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I'm getting a new Compaq Presario (SR1720NX) and want to make sure I get set up right from the start. HD is 160 gig, so plenty of room for partitions. I will want to retain Windoze XP in my least used partition and install Fedora Core 4 in primary place. I don't know if it makes any difference which is first, second, etc.? Also, want a few other partitions to try out other distros. I am mainly a GUI type with minimal tech/command line experience. I'm thinking of putting in the first Fedora install disk before even turning on the machine, so I don't get anything established with XP. Will the Fedora partitioning application be adequate for what I'm trying to do? Do's, don'ts and other advice appreciated.
Well, as a rule of thumb, with what you want to do, you need to start up with windows first, and defrag the drive. Then you need to see if compaq gave you a recovery CD, or a partition.
Assuming you have a partition, you will have 2 already:
hda1 - the recovery NEVER ALTER THIS. EVER.
hda2 - the Windows XP(most likely)
Okay, once defragged, the Windows XP section is probably like 155Gig. So you can partition it with partition magic in windows or most linux distros have fdisk, and then their own graphical version. For the graphical version, you will have to custom set up everything to get what you want, but it should be able to do it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you'll probably want a FAT32 partition somewhere to share files between linux and windows. Depending on what you might want to share (i.e. mp3, movies, documents, etc), this might be your largest partition.
One gotcha about linux partitions is that all the linux's can probably share the swap partition (at least I've never had a problem doing that), but they generally should NOT share a common /home partition. Some distro's do different things with config files in the /home directory and you can get some strange behavior if you have SuSE, Fedora, and Kubuntu all sharing the same /home partition.
For partitioning software, I like qtparted (gui) from a knoppix live CD, others swear by cfdisk (which I think is semi-graphical, i.e. ncurses based)...