I was a little aprehensive when i recently did my first dual boot and everythign went relatively flawlessly. I wrote a little article on it which you may be interested in reading.
I grabbed the 3 cds of Mandrake 9.1 (yeah, i know 9.2 is coming out real soon, but i couldnt contain myself any longer) and burned it. For those who are interested in dual booting i'll write the simple steps here quick that i followed:
(I am assuming you are running winxp and have 1 c: partition.)
1. I read that its important to be defragged when setting up new partitions. So get out ur Norton Systemworks defragger (or just ur fav defragger) and defrag! To curtail any problems in the future. I defragged until my defragmentation was below 1%. (Whew, was able to squeeze in 6 times the word defrag (7, now), i like that word )
2. Get Partition Magic 8.0! Windows XP is deafult installed into a NTFS file system and you will need to reduce that partition in order to make space for the Linux partition(s) (which is an EXT3 file system). I was a little apprehensive about doing this cos i read places that reducing the size of the NTFS partition could affect the performance of WinXP. You see, Winxp actually writes system records at the start, as well as at the end of the partition (something about M$ domination). Of course, i also read other places that this wasnt the case. So i went for it and it was - extremely - easy. Took all of 3 minutes to do with no difference in the running of WinXp. PM 8.0 is a Very good tool.
***Note: If you had a clean system where you had to fresh install winxp and linux, i'd go for a small NTFS partition to install WinXP on, I'd make a small EXT3 partition for the /boot install and have a 512mb SWAP space (RAM*2). And with the rest of the HD i'd make a big FAT32 storage space. That is cos both linux and windows will be able to access that partition. Of course, with my setup i could resize/move around everything to get that big FAT32 storage space but that would be more trouble than its worth imo.***
3. You could now partition the free space up for the linux install or you could just let the linux installation program detect the free space and divide it up for you. Being the newbie that i am, i went for the second option. I just insert cd1 of MDK into my cd-rom and rebooted. Small note: Have two 3.5" DOS formatted disks nearby for the install.
4. I wont go into detail about the install cos its all pretty straightforeward and you dont need to pay real attention (with MDK at least). The install will detect the free space and partition it for you. You'll get 2 EXT3 partitions: a / partition, a /home partition and a SWAP partition. You dont really need to do much untill the very end when you can configure all the options settings. DO THIS. Read each configuration carefully. Its vital.
5. For the dual boot, configuration (near the bottom) YOU MUST PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION. I cant stress this enough. Cos even if you have selected LILO or GRUB to boot from a boot disc during the install, there isnt an actual clear prompt asking you to create a boot up disc! So when you press "configure" to configure the boot options at the end of ur installation you must select the advanced options (or expert mode, i forget) and tick the "make a boot disc option" and then press next!
***Note: i say LILO or GRUB cos its basically the same. But not being used to either i'd say go for GRUB cos that is more flexible and more recent. Also, with grub at least, make sure you have ur default boot up the way you like it. I set mine to windows cos other ppl like to use the pc also and would be lost if it default booted into linux.***
6. Once everything is configured you will at some stage be confronted with choosing a root password! See note below. It will also ask you to create a user account. IMPORTANT: You must do this otherwise you wont be able to log in.
***Note: I have an AZERTY keyboard setup. The set up process assumes you have a QWERTY setup and so writing the password you only see: ***** etc etc (and i was thinking i was writing with an AZERTY setup). In linux it then proceded to Recognise my AZERTY keyboard and so filling in the root pwd was hard cos i didnt have a QWERTY keyboard layout nearby to see what the password i typed in actually was. I had to in the end re-install again with the QWERTY keyboard printed on a piece of paper next to me.***
7. Once this is done the packages will be installed and you will be ready to rock and roll. Reboot and log on into Linux!
1) If anything should ever go wrong with ur boot up disc make sure you also have ur MDK cd1 handy with which you can boot up. Its saved me a few times while i was figuring this out.
is ur friend. USE THE SEARCH BUTTON EXTENSIVELY! And dont ever give up if you have a problem.
(I had muchos trouble with my ethernet LAN card. Here is my thread: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...threadid=87935
I was desperate but in the end i found the answer by going to my isps newsgroups and reading up on everythign i could find there about the internet set up.)
Any more questions the guys who lurk onthis forum are very good and will help you out. Make sure you have tried using hte search button on the site first htough