Need a bit of help. Installed Mandriva on its own HD as I have Windows XP installed on one of the others, I have Windows XP on Primary master and Linus on Primary slave. I change the boot order in BIOS when I want to switch OS. Did try a install along side XP but it trashed my XP and could only run Linux. I have 3 other drives with data on all NTFS partitions. Have looked and looked but can not fine the drives let alone the data. Do I need to have a FAT partition on one of these drives before I can detect and read the data
AFAIK, the only issue is normally writing to NTFS partitions - it's often easier to have a FAT32 partition if you want to do read/write in both OS's.
I'm guessing here, but it sounds very much like the Mandriva has only found the hdd with the main XP on it.
The Mandriva won't trash the XP per se, it only installs where you tell it, but what it will do, is normally overwrite the Main Boot Record (MBR) with whichever bootloader you select - mandrivas default is usually "lilo". The file with the info on it is normally (from memory) called /etc/lilo.conf (which if you make any changes too, means that after you've done the changes, you then need to be in a konsole/termial and run /sbin/lilo for the system to write the changes to the bootloader).
Normally it detects the other OS during install and then includes an entry that allows you to boot either.
I'm not sure where you'll find the docs, there usually an icon for "help" or documentation, if you told it to install them (I think it does that by default anyway - sorry it's a while since I binned Mandriva and went for Gentoo so my heads full of gentoo stuff).
the instructions for having the entry for booting windows look like this -
# The next two lines are only if you dualboot with a Windows system.
# In this case, Windows is hosted on /dev/hda6.
(yes that quote is taken from the gentoo install docs, but the entry for windows it the same whatever, except you'd need to change it from /dev/hda6 to /dev/hd(a, b or c - or wherever you have the windows) and the number.
You said that you've got the windows on the first hdd??? well that would normally be /dev/hda (possibley suffixed with number1).
As for seeing the other data hard drives, you'd have to have them listed in the fstab file (look for /etc/fstab) though you may have to be logged in as root to see it, if you checked konqueror (again presuming that you used the Mandriva default desktop environment of KDE) and it shows either a padlock on the file or just says **** and won't let you open it, then you need to be logged in as root.
Again, a little safety thing of Mandriva is that it hides the root graphic login - to see that (IMO it's easier because otherwise I'd be typing all day to explain how to make any changes via CLI) you have to log in as user, open the kde control centre and click System Administration>login manager>administrator mode (on a box at the bottom), then in the users tab, uncheck root in the hidden users box.
The fstab will look something like (different though, as I wrote mine manually - a little "perk" of using a manually config'd distro like gentoo
# This file is edited by fstab-sync - see 'man fstab-sync' for details
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo-src/rc-scripts/etc/fstab,v 126.96.36.199 2005/01/31 23:05:14 vapier Exp $
# noatime turns off atimes for increased performance (atimes normally aren't
# needed; notail increases performance of ReiserFS (at the expense of storage
# efficiency). It's safe to drop the noatime options if you want and to
# switch between notail / tail freely.
# See the manpage fstab(5) for more information.
# <fs> <mountpoint> <type> <opts> <dump/pass>
# NOTE: If your BOOT partition is ReiserFS, add the notail option to opts.
/dev/hda1 /boot ext2 noatime 1 2
/dev/hda3 / ext3 noatime 0 1
/dev/hda2 none swap sw 0 0
/dev/hda4 /home ext3 noatime 0 1
/dev/cdroms/cdrom0 /mnt/cdrom iso9660 auto,users 0 0
#/dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy auto noauto 0 0
# NOTE: The next line is critical for boot!
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0
# glibc 2.2 and above expects tmpfs to be mounted at /dev/shm for
# POSIX shared memory (shm_open, shm_unlink).
# (tmpfs is a dynamically expandable/shrinkable ramdisk, and will
# use almost no memory if not populated with files)
shm /dev/shm tmpfs nodev,nosuid,noexec 0 0
/dev/hdc /media/cdrecorder auto user,exec,noauto,managed 0 0
/dev/hdb /media/cdrecorder1 auto user,exec,noauto,managed 0 0
The bit I've emboldened is the bit that matters. You can see that my system is all on one hard drive (and no I don't have windows any more otherwise you'd see a line for the windows partition/disc as well) i.e. /dev/hda1, 2, 3, 4 etc.
Sure yours will be different, but that's because you've got multiple hard drives (oh and I always found that it's handy to have a seperate /home partition, so that if you want to change distros, you can normally just install the new distro to the / (rootfs) partition and as long as the /home partition is listed in the fstab you can log in and don't loose any data etc, that you might have/want to save).
Two places that I'd suggest you have a look are http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/index.php
, which has a mandriva forum (plus all the other usuals i.e. newbie etc etc) and http://mandrivausers.org/index.php
which is very much distro specific.
You'll usually get the quickest answer from LQ though - just because it's a much bigger forum!
Hope that helps some
p.s. Oh, just remembered, during install you're normally asked where you want to install the mandriva, at that point you normally can see any discs/hdd that the system has detected in a list so you should be able to see if the installer has seen them. They wouldn't need to be formatted, as you don't want to loose any data, but to read them, the instructions/info above plus it's usually better it they mount at boot.
Oh and if you have a crack at modifying your install (though you'd have to re-input the email address and net connections etc) you can do that without worry - if it doesn't, for any reason, give you an option to boot windows as well as mandriva/linux, mandriva include a handy option, whereby, you boot the install CD/DVD, when it asks if you want to continue install or check the other options/advanced, hit whichever key for the later, and you can then "rescue" - which will give you the option of re-installing the windows bootloader (you then won't be able to boot the linux untill you do the same again, but tell it to re-install the linux bootloader).
Oh and finally you should normally accept the option for the installer to put the bootloader on the first section of the first hard drive, then it should offer you the option of windows or linux - it sounds like you put the bootloader on the linux hdd so it doesnt' know to offer you the option of windows or linux.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits