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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 05-18-2007, 10:07 PM   #1
Tzolkin
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Dual boot on a Dell Inspiron?


Hey,
I've been making some progress towards giving Linux an honest try, but I still have some things I'm not sure about.

Recently I came across documentation of this DSR partition thing on my hard drive that lets me restore windows. I did this recently after making backups and decided it is a feature I want to keep. From what I've heard it will work whether the Windows partition has been resized or not, provided that the MBR isn't messed with.

Which comes to my question. How would I go about resizing my NTFS file system and my windows partition, to make room for a Linux partition, then install Linux in a dual boot setup without touching the MBR?

Is there any safer way to do this that doesn't eat resources? I've heard of Wabi and the like, but I'm not sure if my computer could run it well.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

--Tzolkin
 
Old 05-18-2007, 10:30 PM   #2
GrapefruiTgirl
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Hi there Congrats on your efforts to get a grip on Linux. Let me try to help:

I have no idea what the 'DSR' partition thing is, firstly.
As for the title of your post, "Dual booting...", one of the parts of all this which make dual booting possible, is usually to use LILO or GRUB Linux bootloader, installed to the MBR, which provides you with a menu when you turn on the machine. You can then select which system, Windows or Linux, you want to boot. There are a couple other ways to dual boot, but this is the easiest and most reliable, IMHO. I can't speak much for GRUB, because I don't use it, but LILO I find very easy to use and configure, and the manual pages are quite decent.
As for resizing your NTFS partition, you can shrink it, or enlarge it, or any other partition for that matter, using "Gparted" which is a partition editor, and a VERY good one, which is included on Ubuntu LiveCD (I recommend Ubuntu for this reason primarily) and also you can get Gparted on a ISO of it's own, which you can burn to CD and use. It's really easy to use, and extremely reliable.
ONE IMPORTANT THING OR TWO: It is not recomended to move the BEGINNING of a partition. It can be done, but there is no guarantee of success.
What you want to do, would be to grab the END of the NTFS partition, and shrink the partition by moving the END CLOSER to the start.
NOTE TWO: Please defragment an NTFS partition before using a partition editor on it.
Next, once you have the necessary space on the drive, you would make your Linux root partition, and a swap space, and proceed with installing.

If you want to dual boot without touching the MBR, the next best thing, IMO, would be to use a boot-floppy. You do the Linux installation like usual, but when the time comes to make the bootloader, you install it to a floppy instead of the MBR. As mentioned, there are other ways too, which I am not experienced with, but many others around here are.

Finally, I have no clue what Wabi is, nor about what may 'eat resources' but I don't see any reason you couldn't dual-boot your machine, if you have the hard disk space for another OS.
Hope this answers your questions; if you have more, do feel free and have fun!
 
Old 05-19-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
Tzolkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl
Hi there Congrats on your efforts to get a grip on Linux. Let me try to help:

I have no idea what the 'DSR' partition thing is, firstly.
Dell system restore. It contains a program that does a reformat-reinstall of windows on the WIndows NTFS partition only. It's also the reason I don't want to touch the MBR, since if I mess with that then I won't be able to do a system restore for the Windows installation.

Quote:
As for the title of your post, "Dual booting...", one of the parts of all this which make dual booting possible, is usually to use LILO or GRUB Linux bootloader, installed to the MBR, which provides you with a menu when you turn on the machine. You can then select which system, Windows or Linux, you want to boot. There are a couple other ways to dual boot, but this is the easiest and most reliable, IMHO. I can't speak much for GRUB, because I don't use it, but LILO I find very easy to use and configure, and the manual pages are quite decent.
Yeah, I'm aware of both and what they do. I've used both of them at some point or another on another machine. But as I said before, if I mess with the MBR, my rescue system for windows might not work anymore. I've heard there are ways to make dual boot work from XP? That would likely let me do so without writing to the MBR.

Quote:
As for resizing your NTFS partition, you can shrink it, or enlarge it, or any other partition for that matter, using "Gparted" which is a partition editor, and a VERY good one, which is included on Ubuntu LiveCD (I recommend Ubuntu for this reason primarily) and also you can get Gparted on a ISO of it's own, which you can burn to CD and use. It's really easy to use, and extremely reliable.
Ah, yeah. I just noticed that. My Live CD of Knoppix has something called QtParted on it. ..Would that work as well as GParted?

Quote:
ONE IMPORTANT THING OR TWO: It is not recomended to move the BEGINNING of a partition. It can be done, but there is no guarantee of success.
What you want to do, would be to grab the END of the NTFS partition, and shrink the partition by moving the END CLOSER to the start.
NOTE TWO: Please defragment an NTFS partition before using a partition editor on it.
Next, once you have the necessary space on the drive, you would make your Linux root partition, and a swap space, and proceed with installing.
I've already got my drive defragmented, for the most part. I just did a system restore on this machine, so all the used space is at the beginning of the partition. I'd also planned, on the event I use the partition editor, to only resize from the side of the partition that has nothing in it. It shouldn't be a problem, as there's not much on the disk.

Quote:
If you want to dual boot without touching the MBR, the next best thing, IMO, would be to use a boot-floppy. You do the Linux installation like usual, but when the time comes to make the bootloader, you install it to a floppy instead of the MBR. As mentioned, there are other ways too, which I am not experienced with, but many others around here are.

Finally, I have no clue what Wabi is, nor about what may 'eat resources' but I don't see any reason you couldn't dual-boot your machine, if you have the hard disk space for another OS.
Hope this answers your questions; if you have more, do feel free and have fun!
Wabi is a variant of Ubuntu, from what I gather, which installs itself as a file within a windows install, but boots as if it were on its own partition. I don't know if it would be acceptable though, since the system requirements for Ubuntu are the max on my machine. (I have 256mb of RAM and a 1.4ghz Celeron M)

Cheers,
--Tzolkin
 
Old 05-19-2007, 03:02 PM   #4
GrapefruiTgirl
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'Parted' is the actual program itself, so yes, Qtparted and Gparted are the same program. One uses the Qt frontend and the other uses GTK frontend. Otherwise, the same.

RE: Wabi -- FWIW, Ubuntu (6 anyways) claims to need a minimum of 128Mb RAM, so it would likely work on your machine, though it is a 'heavy' distro, so you may well do better with something a shade lighter..

Sounds like you're basically ready to go ahead and resize the partitions and get ready to install. Just need to figure out what method to use to dual boot. Yes, you *can* dual-boot using the Windows boot.ini file, but I have never done it myself, so I can only give you VERY VAGUE details: You need to add the path to the bootable Linux Image, in Windows format, to the boot.ini file.
For example, if C:\ is Windows, then you would make a folder like C:\Linuxloader, into which you put the stuff needed to get Linux kick-started. Then you would make an entry like the existing one, in boot.ini, for the Linux location. I don't rememnber exactly how to 'make' the Linux stuff that needs to go into the folder, so I won't even guess.
There are a number of tutorials, some of them even from Microsloth themselves, on how to dual-boot using the NTloader. Just Gooooogle around, you'll surely find them.

Cheers!
 
Old 05-19-2007, 06:31 PM   #5
samstar
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Hi,

In order to dual boot without affecting the mbr, grapefruitgirl's right, you'd need to edit the window's boot.ini file.

You'll need to load grub into the linux partition where /boot resides, instead of your mbr. There are instructions here:

http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Dual_Bo...B_Installation

It's written for gentoo, but is applicable for any distro.

All that's necessary is to boot into linux at least once, to copy the grub.mbr file to another medium, in order to transfer it to your C:\ directory, then just editing the boot.ini file.

At least now you won't need a boot floppy anymore.

Hope this helps,
Sam
 
Old 06-01-2007, 11:47 PM   #6
Tzolkin
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Okay, I've done everything I needed to do to have it work. I've resized the NTFS, installed WinGRUB, installed Freespire as the OS, and got it to boot. But the Wifi support is giving me trouble, as in connecting to my network but refusing to connect to the internet. I tried to fix it, and it locked up. I forced a restart, only to find this annoying thing has changed my PBR again, and set itself active, so I cannot boot without using a GParted rescue disk to reflag the partitions the way they need to be.

Is there any way to fix this?? @_@

--Tzol
 
Old 06-02-2007, 04:00 PM   #7
Tzolkin
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Bah.. I got it working. Using Linux while I write this post..

--Tzolkin
 
  


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