Installation Issues (Dual Boot, Partitions)
Hi. I'm just a newbie so I hope you won't laugh at my questions. Also, excuse me for my English.
My PC is now running on WinXP. I am planning to install Mandrake 10.1 and make a dual boot (WinXP & MDK 10.1). I now have 2 partitions (on one disk), C: (where WinXP are, 20 GB) and D: (which is empty, 18 GB). I read Mandrake Starter instructions manual for advice, but some things are still bothering me. I just don't want to end up with WinXP not able to boot or lose my entire data.
Therefor, my questions are:
1. I've seen that installation program (DrakX or something like that) offers you these options, among others:
- use free space
- use existing partition
- use the free space on the Windows partition.
Other options don't interest me because they involve deleting Windows.
What should I do in order to make dual boot system?
2. In the manual it says that LILO/GRUB will replace MBR during boot loader installation. Can I be certain that I will be able to load XP normally after installing MDK 10.1?
3. Just to confirm, after going through with the minimal installation, I can install some packages from the installation CD later?
Thank you! :)
I am new too all this myself, but i hope i can help.
1) I never heared of DrakX, but in order to make dual boot system you need to make another partition for it, using fdisk (you better look it up on google and not on it's man page). The probem is that when you installed Windows, you probebly used all the sapce, so there isn't enogh space for a second partition (for Mandark). You can dump windows and then create two new partitions, and install in one Windows and in the second Mandark. Your second option is using a speachel tool to "shrink" the windows partition so you have enough space for a second one. But it's very risky for your data and very hard to acomplish.
2) Both lilo and grub are able to boot both windows and linux.
3) yes, you can
There is no 100% safe way to deal with these things without the risk of loosing your data on Windows. I sujest you to backup all your data before doing anything, and then format your computer and do the first thing I sujested in answer 1).
1. You need to resize your Windows partition (if D drive is formatted) or use free space (if D has no partitions). I think that 'use free space' is the right option. If it doesn't work, choose advanced partitioning (which is not hard, but you need to know what you're doing). It's a very good idea to make backup before you begin (just in case).
2. For huge majority it works perfectly. Sometimes (very rare cases) Windows doesn't boot, but if you have not formated the partition during installation, the data is still accessible (so you can copy it somewhere) and usually it's possible to make it boot again.
Thank you for answers 2. and 3. However, I somehow don't think that you understood me correctly concerning partitions on my PC and, therefor, concerning question 1.
On my PC, at this very moment, there are 2 partitions, C and D. They are on one disk together. WinXP is on C partition (which has 20 GB, 7 GB free space, NTFS file system) and D partition is empty (18 GB, under NTFS file system). I don't care what happens to D partition. I can delete it, split it..., you name it, I can do it.
What option should I choose (use free space, resize Windows partition, use existing partition)?
It depends what you want to do.
If you're happy with your window partition, then leave it the way it is and use your partition D.
If your D partition covers all the rest of your hard disk, you can use it for Linux (use existing partition);
madrake when you install it will format it (in my distro "to format"'s called "to initialize").
The choices : "use existing partition" should be all right. But be careful to make sure mandrake doesn"t install on your C partition....
After that you should be given the choice between creating two partitions (swap and /) or several others. If you are unsure you can always create a third partition for /home.
********** IMPORTANT ************
BACK UP YOUR DATA FIRST!!!
I am not sure why MDK installation process doesn't give you a chance to manually partition your harddisk. But a possible way is to boot into Windows -> Right-click on "My Computer" -> Selece "Manage"(or something like that) -> a windows pops up -> select "Disks"(or something like that) on the left pane -> the partition table of your disks shows up on the right pane -> select the partition corresponding to D: -> Right-click on it and select "Delete" -> Now you have some free space on your HD, so you can choose "Use free space" in the installation of MDK.
Actually, this is quite straight forward.
When you "fire up" the mandrake install disc, it will ask you where you want to put it, you should see the options already mentioned. You can then (probably using a drop down) tell it to put it on the empty partition (if you know the size then brilliant, because mandrake might not call it "D", but 18gig NTFS or something like that), then you know it's going to the right place.
By default, mandrake uses Lilo for the bootloader, yes it will overwrite the windows bootloader, you must tell it to install to the MBR. Don't worry about that, because in the unlikely event that your XP won't boot, you just put the mandrake install disc (the first one if you're using cd's) back in, boot it, when it asks you about install or more options, hit F1, and then it gives you a command prompt, you type in rescue, and then when you see the options box, you just choose "re-install windows bootloader".
For a desktop, mandrake also defaults to KDE, so when the install progresses choose kde, you'll get all the Qt libs etc etc (at a later stage, when things are "up and running", you might want to install the GTK libs as well (you can do that without having to install gnome), because there are some app's that use them.
Ha, I found all this stuff out after I'd said F*** it, and just thrown the disc in and told it to install and just accepted all the defaults. My system, originally, had 3 partitions, the C, with the windows on it, D, that was just called "Data", formatted but otherwise empty and E, was called Recovery, only 2 gig's in size so of no use.
Hell, if you've backed up your data, and you have access to a windows recovery type disc, then just go for it, worst case scenario (but quite unlikely) is that you'd have to re-install that as well.
Go for it my friend, mandrake is a good distro to start with, I found it very easy to use, helpful, and there's absolutely mountains of support/help out there!
Some other excellent links for mandrake are
Mandrake users (which is good, but sometimes you can't access the site).
Easy URPMI which I found brilliant. You just follow the instructions, and select a mirror source for all the sections and then just "Cut 'n Paste" the resulting command(s) into a root terminal. Then when you go into the RPMDrake package manager to try other software, you can just click a box and hit install - My favourite was the stuff provided by the "PLF", just that much better/prettier/nicer to look at with a few extra bits.
One good thing for you to look into later, would IMO be extra hard disc space. Why? Because although for my first year of linux, I happily ran mandrake, but the downside of having everything on the one partition, is that if/when they release a newer version, if you havent' backed up your personal data, when you install it over the top (I never did successfully manage to do an "update/upgrade" of the whole distro), you loose anything that you might want to keep. The easiest way to get round that is to have a seperate /home partition, so when you install a new (or different) version, you just install it to the /root partition and don't format/touch the /home one.
As I say, that's something for later though. Just get it installed :cool: I can't enthuse about it enough. It (linux, but mandrake specifically) it very good, easy to manage and IMO very usable (a lot moreso than some distro's that I've tried!)
koyi and bigjohn, thank you very much. I'm sure your advice will help me.
Bigjohn: so, you recommend I don't do anything about my D: partition until installation (D: is under NTFS and it has been used before. Now it is empty.)? You say that I should go with use free space (I read the manual once more and under explanation for use existing partition it says something like: "the wizard has detected one or more existing Linux partitions on your hard drive", I have no Linux partitions, I mean, all my partitions are NTFS)? Will the installer even make this option available if I have no Linux partitions?
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