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Windows XP and Incompatibilities with Multi-Booting?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the another-attempt-to-stifle-competition dept.

Microsoft 201

Morgan asks: " Windows XP (Whistler) won't boot from disks with MBR partition tables, requiring a new GUID Partition Table (GPT). It will still read and write MBR disks. In a cursory search, I find no work to support GPT with LILO or other multi-booting Linux loaders. I'm a 'one OS, one disk' man, especially since disks are so cheap, but what about those who aren't handy with a screwdriver (and an IDE cable)? An easily installable Linux distro that shrinks the Windows partition, but allows multi-booting without requiring a re-install of Windows is a great Trojan horse: 'here, try this real OS, but if you don't like it, or you need a particular app, you can always boot Windows.' Will GPT make this harder?" What reasoning was behind the move to GPT? By making Whistler incompatible with the standard MBR, this could be seen by many as another move to stifle competition in the PC market. How do you feel about it?

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201 comments

Why would you want to dual boot a server? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#210041)

According to the FAQ, this is a problem only with the 64 bit versions, not the 32 bit versions (see #'s 13-16 especially 16. So this will only affect "Big Iron" not ordinary dual-boot situations.

Re:one reason behind GPT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#210042)

If you read down the page, it sounds like that's exactly what they are doing on x86.

It would be rather unfortunate to see lots of 1981-style PC crap like the MBR make it onto the IA-64 platform. One obviously bad bit is the whole BIOS/Boot routine which just reeks of the stoneage. Someone make an Open Firmware PC!

Re:one reason behind GPT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#210043)

Considering that Intel is funding Linux on IA64 development, presumably the proper folks have been informed. (Since the big boys, Sun DEC etc have dropped UNIX-on-IA64 plans, Intel needs Linux badly to get this stuff into the datacenter.)

Re:Would it really be that suprising... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#210044)

this could be seen by many as another move to stifle competition in the PC market.

Yeah, and issuing a mandatory federal ID card could be seen by many as government oppression. Which, of course, would not be true.

Microsoft is not under any obligation to make their operating system to coexist with other, competing operating systems. Insisting that a corporation, which is in business to make money, should respect competing products is just plain lunacy.

Re:one reason behind GPT (1)

Gleef (86) | more than 12 years ago | (#210045)

Yes, it sounds like EFI/GPT is a useful step up from MBR. On the other hand, abrupt transitions like this are generally bad things. If Microsoft cared about the people using their OS (haha) they would have a version or two which supported both, and then dump MBR later.

----

I feel... (2)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#210047)

that I wouldn't care in the slightest. Although, as others have pointed out, there is actually no multiboot issue here, it doesn't really matter even if there were. Why? Simple - if you don't like Microsoft's tactics, don't use their products. Nothing forces you to buy or use XP. If it has issues that prevent you from using your system(s) the way you want, just don't use it! All the whining and crying about anticompetitive practices is just so much bull -- you can much more effectively let Microsoft know how you feel by not buying their product.

Dealing with for-profit corporations is very easy. When you buy their product, you are giving a vote of confidence and approval in them - their products, their people, and their practices. When you don't buy their products, you are doing just the opposite. Since they want to make money, successful for-profit corporations will alter their products, people, and practices in ways that maximize the number of people who buy their products. If you buy a product from a company of which you do not approve, you are voting for Buchanan when you claim you wanted Gore. And, like those who did that, you are being incredibly stupid.

Proudly 100% Microsoft-free for over 5 years.

Less fear is required. (5)

defile (1059) | more than 12 years ago | (#210048)

The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is an attempt to bring ancient PC "standards" up to something reasonable. Almost all hardware and OS/driver vendors are _for_ this. This is an attempt to give PC's real firmware, rather than the hack they have now.

If you've ever used big iron UNIX hardware, you've probably enjoyed the conveniance that the firmware itself provides (or maybe not).

Replacing the MBR is one aspect of this. This is not something to worry about unless MS pulls the embrace and extend crap, but I doubt they'd stoop to it on such a low-level aspect.

With some exceptions, all OS, Driver, and Hardware developers/vendors want EFI.

Possible conspiracy theories:

  • Intel is mostly responsible for EFI. Insert typical big scary corporation fear.
  • EFI lets each hardware vendor provide built-in drivers for all hardware. This could certainly mean that the OS has to use a binary-only driver to transmit something over the network card. Quality manufacturers will probably want an OS specific driver. At least EFI demands that the bundled driver follow a standard interface. The end result is that you may not have the source to some hardware drivers.

Realistically, the worst that EFI can do is give us something better than what we have now. At best, it could make PC's pleasurable (but don't bet on it).

only the 64 bit version.... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 12 years ago | (#210053)

16. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from MBR disks?
Yes.

So yes, you can happily boot your 32 bit version of whistler with Linux.

As to why the 64 bit version is different, I have no idea. However, I am thinking 64 bit whistler is going to flop anyway, due to lack of decent hardware (for at least 12 months in any case)....

smash

VAX (2)

booch (4157) | more than 12 years ago | (#210056)

Actually, VAX is a hardware architecture, not an OS. Normally, you'd run VMS on it, which I agree was a pretty good OS. But you could also run Ultrix (a UNIX variant) on it. There is a project porting Linux to it as well. But I doubt that you could set up any multi-boot on it.

definition of "competition" (2)

MoNsTeR (4403) | more than 12 years ago | (#210057)

Yes, this sucks. I highly doubt there's any good technical reason to go to this other boot record system. Honestly it just seems mean.

But it is competitive, not "stifling to competition". A better choice of words would be "stifling to THE competition," similar words, but diametric meanings.

Despite what economics textbooks say, competition isn't a market state, it's a process. When one firm drives another out of business with lower prices (ala Wal Mart), that's competition. When one firm makes its product more attractive than the other guys' to buyers, that's competition.
What MS is doing here is basically an odd case of that second point. By making it more difficult to use their product alongside a competing product, they are (to some degree) making their product relatively more attractive, essentially by making the /other/ product /less/ attractive.
For another example, consider if a car maker had a policy that if you used aftermarket parts in significant repairs (eg: new brakes, cylinder heads, etc), it voided part of the warranty. This causes the buyer to lean toward using the dealer's repair services or at least official factory parts rather than (possibly cheaper and/or "better") aftermarket parts. It's not nice, it may actually be detrimental to consumer utility, but it's COMPETITIVE.

MoNsTeR

Re:Typical M$ Bullshit (5)

maggard (5579) | more than 12 years ago | (#210059)

There is no technical defense for what they've done

Well, none unless one wants to remove many of the more arcane constraints of MBR. Frankly everyone who knows anything about drives and layouts agrees MBR was obsolete over a decade ago and should been retired back then.

Furthermore for most users this won't be a big deal, certianly not for Jane-hobbyist. If you actually bothered to do a bit of research you'll discover that this implementation is fairly backwards-amendable except for some high-end configurations where it's unlikely to be an issue anyhow.

Finally, hard drives retail for ~US$100/20GB, anyone installing XP is likely to be able to pony up the cash. This change won't affect ye olde 486s.

This would be something for the DOJ to investigate...
By your logic is any hardware advancement possible or shall the industry remain forever stuck in 1980's technology? At least Apple moved to OpenFirmware along with the rest of the workstation market or is that somehow part of an evil plot too?
I can tell you, other than the Kindergarden level GUI (that looks like it was designed by Miss Shirley for Romper Room) there is NO advantage over 2000 at all. The new GUI has been found to be VERY annoying to most of the experienced network admins/engineers who have been testing it in my lab.
Ahh, so it's not StUdLy enough for yeah, huh? Luckly you'll be able to change the chrome to a camoflauge background and Matrix-themes to assauge your offended aesthetics.
This move to "break" the MBR is nothing but the usual Microsoft anti-competitive malice at it's worst.
Debunked.
Just as the new `Doze 2000 SP2 broke most popular software firewalls on the market
Yeah, patching things Baaaaadddd... right.
Simply put, Microsoft is more interested in protecting their marketshare...
Doi!
...than in giving the market what it wants:

1. An OS that is stable.
2. An OS that is secure.

The market gets what it buys. IS Depts & consumers continue to buy on sizzle & psuedo-feature sets then MS will continue selling it to them. It built a megacompany so they're doing something right.

Not a big worry (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 12 years ago | (#210065)

By the time this becomes an issue, LILO and/or GRUB (which is a better bootloader anyway, if you haven't tried it yet), will support MBT. Try not to forget one of the few propaganda items about open source that's actually unambiguously true: we can and do respond quickly to changes.

Is it anti-competitive? Probably. But it's likely to be as successful as MS' attempt to crush us with the DAV protocol. Remember that one? A Linux beta came out the same week MS mentioned it. So screw 'em. What's holding us back on the desktop isn't Microsoft's standards twiddling, it's the fact we can't convince the major vendors to port their apps to X. (Which is a subset of the problem that, for several classes of desktop apps, MS is the only vendor.)

Anyway, it will take a lot more than a partition table format to sink us.

--

Re:Not to worry, GUID is here for a good reason. (2)

Locutus (9039) | more than 12 years ago | (#210066)

Nice joke, but in reality I'm getting a little frightened of the momentum Linux is gathering. I mean it's great as a server OS and getting to be a nice desktop OS as well, but I certainly don't want all that amateur code in embedded, possibly life-critical systems.

I hope you're not thinking that Windoz would be better... At least Linux can be trimmed down to a very small amount of code to fit the purpose. If someone is dumb enough to blindly take Linux code and run a Nuke sub or powerplant with it then we are in trouble. I don't think engineers working on this type of equipment are that dumb. Though I have seen the BSOD on way too many non critical devices ( scoreboards, billboards, airline screens, etc ). If engineers are dumb enough to use Windoz on mission critical devices.....

NOW THAT SCARES ME! Oh wait, isn't Bill Gates paying the US DOD to use Windoz on Aegis class ships and a new aircraft carrier?
Time to head for the hills. ;)

LoB

Re:Bagh humbug... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 12 years ago | (#210068)

Prepare for flamage from the UNIX on VAX faction...

Let me help it along:

Unix was written on our machines and for our machines many years ago. Today, much of UNIX being done is done on our machines. Ten percent of our VAXs are going for UNIX use. UNIX is a simple language, easy to understand, easy to get started with. It's great for students, great for somewhat casual users, and it's great for interchanging programs between different machines. And so, because of its popularity in these markets, we support it. We have good UNIX on VAX and good UNIX on PDP-11s.

It is our belief, however, that serious professional users will run out of things they can do with UNIX. They'll want a real system and will end up doing VMS when they get to be serious about programming.

With UNIX, if you're looking for something, you can easily and quickly check that small manual and find out that it's not there. With VMS, no matter what you look for -- it's literally a five-foot shelf of documentation -- if you look long enough it's there. That's the difference -- the beauty of UNIX is it's simple; and the beauty of VMS is that it's all there.

- Ken Olsen 1984


--

Re:GPT = Good, MS still = scary (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 12 years ago | (#210069)

Windows NT's bootloader can pick up a SCSI or other disk driver (.SYS file) from a BIOS-addressable FAT partition and use it to find the OS without using the BIOS. I have a feeling this what the MSR is for, but who knows, especially if there's no DOS-style drive detection.

I think GRUB works in a similar manner to the NT loader. LI(jump to the partition and see what happens)LO is cruder but in someways easier.
--

Re:Pull out drive (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 12 years ago | (#210070)

If someone ever fixed PCs so that they had real firmware and you didn't have to play BIOS mindreader to multi-boot, you'd probably feel that swapping disks was kinda a kludgy solution. It's an electronic computer, goddammit! Why should you have to touch it once it's set up?

Anyway, I have a box with 3 SCSI controllers and a bunch of disks on various internal and external chains. I've felt the pain, but it can be made to work (good understanding of various OS boot processes and SystemCommander helps.)
--

Re:Information (Cutting through the Jargon Fog) (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 12 years ago | (#210071)

From your first link, it looks like the new boot process requires some small partitions (ESP Extensible Firmware Interface System Partition and MSR Microsoft Reserved Partition.)

Shades of the old OS/2 boot manager partition or the EISA Config partition that seemed to confound certain users with itchy FDISK fingers.

Anyway, it's nice to see something that looks like real boot firmware and not a CP/M-compatible kludge. Any hope of support for this on standard IA32 boxes?
--

Re:GUIDs are trackable to your machine (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 12 years ago | (#210072)

After the marketing implosion of the PIII CPUID, the BIOS spec was altered so that it provides a unique ID number for each motherboard (which is a better solution than a CPU ID even for the assent management departments that wanted this sort of thing).

This is really nothing new either, custom BIOSes from IBM and Compaq have provided serial numbers for years and years, it's just now a standard call so that Windows can get this info and use it for it's registration voodoo.

Anyway, it's only in the last couple years that PCs have had a GUID number other than the NIC.
--

oh what a surprise (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 12 years ago | (#210075)

and people didnt see this comeing standard practice make it incompatitable if you dont like your comptition like the word formats keeps linux distros playing catchup and not IMPROVEING but one thing that linux has got is the ability to run on many differant CPU Arch but they are lagging behind come on linus sort out the patchs I only see mr cox doing this (ARM /S390 merges) please this has got to get better regards john jones

Good for Wintel! (for a change) (5)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 12 years ago | (#210076)

When you look at other partitioning schemes (such as the RDB system that the Amiga has used since the 80s) the whole MBR/fdisk thing is a complete joke. The anachronistic partitioning system on x86 PeeCees has caused me to waste significant time on something that should be trivial, and there's a whole sub-industry of bootloaders [xosl.org] and utilities just to get around the arbitrary limitations that were built in by some visionless idiot in the early 80s.

Dumping it is a good move. And I note that this time (for a change) MS isn't replacing it with a proprietary decommoditized MS-only defacto standard de jour. This one is open and anyone can be compatable with it. What's not to like?


---

Bye Bye BIOS, hello EFI (3)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 12 years ago | (#210077)

It looks like this is all part of the modernization of the intel platform. The GPT specification is actually documented as part of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which appears to be a replacement to the BIOS. There is a boot manager as part of the EFI, so in conjunction with a GPT based drive, there is no need for LILO or its equivalent, as this feature is provided for you.

Until we get mother boards that includes the new EFI approach, we will definetly see transition solutions to support GPT drives.

It will be great to have this technology - sure it will break a lot of the old systems, but then again sometimes when you go forward there are sacrifices to be made.

If MS has decided to limit the addition of GPT support for 64-bit XP, then this is probably because 64-bit motherboards would break most 32-bit OS anyhow, and thus they are unlikely to have people complaing that Windows 98 doesn't work on those machine.

For more info on EFi and GPT, check ou the following link: http://developer.intel.com/technology/efi/download .htm [intel.com]

Re:not so fast (2)

Surak (18578) | more than 12 years ago | (#210078)

I think we need to suspend paranoia mode for a second here.

At the risk of sounding like "user friendly" software, Are you sure? :)

From the GPT/EFI FAQ:

Each GPT partition has a unique identification GUID and a partition content type, so no coordination is necessary to prevent partition identifier collision.

With a unique identification, is it possible that this could be used for some basic, broken form of DMCA-style "content protection"?

Not to worry, GUID is here for a good reason. (5)

meldroc (21783) | more than 12 years ago | (#210081)

As stated in the Win XP FAQ, GUID partitioning is a replacement for MBR partitioning that allows more partitions on the disk, of any size, without the silly BIOS limitations. It's a part if EFI, the Extensible Firmware Interface that is replacing the old hairball that is the BIOS. The IA-64 Linux distributions already have a version of LILO that works with EFI.

In short, don't worry, Linux adapts, as it always does.

GUIDs are trackable to your machine (1)

Therin (22398) | more than 12 years ago | (#210083)

They're generated using the MAC address of your NIC (if one is present); so reading the GUID table would be a way to track computers - an ID like Intel's much disliked CPU ID was.

Re:Read the article, people! (5)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#210085)

Note that this only applies to the 64-bit (Itanium) version of XP, not the 32-bit.

Just goes to show how many slashbots are ready to flame without even reading the material linked to (about 30% at the time I was reading, comments at +1 and above). That's a scary amount of political power if CmdrTaco is ever looking to mobilize the ignorant forces...

:)

Read the article, people! (5)

Why2K (29813) | more than 12 years ago | (#210086)

13. Can the 64-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
Yes.
14. Can the 64-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from MBR disks?
The 64-bit version of Windows Whistler can read and write MBR disks, but cannot boot from MBR disks.
15. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
No. The 32-bit version will see only the Protective MBR. The EE partition will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.
16. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from MBR disks?
Yes.

Note that this only applies to the 64-bit (Itanium) version of XP, not the 32-bit. Frankly, I wished it worked with the 32 bit version too, since the current MBR-based scheme sucks. Try having FAT + NTFS + Linux + FreeBSD + Plan 9, etc on one disk and you'll wish for something better too.

Re:Not to worry, GUID is here for a good reason. (1)

Voxol (32200) | more than 12 years ago | (#210087)

Thats probably the worst troll ever to befoul mine eyes.

'amateur code' indeed.

bad reporting. (2)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 12 years ago | (#210090)

i agree that it is the responsibilty of the readers to read the stories, but the editors should bare some of this responsibility also. when you include the following in a story:

Windows XP (Whistler) won't boot from disks with MBR partition tables, requiring a new GUID Partition Table (GPT).

and add no clarification, what do you expect? my inital impression was not good, but i read further befor i started typing. hell, i'm not sure cliff read the entire story either.

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

The real question (2)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 12 years ago | (#210097)

The real question is if Whistler will support more than 26 partitions on a single disk.

Re:not so fast (4)

seanw (45548) | more than 12 years ago | (#210100)

yes, it is possible. and, when you pay for phone service, they also give you a "unique identification" number. this could no doubt be used for some form of DMCA enforcement, somehow. or maybe even personal tracking! quick, run! hide from the government and corporations alike! you have been tagged, numbered, and identified--you have...a PHONE NUMBER!

those cheeky bastards.

sean

not so fast (5)

seanw (45548) | more than 12 years ago | (#210101)

I think we need to suspend paranoia mode for a second here. according to the FAQ, the GPT disk partitioning specification is a documented Intel standard. and, really, isn't it about time for the old MBR scheme to die? the architectural limit to 4 primary partitions is getting old. GPT can scale far better and has a less arcane internal structure (cylinder and head arithmetic, anyone?)

and if you read more carefully you will see that it is only the 64-bit version of Whistler that won't boot on MBRs. the 32-bit version should boot just fine.

I think MS is just scaling with their new OS architecture. anything can be viewed through an anti-competitive lense. the important question is: will we be getting a better OS? I think so.

sean

editing of slashdot (5)

soldack (48581) | more than 12 years ago | (#210103)

First about this post. As others have commented, this only applies to Windows XP/2002 running on IA-64 processors. All operating systems wishing to boot on these systems will need changes to work with Intel's firmware for IA64 based systems.
This brings a fact about /. that keeps raising its ugly head. All too often stories are posted that are not checked up on. I understand that those who run /. can not be expected to be experts in everything but stories are often posted that only required a simple reading of a FAQ or two to see that the post is just plain wrong. I had high hopes of /. getting much more professional when it was purchased by Andover. But nothing has changed. The staff seems about the same size and quality that it was before the corporate move. /. really has such great potential. If it could start using expert editors who only post stories that have been properly checked. One reason I love magazines like Discover and Popular Science because the stories are usually checked out pretty well. I understand the need to post things that generate interest but the site also claims to be a news site. No self respecting news site would allow such a low level of checking into the background of the stories they present. Is /. a news site at its heart or just entertainment? It has the potential to be both a high quality and entertaining news site and discussion forum. I understand that /. is a business and the object of a business is to make profits for their shareholders but I don't understand why this has to be in direct opposition to high quality.

from a /.er who hopes things get better...

Re:GPT = Good, MS still = scary (1)

1stflight (48795) | more than 12 years ago | (#210104)

Doesn't this bring back a flashback to that copy protection scheme they wanted to impliement in all hard drives awhile back? Glad I'm using Linux now...

Re:Not to worry, GUID is here for a good reason. (2)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 12 years ago | (#210107)

Nobody was suggesting that Windows is better. Just because Windows is a POS doesn't mean that Linux is the best OS on the planet.

Linux has its (many) uses, but it's still not the be-all-and-end-all of operating systems.
------

Works for me. (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 12 years ago | (#210110)

I had WinXP Beta 2 and Debian Linux on my IBM X20 and they dual-booted just fine with LILO. Beginning to think Microsoft isn't the only one spreading FUD around here....

Re:one reason behind GPT (2)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 12 years ago | (#210118)

Of course, the problem with that is that people will use the old way until its no longer an option.

Good Bad and Ugly (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 12 years ago | (#210119)

GTP is a good thing and frankly its not Microsoft's responsibility to worry about linux dual booters. In the long run this will be good for linux, because GTP is far better than MBR which is older than the pyramids. However, in the near term this will be a huge hassel for those who know and love the current configuration of LILO and want to dual boot XP. This will really hit the small developer shop that relies on dual boots for office compatibility.

A few things from the article (1)

Gerad (86818) | more than 12 years ago | (#210123)

Microsoft is also making it so that earlier versions of Windows cannot access GPT disks either. This falls in line with comments I've read about MS's biggest competitor being itself (That is, people not having any incentive to upgrade).

However, I'm inclined to believe this isn't some Evil Plot (tm) by the Evil Empire to screw us all over. The 32-bit version of Windows Whistler is essentially 'legacy' software in terms of disk support, meaning that it cannot access GPT disks either, and only the 64-bit version uses it. It also seems like a very reasonable precaution to prevent old legacy programs from accessing the new disk structure and messing things up. I'm sure many people, in their early linux-using days, can remember making mistakes with fdisk or a similar utility and wiping their hard drives in the process.

Also, according to the FAQ, GPT will deal with several issues with the current MBR system. Those being extremely large disk support, the "MICROS~1" problem with long/extended character file names, and data integrity.

Furthermore, according to the Microsoft FAQ, the complete specifications are available at http://developer.intel.com/technology/efi/download .htm

Ha...I would put it past them... (1)

Matrim (99299) | more than 12 years ago | (#210130)

What else is new...It really doesn't surprise me...I wonder though if this project will flop like their trusty Windows ME...Hahaha..Now that was a piece of work...

Flamy article. (2)

pauldy (100083) | more than 12 years ago | (#210131)

The article is a bit on the flamy side to bad we can't mark them as such. Reading the faq supprisingly left me with a much different attitude than I went in with. It seems if you are using XP now you can use the XP bootloader in the same way people use the NT boot loader now. This setup should work for 64bit XP and 32Bit XP. If your using 32bit xp it looks like you have a few more options however as it plainly says it can read,write and boot from MBR disks. It doesn't look all that complicated after reading the faq which is pretty straight forward. My only concern is the GUID. While I can't quesion mob mentality I can question why someone didn't read this prior to posting the story as all questions seem to be answered there in black white and blue.

GPT = Good, MS still = scary (2)

luserSPAZ (104081) | more than 12 years ago | (#210134)

This GPT thing sounds good, a way to get rid of the legacy MBR. However, one thing that scared me a bit while reading through their FAQ was:

36. What is a Microsoft Reserved Partition (MSR)?
The Microsoft Reserved Partition (MSR) reserves space on each disk drive for subsequent use by operating system software. GPT disks do not allow hidden sectors. Software components that formerly used hidden sectors now allocate portions of the MSR for component-specific partitions. For example, converting a basic disk to a dynamic disk causes the MSR on that disk to be reduced in size and a newly created partition holds the dynamic disk database. The MSR has the Partition GUID:
DEFINE_GUID (PARTITION_MSFT_RESERVED_GUID, 0xE3C9E316L, 0x0B5C, 0x4DB8, 0x81, 0x7D, 0xF9, 0x2D, 0xF0, 0x02, 0x15, 0xAE)

*Shiver* <paranoia> Mental note: Do not install XP, for fear of Microsoft gathering information and storing it in a hidden partition.</paranoia>

-Ted

Re:I've come up with a solution (2)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 12 years ago | (#210139)

Don't use Microsoft products.

it's been working out great for me.
Let's see....(hacking in to /.'s webserver...finding access_log...ah, good, combined format...extract user-agent):
"Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)"

It's Funny...laugh
--

False alarm... (2)

slamb (119285) | more than 12 years ago | (#210144)

Looking at the FAQ page linked to, I think this is a false alarm. Microsoft has several legitimate reasons for introducing this new partitioning scheme. It is an open standard; they link to the definition here [intel.com].

It looks like a lot of the reason they are doing this is support for larger systems and disks. See these Q/As:

Q: If the disk is larger than the maximum size an MBR can report, will the entire disk contents be protected? A:The EE partition in the Protective MBR is specified to be the maximum size allowable in an MBR.

So the maximum size supported by the new format is greater than the old.

Q: Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
A: No. The 32-bit version will see only the Protective MBR. The EE partition will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.

This doesn't affect your current system at all. If you install Windows Whistler on your ia32 machine, it will use the old format.

Linux already has the support for many different partitioning schemes. I don't see this as different. There is no support for it now, but there will be when someone decides to develop it.

GPT isn't proprietary (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#210146)

GPT isn't proprietary, is it? If not, Linux should support it. MBR was a pain, anyway.

Re:one reason behind GPT (1)

librarygeek (126538) | more than 12 years ago | (#210147)

Isn't that what the LinuxBIOS project is attempting? http://www.acl.lanl.gov/linuxbios/

Huh? Mandrake boots fine from the same disk (3)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 12 years ago | (#210149)

I've XP beta 2 and Mandrake 8.0 on one harddrive, and both boot fine, using the nice mandrake bootmenu. So where's the beef?
--

Would it really be that suprising... (1)

nivfreak (131107) | more than 12 years ago | (#210150)

if microsoft tried to discourage people from using linux on their pcs?

Re:The real question (1)

jedwards (135260) | more than 12 years ago | (#210153)

Which 2 do you think are reserved? I've used all 26 for harddisk partitions. if the dumb UI won't let you, just use 'subst'.

What's the big deal? (5)

locutus074 (137331) | more than 12 years ago | (#210155)

It looks like Microsoft is using a publicly available standard to do this (http://developer.intel.com/technology/efi/downloa d.htm [intel.com]) and there are very good reasons to use this scheme.

Maybe I'm just a little dense, but I have no idea why this is "from the another-attempt-to-stifle-competition dept." If you can get the specification, how are they attempting to be incompatible?

What reasoning was behind the move to GPT?

Look here [microsoft.com]. More than 4 partitions without hacks like extended partitions..... Personally, I'm looking forward to this becoming mainstream.

--

Re:editing of slashdot (2)

buss_error (142273) | more than 12 years ago | (#210156)

While I agree with your points on editing somewhat, I'd also like to point out that you can always cancel your subscription. Once those dollars for your subscription stop rolling in, and other do the same, I'm sure Taco will shell out a few buckeriniees for a technical editor. 'Course, once that happens, the speed of reporting will go way down, now that background checks on the submitter have to be checked for bias.

OK, you really do have a valid point, but the fact the /. doesn't have a great deal of money to do this sort of stuff. I guess it would be possible to break up the submission process. Say, one person filters out the goat sex crap, passes up what's left to a team of others, they filter out the crap and pass it to someone to do source checking.

Taco could ask the community to pitch in, were he so inclined. Personally, I take every thing I read with a grain of salt. If a story impacts my work directly, I will source check as much as I'm able, be it the New York Times, The Register, SlashDot, Live 5 News, or NEWS 4 U. (gag).

Re:GUIDs are trackable to your machine (1)

thedeacon (148359) | more than 12 years ago | (#210161)

What if you have zero or two nics...what happens then?

user tracking is WRONG, I tell you...WRONG!

I don't care. (2)

simetra (155655) | more than 12 years ago | (#210164)

I'm not punishing myself by giving MS more of my money in exchange for the headache of reinstalling another Windows, reinstalling apps, etc. It's crap. I'll do whatever I can to prevent new versions of Windows from entering my workplace (approx 1000 pcs, approx 12 knowledgeable users). There really is NO need for it. I say we all band together and say, Win9x is fine for Gomer. Office97 is fine for Gomer. Only order pcs that work with win9x, order them without the latest stinky version of Windows, ghost them all identically, and leave Gomer alone. Maybe Gomer will learn how to use what he/she has if we leave it alone long enough?

Re:one reason behind GPT (3)

3247 (161794) | more than 12 years ago | (#210165)

"The MBR is considered a legacy agent, mainly by the fact to get to it, you have to use software interrupts."
Huh? The MBR is just another sector on the harddisk. There's nothing special about it. As soon as you have your disk driver loaded, you do not need the BIOS (and before that, you will have to use BIOS INTs for all disk accesses).

Re:Wow Maaaan! (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 12 years ago | (#210166)

You have an IA-64 notebook?

Nope, I didn't read throught the article to see that this only applies to the 64-bit version of XP. Nevertheless, I was trying to address the problem of booting independently of MBR in a more general way, which might be of use to the pathetic losers like me who do not yet have an IA-64 laptop.

--

Laptop users & boot floppies (3)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 12 years ago | (#210167)

I'm a 'one OS, one disk' man, especially since disks are so cheap, but what about those who aren't handy with a screwdriver (and an IDE cable)?

..and those with a laptop as their main computer? I've just switched to a bigger HD, and left a 2GB partition for testing alternative OSes. This is bad news, although I don't have plans to run any version of Windoze.

Even so, I know I have to be ready for the other OS screwing up MBR, so I've got a boot disk ready. This is a perfectly working option for trying out Linux, albeit slower to boot. But it may take time to convince a typical Windows user that floppies still exist and are actively used by many of us... which reminds me, there's always Loadlin.

--

Re:Typical M$ Bullshit (1)

Qwaniton (166432) | more than 12 years ago | (#210168)

Ye Gods!! Have you even read the frickin thing? READ IT LUSER! x86 WinXP boots from a MBR, reads a MBR disk, and writes a MBR disk. Try brushing up on literacy and sane thinking before you shit your pants on another M$ rant.
faith (fath)
n.

Read the fscking article (2)

xigxag (167441) | more than 12 years ago | (#210170)

The MS FAQ makes it very clear...the GPT only applies to the upcoming 64-bit version of Whistler, not to the imminent 32-bit version.

I'll bash Microsoft as much as the next luser, but once again this is FUD spread by Slashdot's inability to read the stories it's linking from.

one reason behind GPT (5)

dj_whitebread (171775) | more than 12 years ago | (#210171)

with the move towards having EFI as the intermediate between the BIOS and the OS, the GPT is a step to get rid of the one more legacy element in the PC. The MBR is considered a legacy agent, mainly by the fact to get to it, you have to use software interrupts. These are trying to be phased out. Now, with the GPT, you can install as many OSs as you would like, they each just need an entry in the table (which is very easy to do) and a file on the harddrive that actually tells it where to go.

Finally (1)

bk1e (176877) | more than 12 years ago | (#210172)

Finally, someone is doing something about one of the crappiest, most anachronistic aspects of PCs: their lame partition table scheme.

*BSD tried, but their partitioning scheme never caught on because it didn't have Microsoft's support.

Besides, someone is working on GPT support for ia64 Linux: look at this message to linux-kernel [indiana.edu].

Already seen this on win2k...what a pain! (1)

Zzootnik (179922) | more than 12 years ago | (#210173)

Isn't this the same boot tech that win2k uses (WinNT???)? If so, then it really is no secret that winXP, which is BASED on win2k, is just gonna be a pain in the ass when it comes to any kind of multi-boot configs...

Actually, I have a dual PII system that I've been running a dual config on of win2k and SuSE (I hate NEEDing winblows...)but I leave the floppy in the drive for booting unless I need to boot win2k...I have always wondered why someone hasn't come out with some sort of 'HACK' to fix this particular annoyance...of course, when it gets TOO annoying, I'll probably have to fix it MYSELF- but that's the beauty of OpenSource, ain't it?

Re:The real question (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#210175)

The real question is if Whistler will support more than 26 partitions on a single disk.

While apparently yes, why would you need more than 1 partition per MS OS? And why wouldn't you need more than the latest and greatest MS OS on your system. (recalling a certain comment about 604K)

Why I can see the benefit and logic to expanding and changing out the partition system. Anything with MS finger prints makes me glad I am getting better with *nix boxes. not prejudiced, of course, just my opinion based on the past track record. Of course you could put any partition system you want on a box, or make one up. The question is what would run on it.

It would be cool if the *nixen could read all partition systems, instead of locking one out of one system vs another. Of course it is just easier if you have a 64 bit OS to deal with a 64bit file system, instead of having to be completely backwards compatible. Less work.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

Re:Not to worry, GUID is here for a good reason. (1)

emissary47 (184269) | more than 12 years ago | (#210177)

amateur code? hmmhh, who has amateur code?

lets take a look at our file servers:

linux: 295 days uptime
win2k: whooohhh! we got 33 days

if linux is "amateur code" then explain THIS [netcraft.com]



and in "life-critical systems" do you want M$ ?!? -> doctor: sorry, our system got a bsod...

Re:I kept my Windows 95 CD (2)

Demonspawn (187073) | more than 12 years ago | (#210179)

Unfortuatly, that's not exactly true. When I was consulting to the IT department of a steelworking company, we would order Win98 machines (as 98 was the only OS our supplier would ship) and then whipe and install Win95. The reason behind it was the version of CA-OpenIngres we were using, along with a custom written app, wouldn't run correctly on Win98. Everything was going fine until some third party bitch was asked to audit our office site license. Apparently, according to the auditors, we were violating license agreement by transfering Win98 licenses to Win95 installations.

The resulting payout the company was forced to do for licenses cost me and a few other contractors our jobs. The budget could no longer afford us. Several other projects got scrapped. Big pain in the arse.

So, according to licenses, you are forced to upgrade. Thought I'd give you a heads up of potential problems you could run into if this is a buisness you are installing the old software on.

--Demonspawn
Kant speel, don't kare.

Re:GUIDs are trackable to your machine (1)

xyst (201774) | more than 12 years ago | (#210185)

You're rather missing the point on that one.

Presumably it would be a little bit more difficult for an application to pull out your GUID than it would to get your actual machines MAC, so who cares? Besides, the only time this would really matter is if this information was going to be amassed and distributed. It's not as if it's a huge problem that if someone steals your hard drive out of your PC, they're going to know your MAC address as well..

Besides, there are tons of different numbers that could uniquely identify you on your PC already -- go poking around in your system registry. Also, who says you can't erase your GUID table and start anew? The only thing anyone would gain would be your MAC address.

Some points, and a question... (1)

strags (209606) | more than 12 years ago | (#210186)

14. Can the 64-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from MBR disks?
The 64-bit version of Windows Whistler can read and write MBR disks, but cannot boot from MBR disks.
15. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
No. The 32-bit version will see only the Protective MBR. The EE partition will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.
16. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from MBR disks?
Yes.

So this really applies only to the 64-bit version - the 32-bit version won't even support GPT drives.

55. Is it possible to make a sector-by-sector copy of a GPT disk?
No. The Disk and Partition GUIDs will no longer be unique. This must never happen. You can make a sector-by-sector copy of the contents of ESP or basic data partitions.

Perhaps I misunderstand - I assumed the the GUIDS would be unique per installed OS, not unique per user. What possible reason could there be for this other than uniquely identifying users? Am I missing something? (probably).

Bagh humbug... (3)

angry old man (211217) | more than 12 years ago | (#210187)

Back in my day, we didn't need all these fancy schmancy boot loaders and tables. There was only one real operating system to boot and that was VAX. Nowadays all you kids think that you need these fancy schmancy OSes because they support 3D games or because they support free speech!

If you had real computing problems to worry about such as soviet missle trajectory prediction, then you wouldn't even think about booting into multiple operating systems.

Microsoft Gamble (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 12 years ago | (#210190)

Microsoft is betting the farm on this one. We either kill linux on the desktop or it kills us!

Typical (Brilliant) M$ (1)

MegaGremlin (216264) | more than 12 years ago | (#210191)

How typical this is of M$. Take something that is useful and should have been done a while ago (changing the MBR)and then slip something nefarious in (GUID!) for the bargain.

OT - ("Re: Huh? Mandrake boots fine from same disk (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 12 years ago | (#210196)

I've XP beta 2 and Mandrake 8.0 on one harddrive, and both boot fine, using the nice mandrake bootmenu. So where's the beef?
Well, you missed what was said about only the sixty-four bit versions of XP having a problem. Read above posts. But I'm very interested in what you as a linuxer (ie computer god) think about XP. Will you reply with some thoughts?
~

Re:one reason behind GPT (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#210198)

This is a halfway decent strategy, but it of course required Linux boot loader developers to accomodate it.

I havn't been following this issue closely enough so I can't day with authority that Microsoft made an affort to keep this change in their OS quiet, so as to make it more difficult for other OS providers to accomodate it; although that wouldn't suprise me at all...

--CTH

--

This blows for us dual booters... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 12 years ago | (#210199)

I know a work around will make it out there, but this really sucks. One of the reasons I picked up a monster HDD was to limit swapping drives when I was coding or gaming.

Anyhow, the real problem is laptops.... I did get some removable drive mounts for my primary box, but right now I am sitting in the living room with my laptop. No removable drive options here.

In the end, it might not matter (for me)... as long as a Win2K service pack does not add this "feature" somewhere down the line.

Re:Pull out drive (1)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 12 years ago | (#210200)

I have two drives in my computer, and having dealt with pullout drives in the past, I find switching the boot order in BIOS to be a lot easier than dealing with two pullout drives. On the other hand, the "cool factor" is not as evident as when you have two hard drives in those little plastic boxes.

I wonder about the physical punishment a drive in a pullout box takes, though ... does it result in reduced lifespan?

Not a terrible problem (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 12 years ago | (#210207)

Well, first off, I don't think anyone capable of running today's Linux distros will have much problem jumpering a drive to slave, dropping it in and plugging in two cables. I can't see it taking very long for someone to get a multiboot manager working, even if it requires a patch to XP's boot sequence.

MBR has been a thorn in the side of OS development ever since people wanted to create more than 4 partitions, and has also chronically stood in the way of hard drives' exponential capacity growth. It has been begging to be replaced for years, and I'm glad someone is finally doing it.

Let's steal micro$$soft (1)

mAriuZ (264339) | more than 12 years ago | (#210208)

they looose 150$ for every Xbox selled so if you build an farm of xBoxes and put linux on that thing you have an advantage coze if you buy 300 xboxes you steal 300x150 =45000$ directly from M$ house If you happen to render some movies for a film you need 3d power horses like nVidia have yet another steal. Xbox is a good thing cozze you could build cheaper an cluster. Let's do something nasty for M$$ Corp.;)

Re:A few things from the article (1)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210216)

> the "MICROS~1" problem with long/extended character file names

This had to do with the hacked up nature of FAT, not with MBR.

Re:Some points, and a question... (1)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210219)

GUID are 128bits number, unless the algoritm that generate them is *really* *really* *really* dumb (to the level of bogo sort). I would be surprised if you would get any duplicate GUID on any computer.
Well, you *might* get into trouble if you want to use more than 3.4028236692093846346337460743177e+38 HDs, but that is really pushing it.

Re:The real question (1)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210220)

Of course, you won't be able to have 26 *drive letters* (24, actually, 2 are reserved), but you can mount anything on an NTFS drive.
It's called junctions.
mountvol is the cmd line utility to do it, btw.

Re:The real question (1)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210222)

A & B

subst (thanks for the info) simply ties a path to a drive, which is nice, but not what I meant.
You can't tie a partition to this, frex, at least to my knowledge.

Well, I suppose that subst & mountvol would work, but that is an extra jump.
Is there something that combine both?

Re:Some points, and a question... (1)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210223)

55. Is it possible to make a sector-by-sector copy of a GPT disk?
No. The Disk and Partition GUIDs will no longer be unique. This must never happen. You can make a sector-by-sector copy of the contents of ESP or basic data partitions.

You can't make a sector copy, so this is a non-issue.

Did you *read* the FAQ? (2)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 12 years ago | (#210224)

The FAQ says that only the 64-bits versions of Whistler will require GPT to boot from, 32-bits versions of Whistler will use the normal MBR.
(Qoute)
15. Can the 32-bit version of Windows Whistler read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
No. The 32-bit version will see only the Protective MBR. The EE partition will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.
(/Qoute)

Re:Less fear is required. (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 12 years ago | (#210230)

EFI lets each hardware vendor provide built-in drivers for all hardware. This could certainly mean that the OS has to use a binary-only driver to transmit something over the network card. Quality manufacturers will probably want an OS specific driver. At least EFI demands that the bundled driver follow a standard interface. The end result is that you may not have the source to some hardware drivers.

Well, I bet most non-trivial hardware has an embedded processor whose firmware source is not available. The source to the computer's BIOS is also not generally available, AFAIK.

This system seems to be making the boundaries between software drivers, BIOS and embedded firmware very fuzzy indeed. People currently have built-in expectations about which parts of the system should be open vs. which parts can be proprietary. They probably haven't thought much about those expectations yet, but I bet they will when this comes out.

Pull out drive (1)

cyberkahn (398201) | more than 12 years ago | (#210231)

Ok, it might cost a little more, but I have found that having a pull out bay to be a much better alternative than a boot manager. One drive for *nix and the other drive for Windoze. Just pop in the drive for the OS you want. It does suck though for people that can't afford or want this alternative.

One hand gives while the other takes away... (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 12 years ago | (#210232)

That's brilliant! One can't help but admire the evil genius with which they engineer this sort of thing. This is almost as good as when ISP's couldn't handle Win95 PPP clients to their servers without using expensive M$ network software. If only they had some great Doctor Doom style dialogue...
You were an arrogant fool, Torvalds, to pit your will agains mine. Soon you shall learn as Ellison did, that to the PC,... the Gates are closed!
...go along with all the plots.

This is no accident... (1)

President of The US (443103) | more than 12 years ago | (#210233)

Microsoft tries everything possible to discourage the casual user from picking up Linux and installing it. Don't be surprised if they put up a page saying "Linux will ruin your WinXP installation"

Anyone serious enough to get a separate drive and swappable bays, etc. is not going to be foiled by this trick, but it's not meant for them.
-----------------------

Shooting themselves in the foot - again (1)

DuncanMurray (448670) | more than 12 years ago | (#210234)

apart from the people who use *nix, there are a lot out there who only use mutliple versions of MS stuff (Win9x/Me/2000). If MS pisses off these people who *like* using their products then it makes the open source stuff look even more attractive.

Can Linux zealots read? You gotta wonder (1)

ryszards (451448) | more than 12 years ago | (#210236)

it's plainly obvious that a lot of people didn't actually do any kind of research on this before actually getting the flamethrowers out and aiming for Redmond. GPT isn't an MS spec. They are just implementing it. LILO supports booting from GPT disks. Plus it's only an issue with 64bit XP. How many people are gonna be messing with multi-booting OS's on expensive Itanium boxes? It's not an issue.

But yet I see many posts from Linux zealots kicking the shit out of MS once again. Do those people look before they cross the road? I'd hope so. So why can't they extend that and look around for the REAL information before posting another round of MS bashing.

Taco isn't your god. Stop treating /. and Linux advocacy like organised religion of the very very worst kind.

I love Linux as much as the next guy, but the idiots you see that think they are promoting it....*shudder*

Re:Some points, and a question... (1)

Link310 (453668) | more than 12 years ago | (#210237)

The idea behind GUIDS is that they be Globally Unique, not just unique on your machine, hence the globally. However, it looks like the OS will fix this:
58. What happens if a duplicate Disk or Partition GUID is detected?

Windows Whistler will generate new GUIDs for any duplicate Disk GUID, MSR Partition GUID, or MSR basic data GUID upon detection. This is similar to the duplicate MBR signature handling in Windows 2000. Duplicate GUIDs on a dynamic container or database partition cause unpredictable results. My guess is that this GUID will be based on the hard disk, your machine GUID, and some random element like perhaps the system time, though I may be wrong.

Re:Some points, and a question... (1)

Link310 (453668) | more than 12 years ago | (#210238)

Yes, but if you make a sector copy of the drive you will duplicate the GUID. The OS looks like it will fix that, assigning a new GUID to one of the drives if there is a duplicate. I have no doubt that the chances of gettinga duplicate GUIDs that are generated properly are slim to none (read: nil).
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