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You may have seen me posting all my n00bish, pre install questions already, but I finally got the Mandrake 10.0 disks made and ready. I am currently running WinXP home on an NTFS system. I want to do a dual boot setup, and was wondering if there is anything I need to do first. I saw a pseudo tut on installing mandrake and a dual boot somewhere that I was going to use, but I can't find now. Anyway, I have seen things like I should partition before I install and not use the Mandrake partition tool, I should defragment windows before I install, and I should backup all important files first. What is true, what is fiction? Any other suggestions are also appretiated. Also, another thing to add is that I only have a windows energency recovery disk that came with my computer, so completely losing windows is not really an option for me. Anyway, Thank you for all your help!
basically as long as you scandisk and defrag your windows before the mandrake install you should be fine... the reason for the defrag is so that when you do the resize there will be less chance of data corruption...
mandrake's partition resizer is known to work well... of course your milage may vary...
as win32sux say's, it's also my understanding that the mandrake partitioning tool is pretty successful - BUT, personally I've never used it because I've got a copy of Partition magic 8 available and that's alway's done what I've needed to do.
It's pretty much up to you how you do it, you can get away with having just the 1 partition for mandrake - I had my set up like that for about 12 month's with no problems.
But I changed it when I got "itchy fingers" and wanted to try other distro's. some of which only wanted to install with at least 3 partitions by default (gentoo comes to mind and I had to have boot, swap and root for that).
Now, I use boot, swap, home and root. The reasons for this is that my boot files live in the /boot partition and it's only mounted by the system while I'm booting the system, the swap - well if you've got a decent amount of ram installed you'd not really use it - but as mentioned before I had to have it to try gentoo and my swap partition follow's the old linux wisdom of being 2 X the amount of installed ram - so with 768 meg's of ram my /swap is 1.5 gig's (I doubt whether I've actually used it though), then the /root is where the main system is - the advantage of a seperate /root partition is that if you want to upgrade/update your system, then anything you set by way of system preferences in your /home partition should still be ok i.e. like say you want to install mandrake 11 sometime later, then you'd just format and install it to your /root partition and then when you log in to your home directory you just carry on as normal (the only previso to this is that you'd have to make sure that any other bit's of software you happen to use have also been installed e.g. I like using Opera as my browser, and that has to be installed seperately, so I'd upgrade/update the system, then install opera from their site - to the root partition, and when I open my home location I just click on the opera icon and it should have retained all the customisations, features, log in's etc etc that I set up previously for opera - if I hadn't installed the opera after the upgrade/update I'd have just got a message that the icon/shortcut isn't working).
for info, I have a single 120 gig hard drive and the partitions are as follow's
hda2=/boot=1 gig (which could be smaller, but 1 gig is a nice round number )
hda3=/swap=1.5 gig's (again as above, it's just twice the amount or ram I used)
hda4=extended because the windows based problem of only haveing 4 primary partitions so ->
hda5=/root=20 gig's (I thought that should be big enough, and so far hasn't caused me any snag's but you should remember that if you installed everything from the 3 mandrake disc's that'd be about 3 x 700megs - whereas in fact my system comes to about 3 and a half gig's)
hda6=/home=the rest of the disc so I don't have to worry much about how much shit I download/save etc etc.
Sorry if that all seems a bit long winded. I hope it makes sense?
Let me say the following, before I start feeling the heat of an open flame :
I am a complete Linux noob although I know a thing or two about the bash shell, I have read the posts above, I have researched this forum, I have googled and read the many tutorials on the web, I have talked to people whom I consider Linux experts...
But, could anyone confirm the following procedure for installing Mandrake 10 Official? It could be used as a guide to the other newbies trying their hand at Linux who may want more detail.
Windows XP Pro
Asus P4P800SE Motherboard
512 MB RAM
WD 120GB ATA currently one NTFS partition, about 8GB in use.
MSI nVidia GeForce FX 5200
LG GSA-4082B DVD-RW
Winmodem (yeah, I know...)
I plan to use Linux in a workstation role.
How I plan to install Mandrake 10:
1. Back up. Scandisk & defrag. Use Partition Magic to resize my existing NTFS partition to 100GB.
2. Create a new unformatted 512MB logical partition immediately after the 100GB NTFS partition (Partition Magic 7 refers to it as an "extended partition"). Is 512MB enough? I would think so because I should have enough RAM so I don't need swap anyways?
3. Create another ~14GB unformatted logical partition ("extended partition") on the remaining space to be used as / (root).
4. Reboot with CD1, choose install. When prompted, allow DiskDrake to format the swap partition and / with ext3. Is there any advantage to using ReiserFS? I would not allow DiskDrake to create any new partitions because of problems reported where Mandrake makes the partition table unreadable to Windows. Do I need another partition for /boot? Is its location relevant?
5. When prompted, choose Grub as the boot loader and put it at the beginning of the boot partition (ie beginning of root), NOT the MBR.
6. Once installation is complete, reboot with Mandrake cd still in drive. Choose rescue. Get to prompt and type something like 'dd if=/dev/hdb2 of=bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1' save the file bootsect.lnx to the floppy drive (could anyone offer more details about the exact syntax including mounting floppy drive or is it done automatically during install?).
6. Once installation is complete, remove cd, reboot. I would expect the machine to go directly into windows without any prompts. copy bootsect.lnx to C:\ and edit my C:\boot.ini file so that the next time i boot i see the grub boot loader. (more info here: http://jaeger.morpheus.net/linux/ntldr.html)
7. Reboot to be greeted with the dual boot message.
Finally, do I need to alter BIOS settings beforehand? The 2.6.x kernel is PnP compatible so I don't need to mess with that setting, right? How about the LBA settings (right now its on Automatic, the only other option is Disabled).
Could any one please offer any more details/correction? I know there are lots of newbies looking for a detailed guide just like this, especially because Mandrake is considered the newbie-friendly distro. There are enough horror stories about unbootable disks on this forum alone to turn people away from Linux completely.
Thanks for the quick reply. I guess I won't create /boot.
You're right, I could let LILO write itself to MBR and let it take care of displaying the menu for choosing between Win or Linux, but I've read too many posts where that leads to an unbootable Windows -- although I think that is usually the result of a combination of reasons.
So I guess I'm playing it safe (and lame) by letting NTDLR start Grub. When I get more used to Linux, maybe I'll let Grub do the job, but until then I guess I'll do it the lame way -- unless there's a strong reason why I shouldn't?
What do you mean by "2 stage 6's" ?
Can anyone comment on some of the other questions I asked? Thank you for you patience.
Another option is to use a third party bootloader maybe... Anyway, don't take too much notice of me. For me linux is the main OS install, so if windows gets locked off for a bit it's no big deal. I haven't booted windows on this box all year. I haven't had any trouble trashing the mbr anyway, but I've been multibooting for over 10 years, so I probably am a little more comfortable with it. I don't really worry much as there are ways to fix most problems that may rarely occur.
I've heard of a lot of trouble getting it working the way you are doing it, so let us know how it goes, okay...
The two stage 6's... Just being smartass. I notice your list had two items listed as step 6
I'll have to look at some of the other questions... Some time. It's like 2:15am here in the land down under and I probably should get some sleep .
Shouldn't need to worry about the bios unless it don't work ext3 is the way to go. Reiser is okay too, but ext2/3 is a little more universal - ie can be read by all bootable rescue linux CD's
Swap should be heaps. There is a rule that says something about swap being twice the RAM, but I ignore that. I have never understood that 'rule'. With 512 meg RAM you will rarely use any swap at all... I'm using about 100meg swap but I have 256RAM and a bunch of apps running...
Hey guys, thanks for all the responses, but I don't really understand half the stuff you are telling me. It is all familiar since I have been researching linux, but I am a little unsure of some things. Here are some of my questions:
What is the difference between a /root partition, /boot partition, /swap partition, etc, and how do you create different ones. From what I assume (which I shouldn't), they are all the same type of partitions, just different sizes, the /root being the main partition where you save stuff, /swap being one that holds files you share between windows and linux. I don't know, I am probably way off, so if someone could help me with that.
For my first install of linux, I only plan on using 1 linux partition, in addition to my windows one. After a week or so of getting comfortable with linux, I will probably want to add a FAT partition so I can share between linux and Windows. What will I need to do to make this partition?
I have a lot of stuff stored on my computer (120 gb hd, with about 67 gb free space) Anyway, what types of partitions should I make with this in mind? How big should I make the main linux partition? What is a good general size?
Also, in your post amo, you mentioned ext 2 and ext 3, which I have heard of, but have no idea what they are, so if someone could let me know.
Anyway, thank you guys again for all of the help, hopefully I will have linux up and running later today!
You should have at least two partitions, one to mount your / partition (which is what we mean when we say the root partition) and a swap partition. The swap partition is not for sharing data with Windows, it's swap space for the operating system. A lot of people like to have /home (where home directories are) located on another partition. That way if you need to reinstall you can leave that partition untouched and keep all your stuff. Ext2 and ext3 are filesystems, like FAT32 or NTFS in Windows. You should probably use ext3 since it's journaled and therefore less prone to data loss when something bad happens. Once you make a partition, you will format it with a particular filesystem. The install program will walk you through this.
Hopefully this helps a bit. Probably the best advice is to back up your important files and just go for it. This stuff will begin to make a lot more sense once you begin to see it in action. You can try installing a few different times until you get a setup you like.
The linux filesystem and directory tree is totally different to windows. There is no C: D: E; stuff, rather its all one big tree with / at the bottom. This is a good thing as certain things, like your files, will always be in /home, but you can mount /home on any drive you want, or move it. But it will lways be /home and so will always work (no can't find E: stuff)
I usually have /swap / and /home. All the main stuff goes in / and the personal files go in /home. That way I can reinstall and even reformat the / partition and keep /home and all my settings and files. You can upgrade and totally replace the OS but have it work exactly the same afterwards.
ext3 is a journelling filesystem like NTFS, or reiserfs. It's the same as ext2 with a jourel to keep track of changes so things are better are a power failure etc. ext2 is better than fat32, but fat32 is a good system to have to share files with XP, linux, 98, etc.
Make all your partitions before starting as you will need to change configs if you alter partitions after installing linux. I use about 6 gig for / and 6 gig for /home at the moment, plus other storage drives. but I have a new 80 gig coming soon and I will go to 10 and 10 maybe, or more. You can always add partitions like /usr/local/games so you can store the big linux games on another partition. The beauty is you can shift them later and set the fstab and all will work as if nothing has changed.
A single / partition plus swap will be fine for a start as you won't know how big you want each partition. 10 - 20 gig will be heaps for a test run anyway and I have working beusiness systems (workstation) on about 2-3 gig...
hope we can keep helping and if you don't understand my nerd talk just ask...
Yea, there are still some things I don't really understand, but like btmiller said, I think once I install it, use it a little and do some exploring with it, I will start to understand. It is just hard for me to picture a / drive instead of a C: drive.......or something. Anyway, what is the best partition setup you guys think I should use?
Depends on what you want to do. Since you have the space. A 5-10 gig / partition and a 2-4 gig /home and 512meg /swap would be the way to go. If you want to play windows games in linux, then a 5-10 gig /home might be better. I personally think having a separate /home is a good idea.
I have my new 80 gig drive and it will have 10 gig / and 10 gig /home at least... Some will have some fat32 partitions copied across and my mp3 directory will be enlarged. Not sure how I will arrange the rest, but it's likely that this machine will not boot windows any more after this. I haven't booted windows this year as it is. At the moment I have a 40 gig and a 20 gig and I plan on pulling one out and replacing it with the 80 gig...
The / directory structure is totally overwhelming and really simple at the same time In linux EVERYTHING is a subdirectory of / That includes devices like /dev/mouse or whatever. the cd might be on /mnt/cdrom. all files and user space in in /home. binaries go in /usr/bin usually - and games like quake3 might be in /usr/local/games...
information about the cpu you are running in is /proc/cpuinfo
It the same as if C: was the only drive in windows and the floppy would be C:\A: or c:\mnt\a:
Yes, I do plan on playing many windows games on linux, as I am a huge pc gamer. So basically, I will want to make 3 patitions, one being 10 gb, another one being 10 gb (for games), and another (the swap) being 1 gig, because I have 512 mb of ram. I will be installing linux on the / partition, right? I want to make sure I do this correctly. I will be able to make these three partitions using the mandrake partition tool, and I will want to make them all FAT32 partitions, correct? Anyway, thanks for the help, and any other tips would be great. If everything I have is correct, I will be installing tonight, and I will let you guys know how it went.
Last edited by Enfer Singe; 07-29-2004 at 12:54 AM.
Oh, ok, but dont I need to make a FAT32 partition if I want to share files between Windows and Linux? Do I have to use the windows partitioning tool to do this? If so, where would you guys recommend going for a good explanation on how to do this?
EDIT: Also, btw, what will happen with installing video card drivers and things like that? I am using the Logitech MX duo as my keyboard and mouse, so will I need to install the software that came with them or something? Thanks!
Last edited by Enfer Singe; 07-29-2004 at 01:04 AM.