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Here is a thread I posted earlier in the Windows forums. I have continued my questions in the Linux forum because this is becoming more Linux related.

http://daniweb.com/techtalkforums/showthread.php?p=95084&posted=1#post95084

Now don't get me wrong here, I love Linux (even though I am still very new to it), but I can't feel comfortable about what happened until I know what's going on.

I am using the following partition setup:

Hard Drive 1:
Partition 1 (10gb, FAT32) - Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
Partition 2 (70gb, NTFS) - Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2

Hard Drive 2:
Partition 1 (2gb, SWAP) - Linux swap space.
Partition 2 (78gb, RAISER) - SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional.

Bootloader:
Type - Grub
Location - Floppy (just goes to the Windows bootloader without floppy)
Entries - Linux, Windows (Which loads the Windows bootloader on C:), Failsafe, Memtest

In that thread, I describe how I noticed that the Windows bootloader complained that NTLDR was missing after I installed Linux, even though it was present there. I was able to fix it by messing around with the hardware, but I don't think I could fix it again were I to redo what caused the error in the first place. This was a bit of a different setup though, and thus, the error most likely come at all this time. SuSE is currently installed, but I haven't done as much with it yet as I did last time. I just want to be on the safe side here.

My questions are:

1. Will SuSE try to make changes to Hard Drive 1, Partition 1 that would cause the Windows bootloader to be unable to start if I run YaST Online Update?
2. If I store my Thunderbird profile on Hard Drive 1, Partition 1 so that I can share it between both operating systems, could this cause the error to come back? What about sharing Firefox's bookmarks.html in the same way?
3. Does anyone have an idea of what happened to me here?

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1. Will SuSE try to make changes to Hard Drive 1, Partition 1 that would cause the Windows bootloader to be unable to start if I run YaST Online Update?

I'm not sure (I use Redhat for the most part), but an update shouldn't make any configuration changes to your partition or bootloader setups.

2. If I store my Thunderbird profile on Hard Drive 1, Partition 1 so that I can share it between both operating systems, could this cause the error to come back? What about sharing Firefox's bookmarks.html in the same way?

No- accessing data on a FAT32 partition from Linux does not change the boot files, partition tables, etc.

3. Does anyone have an idea of what happened to me here?

Posting the contents of your grub.conf and device.map files might help us there.

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Posting the contents of your grub.conf and device.map files might help us there.

I've reformatted Linux since I had that problem. I updated with YaST, and have set Firefox and Thunderbird to share data, yet this problem has not occured again. I'm not sure how useful these files would be at this point.

I'm rather new to Linux, so if you still need the contents of these files, just tell me where they are located, and I'll post them. :)

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OK- if you've reformatted, and the problem hasn't resurfaced since, we don't need those files.

Just FYI, though- the files live in your /boot/grub directory.

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I'm guessing what probably happened is that Linux got confused by my twisted boot setup, having it share a hard drive with 98, and having XP on a different hard drive. Could this be a possible explaination?

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I'm guessing what probably happened is that Linux got confused by my twisted boot setup, having it share a hard drive with 98, and having XP on a different hard drive. Could this be a possible explaination?

Linux could have gotten confused by itself, but your setup is nowhere near as "twisted" as one of my systems (which hasn't had any such problems), so what you ran into might be a result of the way in which you installed each OS or the way that you set up the bootloaders:

My "twisted" system (which includes, all drives considered, 21 separate partitions):

A lowly P-III 500

- Hard drive #1: 1 FAT32 partition; Win 98 SE

- Hard drive #2: Mandrake 8.0 and various FAT32 and ext2-formatted data storage partitions.

- Hard Drive #3 (on a Promise Ultra-ATA PCI controller card): Win 2000 Pro, Win XP Pro, Redhat 9.0, Redhat 7.3, and more ext2/ext3/FAT32 data partitions.

Depending on your particular drive setup, and assuming that you want to use a Linux bootloader to handle the multi-boot process, you may need to add "map" directives to your LILO or GRUB config file. You can find more info on that in these links:

http://www.google.com/linux?hl=en&lr=&q=lilo.conf+grub.conf+windows+map&btnG=Google+Searchh

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