Installed ReactOS 0.4.13 on an old Athlon K75 / VIA KX133 machine.
Hard disk has grub2 on MBR and four primary partitions, looks as it follows:
- Ext2 with grub2, linux, memdisk, ipxe, plip and else.
- Freedos (active).
- ReactOS. (partition was created on free space by reactos itself during install)
As the machine can't boot from USB and has no CD drive, I chose to do the stage1 of install using netbsd and qemu, with /dev/wd0d (whole disk) visible from within the VM.
During the install, I chose the free space as target, and later I was asked whether to install bootloader on MBR, VBR or both. I chose VBR, as I didn't want my existing boot setup to be clobbered.
The end result was:
- Reactos partition has freeldr.sys, freeldr.ini and bootsect.bin, but bootblock not installed.
- Freedos bootblock clobbered by freeldr.
- Trying to boot freedos yields freeldr complaining about not being able to find freeldr.ini.
- Trying to boot reactos yields a hang, as there's no freeldr in the partition's bootblock.
After this, I restored freedos bootloader on freedos partition, by using sys c: from a floppy. I then copied the .ini to the freedos partition, and successfully booted reactos by loading freeldr as a multiboot kernel from grub.
So there's two problems here:
- Installer shouldn't clobber the bootblock of a partition that isn't his, at least not with no indication whatsoever.
- End result isn't bootable. Freeldr.ini/etc. should always end up in the same partition freeldr bootblock is installed to.
1 can be solved by having the UI explicitly explain what's going to happen. It'd be great if it also allowed you to pick whether you want to install freeldr on reactos partition or the active one.
2 is a bootloader won't work after install situation. It should never happen.