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Old 06-25-2004, 09:04 PM   #1
Eric Melech
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Cool New computer; needs Linux

Greetings fellow Linux enthusiasts. I am in a bit of a bind, or should I say I've decided to ask someone who has a little more experience than I before my computer's only accepted commands are "Did you order original recipe or extra crispy!?" Anyway, here is my situation:

I recently bought a new Compaq with 160 gigs of space, more than enough for what I wish to do with it: cut it up like a roast with some partitioning software. I'd like one partition to have just enough space for the WinOS and core programs (NTFS or whichever is better), another partition for Linux's OS and kernel (right now it's Redhat, but I may use something else later) and the most important Linux programs with an ext3 format (or again, whatever's the best), and the rest of the space for pictures, music, games, and other errata (format type VFAT or FAT32 so both Windows and Linux can read and write to it). I might also note that this particular Compaq has one separate partition as a backup incase something goes awry (which, IMO, is not too smart; what if the entire hard disk crashes?), so this is something to be taken into consideration.

To recap: one partition for Windows and its core programs, another for Linux and its core programs, and the third with everything else that can be read by both operating systems. Let's not forget the "backup partition"; we'll have to leave that alone. But now the question remains: how would I go about doing that with the least amount of damage? I'd like to keep the CD/DVD writing, DVD watching, MP3 players, and other essential software that came with Windows. Oh, I probably should have mentioned this before: I plan on "downgrading" from XP to 2000 Pro (which is an upgrade to me as I'm *disgusted* with XP). Would the software still be usable if I just burned it to a disk and installed it on 2000 when I'm done? And, if that isn't possible (or if I'm simply forced to destructively partition the drive), where can I go for the best software for such tasks?

When I'm all done with that, how can I set up a dual-boot system?

One more thing: where can I get some good partitioning software that's Windows- AND Linux-friendly? Preferrably something open-source as I'm not about to shell out $100 for something I'm only going to use once [or twice.. may even thrice if luck is not with me ]

I thank you for your time and attention to these delicate problems. Trust me, I'm completely new to doing these things, so please be kind to this
Old 06-25-2004, 09:49 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: United States
Distribution: slackware 10.0 mostly; used many
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hope you will find linux to your liking-i did! You probably were using Partition Magic right? Well, if not, that is a good program. Runs in Windows but boot disks can be made so you dont need an OS to use it. There is also cfdisk which is very nice and included with many Linux distrobutions (during install). Redhat will have disk druid during the graphical install so you can set up all your partitions. Then use GRUB or LILO (all in redhat install) to write to the MBR (master boot record) which partitions you are going to boot in to. This will probably be Windows and Redhat itself for you. You can choose your default boot in this setup also (either win or linux). You will have options of ext2 or ext3 in partion magic or disk druid (although other linux filesys exist). Ext2 is older and runs really fast. Ext3 is journaling causing it to run rather slow. Ext3, do to journaling, never really becomes fragmented (which is an advantage). Most people running desktops tend to go with the newer ext3 over ext2 unless perfermance or preference issues come into play. Same deal with FAT and NTFS for windows. FAT32 is extension of FAT (dont use FAT unless you have a really small hdd; use fat32). NTFS is journaling just like ext3 which agains causes it to run slower. But FAT32 running in windows becomes very fragmented very fast unlike ext2 so most people run ntfs.

I would go with ext3 and ntfs. or ext2 if you want. I wouldnt recommend running windows in FAT or FAT32 (unless older versions that dont support NTFS).

best of luck.
Old 06-25-2004, 11:54 PM   #3
bruno buys
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Registered: Sep 2003
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Distribution: Debian
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With 160GB you can make a lot of different things....
I agree with name, in general.

A few more points:

win2k or XP asks which fs you prefer, fat32 or ntfs, on install time. To be compatible with linux, fat32 is the way. Ntfs is read-only (to linux), so you can read files, but can't write. It can be not a problem, if you plan to share files between OSes on another dedicated fat32 partition. Its a matter of choice.

This is a must have software, incredible good work these people have done:
I don't know why its not more popular. Its a distro aimed at being a sysadmin and maintenance tool. Partitioning, backup, file system and drive-imageing and more, in an bootable iso image which is rather small!
Here you will find qtparted, a nice graphical linux partition magic clone. And partimage, a drive image clone. Man, I love these guys...

I might also note that this particular Compaq has one separate partition as a backup incase something goes awry (which, IMO, is not too smart; what if the entire hard disk crashes?),

Well, the best would be to store on another disk, indeed. Or cdrw. But another partition is also effective, as you can prevent a filesystem-specific corruption to not destroy everything, by creating more than one partition. Remeber that data corruption - in a forced reboot, for example - is restricted to its own filesystem.

When I'm all done with that, how can I set up a dual-boot system?

Install first win, then linux. during the install process, any current distro will ask how and where you wanna install a bootloader. Most of them will notice you have win installed and set it to load properly at boot time. Grub is a nice choice for a bootloader.

Which types of linux fs to choose... This varies greatly. Take a look at this:
Again, a current distro will let you choose betwenn several. I stick to reiserfs. But don't take my opinion as unbiased, he he... I use suse.

So, this is your hd layout:

primary /dev/hda1 swap (linux will need one): rule of thumb says = mem size.
primary /dev/hda2 Win2k NTFS/fat32 = say, 20GB?
primary /dev/hda3 / (Linux root partition) = 20GB?
primary /dev/hda4 extended = ~120GB
logical /dev/hda5 shared space = 80GB
logical /dev/hda6 backup = 40GB

what do you think?

Last edited by bruno buys; 06-26-2004 at 12:21 AM.


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