Registered: Apr 2008
Fedora Core 8 LiveCD dual boot install on Toshiba Satellite 1905 - partition problems
I have a five-year-old Toshiba Satellite 1905-S301. I finally got around to replacing the 40GB HD with a 160GB one, and figured it's a good time to put Linux on the HD, making a dual-boot (XP Home/Linux) system.
I had previous experience making dual boot XP Pro / Mandrake 9.2 and XP Pro / Mandrake 10.0.1 desktop systems, but they had two HDs, so it was way too easy. This project is more difficult.
I know it can be done, because Google turns up tons of DIY guides about it.
Problem is, I have WinXP with all my current program/data/email files on the HD, and I don't want to just wipe it clean and start both systems from scratch. Here's what I've done so far. At the end I have some questions.
/----- begin narrative -----/
1. Several sites recommended creating a SysRescCD and using Qparted to resize my WinXP partition and create other partitions from Linux. I read "How to Dual Boot Windows XP and Linux on a Single Hard Disk" (URL deleted, 'cause I'm too new here) and decided to do it like this:
* 80 GB NTFS - existing WinXP (call it "main")
* 10 GB FAT32 - enough space to hold the contents of a DVD,
for sharing files btwn Linux and WinXP (call it "LINWINSHARE")
* all the rest - extended partition, called "free" or "unallocated"
2. So I d/l'ed and burned the SysRescCD, and my Toshiba's CD-writer/DVD-reader couldn't boot from it. You the drill: reboot-F12-"Boot from CD/DVD"-kachunk-kachunk-kachunk-kachunk-giveUp-"Loading Windows XP".
3. From another dual-boot DIY guide, I heard about "Paragon Partition Manager 8.5" (not 9.0), which lets you resize, create, delete, etc. partitions. I d/l'ed and installed it, and it works fine. Of course, it won't work on the HD you booted from, so I booted from my old 40GB and worked with the 160GB connected to the EZ GIG II through a PCMCIA slot. Finally got my HD partitioned properly.
4. I d/l'ed and burned the Fedora Core 8 Installation DVD from another computer, and again, my Toshiba's CD/DVD couldn't read it. It did the kachunk-goToWindows trick again.
- Bad CD and bad DVD? Nope. I tried them in a desktop machine, and they booted up just fine.
- Bad CD/DVD drive in the Toshiba? Not sure. The Windows-based Rescue CD that came with EZ GIG II worked great. So did the Mandrake 10.0.1 installation CD I'd created that many years ago.
5. I tried a different route, d/l'ed and burned a Fedora Core 8 LiveCD. Hooray! It booted! Linux on my ancient laptop! It recognized my wireless mouse, it connected to my DSL modem, and it recognized the NTFS and FAT32 partitions on my HD. I snooped around inside the NTFS and FAT32 parts, to make sure they were really there. They were.
6. I clicked on the "Install to Hard Drive" icon on the GNOME desktop. Trouble! The machine said it couldn't find a usable partition on the hard drive, but it found ~160GB of unused space which it would be happy to format and partition, if I would click on the Okay button.
I said, "whoops," and backed out of there in a hurry. Back on the desktop, I confirmed that the NTFS and FAT32 partitions were still intact. Good. I tried "Install to Hard Drive" again. Once again it offered to reformat my ~160GB of empty space. (Why do we keep doing the same things over and over again, when they didn't work the first time and they're not about to work the second, third, or fourth times even? Humans are sooo stupid sometimes.)
I backed out of the install procedure again.
7. I found Gparted on the GNOME desktop! Who needs that crummy SysResCD anyway? This Fedora LiveCD works just fine! I decided to run it and see if it recognized my NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Gparted informed me that I had a lovely ~160GB HD that it would live to reformat and partition for me, if only I would say Okay. Again, I declined the offer.
/----- end narrative, begin request for advice -----/
So now I have my HD with three partitions, WinXP on one partition, Fedora Core 8 LiveCD recognizing two of them, and the Fedora Core 8install program unable to see any of them.
a) Easiest question to ask: What do I do now? Problem: Too too many answers to that question, and not all of them will work. (Been there, written the answers.) Let's look at the details.
b) Why some Linux-based CDs/DVDs will boot, and some won't: CD/DVD drives have developed a lot in the past 5 years. Maybe my HW is too old to recognize something about these new ISOs, and the drivers for my HW haven't kept up? (Well, they haven't. Toshiba no longer actively supports this machine.) I couldn't find any BIOS settings to tweak. What else can I do to make my drives recognize these bootable media? (Remember, some ISO images boot for me, and others don't.)
c) Why does Fedora Core 8 LiveCD recognize my NTFS and FAT32 partitions, even letting me navigate through them, but the install and Qparted programs not recognize them? Is there some Fedora setting I can change to fix this?
d) Is there a better distro? I did some investigating before deciding on Fedora Core 8, but my experience is limited, and I'm open to alternatives.
e) Maybe I'm just being cheap, and I should wipe the HD, partition it using Qparted, rebuild XP from scratch, and then install Linux -- the way everybody else does it? I'm really trying to avoid that, because I'm missing the install CDs for the antivirus SW. It's a legitimate five-user license, renewed last month, but I can't find the CDs anywhere.