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Old 12-21-2009, 04:54 PM   #16
SciSteve
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didn't know smiley faces show up for when you put a colon next to a close parenthesis, that's what those are supposed to be sorry for any confusion haha. Thanks again!
 
Old 12-21-2009, 05:33 PM   #17
minrich
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Ok, very smiley!

I would suggest that you use 12mb of the unused space on drive 'c' and using partitionmagic to make a new drive 'e' as I said above partition magic may require a reasonably lengthy process to defrag your 'c' drive so that any files in the last 12gb are not lost.

I am not sure that partition magic can make ext3 formatted partitions/drives so you may need to make it ntfs.

When presented again with the four choices - choose 4. A custom layout. You then choose the 12gb drive/partition and make it the '/' or root drive and it may suggest that it needs formatting if so choose ext3 at this stage. If all goes to plan, you will later get an option to install a boot loader probably GRUB if you accept that choice it will overwrite the MBR (master boot record) which was created by Windows XP but it should find the XP installation and when you reboot after a successful install (which may require a reboot, once the installation has loaded a linux kernel 2.6.18 {I believe} that is needed for loading the kernel modules that your hardware requires).

NB: Before proceeding: I would suggest you read http://oreilly.com/linux/archive/dual-boot-laptop.html and possibly save all 3 pages to a usb stick or any other external drive or floppy for emergency reference.
 
Old 12-22-2009, 02:29 PM   #18
SciSteve
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Ok well I haven't attempted anything yet as I've been trying to defragment my local drive to get the files to the front ensuring I don't lose anything when resizing. One thing I'm concerned about though is that I had read somewhere most systems can only have 3 or 4 primary partitions, so do I have to merge my C and D drives to create a substantial partition for S.L. to install on?
 
Old 12-22-2009, 03:33 PM   #19
minrich
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Yes, under linux, a drive can only have 4 primary partitions, one of which can be converted to an extended partition, which can then be divided up into 15-16 logical partitions. Windows insists on being loaded into the first primary partition, this usually starts on the second sector of the disc. The first sector on the first disk contains the MBR (master boot record) that tells the bios where the startup for Windows is - (drive 'c:') however a linux install to any other partition can boot alone or under bootloader installed on an OS on another partition. The only thing you have to be careful of is that generally a linux install of any flavour will try to overwrite the MBR with its bootloader - GRUB or Lilo or GRUB2 most recently - I would assume that ScientificLinux uses GRUB and its menu can be easily edited as root to 'chainload' a windows installation. You would then get a option on starting your lappy :-> XP or Scientific.

If you don't have a seperate machine with internet access at the time of installing Linux alongside XP I would strongly suggest you read up on dual booting because without a few tweaks you may not be able to access your XP install without a rescue disk and if I recall correctly Dell loads the recovery system in a hidden partition rather than providing a recover disk. It may be that you can create a recovery CD / rescue disk if you press F8 on booting your machine. One of the primary functions of the rescue disk is to rewrite the MBR to XP's original settings. If you don't have the rescue disk or ability to create it, then I would suggest that you download and burn a Supergrub CD from: http://freshmeat.net/projects/supergrub/ always a good tool to have around!

I wouldn't bother to merge your c; and d; drives if you have 15gb free and I only use 10gb each for each of my Suse9.3, kubuntu7.04, Opensuse10.2 and this debian5.0.3 - I also have two LVM partitions that hold my MP3's and my linux help, howtos documentation webpage downloads which are visable to all my systems and which total 15GB. I also have a 5gb NTFS partition for transferring stuff between this linux lappy and my XP tablet which gets online when I am installing a nes distro.

Hpoe this helps.
 
Old 12-22-2009, 08:07 PM   #20
yancek
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Yes, under linux, a drive can only have 4 primary partitions
Doesn't have anything to do with Linux but with the manufacturers of hard drives.

You should have chosen "Custom Partitioning" since it gives you more control. In your post 13, you seem to indicate that you have four partitions and if they are all primary partitions, you will not be able to create any more. Since you haven't posted your partition information as I suggested in my previous post, there is really nothing anyone can do to help except continue to guess.
 
Old 12-23-2009, 09:25 AM   #21
SciSteve
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In regards to your previous post [#13] I'm not sure if the discs are live cd's or not, I downloaded an image and burned them to the dvds. I haven't installed anything yet because I don't want to mess anything up, I'll give you all the information partition magic gives me hopefully that can help.

Disk 1
DELLUTILITY[*:] type:FAT; size: 47.0mb; 7.8mb used, 39.2mb free; status: None; pri/log: Primary
Local Disk[C:] type:NTFS; size: 52,462.3mb; 24,251.6mb used, 28,210.7mb free; status: active; pri/log: Primary
Backup[D:] type:NTFS; size:17,422.1mb; 11,406.9mb used, 6,015.1mb free; status:none; pri/log: primary
Local Disk[*:] type: CP/M, Concurrent DOS, CTOS; size:4941.9; 4941.9mb used, 0mb free; status:none; pri/log: primary
[*] type:Unallocated ; size 7.8mb; 0mb used, 0mb free; status:none; pri/log: primary

This is all of the information given to me via partition magic, I'm unsure of what to do with these partitions as far as resizing and creating a new one safely.
 
Old 12-23-2009, 11:03 AM   #22
yancek
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I'm not sure if the discs are live cd's or not
When you put the CD in the drive and reboot, does it give you any options other than install? Generally, the Live CD will give you an option to try without installing. I'm not familiar with the distribution you are using. If it gives you an option to try without installing you can let it load and see if you have a terminal icon somewhere to enter the commands I suggested.

Your output from partition magic shows four partition and at the end of each line it says "primary" so you can't create any more. I've never used partition magic so I'm assuming this is what is meant? You have the first partition as a Dell utility and two windows (ntfs) partitions. I'm not sure what the fourth partition is. You also have unallocated space at the end with "primary" at the end of the line?

Possible options are to shrink the 52GB ntfs partition from within windows to install your Linux distro and if you can't get to a terminal with your Linux CD, download Parted Magic or GParted and burn either as an image and boot from that to do your partitioning.

One thing I would suggest before doing anything is that you defragment your windows partition(s) first and if you need to resize, do it from within vista.
 
  


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