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I would really like to learn as much as i can about using a Linux distro. So i purchased a magazine which provided a free dvd "Mandriva Linux Free 2007 Spring". Could i ask for some help before attempting to install this distro please. Is there anything i should know? Any and all help will be really appreciated. Thanks Jabos
Well, one of the most important things to do before you install Linux is to make sure you don't accidentally delete all your valuable files while messing with partitions.
Check this post and google or ask questions here if you think you need more help on this topic.
Another thing you should check up on is the boot manager (grub/lilo) and how it should be configured properly to list all your OS's if you choose to dual boot (configuring should be done automatically if you just install it in the MBR by your distro of choice).
Don't be too hasty on that last bit there. There is a bit of a learning curve with Linux. It's a good idea for any newbie to run a dual boot setup, at least until he/she becomes more proficient with Linux.
The biggest thing you'll need to know right away is disk partitioning. You should study up a bit of how disks are partitioned, file systems, etc.
I agree with masonm; there is a certain learning curve to take - you may be happy to have a windows system handy in case you can't figure something out. Especially since some of your hardware may not be supported out of the box. The first time I installed Linux, I found out my NIC was not supported... Luckily, I had preserved my winXP so I still had something to access the internet from.
Erasing XP and using all of the disk would be slightly easier, but not all that much.
You'll have to free up some space on your disk if it's completely taken up by winXP. Or if you already have different partitions on the disk, you can simply clean one up and re-use that one. If you do need to shrink a partition, you should look on the internet for the Gparted liveCD. Download and burn as an iso (very insistentent about the iso part - burning as a simple data cd won't do; most cd burners have an option to perform this kind of task). Also, if you need windows to be resized, it would be a good idea to run an error check and a number of degrags first. You may also want to make a back-up. Then pop in the livecd, reboot and go into BIOS (= hitting ESC of F2 on most systems while the system is booting) and change the disk order to boot off cd instead of hard drive). Wait until you get to see a bar representing your hard drive, select the windows partition and click on resize, then indicate its new size (this uses MB; 1GB=1024MB). You'll need to chip at least 10GB off its "tail" but more won't hurt (I resized my XP from 250GB to only 50 = plenty space for more Linux systems). Click on apply and the changes get written to disk.
Of course, if you prefer re-using an existing partition, you can skip all that.
(Re)boot and pop in the install CD; make sure BIOS is still set to boot from cd. The rest should be plain sailing as the installer will basically take you by the hand. You should be careful at the partitioning stage, though, as this could wipe out everything on the disk. If you do not want to use all of the disk for Mandriva, select custom partitioning. Click in the space you freed up (if you are re-using a partition, you should delete it first and then proceed in the same way); make a new partition that is twice the size of your RAM (e.g. 512MB RAM =1024MB) and format as linux-swap; then make an adjacent new partition that is 7-10GB large and format as ext3 and choose "/" as mount point; if you have any space left, you can create a third partition, format it as ext3 or xfs and choose "/home" as mount point. Nothing written to disk yet so you can still reconsider and start over again; but as soon as you accept the partitiong scheme, there is no way back - the installer should warn about this.
When you get to select a bootloader, choose GRUB and tell the installer to install to the MBR (should be the default).
When the installer prompts you to reboot, go into BIOS again and set the system to boot off HD again.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux where your experiance will come form trial and errors (not on the OS part but just you learning what to do). If you have any questions that you cant seem to find by searching or don't understand what some posts are talking about ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question if you are going to learn from it.
I would say try and learn to dual boot as everyone is saying. Unless you have two computers that you can get on the net and research about Linux. I don't mean go some place I mean at your house lol you will be running back and forth the first time trying to understand everything thats going on. Stick with it and it will click after a while.
Shouldn't be that hard. Just setup your HD's properly selecting the appropriate jumpers for each HD and then while installing your last linux OS (you have to install Windows first otherwise windows just destroys your linux boot manager on the MBR) make sure you install the boot manager on the MBR of any hard disk. Then through bios select the HD you installed the boot manager on to as your first boot device.
If your linux distro doesn't automatically detect the other OS's (it should, normally these days they do it pretty flawlessly) just manually add them to the boot manager config file (this isn't hard and we're always here to help if you run into any problems).
Here's my grub config file for example (this is just the appropriate stuff):
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-11-generic
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-11-generic root=/dev/sda7 ro quiet splash
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-11-generic (recovery mode)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-11-generic root=/dev/sda7 ro single
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/sda7 ro quiet splash
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic (recovery mode)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/sda7 ro single
title Ubuntu, memtest86+
### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST
# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
title Other operating systems:
# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda2
title Windows Vista
Personally id get a spard HD
Im a total newb. But since i have a spare HD
i can try installs on it.
Thats the best advice a newbie can take. I've only hosed Windows once accidentally, but it is possible. After that experience, I bought a clearance hard drive, and used it for my Linux experience. At the time, I was using a 20gig drive to try different distros, then I got an 80 when it died. Now, I no longer use Windows, and have a 250gig drive dedicated to Linux.
Switch the Sata cable? Wow. Setting up a dual boot Windows/Linux system is pretty easy. Especially when you have an entire drive dedicated to Windows, and one for Linux. Simply go through the install process, and when asked to install Grub or Lilo bootloaders, install them. They will install to the MBR of the hard drives(probably both of them) and likely detect the Windows install, and create an entry for it.
If you don't want to risk putting Grub on the MBR of your Windows drive, I'd look at the Super Grub Disk. Follow the instructions to set up your system, and then put Grub on either a bootable floppy, or blank CD. When you turn on your PC, make sure the first boot device is whatever media you choose(floppy or CD), choose whatever you want to boot, and then boot it. Once the OS is started, you can remove the disk.
Ok so as it stands i have two HDs in my box.
HD w WinXP is connected to my mobo and HD w Kubuntu isnt.
If i shut down and power down and then connect both HDs
will i get a prompt to select which
HD to run or will Win XP automatically run?
Most likely at this point, XP will automatically boot, becuase if you disconnected the XP drive during the install of Linux, then obviously the Linux installer, couldn't look for XP to create a grub menu entry.
Easy guys, don't throw too much info at the OP. You'll just scare him/her away from the whole idea.
Setting up a dual boot system on a single drive is quite easy and nothing to be afraid of if you simply take a little time to read up on it first and understand exactly what you need to do.
First, clean up your Windows install by cleaning up the file clutter and defragging it.
Then use Partition Magic or a similar tool to resize the Windows partition to allow unused space for your new Linux install. You need to make sure you don't make the Windows partition too small or Windows won't run properly. Examine it to see how much space it's actually using and allow some free space for it. Typically allow something like 20GB for it (depending on your drive size of course).
Once you have created enough free unpartitioned space on the drive, 15 - 20GB is more than enough, boot the system with the installation CD. It should allow you to create new partitions for you Linux system.
Create a swap partition of 1GB, and use the rest for a root (/) partition. This is the easiest partitioning scheme to go with. For file system, ext3 or reiser are good choices.