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I have a Viao Rx 450 that came with the hard drive divided by Sony into a C: and D: drive. Can I load and operate Mepis or PCLinux from D: without touching the C: boot? For example, will Linux need to partition the entire hard drive or just deal with the D: sector? If that is possible, I assume that C: will always be the primary boot, so then how would I cause D: to boot Linux?
I want to keep windows for use of the printer, Canon i860, which Linux does not recognize. I don't want to buy a new printer now. It will be a pain to go back and forth just to print I suppose.
Thanks for any tips
Yes, you can install Linux onto the second partition without affecting the first in any way (but make sure you move any data on there you want to keep to C: first). It may be a good idea to split it into more than one partition for Linux though. I'm not familiar with Mepis or PCLinux specifically, but the installers for most distributions will be able to handle this for you. It should also install a boot loader for you, which will give you the option of booting Windows or Linux every time you turn your computer on.
I second that. I just installed Linux, and my distribution found my least used drive and offered to partion it up into Windows in Linux regions (it took a 30 Gig drive and partioned it into 4 sections: a 8 Gig Windows partion, a 18 Gig Linux home partition, a linux swap partion, and something else I can't remember). You can choose to do all this manually, but keep in mind that you'll need to configure these three different partition. And no, the software won't touch "c:" unless you tell it to.
Isnt MEPIS one of the "live" distros ? If not, the get a copy of Knoppix.
That way, you can have a "meddle" and see what it all looks like/how it works etc.
It's also fair to say, that one of the best distro based partitioning tools is the one that comes with Mandrake, it has a graphic based installer and everything.
As for how many partitions, if the hard drive is set up as C and D drive, mandrake would offer you a nice repartitioning scheme. Though I'd suggest at least 3 partitions for linux /root, /swap and /home (personally I also use a /boot partition).
You'd only need a couple of hundred megs for /boot, the same for /swap (personally I'd say use the same amount as whatever RAM you've got installed), you can get away with a couple of gigs for the /root, though if you're gonna play with all the software that's available, 8 to 10 gigs would be better (to give yourself plenty of room) and then whatever you want for /home - depends again on what you want to do and how you'd do it i.e. like if you keep all your email for ever and don't delete the rubbish and things like that.
There's lots of possible variables, and it's really hard to suggest the best solution on a board like this. Plus the other thing that different people like doing different stuff - the wonders of Linux = choice!
Guess I'm just a miser when it comes to hard-drive space..
then again, I was used to an 80 hard-drive, and my laptop (which I use all the time now) is only 60... which is still effin huge, but I've got about 12 gig of mp3's (and it grows when I rip my cd's... i'm slowly making a backup of my collection)
While some or none of this may apply in your case, for what it's worth, here's how I did it:
I took a PC originally running windows, and changed the IDE cable to a two-headed one. The first end still plugs into windows, and the second end plugs into the new hard drive I added, on which I set the jumper to "slave". I installed Linux on this second drive, and configured it to boot from a floppy-disk *only* - no fooling around with shared boot sectors. (I'm breathing new life into a decrepit cast-away running W98, and a weird off-brand BIOS on the MoBo). Switching between the operating systems is now a mere matter of changing the state of a floppy disk (inserted or not) and telling the current system to reboot. This is so easy, even my small children can understand the concept! Furthermore, I have Linux configured to mount the windows drive as a fat32 directory on startup, so the whole windows system is accessible for read/copy operations for everybody. It's also accessible in write mode for me in root mode when I have to vacuum the weekly accumulation of viruses and malware out of the windows section.