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Mandrake is pretty easy to setup.
They have gui wizards for most things, and unless you've got any really exotic hardware, expect 99% of it to work out of the box.
Winmodems don't work though, so if you're still on dial up, this might be a bit of a problem, and although there are resources available to get them going, my experience with them has been very hit and miss.
You can resize your Windows partition using the Mandrake installer (no need to buy partition magic or whatever) but you must do some maintenance on your windows partition before you resize it; run scandisk and defrag before you resize otherwise you might run into problems. Depending on what you want to do with mandrake really depends on how big a partition you need to create. If you want to install most things and have a bit of storage for files etc then I'd recommend about 8 -10Gb. This can be reduced though - like I said it really depends on what you want to do and what you want to install...
The actual install process is very easy to follow, so you shouldn't have any problems there.
Linux installer can automatically resize your Windows partition (without data loss) and create necessary partitions. Or while in Win you can create/resize partitions (Partition Magic, for example) and then during the install of Mandrake you can choose those partitions for Linux (you'd have to choose manual partitioning and specify what goes where).
Hope this has partially answered your question. Overall, being a Linux noob myself I found the installation very intuitive, just don't forget to read carefully everything that comes up. I suggest reading some step by step instructions available on the net (google it) where there are screenshots that can be very helpful - print it and go along.
This one shows you what to expect when you do a custom install
although if you have one windows partition and nothing else then hda will be all blue. In that case you would click on the blue area and select resize. Resize the blue down to a comfortable size and then click on the white area ( empty ) that has now appeared and select create. Create one or more FAT ( windows ) partitions and then create your linux partitions. when you create your linux partitions Mandrake will offer you a suggested size, you will create first the root ( / ) partition then swap, user,home, var & temp.
when you are happy with what you have created click on done
Distribution: Debian Sid(it's broken, I'm doing a clean install of Sarge soon)
Also, If you have some extra cash, you can purchase a copy of Partiton Magic 8(which runs under Windows) and use it to resize your partition. This is particularly useful if you are running WinXP on a NTFS partition, as that can (sometimes) be difficult under Linux. I've done it using a Knoppix CD and it worked perfectly fine.
Also, just as almost everyone else has said, DEFRAG YOUR DRIVE FIRST. I WOULD RECOMMEND DEFRAGGING SEVERAL TIMES. While resizing, fragments toward the end of the disk tend to be lost, or limit how small you can shrink a partition to.
This is my advice as a newbie to make things simple. My experiences lead me to not recommending Mandrake. They say it is good because of the GUI's but I found Fedora Core 3 to be just as good at making the transition process from Windows easy.
Also before I install Linux I change my file system on Windows Xp into fat32. Linux can't write to the ntfs file system but it can with the fat32 file system. So if anything goes wrong after I install Linux, like say I can't log back into Windows for some reason then I can use Linux to change Windows files around and fix the problem.
After the installation you can change the filesystem back if you want. I don't though because if Windows ever messes up...which it will because it is unreliable, Linux to fix it. Also this way I can download music on Linux and save it to Windows. By saving it on Windows from Linux, Windows and Linux can see the files and play them. Thats my 2 cents
I believe that is erroneous. I have a network of WinXP pro and a FC2 gateway, the linus box talks to the NTFS partition perfectly.
Using Fat32 will disable what little security you get with WinXP. I suggest you check out some literature on linux - NTFS. Ill search for a link when i have time. I did not do anything major with my FC2 install just used the Samba config tool supplied.
Hope this clears things up a bit.
mmm, Id like to state here that after searching the LQ site for a few links i found that NTFS writting is dodgy at best with Linux.
I may in fact have the second (backup drive) formatted as Fat32, the machine is down at present so I cant check. I therefore wish to retract the above till I check it out.
Sorry MalachiX and all for any confusion, but i think i have edited this swiftly enough to limit any possible confusion.
OberonKenObi throws himself out of a Window(s) onto a soft bed of Penguins.
Last edited by oberon-ken-obi; 03-12-2005 at 10:19 PM.