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Old 05-20-2006, 02:21 AM   #1
dms05
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NTFS format HDD - can I install Linux?


I have a Toshiba Satellite Pro with an NTFS formatted HDD. It currently has XP Pro installed. Can I resize and install Linux or is NTFS not acceptable/recommended? If it isn't the file system of choice I'm happy to ditch Windows and reformat the whole drive as FAT. Can anyone recommend a suitable freeware utility that will achieve this (I'm sure you all know MS only supplies a one way utility).
 
Old 05-20-2006, 02:36 AM   #2
rickh
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Quote:
If it isn't the file system of choice I'm happy to ditch Windows and reformat the whole drive as FAT.
You can probably resize the partitions using partition magic or even a Linux program from a live distro, like Knoppix, but why bother.

I would reinstall Windows giving it 10 - 12 GBs (NTFS). That's for the Windows OS and programs. Then use it's Disk management system to create one or two data partitions. If you have lots of room on the drive, make one of those NTFS. That data partition will be available for use only by Windows. Make one of the Data partitions 30GB of FAT32 (32 GB is the largest that WinXP will format for you.) This partition will be accessible by both Windows and Linux.

I am assuming that after all that, you'll still have at least 20-30 GB of free space on the disk. That's where you'll install Linux. Don't format it ... Let the Linux installer handle that for you.
 
Old 05-20-2006, 03:48 AM   #3
greeklegend
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If you can get your hands on a copy of partition magic, it would be fairly easy to resize your NTFS partition. Then, you could create a FAT partition (also from within partition magic) which could both store your data and programs for windows and mount as /home under linux. I agree with rickh in that you should let the linux installer set up partitions for linux OS and swap partitions.
 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:11 AM   #4
dms05
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I wonder if I could use the MSDOS 'fdisk' program to achieve the resizing of my NTFS partition then use 'fdisk' to create other partitions using FAT? I'll have a look and see - however maybe 'fdisk' is a FAT only program. I don't have Partition Magic.

If I start a Linux distro installation from CD/DVD will it accept NTFS as the only current HDD file system and help me create a FAT partition for Linux?

Thanks for the help.
 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:22 AM   #5
coolb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dms05
I have a Toshiba Satellite Pro with an NTFS formatted HDD. It currently has XP Pro installed. Can I resize and install Linux or is NTFS not acceptable/recommended? If it isn't the file system of choice I'm happy to ditch Windows and reformat the whole drive as FAT. Can anyone recommend a suitable freeware utility that will achieve this (I'm sure you all know MS only supplies a one way utility).
do you still want windows on your hdd....

if you want a new/fresh install, just boot from a any linux cd and install the "any linux distro" :-)
 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:30 AM   #6
dms05
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Choice 1 is to keep XP and all my existing programs/data and install Linux in addition. Choice 2 is the worse case scenario where NTFS just won't work and I will then install Linux as the only OS. The dual boot option offers me a little more comfort until I feel confident with Linux. I remember how long it took to become comfortable with Windows 3.1 - and that was 15 years ago!
 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:35 AM   #7
pixellany
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I don't understand why you are talking about installing Linux on a FAT partition. The Linux installer will set up partitions and format using ext2, ext3, or maybe Reiser. All you need to do is create free space.

First, decide if you want dual boot or Linux only.

Linux only: Insert CD, reboot to the CD, follow instructions

Dual-boot: Create empty space (reinstall XP if you have to to do this), then install Linux

Depending on the size of your disk, I recommend ~10GB-15GB each for Windows and Linux, with the rest formatted FAT32 for shared data. Use fdisk from Linux to create FAT32 partition(s) larger than 32GB
 
Old 05-20-2006, 07:25 AM   #8
dms05
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That's why I'm a newbie! I know what I want to say but don't know the correct Linux terminology (yet!). So I'm now confused after reading about Linux and NTFS partitions. I have a 40Gb HDD NTFS formatted with XP installed. I am using about 12 Gb for XP and my programs and data. I want to Resize and have a HDD something like 15Gb XP, 15Gb Linux and 10Gb FAT for shared data (good idea, thanks for that). If I start a distro installation from DVD can I achieve this without any pre-configuring or do I need to use something like Partition Magic to Resize?
 
Old 05-20-2006, 07:58 AM   #9
Emerson
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ntfsresize is a free Linux program which will safely resize the NTFS partition. It can found on every Linux LiveCD and install CD. There are also graphical frontends for this, called GParted and QTParted.
 
Old 05-20-2006, 08:14 AM   #10
dms05
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Thanks Emerson. Just what I needed to know. Now I can go ahead and install Linux. I've run the Knoppix LiveCD, and as it didn't show any problems on my laptop, I will probably go ahead and try that.
 
Old 05-20-2006, 08:16 AM   #11
coolb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dms05
Choice 1 is to keep XP and all my existing programs/data and install Linux in addition. Choice 2 is the worse case scenario where NTFS just won't work and I will then install Linux as the only OS. The dual boot option offers me a little more comfort until I feel confident with Linux. I remember how long it took to become comfortable with Windows 3.1 - and that was 15 years ago!
Then make a partition for your new linux, use partition magic. Thats the easiest way to make a linux partition without breaking the ntfs partition. Then install your new linux and use a boot loader(lilo, grub etc) to make your system give you the choice of choosing to boot windows or your new linux.
 
Old 05-21-2006, 03:39 AM   #12
greeklegend
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I still say try and get partition magic. I tried using ntfsresize to change my partitions but had serious problems with it. You need to work out the maths behind the partitioning yourself and if you make a mistake you could loose data.
 
Old 05-22-2006, 03:08 AM   #13
dms05
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Thank you everyone. In the end I decided to reinstall XP and chose FAT rather than NTFS. I now have a FAT HDD divided C: 20GB XP, D: 15GB (for Linux) E: 5GB for shared data. Next step is to install a dual boot Linux distro. Maybe Knoppix or Uruntu.

The problem in the early stages of Newbiehood is - the more I read the more confusing it becomes. I look forward to the second stage where reading about Linux actually makes things clearer! But help from people like you is invaluable. So keep up the good work.
 
Old 05-22-2006, 09:20 AM   #14
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dms05
Thank you everyone. In the end I decided to reinstall XP and chose FAT rather than NTFS. I now have a FAT HDD divided C: 20GB XP, D: 15GB (for Linux) E: 5GB for shared data.
I can't see how this solution comes from advice given here.....

The only thing that needs to be FAT is the shared data. Linux should be on EXT3 or maybe Reiser.
XP can be on NTFS.

Also, keep in mind that the drive letters only appear when using Windows. When you boot up in Linux, you won't see them.
 
Old 05-22-2006, 09:33 AM   #15
ethics
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Crazy :P when referring to a filesystem, it applies to the partition it is on, not the whole disk, they do not (and will not in your case) be the same filesystem. NTFS is the best choice for WINXP, gives decent file compression, can take files over the size of 4 GB, FAT32 is best for a data-share (calling it swap will add to confusion) as both OS' fully support read/write to it and a Linux FS like ext2/3 or reiser is best for Linux because they can support unix file permissions.

Like pixellany said, you won't see drive letters from Linux, but you will be able to recognise them by their size.
 
  


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