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Old 05-03-2006, 01:23 AM   #1
Doji Grovesai
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Dual Boot Research


I've installed Linux (Mandriva Powerpack+ 2006) on an old Dell Inspiron laptop. It doesn't have the power I need for certain programs (MATLAB and Maple, namely - I'm a math grad student), so I was thinking about dual booting onto my desktop. I have Mandriva 2006 (as stated above) and my friend is giving me a copy of the latest SuSE. The desktop specs are as follows:

Dell Dimension 4400, P-IV 1.6GHz, 768MB RAM, one 40GB HD, one 80GB HD, DVD+/-R, CD-R/RW. I'm not sure what other information anyone would need.

Mainly I have some concerns about dual booting.
1)sharing files between XP and Linux. Best way to go about this? I was hoping that maybe I could install XP and Linux both on the 40GB, and use the 80GB for data alone. Is this very smart? Or will it turn into something catastrophic if/when an OS goes wonky?

2) networking is an issue for me with windows (I just can't get it to work right). My wife has a laptop (XP) that taps our wireless home network, and I need to know what kind of workload I'm expecting if she wants to print (printer being connected to the desktop machine).

3)anything else I should be wary of?

Any and all help appreciated.
 
Old 05-03-2006, 01:47 AM   #2
acid_kewpie
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1) use a fat32 partition which is safe to access as you wish under both systems.

2) mandriva should be a doddle to configure wireless on, but depends how well your choice of wireless card is supported. cards like the rt2500 or ipw2100 chipset based ones have very good native support but many others require the use of ndiswrapper which uses the windows drivers in a roundabout way.. not too nice but doable. for the printing side, cups is used to emulate the windows printer sharing gubbins, normally fairly simple to configure using mandrivas gui tools or the standard cups webinterface.

3) probably.... never know till you try, but it's getting more user friendly by the hour.
 
Old 05-03-2006, 02:12 AM   #3
pilatus666
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There should be no problem in dualbooting XP with Mandriva from the same hard disk! I also have dual boot in the same way just make sure the 80GB harddisk to be FAT32 in order to have read and write acces under linux to it without any other issues! I made under windows with Partition Magic one EXT2 partition(10GB) for Linux and a swap(500MB)! At the install proces of Mandriva will ask you where to install then choose the "existing partitions" so it will be installd on that 10GB partition and will not touch anything else... I also installd the bootloader (lilo) on the MBR so it can boot any of the two OS just choosing witch one when you start your PC!
I can't help with the network printing I never had to do that....
Have fun!
 
Old 05-03-2006, 07:57 AM   #4
Doji Grovesai
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Backup issues

Ok, this is a totally dumb question, I'm sure, but I've never run into this problem before.

Currently the 80GB drive is formatted as NTFS. I'm using about half of it. Is there a way to change the filesystem to FAT32 without losing everything? Or do I need to back everything up and wipe it clean?
 
Old 05-03-2006, 08:41 AM   #5
pixellany
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backup and wipe clean

I second the comments about 2 OSes on the 40GB drive and FAT32 on the 80GB
 
Old 05-03-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
arubin
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Aonother approach would to shrink the NTFS partition as far as it will go. You can do this using a Knoppix live disc and running Qtparted. It is also available as part of Suse installation and possibly Mandriva installation.

If you can shrink NTFS to 40GB you can then create three new partitions. FAT32 for shared documents, a Linux partition and a swap partition. Then go ahead and install Linux on the Linux partition.

Of course you should back up your data first.

A refinement, if you want your Windows partiion to be smaller would be to back up the data (preferably twice) then delete the data from NTFS. After creating your new FAT32 partition restore the data there.

Alan
 
Old 05-03-2006, 11:19 PM   #7
Doji Grovesai
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Wow, thanks for all the help everybody. I'll be having more and more questions as I get closer to actually doing this (finals are this week).

Most of these questions are just "I never thought of this until [question x] was answered." So...

1) can I set /home to the FAT32 harddrive? I know I can change the XP "My Documents" folder to anything I want, I just want to make sure that I can do so with /home.

2) Can XP and Linux share the swap partition? Or does Linux use a different format for /swap than XP? (again, never dual-booted before)

3) Since I've never worked with a bootloader (I don't think), should I use lilo or grub? And what is MBR?

Thanks very much again.
 
Old 05-04-2006, 01:28 AM   #8
towy71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doji Grovesai
1) can I set /home to the FAT32 harddrive? I know I can change the XP "My Documents" folder to anything I want, I just want to make sure that I can do so with /home.
No you can't do this, your /home directory needs to be a linux (ext2,ext3,reiserfs)filesystem in order for the OS to preserve permissions etc., which dumb old fat32 cannot do!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doji Grovesai
2) Can XP and Linux share the swap partition? Or does Linux use a different format for /swap than XP? (again, never dual-booted before)
Again no, different sort of thing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doji Grovesai
3) Since I've never worked with a bootloader (I don't think), should I use lilo or grub? And what is MBR?
use grub, and MBR is MasterBootRecord lol
 
Old 05-04-2006, 01:49 AM   #9
Doji Grovesai
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thanks. More questions:

I understand that if using linux, I'll have to mount ntfs to look at anything in XP folders (except the FAT32 master data storage). What will XP be able to look at in the Linux Folders? What will enable the most access possible?

The motivation is to be able to access as much as possible from each OS without having to reboot everytime I forget to move a file from one place to another so I can use it between OSes.
 
Old 05-04-2006, 03:31 AM   #10
arubin
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I have heard of a Windows utility which will enable Windows to look at XP but I have never pursued it. part of the attraction of Linux is security and that would be broken by giving Windows access to all your Linux files.

The thing to do might be to put 'My Documents' on the FAT32 partition so that by default Windows writes there.
 
Old 05-04-2006, 04:32 AM   #11
towy71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doji Grovesai
I understand that if using linux, I'll have to mount ntfs to look at anything in XP folders (except the FAT32 master data storage). What will XP be able to look at in the Linux Folders? What will enable the most access possible?
there is a utility that can look at ext2 and ext3 filesystems called ex2fs the one proviso is that you should not try to write to your linux partitions with it
and don't try to write to ntfs from linux either
 
  


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