Berfore you start
This tutorial shows how to combine Samba and GRUB to build a compact, highly adaptable, cross-platform test network, capable of booting and networking a large number of operating systems on a small number of machines. Though Samba and GRUB can manage many different operating systems, this tutorial focuses on Linux and Windows.
This is neither a networking tutorial, nor a Linux system administration tutorial. Basic knowledge of running Linux and Windows, including user authentication, installing operating systems, partitioning, and managing user accounts will get you going a lot faster. I'll use values that are valid for my system, such as fd0 and hda. I trust that you will use what is correct for your system.
You'll need reasonably modern hardware: PCs four years old and newer ought to do the job. Running multiboot systems requires large hard drives, and support for Large-Block Addressing (LBA). GRUB can read any part of a hard disk supported by true LBA. Unfortunately, a small number of motherboards that claim to support LBA do not, and the only way to find out which ones they are is to try to boot a system from beyond the 1024 cylinder limit.
You also need a generic Linux boot/rescue disk, such as tomsrtbt, or H. Peter Anvin's SuperRescue CD, and a Windows 98 rescue disk, which is the all-time most useful Windows disk. GRUB does not yet have the ability to boot a CD; we still need floppy disks.