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Old 12-29-2005, 08:33 PM   #1
s.scotty
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dual-booting with NTFS


I have just learned that my next PC will have windows XP Home, BUT WITH NTFS, on it's 250 GB HD (and with just a "Restore" CD).
My intention was to have XP with FAT32, so that I could share data with Mandriva 2006 which would be on an additional HD.
This would let me use XP for games and the odd Windows application, whilst using Linux as the main system.

I would be very grateful for the answers to three questions:-
Can Linux dual-boot with NTFS?
If I reformat half the Windows HD with FAT32 as a data store - would both Linux and Windows NTFS XP systems be able to read and write data on the FAT32 partition?
If these are possible - do they make sense, or are there any better suggestions?

I realize these are frequent issues, but none of the answers yet seem to exactly fit my case - so thanks for your patience.
 
Old 12-29-2005, 08:44 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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Firstly, linux generally doesn't read or write well to NTFS, although there are cases where it works okay. Dual booting works fine. So you're right to prefer setting up a separate FAT32 partition for file sharing. Now there are a couple of ways to do that.

1) Put the new FAT32 partition on the 2nd hard disk with Mandriva and leave the Windows partition alone.

2) Use Knoppix and qtparted to shrink the NTFS partition and put your new FAT32 partition on that HD. (I think Mandriva comes with qtparted also, but I've read that previous Mandriva versions sometimes hosed the NTFS partition. Never had that problem in all the times I've used Knoppix...).

3) Erase the existing NTFS partition and repartition the Windows HD to how you want it to be, reinstall windows, etc.

Now I've heard that Windows always wants to be a primary partition on the first HD, so I've never tried otherwise. I always put LILO into the root partition and use a 3rd party boot manager (XOSL 1.15) to handle what to boot. I've heard XOSL can handle up to 32 operating systems on the same HD...
 
Old 12-30-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
s.scotty
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Hi, pljvaldez

I have not used XP/NTFS before, and the new PC will come with only a "Recovery" CD - so I think it might be best to leave it's HD "as supplied" (with a view to future reformats,etc.). Particularly as this will also be my first Linux install - my dreamboat for finally escaping WindowsWorld. Though I've partitioned and formatted before, your kind information has reminded me that I tend to complicate things needlessly.

However, I do have a second spare HD available, so could leave the XP NTFS one as supplied, add one for Linux and a third(FAT32) one for the data. This would just leave the MBR to fiddle with. Does this make sense to you?

Am I correct in assuming that both XP/NTFS and Linux will be able to read and write files on the FAT32 HD? I fancy the idea of common data, for operability and back-ups. I just can't get my head around how NTFS fits into things (or doesn't!).

Thanks for all the help - it's nice now and then to stop banging one's head against the wall.
 
Old 12-30-2005, 11:34 AM   #4
fiery_ice
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pljvaldez,

It can be much easier than that.

For hard drive one (the 250GB one):
Windows isn't going to need the full 250GB, so reinstall windows with only 30-50 GB of space.
Then partition the rest of your first hard drive as fat32 since fat32 can be recognized by windows.
For the second hard drive
Just install mandriva here
Note: Mandriva will rewrite the Master Boot Record of your first hard drive. Thus you will be able to boot into either linux or windows at the time of boot.

Here is an example of how i organized my partitions. Note the hda and hdb.
hda is my first hard drive. hdb is my second hard drive
Code:

ice@ice:~> df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hdb2              27G   17G  8.8G  65% /
tmpfs                 506M     0  506M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hdb4              62G   31G   28G  53% /home
/dev/hdb1              59G   53G  6.4G  90% /mnt/D
/dev/hda1              38G   28G   11G  73% /windows/C
ice@ice:~>
I can read all of /windows/C but writing to it could result in data loss. So i don't. I use /mnt/D as a SWAP between windows and linux.

/mnt/D shows up as D:\ in windows.

Remember. Mandriva will automatically rewrite your MBR AND allow you to dual boot at bootup. The key here is to install windows FIRST and linux SECOND.


~EDIT~
Can Linux dual-boot with NTFS?
Yes read my post again
If I reformat half the Windows HD with FAT32 as a data store - would both Linux and Windows NTFS XP systems be able to read and write data on the FAT32 partition?
Again yes.
If these are possible - do they make sense, or are there any better suggestions?
Yes again. This is what I did.

Last edited by fiery_ice; 12-30-2005 at 11:43 AM.
 
Old 12-30-2005, 11:41 AM   #5
pixellany
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First---I am curious: You are free to modify this PC, but you were not allowed to chose its configuration in the first place.

I like the 3 drive approach:
#1: Windows--let XP use NTFS
#2: Linux
#3: Data---format in FAT32

One advantage of this is that a physical drive failure will cause limited overall damage.
In either OS it is very easy to link the "data" drive so it is a seamless part of the file system.

And don't forget drive #4---BACKUP!!

PS--If you have one big drive, make that one "data". get two small (cheap) drives for Windows and Linux---or even share one small cheap drive

Last edited by pixellany; 12-30-2005 at 11:43 AM.
 
Old 12-30-2005, 12:38 PM   #6
pljvaldez
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s. scotty,

There is one more thing you may notice if you try to repartition the large drive that comes with your PC: some commercial PC's (like Dell) come with a hidden partition (usually at the front of the drive) that contains a copy of your factory settings, programs, OS, etc. Your "Restore CD" should have the same things, maybe minus some of the software or drivers (which usually come on a separate disc). You probably don't want to mess up that partition, so that you can just use the boot menu to "quick restore" your new partition to the factory settings.

fiery_ice is correct that it may be easiest to just repartition the first drive the first time you boot it up and then reinstall windows onto a smaller partition. 250Gb is rather large if you're not going to use Windows that much...

The way NTFS works into all this is that Windows NT/2000/XP can all read and write NTFS file systems. Linux generally has good read support for NTFS, but write support is somewhat shaky. Similarly, Linux uses a different file system, usually ext3 (although there are numerous other good ones), that Windows generally can't read or write. However, both Linux and Windows (all windows versions since 95, I think) can read FAT32. So that's generally the way you share files between Windows and Linux. Or you can setup your Linux box as an FTP server and transfer files that way, but that's kind of tedious if you want access to the files from both...

My personal machine is setup something like this (I'm not sitting in front of it):

Partition Size Format OS
hda1 4GB FAT32 Win98SE
hda2 4GB NTFS Win2k
hda3 8GB ext3 Debian Sarge
hda4 rest of drive Extended Partition (hda1-hda4 are primary partitions)
hda5 24GB FAT32 Shared Data (>hda5 are subdivisions of the extended partition)
hda6 ~1MB FAT16 XOSL FS (this is my 3rd party boot manager)
hda7 512MB SWAP Linux SWAP
hda8 4GB ext3 Knoppix

hdb1 40GB ext3 Ubuntu Hoary

Don't get too hung up on all the extra partitions. It's all a matter of preference, although planning ahead can help you out in the future. I use a 3rd party boot manager called XOSL 1.15. It's no longer under development, but it's rock solid and you can boot up to 32 OS's from a single drive.

Last edited by pljvaldez; 12-30-2005 at 12:46 PM.
 
Old 12-30-2005, 09:39 PM   #7
fiery_ice
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Just a side note. I use http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/explore2fs.htm to view linux partitions while in windows. It wont work for all types.

Features include:

* ext2 and ext3 support
* Drag and drop
* Support for all block sizes
* Support for floppy disks 1.44meg and 120meg
* Supports Zip and Jaz
* Supports Windows 98 extended partition scheme
* Export file(s)
* Export file as text
* Export directory
* View / Execute file
* View Symbolic links
* Make directory
* Large disk support
* Large file support
* LVM2
* ReiserFS Detection
And more
 
Old 12-31-2005, 03:51 PM   #8
s.scotty
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Thanks, guys - that's a great help. I think I am going to like this Linux world. After mulling over the replies, I think I will leave the original HD alone (it is big but, apart from defragmenting, capacity is seldom bad). Linux on the second HD with Mandriva's recommendations, and the third HD for data. Given that there is 1 Gig of memory, what size would you make the swap partition?


Quote:- pixellany said:
First---I am curious: You are free to modify this PC, but you were not allowed to chose its configuration in the first place.

Well, I thought I would be sensible this time around, and get the PC ready-built, cheaper than I could buy the parts, and a guarantee thrown in.
Ordered one with the all the options I wanted and figured it would be perfect.
Called them back to ask for two partitions, and double-check that the XP Home O/S was FAT32 and with a "proper" CD - but negative on all counts. Seemingly, all their PC installs are cloned from a master programme, and "you can have any colour, as long as it's black" - with no deviations allowed.
I suspect the Carpetbagger is twisting arms. When you rule the world, you give the minimum, charge the maximum, and enforce your monopoly with a rod of iron - another reason I'm joining the Rebels.....

Last edited by s.scotty; 12-31-2005 at 03:54 PM.
 
Old 12-31-2005, 04:26 PM   #9
pixellany
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One of my pending projects (lots of these...) is to start badgering vendors about why I have to pay for Windows if I am not going to use it.
Note some chinks in the armor---eg Dell now offers at least one model pre-configured with Linux. HP had a Linux laptop, but not sure if they still do.
 
  


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