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fdisk is complex for newbies, you really should try to use something more graphical like partition magic (which will even let you resize your partitions without formating them).
and if i'm not wrong there's even a free trail for a couple of days.
I think you were saying that you were using the Windows version. Except I don't know about creating two partitions. It always wants to create one or many, except the many are logical drives in an extended partition. Unless that's what you meant - a primary and extended.
But just use Linux's fdisk. Hit 'm' - a bunch of choices including 'n'. So hit that and define your partition. Then do it twice more. Ta da. Three partitions.
Nothing against you phant0m, because you're just one guy but *all* these people *all* the time saying 'partition magic, partition magic, you can't do anything without partition magic'... it just drives me nuts.
I'm with Digiot on this one.
Windows/MSDOS version of FDISK will only allow 1 primary partition to be created. Boot from any old linux distro CD, and you should (notice I say should) be prompted rather quickly with partitioning questions. Instead of choosing the common default "do it all for me - in an automagik kind of way" choose custom/expert/whateverisn'tthedefault instead.
Nice think about utils like disk druid (which isn't FDISK per se, but should get the job done regardless, is that you can specify the format, size, location and type (primary/extended) exactly as you'd like it.
Couple of things to note;
According to the traditional rules (all rules CAN be broken, it just depends on how much effort and knowledge is contributed to the problem, yet I digress)
As I was saying...
You can have a max of 4, count 'em 4 primary partition, -OR- 3 primaries, and 1 extended (which can have partitions in it (MSFDISK calls these extra partitions in the extended partition logical partitions)
As I mentioned, the MSFDISK route is to do 1 and only 1 primary, and then shove everything else into an extended partition.
If you DO get stuck trying to use Disk Druid or LinFDISK, then you can resort to Partition Magic, but much like Digiot, I'd vote for straight linux myself. The guys who put out the major distros have gotten the whole process pretty Windows friendly by now, so if you're on SuSE/RH/MD/Dbn 7.x (or so) or later, then you don't have (much) fear of a windows hiccup as a result of the linux install.
Last thing, then I'm done ranting...
Don't forget to make your DATA partition FAT32, assuming you want the best combined access from both Linux and Windows.
If you go FAT16, you'll be limited to 4GB (2GB by most apps, but it can actually handle 4). If you go NTFS, then Linux can't (easily) write to it, mind you it can read from, but what good is that?!?
If you go with EXT2/3 or Reiser (sp?) then Windows won't have a snowball's chance in... to get the data off.
In short - Boot from Distro CD; use DiskDruid or Linux FDISK in advanced/expert/iknowwhatimdoingforheavenssake mode and format your DATA part FAT32
I have to agree - strongly - with digiot and jacobmross. And I'll put a plug in here for Mandrake 9.1's partitioning tool (DiskDrake). It is really easy to use, including for newbies, even using the 'expert' mode. You will be able to re-size partitions (including Windows partitions), format them in their native filesystems, etc. It is far more advanced than MSDOS FDISK and Linux's fdisk and cfdisk. You would be mad to spend good money on Partition Magic when Mandrake can be purchased for next to nothing.
If you can get a hold of Mandrake 9.1, then put in the first boot disk, proceed as for an installation, but just after doing the partitioning, re-start your computer. This will achieve the partitioning, but without doing any installing. You can then install the distro of your choice. (If you're new to Linux I would recommend Mandrake 9.1 anyway)
Before doing any partitioning, first run ScanDisk on your Windows drives and then run defrag on them. This needs to be done if you intend to re-size your Windows partitions (to make room for Linux partitions, say) to ensure an error-free partitioning experience. This applies to all partitioning tools, not just Mandrake 9.1.
Many thanks to Geoff_f for his brilliant suggestion.
I have been trying to figure out partitioning to put 3 distros + W98se on my computer for months.
Last night after lots of searching and having found his post I deleted all the partitions apart from the W98se, then used cfdisk to create 3 new partitions of the sizes I wanted (5gb for slackware, 5 for fedora and lastly 10 for mandrake).
I then used the Mandrake10 dvd (off Linux Magazine) to delete the first partition, clicked to auto-partition the space and after writing to disk I loaded Slackware in those (logical) partitions. I then did the same for the other 2 distros.
For the first 2 I chose to boot by floppy, but let Mandrake install lilo. I am looking forward to wrestling with lilo now to insert Slackware and Fedora.
rrsc16954, thanks for the feedback; it's nice to know that I've been able to help.
What I omitted from my original post was how fast DiskDrake is at partitioning. DOS FDISK was bad enough with a 4GB hard disk (which my first computer had) but is intolerable with today's 120GB (and bigger) drives. Then you had to format the drive as well. DiskDrake takes only a couple of minutes, instead of hours, to do both.
Well, I got an ancient laptop (IBM Thinkpad 390E PII333MHz - 12GB HD and 256MB RAM) and I have a dual boot Win 2000Pro - Red Hat 8.0... Actually Windows is busted (gee -- what a surprise??) And I don't know how to fix it, but I am soo fed up with it. So here is the question or issue...
I didn't do the partitioning or installing of Win (if I had, dang I wouldn't have messed up)
The config is C drive (2GB) with the main windows files and a few programs that wouldn't have it any other way ... D drive 5GB for other programs that do wanna cooperate and E drive 5GB for Data.. Now because I badly wanted my Linux I "cut" a piece of the Data one... SO I made 2.5GB for Linux and (with backdoors LOL) made the E drive Fat32 - to be able to mount it in Linux.
SInce my windows is busted anyhow - I wanna delete the entire mess BUT not my Data files... I figure that I gotta delete the C and D drive (here is the screw up that my friend made - C is the main partition and D and E are extended.... .) and I want to make this laptop run Linux all the way (hey it works better, the battery lasts longer and hell - I stopped having them frikin blue screens LOL)
So now -- any suggestions.. I can not boot in Windows anymore to use Partition Magic or Disk Management because for some reason I don't know of - after 3 min in Win a process WINLOGON.EXE (now again winlogon.exe) hogs up ALL the CPU resources. I have NO knowledge what so ever or DOS.
As I urged in my previous post, regardless of what distro you will eventually install, use Mandrake to partition your drive. You will be able to keep your data and clean off the Windows stuff. Before you totally blow the Windows partitions away, I would look around them (in Linux) for any settings that you might be able to save to your Linux partition and use in your new Linux installation. I talk here of things like an e-mail .pst file (if you're using Outlook, for example) and browser bookmarks, both of which you should be able to import into Linux. Also, in your D: drive, there may be program settings or preferences that may be transferrable to Linux. For these you may have to take them to a friend's Windows computer, export them to a Linux-compatible format, then import them on your computer. This last suggestion is a bit iffy, as you may not have programs whose settings are usable in Linux. One example I can think of that would be useful to recover is Mozilla, and perhaps others that have versions for both Windows and Linux..
I don't know about Red Hat (I am sure someone will tell us, though - please!) but in a Mandrake/Windows98 double boot you can go from Mandrake into Windows (go to 'home' then up until you get the option to click on the Windows partition) and copy and paste data files (movies,mp3's) from Windows folders to Mandrake folders without using commands.