Linux hidden from Windows ?


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Thread: Linux hidden from Windows ?

  1. #1
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    Linux hidden from Windows ?

    Hey everyone .... Its been a really really long time since i logged in .

    Question : Would it be possible to hide a linux installation from Windows ? On the same computer ? My family isnt that enthusiastic about changing the OS and all ( they think it will void the warranty :\ ) .

    Essentially , I want to use linux . But i want it to be hidden from windows . Usually , when you install linux , you have to use lilo or grub , both which leave a visible trace on the system . What i need is a linux system which hides on the disk until i do something while turning the computer on such as say putting in a CD or something .

    Thanks ,

    X

    #98 +(5627)- [X]
    <ikkenai> i don't have hard drives. i just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorize numbers
    Courtesy of bash.org

  2. #2
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    I know the slackware discs have a "recovery" prompt when you very first boot them up. So you could install linux and just not install grub or lilo and then use the "recovery" propmt when the cd tries to boot. You would just have to make sure that you remember which kernel image you chose.

    it would probably look like this:
    Code:
    boot: root=/boot/mykernel.i initrd
    The slackware CD actually gives you instructions on what you need to type when you start up.

    You can probably do this with other distros, but I know that I have done it with slackware.

  3. #3
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    I would recommend a VMWare install of linux.

    There are 2 free versions (Player and Server) that will allow you all the access to a linux install without touching the host Windows OS...VMWare is simply another aplication like Word or Firefox.

  4. #4
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    The easiest way to do this would probably be to use a CD based distro, like Knoppix.
    I equivocate, therefore I might be.

    My Linux/Unix Boxes:
    Home: Slackware 10, CentOS 5.3, RHEL 5, Ubuntu Workstation 9.10, Work: RHEL 5, CentOS 5

  5. #5
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    If your machine can boot off a USB device (check your BIOS options), you could install the boot partition and boot loader on a small thumb drive, and the rest of the installation on a separate hard disk ( so you don't need to repartition your windows HD ). When you reboot with the thumb drive plugged in, you should get linux. Without the thumb drive, you get windows.

    drChuck
    "Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones."

  6. #6
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    Boot floppy

    It is also possible to install grub onto a boot floppy if your computer still has a floppy drive installed. Then you simply insert the boot floppy before restarting the system or before powering it on.
    "After all you've seen, after all the evidence, why can't you believe?"

    IBM Thinkpad T21
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  7. #7
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    You could set Grub to hide the boot menu (you need to press Esc to bring it up) and boot Windows by default. I think you do get a single line of text come up which says something like "Press Esc for boot menu". If you set a short timeout this method would be quite unobtrusive, and they may not notice.

    Though using VMWare is probably a better choice for a shared computer, since it won't require reboots to change back and forth.

  8. #8
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    I see the problem can be licked in the following ways

    First you install as many Linux as you wish but tell the installer to put each of their boot loaders in its relevant root partition.

    (1) Select one Linux to takeover the MBR temporarily. Amend it configuration file to boot all systems. It will be /boot/grub/menu.lst if it is Grub or /rtc/lilo.conf for Lilo. Once happy about the arrangement make a floppy for this boot loader using commnad "grub-install /dev/fd0" or "lilo -b /dev/fd0". Then you restore the Windows MBR so that the PC will only boot to Windows. To use Linux just drop in the floppy. No floppy PC boots to Windows.

    (2) Same as above but forget configurating the boot loader. Just make a Grub bootable floppy unattached to any system. Grub Manual Section 3.1 refers. You can boot any of the system manually by
    Code:
    root (hd0,i)
    chainler +1
    boot
    where i+1 is the partition you want to boot.

    (3) Use Windows's MBR to boot Linux. This is a coolest thing you can do to a MS Windows. You need a data-only primary fat partition with which you can install Grub there and can arrange the equivalent booting menu as described in (1) above. When you decide to try Linux you go into Windows first and use Disk Management to switch the data-only partition "active". On a reboot you get the Grub menu to choose your Linux. You need Grub to switch the active partition back to Windows though. More details in the Section C of the second link of my signature.

    (4) Use a Live CD. Boot it up and mount the installed Linux of your choice and change root to it. This is similar to the rescue mode of installer CD. Not guarantee you always ending up with a GUI though.

    (5) I endose VMware being another method.

    (6) Retsaw's suggested method of playing with the timeout and default statements is valid too. Press C will drop you into a Grub prompt and that is essentially going with my suggested Item (2) above which has the advantage of not showing the Grub menu to the Windows users.
    Last edited by saikee; 07-08-2006 at 08:08 PM.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
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    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys for all your suggestions =) I think ill go with WMware since it would be best if it had a tiny footprint on my system .... Also i wouldnt have to partition it :\ .

    So which image should i pick ? Any ideas on that ? Mostly will be using it general web browsing as well as development . As well as pen-testing .


    Cheers ,

    X

    #98 +(5627)- [X]
    <ikkenai> i don't have hard drives. i just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorize numbers
    Courtesy of bash.org

  10. #10
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    what do you mean what image?

    if you pick VMWare Player, you cannot install your own OS as a guest system...Player, as the name indicates, will only play existing guests, which can be found here http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/index.html

    However, VMWare Server (currently beta2 i think), is a full blown we-need-to-compete-with-MS release that lets you build as many guests as your harddrive can hold.

  11. #11
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    I see .... Currently d\ling the Ubuntu 6.06 appliance\image\guest os . Im also downloading the server version to test it out .

    EDIT: I used system restore to set my box a few days back since VMware server installed , but didnt leave a trace on my add\remove programs . Tried alot of crap , but the best way was to just do a restore . I downloaded the VMware workstation and got the Ubuntu images working . Im using it now to type this =) Best of all , my mother doesnt have a clue that im using linux to do my stuff . Still have to work out a few kinks with shared folders . Need to read\write a few folders and files on my physical HDD . Anyone has any ideas how to do that ?

    Cheers ,

    X
    Last edited by XbaxeSysAdmin; 07-09-2006 at 02:20 PM.

    #98 +(5627)- [X]
    <ikkenai> i don't have hard drives. i just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorize numbers
    Courtesy of bash.org

  12. #12
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    2 ways to do that....

    standard Windows file sharing via the "network", or by setting up a "Shared Folder" so that from the guest os, you go to /mnt/hgfs(?? i think) and your guest has direct access to the host's shared folder.


    Does this answer your question?

  13. #13
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    Ive enabled the shared folders thingy in the VM . However , i cant seem to find it :\ Any ideas where it might be located or what steps i might have to undertake ?


    EDIT: Just checked with the manual . it IS supposed to be in /mnt/hgfs or something . I think its a problem on my side .Im going to see what i can cook up .
    Last edited by XbaxeSysAdmin; 07-10-2006 at 06:07 AM. Reason: Adding Details

    #98 +(5627)- [X]
    <ikkenai> i don't have hard drives. i just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorize numbers
    Courtesy of bash.org

  14. #14
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    you need the vmware tools installed within the guest for the /mnt/hgfs trick to work.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybunny
    you need the vmware tools installed within the guest for the /mnt/hgfs trick to work.
    VM-Tools IS installed :\ It came with the distro . Now what can i do ?

    #98 +(5627)- [X]
    <ikkenai> i don't have hard drives. i just keep 30 chinese teenagers in my basement and force them to memorize numbers
    Courtesy of bash.org

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