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Old 12-01-2006, 12:33 AM   #1
Tim_Olaguna
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Question Partitioning For Another Linux Advice Sought


I need some advice about partitioning a hard drive so I can add a second flavor of Linux to my current multi-boot system.

I have two harddrives. The Linux command "fdisk -l" shows them set up as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Disk /dev/hda: 60.0 GB, 60022480896 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7753 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 1 695 5254168+ 1b Hidden W95 FAT32
/dev/hda2 * 696 7752 53350920 7 HPFS/NTFS

Disk /dev/hdb: 200.0 GB, 200049647616 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 24321 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdb1 * 1 13 104391 83 Linux
/dev/hdb2 14 11612 93168967+ b W95 FAT32
/dev/hdb3 11613 16921 42644542+ 7 W95 FAT32
/dev/hdb4 16922 24321 59440500 5 Extended
/dev/hdb5 16922 24321 59440468+ 8e Linux LVM
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

/dev/hda is my primary boot drive and the home of my Windows XP program files. In fact, /dev/hda2 is known to Windows as "Drive C:". /dev/hdb consists of:

1. A small Linux boot partition.
2. An 88 GB partition known to Windows as "Drive D:". It's where I keep all of my data. I have formatted it as a FAT32 partition so it can be more easily accessed by both XP and Linux.
3. /dev/hdb3 is now an empty 40 GB FAT32 partition. It used to be a Vista partition, but I'm no longer interested in devoting space to experimenting with the beta versions of that operating system.
4. /dev/hdb4 is a some 45 GB extended partition which serves as the virtual home of:
5. Fedora Core 6.0 Linux (becase it is serious, edgy, yet fun).

I'd like to convert /dev/hdb3 to another flavor of Linux (like probably Suse 10.1), but I'm not sure which strategy to use.

A. Should I just reformat it as an ext3 partition and install the new Linux there?
B. Or do I need to blow away 3, 4, and 5 above then create two new virtual partions, each containing a separate flavor of Linux.

Advice and comments on this topic will be greatly appreciated.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 09:59 AM   #2
pixellany
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I'm assuming you don't want to touch hda (Windows drive) or the main data partition (hdb2)...
  1. Backup important data before starting
  2. Keep hdb1 and use it as the /boot partition for your primary Linux installation.
  3. Delete hdb3, 4, and 5
  4. Create a new 1GB linux swap partition right after hdb2--this will be shared by all Linuxes.
  5. Create a new extended partition--filling the rest of the disk.
  6. Create logical (not virtual) partitions of about 8GB each for each new Linux you want to install. Use just one (/) partition for each--there is really no need for separate /boot partitions. (Except you can use the existing one as mentioned in step 2.)

Last edited by pixellany; 12-01-2006 at 10:01 AM.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 10:52 AM   #3
Tim_Olaguna
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany
I'm assuming you don't want to touch hda (Windows drive) or the main data partition (hdb2)...
  1. Backup important data before starting
  2. Keep hdb1 and use it as the /boot partition for your primary Linux installation.
  3. Delete hdb3, 4, and 5
  4. Create a new 1GB linux swap partition right after hdb2--this will be shared by all Linuxes.
  5. Create a new extended partition--filling the rest of the disk.
  6. Create logical (not virtual) partitions of about 8GB each for each new Linux you want to install. Use just one (/) partition for each--there is really no need for separate /boot partitions. (Except you can use the existing one as mentioned in step 2.)
Thank you, Pixellany! Exactly the kind of step-by-step help I was looking for. I really appreciate it.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 02:29 PM   #4
J.W.
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Eeeek -- Hold on. If you get rid of /dev/hdb5, you will lose Fedora Core. Assuming that you want to keep it, you need to retain that partition.

If you want to just add a second Linux distro to your machine, just drop and re-create /dev/hdb3, which you have indicated is an empty partition. It looks to be about 40G, which is plenty of space.

OTOH if you want to dump FC6 as part of the exercise, disregard my comment.
 
Old 12-02-2006, 08:51 AM   #5
pixellany
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Since re-installing Fedora is no big deal, I recommended an overall setup that used space more effectively. Did I mention BACKUP first??....yes
 
Old 12-05-2006, 05:30 PM   #6
Tim_Olaguna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany
Since re-installing Fedora is no big deal, I recommended an overall setup that used space more effectively.
And that suggestion has worked very well for me; as far as setting up a good structure goes.

I really did not have much of an investment in my earlier install of FC 6. So tossing it out was no serious loss. Plus it wasn't working as well as an even earlier install of FC 5 had.

Building on Pixellany's advice I used the latest live CD version of Gparted to clean out my original 3, 4, and 5 partitions. I then easily set up the suggested swap partition (as /dev/hdb3) and extended partition (/dev/hdb4), which occupies the remainder of my hard drive (about 101 GBs).

Instead of setting up only two logical partitions as originally planned, however, I set up four; /dev/hdb5, /dev/hdb6, /dev/hdb7, and /dev/hdb8.

It really was fairly easy to install FC 6 on /dev/hdb5. And that install is more complete and works far better than my original FC 6 install.

I am having problems installing other distros on the other three partitions. But those problems seem to be with the distros themselves. Not the partitioning scheme.

For example; my attempt to install Suse 10.2 RC1 on /dev/hdb6 has not worked out. My first attempts to set up a KDE-based install resulted in a system which seems to recognize all of my hardware, but provides no GUI interface. I only get a text-only type install; like I'm running under init 3. Attempts to use 'startx' or 'sax2' fail. And my xorg.conf file is basically empty. This set-up DID recognize my network adapter and did download system updates during the installation process.

My second attempts to set up a Gnome-based install also failed. During this effort (tried multiple times on a freshly formatted /dev/hdb6) the new installation failed to recognize or work with the network adapter card. So no updates could be or were downloaded as part of the installation process. And I still get no GUI. I think I'll wait until 10.2 goes final and is easily downloadable before trying Suse again.

Another disappointment was trying to install Kubuntu from its CD. This system is widely touted as very easy to install. But I had no luck. It booted up ok. But choosing the option to install results in getting nothing more than a text-based 'ubuntu@ubuntu:' prompt. No installation. No GUI. No install questions about where to put anything. Just nada.

Luckily these failed attempts have done no harm to my Windows XP or FC 6 installs. And I'm thinking of moving on to try Mandriva or some other distro. But not today. Time to think about decorating the home for the holidays.
 
  


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