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Distribution: Red Hat, openBSD,Mandrake,freeBSD,SunOS
The swap partition is (from what I understand) a way for your system to get extra 'memory' when you are running a lot of programs at once. Your swap partition should be at least twice as large as your memory. So for your 512mb ram I would say 1050mb...someone can correct me if I am wrong. I would also suggest that you partition your harddrive (the linux part) with at least 3 partitions. One for / (using ext3), one for /home and one for /swap. This way when you want to upgrade to Mandrake 10, you don't have to back up all your data in your home directory. You just install over /......just my 2 cents.
Hope this helps.
Someone should verify my swap partition advice because I am no expert
The swap partition just enables Linux to use virtual memory. If your real, physical RAM runs out of room, then portions of RAM will be stored in the swap partition to free up space.
Originally, the rule of thumb was to make the swap partition twice the size of your physical RAM. If you are a "power user" with each workspace filled with applications, then twice your physical RAM is probably a good idea. If you're a moderate user, then sizing it the same as your physical RAM should be fine. If you're a lightweight, it my be possible to run without a swap at all (I do not recommend that).
So, to answer your question: "it depends"
I have 1 GB of RAM, and I definitely don't want to waste 2 GB of disk space. In fact, I run with a 512MB swap partition, and everything runs fine for me.
your advice is sound. most sources of info that i have read recommend a minimum of your ram size, with a suggestion of twice that if you have no want for disk space. with 512 mb of ram however, this will not be used all that often anyway unless you plan on doing a lot of multitasking or use very memory intensive programs. manipulating large image files comes to mind as well as gaming.
If you uninstall Linux, the partitions will be left as-is. If, for example, you were to install Windows after removing Linux, then the Windows installer would give you the opportunity to adjust your partitions to your liking.
ok well i have only windows xp installed now on what i assue 1 partiton but if i install linux and have linux adjust my partitons then i uninstall linux will my computer be messsed up because of the partitions or what will happen
A partition table is just a way to "section" your disks. It will not damage your computer with one exception: changing the partition table will effectively delete any data stored on the drive.
So, when the Linux installer comes up, it ok to let it auto-partition if that's what you like, but realize that Windows XP will be gone/kaput/goodbye.
If you later decide to install Windows XP again, and you have either the Windows XP CD (or a resotre CD bundled with your computer), then the installation CD will either ask you to rearrange the partitions or do it automatically. It depends on how the installer works. Changing your partitions will not prevent you from reinstalling XP if necessary.
so i can have XP on 1 partition, and install mandrake on a 2nd partition, and everything will be ok it wont mess up windows XP right? i will be able to load either windows xp or mandrake at the start because linux has a boot loader if i think correctly..?
i guess i just dont want to install linux and then somehow overwrite XP
Unfortunately no. If your drive has 1 partition and you change it to have 2 (or more) the information on the original partition is lost. There are some utilities (such as PartitionMagic) that say they can resize partitions without data loss. I have not used them, and consequently, cannot say how reliable they are.
If you decide to use a tool like Partition Magic, then you probably won't be able to let the Linux installer auto-partition things. It may want to take the whole drive. Again, I haven't used the Mandrake installer, and I can't say exactly how it behaves. You might have to set up the partitions manually.
Finally, if you get things so that you're ready to install Mandrake, you should be aware that there are some people who run into problems having Linux and XP on the same drive. Lots of people refer to it as "dual booting" and sometimes, after installing Linux, you cannot boot into Windows XP. There are lots of threads about it, and I would suggest you read some of them to get an idea of what might happen.
If the data you have under Windows XP is that valuable, then I would suggest backing it up to CD or finding another computer to try Linux on. Learning Linux can be rough because you learn a lot by making mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes destroy data. It just isn't a good idea to risk something you must keep to try out something new.
Distribution: Red Hat, openBSD,Mandrake,freeBSD,SunOS
Basically, decide how much space you want for windows. Install windows and only install on the amount of hd space you decided on. Once you are done installing windows, put in your favorite linux cd restart and start up the installer. The first part of you hd will be taken up by windows. Do Not Install Linux on this part! You have to create a new partition on the remaining hd space. I would suggest creating 3 more partitions /, /home/ and swap. You can decide how big you want each. Then accept your partitions and go through the linux install. At the end you will choose your boot loader....I like lilo. Then when you restart you can choose windows or linux...enjoy