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Old 09-09-2004, 12:54 PM   #1
Thomas Andersso
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How to start?


I've been a frustrated windows user for years now and I've decided to look into something else. Currently I'm running winxp on a P4 with a 60 gb hd. I'd like to install redhat on this hd with some kind of dual boot arrangement, but I don't know quite where to start. Will I need to create more partitions? Will the installation software take care of that, or should I do it before installing? Is it risky? I've never messed with partitions in my life.

I'd appreciate some pointers.

Thomas Andersson
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:12 PM   #2
mykrob
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Hi, Thomas, and welcome. Most distributions automatically handle partitioning and resizing for you. I would recommend you try either Suse 9.1 Personal or Mandrake 10 as opposed to RedHat, as these two distributions are up to date. If you are a die hard RedHat fan, i would go for FedoraCore 2, as it is being maintained and updated regularly.

enjoy,
-myk
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:13 PM   #3
pongmaster
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Before you do anything hard drive related to your computer, do this - back up your stuff. I can't stress that enough - back up your stuff before doing anything else.
You can re-partition XP reletively easily, but you must:
1) run scandisk
2) run defrag
to clean up the disk before you even consider partitoning it.

Red Hat may not be the ideal first distro choice - this is just my opinion though, so don't take it to heart if you're set on RH. Try looking at Mandrake or SuSE.

I can't comment on the RH installer re-partitioning as I've never used it, but Mandrake's installer will resize and repartition your disk no problem. It'll also pick up your Windows partition and add it to the bootloader automatically so you won't have to do too much messing about to get either/or OS to boot.

There are loads of threads here about dualbooting Windows/various Linux distro's. Do a search and have a read of some of the threads to give you some more pointers.
Welcome to LQ though, and hope you make it over to Linux soon.
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:15 PM   #4
student04
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when i installed mandrake onto my laptop, i used parititon magic to shrink my XP paritition, and then used the mandrake installation cds to create the patitions it needed from the free space...

paritition magic costs $80 or so, but i believe there are other utilities under the GPL.. i heard knoppix (bootable linux distro - no installation) has one, although i can't verify that.

messing around with parititions has its risks; if something messes up, you can lose your data, so be advised to back up what you need before changing anything. I know that due to fragmentation, data needs to be rearranged in order for the partition to be shrunk. My mandrake cds (if i remember correctly) weren't able to do that, as my drive had been used for a few months (i.e. fragmented files everywhere), but paritition magic solved it.

Once you shrunk the XP paritition, just download and burn a redhat distribution. RedHat 9 is an option, but i found a distribution that took the enterprise edition, and just removed "redhat" wherever it was, and replaced it with their own name: "whitebox". It's called Whitebox Enterprise LInux http://www.whiteboxlinux.org/ . According to them, "WBEL aims to be 100% binary compatible with RHEL which means no tweaking."

As far as dual booting, RedHat uses Grub i believe. It's a small program that appears right after you turn your computer on; it displays a list of which operating systems you would like to boot up into (the alternative is LILO, aka LInux LOader). RedHat installs it onto the MBR of your drive (master boot record) which is where your computer looks for operating systems. (It's easy to remove if you still have the XP installation cd, if you ever decide to take Grub off, and make it boot by default into windows - should you *god forbid* decide to switch back).

hope this was enough for starters...

-alex

p.s. oh, and if you want to download ISO images, http://www.linuxiso.org, http://iso.linuxquestions.org are good places (or the link for white box linux, if you'd like that :-D)

Last edited by student04; 09-09-2004 at 01:17 PM.
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:18 PM   #5
koyi
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Re: How to start?

Quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Andersso
Will I need to create more partitions? Will the installation software take care of that, or should I do it before installing? Is it risky? I've never messed with partitions in my life.

I'd appreciate some pointers.

Thomas Andersson
It all depends on whether you have free space left in your hard disk. You can check this by doing this in windows:

Start -> Right click on "My Computer" -> "Manage"(I am not sure whether this is correct, but it is something sounds like this...) -> Select "Hard disk"(or something like that...) on the left pane

Then you will be able to see the condition of your hard disk there. If there are unpartitioned spaces(6GB will be enuf, more better...), then you can go straight with the installation of linux.

If that is not the case, you will have to make some space from your windows XP partition with softwares like partition magic, etc... do a search on how to resize windows partitions.
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:27 PM   #6
chii-chan
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You can partition the disk on fly if you use winxp with ntfs right? In the admin tools or something (err where is that windows partition... oh I've deleted that one...).

I think installing Redhat/Fedora is a good choice. I suggest Fedora Core 1 though. I don't really recommend Fedora Core 2 though.
 
Old 09-09-2004, 01:43 PM   #7
Thomas Andersso
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Thanks a lot. I'm a bit wiser now.

Hd space shouldn't be a problem - I have some 50 gb free. It's the partitioning that worries me.

The reason I had decided to go with redhat was that I've gotten the impression it's the most commonly used distro, and thus it should be quite easy to get assistance, which I will undoubtedly need But I will have a look at the others you guys mentioned.

So basically, what I could do, is defrag this disc using the tool in winxp, download for instance mandrake, burn it on cd/cds, and the boot the installation software from the cd-row drive, and it would handle the partitioning? How can I find out whether my machine supports booting from the cd-rom?

Thomas Andersson
 
Old 09-09-2004, 02:13 PM   #8
mykrob
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go into your BIOS before the operating system starts. This is usually done by pressing delete really fast, or F10, depending on the maker. You should be able to locate a boot up sequence option where you can choose the order of what boots first. Change this to boot from the CD first, and you're done. If the computer was made anytime in the last 8 years or so, you should be fine..

With regards to the distribution choice, no matter what you choose, you'll be able to get plenty of support here. I would definitely choose one that is current, so you'll be sure to have the best driver support out of the box with minimal tweaking. If you install an older distribution, it may sour your outlook on Linux when it becomes a nightmare to get half of your hardware working.

-myk
 
Old 09-10-2004, 08:25 AM   #9
Thomas Andersso
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I just realized I have another question... if I install linux on a separate partition, will I be able to access files which are on my windows XP partition while running linux?
 
Old 09-10-2004, 08:37 AM   #10
pongmaster
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Andersso
I just realized I have another question... if I install linux on a separate partition, will I be able to access files which are on my windows XP partition while running linux?
Yes, but out of the box, Linux has 'read only' support for NTFS partitions.
This is fine for stuff like listening to mp3's etc, but not if you want to read/write to your windows partition.
Your Windows partition definitely won't be able to see your Linux partition, though there is a program for windows that'll let you do so, I just don't' have the details to hand right now.

What most people seem to do is have a larger FAT32 partition that they use for storage as FAT can be read/written to by both WinXP and Linux.

Last edited by pongmaster; 09-10-2004 at 08:43 AM.
 
Old 09-10-2004, 09:01 AM   #11
Kokuyo
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Thomas: I don't know how much you're into that stuff and from what you've written it seems as if you are a bit scared of repartitioning. Remember: Fear is not a bad thing... it makes you more careful .

But considering this I would advise you NOT to donload the CDs but to buy the distribution in order to get the manual. I just installed a SuSE (haven't done so in years) and I was blown away by how much had changed (and I didn't even us the most recent version). So with the book and this board you should be able to achieve anything.

My adice is: Look into partitioning and try to have a few gigabytes partitioned in FAT. That would be your data drive. It has more advantages than just being able to write to it from linux: If your Win XP should ever happen to crash or at least get veeery... problematic (which it will someday ) you'll always be able to wipe the XP partition without worrying about lost data. Everything will be stored on a different partition safe and sound as long as you DO NOT allow XP to kill that partition (happened to me... NOT funny ).

Should you decide to try repartitioning it manually (well not really manually but to enter your own settings... the partitioning was easily done by SuSE 9.0 Pro settup... everything worked rather well... unexpectedly so...) just try clear any open questions before you start okay? In the middle of the setup process it might be to late .
 
Old 09-10-2004, 09:10 AM   #12
mykrob
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Agreed. Suse is well worth the $89 i paid for it at Best Buy. It comes with two printed manuals:a user guide and and administrator guide. Granted all distributions come with online manuals, but there's nothing like a nice printed manual that you can look through. Also comes with a nice chameleon sticker
 
  


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