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Old 06-27-2006, 10:31 PM   #1
iJScruff
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First Time Dual Boot Setup


I am reformatting my computer (hopefully tomorrow) and would like to set up a dual boot configuration with some form of Linux and Windows XP. My question is two-fold.

1) Since this will be my first experience with Linux (and a command-line OS all together), is there a particular version of Linux I should use?

2) Exactly how would I go about set up the dual boot configuration?

Some extra info that might be useful is that I plan on running two SATAs in RAID 0 with a back up IDE drive. I have some programming experience and built my own computer so I'm fairly proficient when it comes to computer parts and software. I plan on experimenting on Linux with the software I use on Windows to check out compatability issues since some of my friends have indicated a lack thereof despite the lack of an official Linux version of most of my software. I play a lot of games, deal with audio and video files, use lots of VoIP, rip and mount images, and most of the normal stuff for someone who actually uses their computer.

Thanks for the help!
 
Old 06-28-2006, 01:27 AM   #2
chief_officer
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First, welcome to the Linux world. I will try to answer your questions, but please note that these are *my* opinions:

1. "Which Linux distribution" is the ongoing debate for years. I have started using Linux with SuSE, then changed to Debian and now using Gentoo. It all depends on your needs. What I would recommend is to start with SuSE. It has a good driver support and a good fit for the beginner. During the installation, watch out for the package management and install KDE. Then, with time and your changing needs, or just to satisfy your curiosity, you can try other distros.

2. Install Windoze first. Arrange your partitions to your liking: say you have 80 GB of HDD and want to have 30 GB for Linux. Then, my recommendation will be to partition as follows:

Windoze NTFS: 40 GB
Windoze FAT32: 10 GB
Linux : 30 GB <--- In fdisk, keep this space as unpartitioned.

Linux can read/write on FAT32 partitions without problems (it can read from NTFS, but writing to it needs special software and not recommended). Therefore it will be very good to have some FAT32 space in order to *interchange* files between Lin and Win without problems.

At the beginning of the installation, the installer will recommend you a partitioning scheme. If you installed win first, then the partitioning will be based on your current partition table. Go with the recommended scheme. During the installation, your needed Lin partitions will be set up and your boot manager (GRUB -Grand Unified Boot Loader- is used by the majority of distros. LILO - LInux LOader is being deprecated in favor of GRUB) will be installed. After finishing the installation, at boot time you will be presented with a *boot* screen, allowing you to choose between your installed systems.

---following is added---[EDIT]---following is added---

In addition to the items above, I've forgotten to write you about software stuff.

First, feel confident:
Quote:
I plan on experimenting on Linux with the software I use on Windows to check out compatability issues since some of my friends have indicated a lack thereof despite the lack of an official Linux version of most of my software.
You will find what you're looking for in Linux. In fact you'll find much better. Just check out http://www.linuxrsp.ru/win-lin-soft/table-eng.html and see for yourself. (and don't listen to your friends )

Second, if you're a *serial gamer* then check out www.transgaming.com and read about Cedega, which enables you to play Windoze games on Linux.

Quote:
use lots of VoIP
Did you know Skype has a Linux release?

Quote:
rip and mount images
Assuming that you know Photoshop, learning Gimp will take about an hour of yours.

Finally, there is something about Linux that I have experienced myself during my transition: Think of it like climbing to an icy mountain with a smooth surface. If you let yourself, you will immediately slip back (to the waiting arms of Windoze). If you go on, explore and force yourself to learn, you will reach the peak (which is your treshold really) and then there's no turning back.

I personally have a dual-boot Windoze eXtra Pain with SuSE 9.3. I only keep Windoze to have my cell phone keep synchronized (but ok, I can do it via Bluetooth in Linux).

Last and not least, you're welcome to a *community* that really supports you. I am supported since March 2004, I learnt 90% of the things I know from various Linux communities, from patient Linux gurus, moderators, etc. I am just happy to be a member of this community. And yes, the members of the community are willing to be helpful; we love to give as much as to take.

---above is added---[EDIT]---above is added---

Regards,

Last edited by chief_officer; 06-29-2006 at 02:36 AM.
 
Old 06-28-2006, 02:57 AM   #3
lurko
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check out distrowatch - lots of useful info there for choosing a distro and finding a place grab the ISOs. I'm not qualified at this point to comment on that further.

Once you decide on a distro, read everything you can about the install process specific to that distro. You'll want to know what partitioning tool it uses(so you can read up on that if need be), and it will be important to know what options you get when it comes to the boot loader, and what they mean. There will probably be a pretty in-depth install guide on the CD of whatever distro you choose, definitely read it all and you will probably feel like you've already done an install when you go ahead with it (I did at least for the slack install - tip: an NFO viewer might come in handy trying to read linux text files in windows). Also read install guides online. Basically keep reading stuff until you think you have a good idea what to expect and what options to choose.

dual booting method that worked for me:
I'm a total newb myself, but I was in basically the same situation a couple weeks ago. What I did was install a 40gig drive I had collecting dust on my desk into the primary slave position (hdb), split it up and installed Slackware to its first partition(I made 3 6gb parts for distros and filled the rest with the 4th for /home and miscellany). Near the end of the install I made sure to install the boot loader(LILO in this case) to the root superblock, and not the MBR. When you do it this way though, once the install is complete, your computer will boot windows as if it was the only OS present. you need to grab a nifty little app called "bootpart" (google it and feel lucky). Use bootpart to copy the boot sector of the drive you installed the linux bootloader to, and write it to a file on the windows C: drive. then you need to append your boot.ini with something like this:
Code:
C:\nameyougavetobootsectorfile.xxx="Distro You Chose"
now that distro (its bootloader really) will show up in the ntldr boot menu.

This way you can sort of jump right in without really knowing much at all about LILO or GRUB, have either or both(or others) installed, and learn as you go. That said, you may not get a choice in the matter, one of the ubuntu variants (server I think) didn't give me an option and just installed and setup GRUB in my MBR - this is why you should come prepared before you start. I should mention though, while I didn't want GRUB on my MBR(yet) and promptly restored it for windows, GRUB set itself up to boot every OS I had installed(win, slack and ubuntu) quite nicely with no help from me. I'm sure there are ways to use both LILO and GRUB without ntldr, but again, I'm not qualified to comment on that.
 
Old 06-28-2006, 10:02 AM   #4
chief_officer
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@ lurko:

Quote:
GRUB set itself up to boot every OS I had installed(win, slack and ubuntu) quite nicely with no help from me. I'm sure there are ways to use both LILO and GRUB without ntldr, but again, I'm not qualified to comment on that.
GRUB (Grand Unified Boot Loader) and LILO (LInux LOader) are the same boot managers that do the same thing: manage the initial boot process. Therefore they can't coexist in the same system.
 
Old 06-28-2006, 07:50 PM   #5
lurko
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not to be a smart ass (as I mentioned a couple times, I have next-to-no experience with things *nix), but they are coexisting on my system just fine... LILO is on hdb1 booting slack and GRUB is on hdb2 booting mepis - I'm guessing from your comment then, that I'm wrong about being able to use both without the combination of ntldr and bootpart being involved. Of course in my situation neither of them is managing the initial boot process, just linux's... Please correct me again if need be, I'm here to learn stuff.

Quote:
Finally, there is something about Linux that I have experienced myself during my transition: Think of it like climbing to an icy mountain with a smooth surface. If you let yourself, you will immediately slip back (to the waiting arms of Windoze). If you go on, explore and force yourself to learn, you will reach the peak (which is your treshold really) and then there's no turning back.
OK I know not directed at me, but thanks for posting that great analogy! I want to make it to the peak so badly, I'm kicking myself for not beginning the climb yonks ago. I'm on the mountain now at least...
 
Old 06-28-2006, 09:30 PM   #6
Bruce Hill
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I have a question for the OP -- where did you come up with "LILO - LInux LOader is deprecated)"?
 
Old 06-29-2006, 02:41 AM   #7
chief_officer
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@Chinaman: Edited my post, which I had written something I didn't intend to mean.

The correct thing -in my opinion- is LILO is being deprecated practically in favor of GRUB, since in following the forums in LQ and others, increasing number of people are choosing GRUB as their bootloader.

This is not a fact that can be proven with an article. Instead, this is what I smelled through the forums, magazines and other media...

Please accept my apologies for causing a misunderstanding.
 
Old 06-29-2006, 02:45 AM   #8
Bruce Hill
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chief_officer,

I had addressed that to the OP instead of you.

LiLO has been around as long as Linux, and there is no evidence that it is, or is being, deprecated. You might be smelling something on the bottom of your shoes.
 
Old 06-29-2006, 02:51 AM   #9
chief_officer
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@lurko: I have the same problem with Chinaman.

Anyway, I am posting an article that all of us can benefit regarding the bootloaders:

http://www-128.ibm.com/developerwork...-bootload.html

Sorry for causing a confusion whatsoever.

Regards,
 
Old 08-08-2006, 08:19 AM   #10
iJScruff
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Registered: Jun 2006
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Sorry about the delay but I've been away and busy for most of the summer. I finally attempted an install and what ended up happening was that I got a note reading "Warning: Assembly line A20 already enabled." I did some research and didn't find anything conclusive (it was mostly about Windows 64-bit, not Linux) and the only solution I found was that I may have burned the disc incorrectly. Are the settings for a Linux bootable CD the same as a Windows CD? Also, there was mention of the A20 fast switching option in the BIOS which I haven't checked yet. Both time that's been mentioned there have been no reply indicating success or failure of that method. I'm going to go try it now.

Last edited by iJScruff; 08-08-2006 at 08:26 AM.
 
Old 08-08-2006, 08:27 AM   #11
Nylex
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Not sure what settings you mean, but when you burn images make sure you select the "burn image" (or similarly worded) option in whatever software you're using. Do notburn them as regular data files. Also, did you check the MD5 sums of the images before you burnt them? They need to match those listed on the site you downloaded from and if they do not, it means said images are corrupt. MD5summer will generate the checksums for files and thus allow you to compare them with those on the mirror you used to download them.

HTH.
 
Old 08-08-2006, 08:34 AM   #12
iJScruff
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I didn't check the MD5 sums. The settings I'm talking about are the burn settings you must select in an image burning program (in my case Alcohol 120 or Nero) in order to make a Windows CD boot correctly which are not the default settings. I'll try reburning the disc and see if that helps because since I did this a month ago I forget how I burned it.

EDIT: Ok, what I think Linux wants me to do is migrate the RAID over to Linux software. My only concern about doing this is what its effect on Windows will be. Anyone know?

Last edited by iJScruff; 08-08-2006 at 09:14 AM.
 
Old 08-08-2006, 09:09 AM   #13
iJScruff
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Reburning the disc got rid of the error, but now I have a problem where it conflicts with my RAID and says installing to it will erase all data on the RAID (which I definetly do not want). It suggested checking the SuSE portal for help with installing onto a RAID. I am checking that now, but it seems to only provide how to make a RAID in Linux rather than how to install onto an existing one.
 
  


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