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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 3:37 pm 
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Sorry if this question has already been answered in these forums, but I searched and found some related info, but not a specific answer.

Can NasLite (or NasLite+) be used in a sort of NasLite and Windows dual-boot configuration, by having two partitions on a single hard drive? That is, can I have one partition (FAT32 or NTFS) with Windows, which would boot from the hard drive, and a second partition (Ext2) which would be used by NasLite (or NasLite+) if I booted from a NasLite floppy or boot CD?

I've recently tried NasLite on a couple old Windows PCs. I used Partition Magic ver 8 (PM8) to create an Ext2 partition on the single hard drive, but still keeping the existing Windows partition. (As an aside, using PM8, you can't convert a partition to Ext2, but instead you resize the existing partition to a smaller size, then create a new Ext2 partition in the unallocated space).

When I do this, and boot NasLite, I get an "Bad magic number in super-block" error -- in the Server Elements forums I learned that one cause of this error is the partition is not type ext2.

I don't think the problem is with PM8. When I partitioned the whole drive to type Ext2 (wiping out the existing data and making the PC no longer bootable to Windows), then NASlite worked, and I was able to set it up and connect it to my home network.

I tried a couple of configurations of having both Windows and Ext2 partitions: Ext2 partition at the end of the drive, at the beginning of the drive, making the Ext2 partition the Active partition and hiding the FAT32 Windows partition, etc. Always got the same "bad magic number" error.

It may just be that NasLite needs to have the whole drive partitioned to type Ext2. But I read in a December 2004 web review by Michael Horowitz
(see http://www.michaelhorowitz.com/naslite.html ) where he wrote:

If you have partitioning software, such as Partition Magic from Symantec, then you can create an ext2 partition for use by NASLite and keep Windows in another partition. In this case, NASLite sees the ext2 partition, uses it and ignores Windows. You don't even have to make the ext2 partition the active, bootable partition. This way, the computer will boot Windows when the NASLite floppy disk is not present and boot NASLite when it is. A most unusual dual-boot setup.

Maybe the information is incorrect, or maybe I'm making some mistake.
Thanks for any information / suggestions.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 4:59 pm 
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Your plan is doable provided the first primary partition on your drive is ext2. ;-)


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:18 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
rMacchi,

I have done a similar thing and posted instructions here:
http://www.serverelements.com/phpBB2/vi ... 184768678d

Like Tony says, the ext2 partition has to be first, and then the windows partition second. Try deleting all the partions and then create the ext2 partition first, and then the windows partition second. I put my windows partition at the end of the drive, but it should not matter. If you have a large hard drive you may have to put the windows partition at the beginning of the drive since windows has a limitation on where it can boot from.

In my case I'm booting NASLite+ from the windows partition as described in the above post. You should also be able to use window's boot manager to set up a dual boot option with windows or NASLite+.


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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:05 pm
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Location: Up State NY in the USA!!!!
OK, I can't stand it! WHY? With PIII boxes all over the place for cheap ($25.00 UDS) why would you even need to go to that trouble? Also if you turn on windows file sharing you got the NAS box by default and you can use the machine at the same time. :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 2:38 am
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Quote: Your plan is doable provided the first primary partition on your drive is ext2

Sorry for delay between posts.
To clarify, I think the "first" primary partition means that the Ext2 partition is the first entry in the MBR (master boot record) partition table, right? And not the first partition on the physical drive (That is, "first" does not mean the partition starts at the beginning of the hard drive).

When I tried NASLite, I used PM8 to create the Ext2 on a machine with an existing Windows partition. Thus, the Ext2 partition was the second entry in the MBR table. Using PM8 to move the Ext2 partition to the beginning of the drive didn't help because the Ext2 was still the second MBR entry.

I think "smeyer" is right that deleting the existing Windows partition and then creating first an Ext2 partition, and then a Windows partition, will work, because then the Ext2 is the first entry in the MBR. And if you have a large drive, you can use Partition Magic to move the Windows partition to the beginning of the drive, if needed for Windows to boot -- this will put the Ext2 at the end of the drive but keep it as the first entry in MBR (I haven't verified that NASlite will work fine with an Ext2 partition that is the first MBR entry yet located at the end of the drive, but I suspect that this is ok)

For me, the problem with this strategy is that if you delete existing Windows partition, you lose the Windows software installed. I know you can backup and restore, but I thought it would be nice to be able to just add NASlite to an old PC while keeping existing Windows setup, in case you might want to use the old Windows PC for a test, or use some old software, etc.

However, if the issue is just the order of the entries in the MBR table, then software to modify the MBR could be a workaround. I found and used "MBRWizard", which has a /Sort switch -- this sorts the MBR table to match the physical order of the partitions on the drive. Since I had already used PM8 to move the Ext2 partition to the beginning of the drive, MBRwizard moved the Ext2 MBR entry to the first entry. Once I did that, NASLite would boot from a floppy. And I could also boot Windows from the hard disk if I removed the floppy.
I found MBRwizard at
http://www.geocities.com/mbrwizard/

There are manual MBR editing tools, such as MBRTool
( http://www.diydatarecovery.nl/mbrtool.htm ) which I assume would allow you to edit the MBR entries (carefully) to write down the MBR values, then edit them to swap entries 1 and 2. This would allow you to create an Ext2 partition at the end of the drive, and then manually swap the MBR entries. This saves the step of using PM8 to move the Ext2 partition to the beginning of the drive. I did not test this.

Tip: If you don't have Partition Magic, there are several Partition and MBR tools, such as the free Ranish Partition Manager and MBRTool, along with many other useful computer test and management tools, available on a single boot CD, called the "Ultimate Boot CD" or "UBCD". You download an .iso image (or download a compressed Windows .exe that unpacks to an .iso image) and then use CD-burning software to burn the .iso image to a CD.
See http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Maybe this information will be useful to others.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 2:38 am
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To "mikeiver1":
I hope you haven't lost too much sleep over the past week. :)

I assume you're not asking "Why use NASlite when you can just use a computer running Windows instead?", given this is the NASlite forums. Maybe your question is why not just use the Windows PC with file sharing, until you are ready to either wipe out the hard drive and switch completely to NASLite, or go buy another cheap old PC and use that with NASLite?

I think there are several reasons why someone (not just me) might want to keep around an old Windows PC with its existing software and data available, "just in case" they want to run some old piece of software, or as a backup PC, etc. And an old PC that you know works reliably might be preferable to buying a used PC of unknown status, as well as an additional PC takes up additional desk or floor space.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:05 pm
Posts: 1687
Location: Up State NY in the USA!!!!
I guess I can see it, maybe.

the box I'm using was a throwout, literaly. It was thrown off of a balcony and then into a 10yard dumpster. Most boxes are going to be reliable, my experiance, and should work. I would not play around with a dual boot config. I'd just get an old PII or the likes for 20 bucks at the local computer shop and call it good after a weeks worth of up time and hammering.

Just MHO, Best.

Mike


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:57 am
Posts: 19
Just for the record, there is a suitable tool to manually edit partition tables under Win32, freeware:
BEEBLEBROX
http://students.cs.byu.edu/~codyb/

jaclaz


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