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Old 04-13-2005, 08:39 PM   #1
suckerr70
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Help start me with linux


Hello. I would like to switch to linux but still want my windows XP. I asked my friend how to instal a new OS and all he did said was ask some person on the internet how to do a dual boot and gave me 2 floppy disks and said he had to leave. They say "Partition Magic 7.0 (1)" and "PM 7.0 (2)" How would this help me?
Also, how much room would you say i need for it? I have about 5 gigs of free space left (out of 30) people are telling me to try redhat, mandrake or debian. What are your thoughts? Thanks.
 
Old 04-13-2005, 08:52 PM   #2
audibel
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5 GB is not a lot of space if you want to just "Try" linux to make sure you'll like it give KNOPPIX a shot. It's a LiveCD which meanas you don't have to install it to your harddrive at all. It's a little slow on bootup because it's booting from the CD, but it will show what Linux is like. In order to use those 5 GB of harddrive space for linux you have to partition them off. He gave you partition magic to break up your complete windows partition.
 
Old 04-13-2005, 09:06 PM   #3
masonm
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Partition magic is a tool for creating/editing partitions on your HDD. I strongly suggest you do some googling for how to use it, learning about disk partitioning in general, and brush up on these things BEFORE attempting to make any changes to your drive. A dumb mistake could cost you your data.

Partitioning isn't hard to do, but you do need to understand exactly what it is you are doing, why, and how to use the tools to do it.

I would also recommend that before you do an actual HDD installation you clean up your windoze and remove any junk that may be eating up disk space so you have more room to install. I'd really recommend having 10G available to install Linux. It can be done on less, but that's a nice comfortable amount of space.

I agree that perhaps you should start out by trying some of the LiveCD versions before making radical changes to your system.

There are several LiveCD versions available and www.distrowatch.org has some very good reviews and info about Linux distros.

Some good distros to try for a newbie that have LiveCD versions are:
Knoppix
SimplyMepis
Ubuntu

The ones I listed are all Debian-based and pretty easy to use so you can get a feel for whether Linux is for you. There are also quite a few others.
 
Old 04-13-2005, 09:08 PM   #4
bigrigdriver
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A word about knoppix: the default language is German. The keyboard layout is German. When the boot prompt comes, enter this: knoppix lang=us keyboard=us. You may have to experiment with the keys to find the equal sign. It will boot into an English version.
Most, if not all, Linux distributions (distros) have some kind of disk partition software (probably parted). Don't worry about Partition Magic.
First, defrag XP, then make a backup. Then insert the Linux installation cd. You will be presented with a list of all available partitions on the harddrive, and asked where you want to install Linux. BE VERY CAREFUL. You could destroy XP. If the XP partition needs to be resized, you can do it from the Linux partitioner, just be sure you know how much of the disk is used by XP, and don't resize downward too far.
Create an extended dos partition to take up the free disk space (or at least, the amount of space you want to give to Linux). Within that extended partition, make a minimun of two partitions: one equal to or greater in size to the amount of ram on your system (for the swap partition), the rest for Linux. When the partitioning is done, select the new swap and Linux partitions, and begin installing.
5 gig may be enough for one of the smaller distros, but a default SuSE probably wouldn't fix. Knoppix probably would; SourceMage certainly would, but that's for more experienced users, because you build it up as you want it; do it your way.
 
Old 04-14-2005, 12:42 AM   #5
suckerr70
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ok, ive freed up space and now have 13 gigs. ive been reading alot and now i'm very scared that i might delete all my files or windows and when people say back up your computer before doing this, do they mean copy evey file you have onto a CD?! THATS CRAZY!!! i have about 30 gigs of files!!!! burning all of them onto a CD would takes days and would take a TON of CDs. I dont have a DVD burner. I've tried knoppix before it was nice and tried and failed to get P.H.L.A.K. working. (both liveCDs) Could I pull off partitioning my comp and installing myself or should i call some shop to do it? I.ve chosen and downloaded RedHat 9 (shrike?) now I need help partitioning/installing. THX!
 
Old 04-14-2005, 01:01 AM   #6
kencaz
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First off, some friend you got giving you a couple of disks and saying, see ya.... Kidding

Anyway. 13gigs free is good. make sure not to use all of it. XP needs some to function. As your friend said, partition magic is a good choice (if you have it) It will do a non-destructive partition in most cases. That's what I used when I started. PM took my free space, was able to create an ext2 and swap partition for me before I even installed Linux.

I am not familiar with RedHat install for awhile but I think you can use QTparted to kinda do the same thing as PM. fdisk is destructive and don't recommend unless you have a free HD... meaning nothing on it. Everyone here is correct when they say BACK-UP. It does not mean your whole HD just important data that can't be replaced. I have never had a problem with lost data using non-destructive partitioning.

someone else may have a better alternative, since I have not done it in awhile. Also, if your using NTFS for XP. I use fat32 so I can write to my windows partition. I would suggest creating a separate fat32 partition so windows can read your linux stuff... Otherwise you'll end up having to use captive NTFS and it's just easiear to make a shared fat32.

Just my thoughts

KC
 
Old 04-14-2005, 01:26 AM   #7
suckerr70
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I have 2 harddrives. C (has 7 gig (200megs free) and E (has 37 gigs (13gigs free). Windows is installed on my C drive (NTFS) but im going to install linux on my E drive (FAT32). I'm not sure if I should use mandrake or red hat. How and what and who do i do for partitioning/installing/getting it to work?!
 
Old 04-14-2005, 01:47 AM   #8
kencaz
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Quote:
Originally posted by suckerr70
I have 2 harddrives. C (has 7 gig (200megs free) and E (has 37 gigs (13gigs free). Windows is installed on my C drive (NTFS) but im going to install linux on my E drive (FAT32). I'm not sure if I should use mandrake or red hat. How and what and who do i do for partitioning/installing/getting it to work?!
Not sure what you have on the free 25gigs on E: but either way you don't want to use destructive partitioning (fdisk) I hate to direct you to search engine, (like I said I have installed mandrake but not RedHat and my HD was already partitioned) but you should do some reasearch on installing Linux and XP... there is so much info out there. If it were me, well, I would backup what-ever is on my E: and use fdisk to create at least an ext2, (maybe 10gigs), swap, (double your ram, I would say not over 500meg though) and fat32 the rest.

some would argue but it's a religous thing....

Good Luck

KC
 
Old 04-14-2005, 02:12 PM   #9
kidtree
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repartitioning is scary, but works.

I'm a newbie, still working out some details myself, but installing Linux was surprisingly easy. I downloaded SimplyMepis 3.3 (www.mepis.org) and burned it to a CD as an "image", meaning my computer makes no attempt to rearrange any blocks or tracks on the CD when burning. Mepis is another "live CD" like Knoppix, so you can test it to your heart's content, with the understanding that it's running slower than normal because CD drives are slower than hard drives, and because it's decompressing files as it goes. Also, you can't install or tweak some of the drivers, because you're running off the CD-Rom and ramdisk.
If and when you decide to install Mepis on the hard drive, there's an icon for that on the desktop. Click it, and you're on your way. A couple of screens into the job, it asks about repartitioning your hard drive, giving the choice of wiping out the entire drive to fill it with linux, or running "QtPartEd" to repartition. Qt is a language that much of the kde environment is built on, and PartEd is short for Partition Editor.
My own PC is an 800 MHz PIII, running Win 98se on a 40GB drive. I had already used Windows's DeFrag to cram everything down to the lower realms of the disk. I left about double that for growth and chose to allow 12GB for Linux. Linux and qtparted call the C: drive /dev/hda (device / Hard Drive A), and the Windows partition is hda1 (first partition on that drive). Qtparted takes some time to analyse the structure of hda, then draws a bargraph across the top of the screen, showing the relative size of your partitions. So far, you only have the one on the disk. Either right-click it or use the program menus to reduce the size as planned. So far, you're just changing the size of boxes on the screen. qtparted won't write your changes until you click the Save icon at the top.
Once I had my 12 or so GB of blank gray area on the graph, I created a new partition for Mepis Linux. Since the folks at Mepis loaded the program in the first place, it will default to a file system called "ext3", which is a common system for Linux. Not bleeding-edge, but it works fine. I set my new partition to be a little under half the space I had available, and to be a primary partition. www.mepis.org has its own forums and tutorials to give more detail. I defined the remainder of the drive (everything on the right end of the bargraph) to be an extended partition, as advised by the tutorial on the Mepis. From the left end of that, I created a small partition (512 MB, twice the size of my system RAM) and selected the type "Linux swap". The remainder I made into my last partition. The hard part here was convincing myself to follow Mepis's advice to make that extended partition, then make partitions within the partition.
I think it's when I click Save that qtparted asks me the names of my partitions. the order it suggested was mixed up; I made the first new partition root, the second, small one swap, and the last one home, for all the users' files and settings.
I paniced when I was saving my partition changes and saw the dialog box that said the program was "analysing hda1" -- that was my Wnidows partition! I clicked Abort, restarted the computer in Windows (it worked fine), and figured out it was analysing the Windows partition to preserve all its data and structure. I reloaded the Mepis CD and started all over again.
Part of the process involves installing GRUB, a small program that allows you to select which OS you want to run every time you start the computer. In reading about Linux & dual-booting, you may have heard of LILO; GRUB is similar. During installation, tell the system you want to install GRUB on hda, in the MBR (Master Boot Record).
It worked fine. Windows works as well as ever, (It used to crash a lot before, too.) and I am learning more and more about the power and versatility of Mepis Linux and its included programs.
One thing I finally figured out last night was how to transfer files between hda1 (Windows) and the Linux directories. Icons for the drives are right on the desktop; the Linux ones have a little green mark at the corner to show they're "mounted", meaning you can access them. Right-click the hda1 icon and select Mount. It takes a couple of seconds, then you'll see the same green mark. Left click the icon, and it will open a file management window that works much like Explorer. At the bottom of your screen is a little house icon. Click that to get another file management window showing your Home directory, with subfolders similar to the ones you're used to from Windows. Now you can drag files back and forth between file systems. OpenOffice, included with SimplyMepis, can read, write, create, and change MSOffice files. I use OpenOffice in Windows, too, and love it. Windows 98 is completely oblivious to the Linux partitions. It just thinks the C: drive is 27GB instead of 40 now.
Before logging off your computer, right-click that hda1 icon and Unmount it.
Now that you have 2 operating systems, whenever you start the computer, you'll see the Grub menu appear for 15 seconds, waiting for you to select Windows or either of two versions of Mepis linux. If you don't choose, it will default to linux.
I wanted my wife to be able to run Windows without having to watch for that menu screen, so I changed the file that Grub refers to for its choices.
Logged on as root, I used the file manager to go the the root folder, then clicked /boot. There I found another folder called /grub. Click that and find the file menu.lst and click it.
The menu is a simple text file, only a couple dozen lines, arranged in blocks for easy readablility. Right at the top is the timeout time; I changed that from 15 to 20 seconds to give me more time in case my monitor is starting cold or I'm not paying attention. Don't want to miss the menu because the monitor's still dark. Then I cut and pasted (just like in Windows) to bring the Windows block of text up above the blocks for Linux and Memory Test. Being first on the list makes Windows the default. I changed the name of Windows from "Windows on hda1" to "Windows 98se" to make it more familiar to the wife & kids.
The upshot is that Windows still works fine, for Windows, and that Linux is a kick. There are programs in that one CD that you'd pay hundreds of $s for if they came in Microsoft boxes. And I haven't seen the "blue screen of death" yet. In Linux, that is.
SimplyMepis is a smaller distribution than some, without the multiple desktop systems and programming languages that geeks love to mess with. But it has all the things most users want, with some pleasant surprises thrown in, and you can add more once you're set up.
 
Old 04-14-2005, 02:53 PM   #10
Komakino
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I really would not go with Red Hat 9. That distro is something like 3 - 4 years out of date now and will only make your first linux experience stressful. Get a newer distro - something like Fedora Core 3, Mandrake 10 or Ubuntu (is Warty the latest? The website can tell you). Believe me it will be worth it. An older distro like red hat may not support all your hardware, may be hard to set up and may be a little harder to get support for as a lot of people would have moved on to something else.
 
Old 04-14-2005, 05:48 PM   #11
masonm
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I agree that RH9 is a poor choice to start with.

As I said earlier, you NEED to do some googling and some studying about disk partitions and partitioning BEFORE you attempt to install Linux. Make sure you have at least a basic understanding of what you are going to do before you do it.

Making frantic posts here is not going to be much help if you've trashed your windoze system from the start. Take the time to do a little research and it will be a much more enjoyable transition for you. We are all here and willing to help you, but you have to do some studying and research for yourself.
 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:29 PM   #12
suckerr70
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My friend told me red hat is the best for detecting and bridging networks.
1. is this true?
2. if so, what are the downsides.
3. if its not, my second choise would have been mandrake (10.1?) so would you recomend it?

Also, i am in the middle of a partition. if i stop the process (the "cancel" and "OK" buttons are grey (unpressable) but the "X" in the top right corner is available for pressing)will it "hurt" my computer??? it is taking too long and i need to use the computer NOW!!!!!!! (poor planning).
 
Old 04-14-2005, 11:22 PM   #13
suckerr70
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well... Ive just whiped out my WHOLE harddrive... ALL 37 GIGS!!!!!!.... All my music, movies,programs, EVERYTHING!!! its now unformatted... Windows can't even see it. IS THERE ANYWAY TO GET IT BACK?!?! I tried Easyrecovory but i have nowhere to recopy my files because my harddrive isnt formatted. My windows is on my C: drive (7 gigs (2 left) and E: (the one i unformated) IS GONE!!! hElp!!!!!
 
Old 04-14-2005, 11:32 PM   #14
masonm
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I just KNEW he was going to do this.
 
Old 04-14-2005, 11:41 PM   #15
suckerr70
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... haha... I kinda knew it too... It was compleatly my fault. When making a new partition, it got stuck on 5% for an hour and when booting PM it said "booting windows millenium sumthing" so i thougth that if i pressed ctrl alt delete it would bring up the task maneger so i could check if it was still even running. IT REBOOTED!! It's not THAT bad. Now i have 37 gigs of free space for using. All I need to get now is the Mandrake ISO and ill be fine... i think. gess i learned sumthing...
 
  


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