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Old 04-13-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
HalifaxJ
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Partitions...options?


Looking to install a distro of Linux (Fedora or Unbutu) onto my computer to start learning it with the intent of setting up a full Linux computer on my next build.

For now, however, I have only my 640GB HD (WD). I have Windows Vista installed already. Here are a few questions I have before going forward:

1. Can I partition my HD without losing my Windows install and files?
2. Once partitioned, can I see all the files on the hard drive from either OS or only the ones on the partition being usedÉ
3. Would installing another HD be a better option than partitioning? Ideally I would like to have access to ALL my files from both OS. Is this possible?

I would rather not have to reformat and install windows, but in a few months I will have to as I'll be updating to 64 bit OS. On this note, is there a 64 bit Linus OS?

For graphic work, and some CAD work, is there a better distribution? I'd really like to go with either Fedora or Unbutu. Also, for the same applications, is there a preferred between KDE and GNOME?

Any advice appreciated,

J
 
Old 04-14-2009, 12:38 AM   #2
fair_is_fair
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Yes to 1 and 2. Linux will read/write ntfs just fine. Windows will need a solution to read/write linux ext2 or 3. http://www.howtoforge.com/access-lin...s-from-windows

You do not need to install another drive.

There are 64 bit linux versions.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 09:01 AM   #3
cloud9repo
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parted and gparted are the most common partitioning tools for linux.

There's also a LiveCD for GParted, which allows you to boot into it to set up your HD. Since parted is somewhat arcane for someone who's not familiar with Linux, I'd try GParted. It'll show your current drive's configuration, and allow you to set up other partitions. However, as with any type operation like that, it could lead to corruption of the MBR, or data loss. Not always, but sometimes.

I'd recommend ext3 like someone else said, and most Linux distros do well with 50GB or less, and that's including a lot of extra space. You'll also want to set up a linux-swap area, for RAM swap file usage. Typically, about 150% of your physical RAM. All of this is done easily with GParted.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
dracofhc
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Not sure about fedora (haven't used it in a while) but during the install process Ubuntu will help you partition everything. Just make sure you double check the setup before you click "OK". I little homework will save you a lot of headache later.

As far as the 64/32 bit deal, most distros have a 64bit version and support it well with applications, etc. Some online platforms (flash, etc) are a little slow to provide support for 64bit linux. Example is adobe flash, they just recently released a plugin for flash for 64bit and it's done through Adobe labs instead of the stable 32bit plugin. Just something to think about when trying to decide between 64 bit and 32 bit.

Gnome/KDE: They're similar enough that it mostly comes down to personal preference. Install your distro of choice and then install the one you don't have if necessary and try them both out.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
thorkelljarl
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A little guide.

http://apcmag.com/how_to_dualboot_vi...lled_first.htm

If you shrink the Vista partition with the Vista partitioning tool you will avoid problems booting Vista after you install linux.

This guide and many other sources assume that Ubuntu is the natural choice. Fedora 10 and openSUSE 11.1 are worth your consideration. Both are well integrated distributions, that is, easy to install, maintain, use with the GUI, with many packages, well supported. In this they may benefit from being paired with commercial versions of linux. If you choose Ubuntu, you might consider Ubuntu 8.04.2, the long term support version.

I don't like Gnome and use KDE 3.5, but either will do better than KDE 4.x at the moment.

I am assuming you want a ready tool just to do some other work, CAD, not something you have to spend energy on for its own sake. A certain L. Torvalds is said to use Fedora with Gnome, but then what does he know?

Good Luck

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 04-14-2009 at 12:14 PM.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 11:44 AM   #6
malekmustaq
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HalifaxJ:

Your questions:

==1. Can I partition my HD without losing my Windows install and files?==

Ans: Yes

==2. Once partitioned, can I see all the files on the hard drive from either OS or only the ones on the partition being usedÉ==

Ans: It depends.

From the point of Linux yes you can see ALL, this means, both the Linux partitions and the Vista partitions.

But from the Vista point <booting from Vista> only those partitions formatted under NTFS, fat32 and fat are visible, Vista cannot read from Linux partitions like ext2, ext3 or ext4.

REMEDY: As it is Gnu/Linux that has the better read/write ability you may only partition a little for it into ext3, just enough to hold the installed Gnu/Linux system folders and save your files to a mounted NTFS partitions <as your working directory> so that both Gnu/Linux and Vista can read/write/USE the files generated under Gnu/Linux. When you boot up Vista you see all files generated under Linux except the ext3 partition that holds the Linux system (which is good so that you cannot change any Linux system files while running in Vista). My experience: though I don't run M$XpVista anymore I was able to preserve my files under ntfs partitions untouched and continue using it under current Linux, saving much time.

==3. Would installing another HD be a better option than partitioning? Ideally I would like to have access to ALL my files from both OS. Is this possible?==

Ans:

It depends.

Your 640GB HD is more than enough to house both systems, if accomodation is the issue. In fact, to run an Ubuntu or Mint Linux you only need a small slice of about 3Gb to 8Gb size of ext3 partition, anyway you shall be saving your projects or files into separate NTFS partition to become visible to Vista.

But if you can afford another HD with its additional energy consumption in your monthly bill plus the additional heat, well, its up to you. But its not the philosophy of linux. On the contrary, there are even Gnu/Linux distros that run below a Gigabyte partition running an old PII processor and a 128mb RAM. In plain english: Gnu/Linux is for both the poor and the rich.


==I would rather not have to reformat and install windows, but in a few months I will have to as I'll be updating to 64 bit OS. On this note, is there a 64 bit Linus OS?==

Ans: There is no need to reformat or reinstall your Windows to run Gnu/Linux. The freedom consciousness of Gnu/Linux allows you to install it without necessarily infringing your "right or freedom" to run commercial MSwindowz from the first "active" partitions: exactly opposite, whereas the MSwindows will never install unless it is given the privilege of sitting at the head of the table.

As to 64bit system Gnu/Linux has the better implementation of it. No need to worry.

==For graphic work, and some CAD work, is there a better distribution? I'd really like to go with either Fedora or Unbutu. Also, for the same applications, is there a preferred between KDE and GNOME?==

Ans: Yes graphics and computer aided design are available. Linux is the choice OS of most scientists.

Between KDE and Gnome the verdict is mainly based on personal "taste" not on anything objective. If you're the kind that loves fat and spaghetti you may go for KDE 3.5 (here you'll need more time to get familiar with Kmenus that the Knames and Kfunctions Kould Khardly kbe Kunderstood by Kplain Kreading its Klabel); but if you prefer simplicity and ergonomics in menu handling to ease your eyes you may go for Gnome; and if you like one that moves like a lightning go for XFCE 4 --Linux is more matured that it offers many windowing managers using the same X windowing server, unlike the microsoft that you only get what the redmond people love.

==Any advice appreciated,==

IMPORTANT ADVICE:

1. Do not install a Gnu/Linux distro just because some users say is better blah blah or you gain the looks of a nerd. A newbie ought be humble and learn from the easier distros like Ubuntu with Gnome, or Mint Linux in Gnome or Debian. This way your learning/understanding of the new operating system is faster. You may progress to other distros after short period of acquaintance.

2. Download a tutorial and read from it until you have fully understood the basics in Gnu/Linux. This way your progress is faster, solutions come quicker, rather than wasting time at posting here every bit of little challenge when it could have been solved by a minute's reading on the tutorial. Here is a well written tutorial, get it:

http://www.freebookcentre.net/unix-b...heer)-PDF.html

And here are some pages that could greatly help:

http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub.html

http://www.hscripts.com/tutorials/li...ands/index.php

If you follow these two final advice you will enjoy more in your Gnu/Linux experience.

I hope this helps.

Goodluck.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
monsm
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I did a similar thing a few years ago with Windows XP, never tried Vista.

Probably best if you shrink the Windows partitions first before you attempt to install using the linux tools as thorkelljarl suggest.

To do that you will probably have to run the Windows defrag tool. Note that you might have to run it several times in order to get the windows files pushed to the top of the partition before you can shrink the partition with the partitioning tool. It used to be in the admin tool folder under the control panel, I think.
Tools like Partition Magic can do this too.

After that you can insert the Ubuntu or Fedora DVDs. They should be able to add Linux to the free space you created by shrinking Windows.

Mons
 
Old 04-14-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
thorkelljarl
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A recommended defragmentation tool for Windows if it makes things easier.

http://www.auslogics.com/en/software...efrag/download
 
Old 04-14-2009, 09:44 PM   #9
HalifaxJ
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...

Last edited by HalifaxJ; 04-14-2009 at 10:25 PM.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 10:25 PM   #10
HalifaxJ
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Once I shrink my Vista partition (using the tools in Vista), will most Distros know where to install or will I have to specify this during the install?

I'm still torn between Fedora 10 and Ubuntu/Mint Distros. This project of mine is more of a curiosity for now in hopes that the Linux phenom will one day provide a competitive Architectural and Graphic (complete graphic suite, not just GIMP) package that is compatible with what other consultants are using (seems like a long shot...).

Anyways, it's more of a curiosity for me so I don't need to allocate a large partition to Linux. In fact, I will probably only use it to surf the web and learn about Linux. I already run Open office on Vista and surf with Mozilla.

If I decide to reinstall vista in 3 months, will I have to ALSO reinstall the Linux on its partition or will reformatting the Vista partition be sufficient?

Also, I know Ubuntu recognizes the Vista and I shouldn't have to mess with the bootloader as GRUB is fine. Is this also true for Fedora 10?

Cheers,

J
 
Old 04-15-2009, 12:20 AM   #11
HalifaxJ
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...

Also, should I use GRUB as the bootloader? I don't know anything about bootloaders...but the links that were posted mentioned that Ubuntu and I think Fedora comes with the GRUB bootloader which will allow me to see the various OS at bootup?

Well I seem to like Mint, and it's based on Ubuntu 8.10. Is Mint a good choice for a first time Linux learner?

Thanks,

J

Last edited by HalifaxJ; 04-15-2009 at 12:40 AM.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 08:19 AM   #12
cloud9repo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalifaxJ View Post
...

Also, should I use GRUB as the bootloader? I don't know anything about bootloaders...but the links that were posted mentioned that Ubuntu and I think Fedora comes with the GRUB bootloader which will allow me to see the various OS at bootup?

Well I seem to like Mint, and it's based on Ubuntu 8.10. Is Mint a good choice for a first time Linux learner?

Thanks,

J
I use LinuxMint a lot, it's good because it includes a lot of codecs in the install, like flash and mp3 streaming. Which is good because that's what I use the Inet for mainly. Tunes...

But, during the install, if anything in the Windows install is a little out of whack, it could corrupt the partition table. If this occurs, you can usually recover utilizing the file 'menu.lst'.

Not that it's guaranteed that something will go wrong, but sometimes Windows and Linux don't play well together. The location of menu.lst is, usually,
/boot/grub
if you do use the grub boot loader. And, it's fairly simple to edit. You can easily locate your windows partition, and insert it into the file.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 08:41 AM   #13
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalifaxJ View Post
Once I shrink my Vista partition (using the tools in Vista), will most Distros know where to install or will I have to specify this during the install?
Most distributions give an install time option to use the whole disk, wiping out whatever you have already. Read the prompts carefully during install to make sure you don't choose that.

Some distributions give an install time option to use the unpartitioned space. That seems to be the behavior you expect and that would be easiest.

Most distributions give an install time option to use pre defined partitions. I always find that method the most understandable. That requires you run a Linux partitioning program after you dfrag/shrink the Vista partition and before you install Linux.

Many Linux distribution install CD's also act as liveCDs, so you can boot the liveCD and run gparted to set up the partitions the way you want before running the install program.

Many Linux install programs let you run some GUI partitioning tool, such as gparted, at the beginning of the install process to partition the disk however you want before running the rest of the install.

Quote:
If I decide to reinstall vista in 3 months, will I have to ALSO reinstall the Linux on its partition or will reformatting the Vista partition be sufficient?
The Vista installer can install into the existing NTFS partition and not damage existing Linux partitions. But I don't know whether it can avoid reinstalling Windows MBR code and disconnecting GRUB.

If you have any Linux liveCD and know how (I don't happen to remember how) it is pretty simple to use Grub commands while booted in the liveCD to reconnect the MBR of hard disk to the copy of GRUB that was installed when you installed Linux.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 09:14 AM   #14
monsm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
The Vista installer can install into the existing NTFS partition and not damage existing Linux partitions. But I don't know whether it can avoid reinstalling Windows MBR code and disconnecting GRUB.

If you have any Linux liveCD and know how (I don't happen to remember how) it is pretty simple to use Grub commands while booted in the liveCD to reconnect the MBR of hard disk to the copy of GRUB that was installed when you installed Linux.
Windows XP at least always install the windows MBR code. So most likely Vista do the same. You need to have a Linux DVD handy to re-install Grub to the MBR after you re-install Vista. Its not complicated and won't take long.

Mons
 
Old 04-17-2009, 12:09 AM   #15
HalifaxJ
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Thanks to all the help I've gotten on the boards, I now have Linux Mint installed on my HD. I shrunk the primary Vista Partition by 40GB, and installed Linux by creating two new partions:

1. Ext3 file format
2. Swap (512mb)

Everything went well, no problems. The bootloader works fine and I can boot into Windows or Linux without a problem.

Now that I've gotten that far, I have a few more questions. Say I decide I don't like Mint, and that I want to switch distribution...what would be the process? Say I want to install Ubuntu...can I just run it from the CD, install it and the installer will let me rewrite my 40Gb Linux partition?

The reason I'm asking is because I liked the fact that in Ubuntu, you could have different "instances" of your desktop (lower right hand corner...the small squares). Mint doesn't seem to have this feature...or maybe I'm just missing it? I get the feeling that Mint is a very watered down Linux...or maybe that's just a first impression.

So for now I learn about shell commands. It would be useful if I could connect to the internet using Linux, but I'm using D-link wireless USB device (as I don't have a wireless card in my machine)that doesn't seem to work and any "fix" I've seen online seems extremely complicated for me.

So if I do switch to Ubuntu, what procedure should I follow/

Thanks,

J
 
  


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