[CentOS] Grub configuration from within Windows

Wed Apr 22 22:23:21 UTC 2009
Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com>

Marko Vojinovic wrote:
> My friend uses a typical dual-boot setup (Windows XP and Centos 5.3).
> The machine is online 24/7 and he often uses it from a remote location
> (Linux via ssh -X, Windows via rdesktop).
> The problem is that he wants to be able to remotely configure which of
> these two OSes is to be the default on next reboot, so he can switch
> from one OS to the other and back remotely. If Linux is up, he just
> needs to reconfigure grub.conf, but if Windows is up (and default) he
> has no way of accessing grub.conf.
> Now, he has several partitions on the drive, some ntfs, some vfat and
> some ext3. Is there a clean way of putting grub.conf on a vfat
> partition? Is there a way for Windows to have rw access to ext3
> filesystem (namely, /)? Is there some other way of handling this
> without physical access to the machine while it boots?
> I have suggested virtualization of Windows, so he could run them both
> concurrently without pain, but for certain (computational performance)
> reasons that is not a good option for him --- he wants hard reboots
> between OSes.

You don't really have to choose VMs or dual-boot - you can run a 
bootable partition under VMware, and perhaps virtualbox and others.  It 
is somewhat more convenient to make the windows install the host, 
though, because otherwise it wants to be re-licensed every time you 
switch and it sees different hardware.  I suppose you could fire up the 
centos VM under windows to edit the grub.conf file, then shut it down 
and reboot the physical machine.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com