minimal Linux (hold off on installing the rest until you win the Linux/NT battle). Do all your disk partitioning in Linux, including your NT partition (make it FAT). I was not successful at making more than one NT partition. I also made it the first partition, but I don't know if that is essential or not.

2. Edit /etc/lilo.conf and use boot=/dev/sda (I was not successful at installing LILO on the Linux partition--/dev/sda3 in my case) and run "lilo". You'll have to use the editor ae. You'll live.

3. Save the MBR with this: dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/fd0 bs=512 count=1 Use a floppy. Trust me. Also do this each time you change the disk partition table.

4. Install NT, part 1. When it goes to reboot halfway through the process you'll boot into Linux.

5. Add NT stanza to /etc/lilo.conf, e.g.:


and run lilo. If lilo complains about this (I forget the message), add the "linear" flag to /etc/lilo.conf near the "compact" keyword. Furthermore, if your partition table is screwed up by NT you'll either need to use "ignore-table" or follow the directions in Step 7. See also "fix-table". The LILO HOWTO is your friend.

6. Reboot, select NT from LILO, and finish NT install. You'll need the "Boot Disk XU, HP Vectra AIC 7880 Driver A.01.02" floppy to install the ethernet drivers and the "XU/VT Drivers and Documentation" CD (directory video/disk4 if I recall correctly) to install the video drivers for the Matrox MGA Millennium.

7. Back to Linux, run fdisk and ensure you don't get "partition doesn't end on cylinder boundary" on your Linux partitions. You'll still have this error on the NT partition though, but this seems to be OK.

/dev/sda1            1        1      322   329301    6  DOS 16-bit >=32M

Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary:

phys=(321, 39, 9) should be (321, 63, 32)

Cfdisk reports strangeness, but it seems OK:

                                          Unusable                      0.04*

 /dev/sda1                 Primary        DOS 16-bit >=32Mb           321.59*

                                          Unusable                      0.39*

If you do get the cylinder boundary warning on your Linux partitions, it is sufficient to use cfdisk to do something innocuous like changing the boot sector.

If, however, NT has really screwed you over and cfdisk can't even run, complaining that it cannot open /dev/sda, then you'll need to take more extreme action. You'll need that MBR you saved previously. Clear and restore the MBR (but not the signature) with:

          dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1

          dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/dev/sda bs=510 count=1

8. Install the rest of Linux. Easy, huh?

If you prefer to have NT write the MBR instead of LILO, you may have to resort to the following to clear the MBR first:

Epilogue: After first posting this message, I heard from several folks that they had no problems with NT's Disk Administrator, and were able to install either NT or Linux first without any problems. Hopefully, you'll be in this camp, but if not, perhaps this campfire story will be of some use.

Since the first edition of this mini-HOWTO, others have written similar documents as well. Please be sure to consult them. If your experience differs from any presented, then you should submit your own mini-HOWTO or submit a revised version of this document to the HOWTO maintainer (reference this sentence) and send a carbon copy to me as I don't have the time to maintain this document. Someone should eventually combine all of these documents into a single coherent HOWTO.

Finally, I'm afraid this document details all I know about this subject. I should point you to an appropriate Linux newsgroup for further information. I use NT about one day a year. Under duress.

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