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Old 05-20-2007, 07:29 PM   #1
JoseCuervo
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Partitioning a hdd and installing Linux


I am seventeen, and have had a computer for one year this June. In that time I have broken and fixed my hardware, gaining some knowledge along the way. I found out that MS didn't control the OS market about two weeks ago, and I am now realizing that I don't actually know anything about computers. Maybe something about electricity, and a little about integrating memory and motherboards, but nothing about the part that makes a computer different from a box with fans. So, I have decided to learn about it and become proficient. It sounds so easy.

Google search Linux: "Search turned up fourteen quadzillion results. Search took one millionth of a second."

I arrived here. Excellent. I don't know how many posts I have read, forums I have viewed, or threads I have followed. This is the first post I have completed. On all the others, I realized I wasn't being overly original. "Which distro do I use? Can I run both Windows and Linux? Is Linux hard to learn? I followed those answers, (and ran into grapefruitgirl every other post) and learned quite a bit. There is so much to learn about, I am just now finding out how much I didn't know about the basic principles of computer use. I am going to repartition my hdd, at least until I get a new one. I only have a 100 gigabyte, and think that splitting it in half would be fine. I still love starcraft, so my space demands are not great, though my music collection is starting to expand...

I have heard a lot about Gparted, and am going to repartition my hdd. There is so much information out there, I am a little taken aback. Not scared off, just a little cooled off. Too many answers, not too few. I would like a simple direction on repartitioning my hdd. Do I need to subdivide my Linux partition? That was something that I had been reading about as well.

I am sure this might be redundant based on other similar questions, but I was unable to find any that were close enough to what I am thinking.

Thanks a bunch already,

JoseCuervo
 
Old 05-20-2007, 07:59 PM   #2
bsdunix
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Welcome to Linux.

Before you attempt to repartition your hard drive, I highly recommend you backup your important Windows stuff.

Ideally when dual booting Linux and Windows, is to put Linux on a separate hard drive so that way you don't have repartition Windows. But, putting Linux on the same drive as Windows is OK too. Resizing the drive to have Windows 50% is a good idea. At a bare minimum, Linux will need two partitions, SWAP and / (root). Most distros during the installation will detect your Windows partition to give you the option to dual boot. If you have difficulties installing Linux or make a mistake after the installation, don't be afraid to reinstall. I don't know how many times I reinstalled Linux when I was first starting out, which was before I even heard of a Live Linux Distro. I'm sure you'll get other suggestions from other folks. There's plenty of installation HOW-TOs; I'm sure your distro of choice will have information.

Just in case you didn't find this:

Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/07/20/1654251
 
Old 05-20-2007, 08:01 PM   #3
oskar
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Hi there

Most distributions will give you an option to resize your windows partition before installing linux, so you do that during installation. After you installed it, you will get the option to either boot windows or linux. You can choose which one will get booted by default.
Although this works fine most of the time, you and linux won't be off to a good start if it deletes all your music. So make a backup of everything you don't want to loose!

You don't need to make separate partitions for your linux system. It doesn't matter if you don't - just make shure you don't shut down with your partition 100% filled. But that's not that tragic either. Most of the time the default options are fine. (by default most distributions will want to use the entire harddisk, so read carefully)
Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, Mandriva,... should be easy enough. If you're like me you won't take anyones word for it, and find out yourself. Which might be the best thing you can do.

Just being preventive here: You will at some point feel you've hit a brick wall, and get frustrated. Before you consider starting one of the "I want to kick that penguin in the groin so bad" threads, address the problem in a thread. Chances are a million people already had the same problem.

---edit---
bsdunix was faster

Last edited by oskar; 05-20-2007 at 08:09 PM.
 
Old 05-20-2007, 08:01 PM   #4
vtel57
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Hello, Jose!

You're well on your way. Have fun with your GNU/Linux and computers learning experiences!

About the multiple partitions thing...

Yes, it is a good idea to place different directories of the main GNU/Linux directory hierarchy onto separate partitions. Everyone does it differently and will have varying suggestions for you. On my own system, I'm running WinXP and seven distributions of Linux in a multi-boot environment. On all my GNU/Linux installations, I have separate mount points (partitions) for the / (root) and the /home directories. Some folks also mount /usr and /var on separate partitions. It has it's advantages.

I'm sure others will pop in here with some more info for you.

Enjoy!
 
Old 05-20-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
phantom_cyph
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsdunix
Welcome to Linux.

Before you attempt to repartition your hard drive, I highly recommend you backup your important Windows stuff.

Ideally when dual booting Linux and Windows, is to put Linux on a separate hard drive so that way you don't have repartition Windows. But, putting Linux on the same drive as Windows is OK too. Resizing the drive to have Windows 50% is a good idea. At a bare minimum, Linux will need two partitions, SWAP and / (root). Most distros during the installation will detect your Windows partition to give you the option to dual boot. If you have difficulties installing Linux or make a mistake after the installation, don't be afraid to reinstall. I don't know how many times I reinstalled Linux when I was first starting out, which was before I even heard of a Live Linux Distro. I'm sure you'll get other suggestions from other folks. There's plenty of installation HOW-TOs; I'm sure your distro of choice will have information.

Just in case you didn't find this:

Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/07/20/1654251

Good points, but note that you need a Windows install disc to reinstall, which thanks to Microsloth and its CEO Billy Goat Gates are no longer distributed with computers that have it pre-installed. Also, you may want to look at www.distrowatch.com to see most Linux distros there. While there, look at the "Major Distributions" link it has...
 
Old 05-20-2007, 08:49 PM   #6
2damncommon
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Quote:
Google search Linux: "Search turned up fourteen quadzillion results. Search took one millionth of a second."
And, of course, Google runs on Linux.

You may already be aware Linux is available as a live CD/DVD. It runs in RAM from CD with no installation. There are quite a few available from Knoppix to Damn Small Linux.

The first thing you will need to do with only Windows on your computer is resize the Windows partition so other partitions can be created. It is a good idea to back up your user data. A power outage during resize could leave you with a corrupt partition or data.
The steps I have used a couple times when resizing Windows is:
(Optional: run virus scan first)
1. Turn off the Windows swap file.
2. Defragment Windows.
3. Resize the Windows partition.
4. Turn the swap file back on.

After the Windows partition is resized you can create other partitions.

Just a brief word about partitioning oddities.
Just how many partitions can you have?
You can only have 4 primary partitions. But if you choose, one of those primary partitions can be an extended partition which can contain many logical partitions. If you need more than 4 partitions you need to create an extended partition. Not all operating systems can be installed to a logical partition. Linux can.

At a minimum you want:
Windows partition
Linux swap partition
Linux root partition

I am going to suggest you consider having space for 2 Linux root partitions so you can try more than one version of Linux. Since the Linux distributions can share a swap partition that would make 4 partitions. If you wanted more you would need to plan to use an extended partition.
I currently use 6GB partitions for trying out distributions and 10GB for ones I know I like. I have a large data partition for downloading CDs and storing user files.
 
Old 05-21-2007, 10:58 AM   #7
JoseCuervo
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Thanks for all of the quick answers, some more questions. How do I back up my data?

Technical question that will reveal my inexperience: what is the point of an OS? As I know it, it provides an interface between the user and the data and programs available. Windows is a rigid, mass-produced OS, and GNU/Linux and others are free and customizable.

Linux is 'faster' and 'better'. Better as in customizability, faster as in... how the OS uses data? Faster because there aren't ten million processes that start up like in Windows? If I'm on the right track, please tell me. If I'm not, ditto.

Anyway,

1 Backup data (how?)
2 Repartition
3 Install a distro and play around and learn.

Thanks again
 
Old 05-21-2007, 12:05 PM   #8
saikee
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I think if you are so new to Linux may be just download from the distrowatch.com any of the following current version of the Live CD

Slax
Ubuntu
Mepis
Vector
Puppy
Knoppix
Kanotix
................

You can burn any of the downloaded iso image into a bootable CD and run Linux without installing into the hard disk. See how you can use Linux to access all your personal data in the MS system.

When you are ready and convinced it works for you then install any or all of them. All the above CD allows you to run Linux as Live CD and may have an icon somewhere like "install me".

You need at least one partition for each distro but the first one also needs a swap partition which can be shared between all Linux.
 
  


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