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Old 10-16-2006, 11:46 AM   #1
prn
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Location: Muncie, IN, USA
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Dual boot (with XP) on single hard drive ???


Hi folks,

I have installed WinXP; I have installed Linux (RH and Fedora); but up to now I have not installed both on a single computer. So I would like to check in with you guys to see if my current plan sounds sensible.

I got a slightly out-of-date Dell (2350). The original HD is now completely wiped so there is no OS at all on the box. I bought another HD and a bracket so I could fit both in the box at the same time. I have booted Knoppix, which can see both disks fine. The new HD is 300 GB and the old one is 30GB. My current thought is to put both the XP and Fedora 5 on the new disk and run an rsync job nightly to back up selected user data to the second spindle. That way all (or at least most of) the actual user data will be immune to a HD failure. I can then copy off data to CDs on a somewhat less regular basis and store them off-site. I'm not so sure how I would manage something comparable if I were to install the Linux OS to one HD and the WinXP to the other. I really do like the plan of backing up to a second disk.

The problem with the plan is that most people seem to prefer using a second physical disk for each OS. I'd like any feedback you can give me on this issue.

Instructions for installing to two separate disks seem to be pretty available, but less so for installing both to a single disk. Assuming that I do go ahead with installing both to the 300 GB new disk, I'd appreciate constructive critcism of my understanding and plan here: First off, if I understand rightly, I need to install XP first. I imagine I'd give XP 100 GB or so for it to play with. I have a Linksys wireless card (which I got because the Broadcom chipset seems to be as well-supported as any, and I know that the bcm4300 module comes with FC5) that says the drivers should be loaded before installing the card (under Windows, that is), so I guess I'd then load the linksys drivers and install the card. Then, I'd install Fedora (or other distro if that turns out to work better). As I understand it, Grub should then be able to take over the MBR and automatically put both XP and Fedora onto a boot menu for me. Is that right? If so, then I think all should be golden from there on.

Am I missing anything obvious? Am I missing anything less obvious, but stupid?

Thanks,
Paul
 
Old 10-16-2006, 12:32 PM   #2
mistywindow
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Registered: May 2006
Location: Wanganui, New Zealand
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Thumbs up

I've just done what you want to do using Ubuntu 6.0.6

Disk 0 partition 1 is C:\ XP, partition 2 is E:\ primary backups.
Disk 1 is D:\ Data.
I have secondary backups on a USB HDD.

I used Acronis Disk Director to reduce my disk 0 partition sizes, leaving 40GB of contiguous free space.
Installed Ubuntu using auto partitioning with the largest unallocated space option (don't remember the exact wording).

I play it safe - used Acronis True Image to backup C:\ partition first. But there was not need to use it.

No problem. My first blow for freedom from M$.

 
Old 10-16-2006, 12:35 PM   #3
b0uncer
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Quote:
The problem with the plan is that most people seem to prefer using a second physical disk for each OS. I'd like any feedback you can give me on this issue.
No, it's really your choice. I think it's easier to install on one HD only, and perhaps the biggest reason for preferring one OS per one HD is because that way you get more space for both of the operating systems (that is, if the disks are nearly of the same size). But your plan sounds good, no problems. Like you said, first install Windows and configure you as much as you want (but leave empty = non-partitioned space to the HD!), then install Linux to the empty space left on the harddisk. When prompted, choose to install Grub to MBR, and you are probably prompted to add a Windows entry to the boot menu automatically (if not, it's ok -- there are numerous examples on the net on how to do it yourself in less than a minute; but probably FC just adds it automatically as long as Windows is already installed).

In your case, with that backup plan, I too think it's a good idea to spare the second harddisk for backups, and keep the primary HD for the operating systems. With a modern distribution like Fedora Core 5 (or newer, in the future) you'll probably have no problems during the install. In my opinion you'll have them much more if you decide to install one OS per one HD.
 
Old 10-16-2006, 12:52 PM   #4
prn
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Thanks to both of you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0uncer
... and perhaps the biggest reason for preferring one OS per one HD is because that way you get more space for both of the operating systems (that is, if the disks are nearly of the same size).
Which, obviously, is not the case here. With one disk so much smaller than the other, I get a lot more for both OSs by putting them on the one physical disk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0uncer
first install Windows and configure you as much as you want (but leave empty = non-partitioned space to the HD!), then install Linux to the empty space left on the harddisk.
I'm taking non-partitioned to mean just don't assign the space to any partition numbers, since obviously the space is "partitioned" in the sense that it is separated from the XP partition.

Quote:
the only stupid question is the one that's left unasked.
so ask it.
Yep. That's me! I always say that I make a policy of asking every stupid question that I can think of unless I can answer it first. (Often just formulating the question brings the answer out, but if it doesn't, and sometimes even if it appears to, then it's a good idea to ask.)

Thanks,
Paul
 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:43 AM   #5
mistywindow
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You've probably thought about this, but just in case you haven't....
If you need to do any repartitioning before going ahead, try to organise it so that your Windows Data (mainly My Docs) are on a FAT32 partition. Then you can share all your data files with your Linux OS.
AFAIK, you can't convert from NTFS to FAT even with commercial partitioning apps, so it may require a bit of shuffling about.
You can move the location of My Documents anywhere you like in XP by right clicking a My Docs icon and clicking Properties. The choices displayed are fairly clear.
Back up your data first, just in case.
If you do this, then you don't need a lot of unpartitioned space for Linux. I have 20GB and it's more than enough. I guess I could get away with 6 or 7GB.
 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:36 PM   #6
prn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistywindow
You've probably thought about this, but just in case you haven't....
If you need to do any repartitioning before going ahead, try to organise it so that your Windows Data (mainly My Docs) are on a FAT32 partition. Then you can share all your data files with your Linux OS.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have thought about this. I'm thinking of doing exactly that. So far, I have installed the XP and done a few things from the Administrator account, including AV and Firewall. Now, I'm about to configure user accounts and I think I will be adding a FAT32 partition precisely for shared documents. I'll want the settings and the WinXP-type downloads to sit in the NTFS partition because they are not going to be shared between XP and Linux, but the personal documents, including graphics, etc. would be better shared. I will then be able to "symlink" each user's "shared" directory structure both within the XP user's area and as something like a $HOME/docs directory tree. I haven't used this yet, but apparently MS offers "Windows Services for UNIX Version 3.5", which includes (along with a couple hundred MB of other stuff, including old versions of things like ActivePerl ) an ln for Win32 to make symlinks. I'm not yet sure whether it's worth it.

Paul
 
Old 10-18-2006, 03:25 PM   #7
bibh_lnxq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prn
Hi folks,

So I would like to check in with you guys to see if my current plan sounds sensible.
The bases are covered in this thread. To boost your morale: I am writing this from a PC with a single ATA drive with WinXPPro, FC5 and SUSE 10.1 installed (and working ;-)).

It is wise to check existing partitions again beforehand and try to make a mental picture for yourself of how exactly you have already partitioned your drive (e.g. 1 NTFS primary + extended with 3 NTFS and 1 FAT32 vols). When you install Linux it will make a suggestion, and in the middle of installing it is handy to understand why it is suggesting, say, hda6.
 
Old 10-18-2006, 04:19 PM   #8
prn
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Thanks, bibh_lnxq. My morale is always happier for a boost.

I have already installed the XP and plan to install the Linux tonight. I expect it to work fine.

Thanks,
Paul
 
  


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