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OK, for the last couple of days I've really felt the need to install Linux and because it is very new to me I've decided to go with Mandrake 9.1. Because I'm a noob using linux (I know absolutely nothing about it but I'm quite adept at using other O/S's and have reasonable hardware / software skills) I'm going to ask some pretty stupid questions.
Basically I'm worried I'm going to destroy my Windows environment, that I'm going to have to reinstall it which would be terrible.
1. Do I need a second HD??? or can I just partition my current one with Windows XP on it? If so what size and format (i.e FAT32) Also, what program should I partition it with?
2. How do I make it so I can choose what O/S to use on startup?
These are the core questions that I am hesitating over. I understand Mandrake is a very easy installer which I am happy about. Once I get a nice dual boot going I will be happy to play around, get my video drivers and the web going and have a fun time using Linux.
#1: generally mandrake can do it all by itself, but since you have xp, wich could(shouldn't, but COULD) create problems, you should create a FAT32 partition using Partition Magic (or something similar). be sure to defragment your HD before partitioning! after that, just put no.1 mandrake install cd and follow the instructions...it will aks you wich partittion you want to format (to ext3, or similar linux hd formats), you should choose the new FAT32 partition. it will be divided into 3 partitions: root (or / ), home (/home;for documents) and swap (virtual memory). everything else is automatic.
about the partition size: i'd go for a half of total (wich will then be redistibuted to 3 linux partitions)
be careful about bootloader install. it's a program that gives you a list of your OSes every time you boot your computer. install LILO bootloader in MBR (master boot record)
1 - you do not necessarily (sp?) need a 2nd harddrive but it does make things easier! What you need to do if you don't want to get a new harddrive is this: defrag your Windows partition(s) - this is vital resize your Windows partition(s) to make some space on your harddrive - do not even think about doing this if you haven't done the above! By all means make the extra space into a new 'fat32' partition - it'll be overwritten and changed into Linux partitions anyway
2 - That is dealt with during the installation process. You get the option to install a bootloader - install it and install it to the MBR to make life easy!
I hope you enjoy using Linux - and remember, Linux isn't hard it is just different.
Thanks for the help guys. Just one question though, how big should I make the 2nd FAT32 partition? I've been researching and 5 GIG seems to be plenty, that way I have enough room for the OS and programs I may wish to download etc etc.
how do you mean 2nd?you need only one (the newly created one). if you were thinking winXP and the New partition, remember that xp is NOT FAT32 (it's NTFS).
so, i'd go give 1 half to xp and other to linux, but 5GB will do just fine.
My mistake, I assumed Windows XP uses FAT32. No worries then, 1 FAT32 partition and 1 NTFS partition (with existing Windows on it.)
I noticed when looking through the Mandrake installation guide there is an oppotunity to download the latest fixes / patches / security update etc etc. Should I be able to do this without a problem. i.e, Will Linux detect my ADSL conection?
deejayqf, you do not need to create a fat32 partition! If you do, then that's your choice but Linux does not install (normally) into/onto a fat32 partition! If you simply defragged your Windows drive(s) and then resize them to make some 'unused' space, Linux can quite happily install into that too! The installation process will allow you to choose where to install it and it will sort out the formatting of the Linux + Swap partitions.
Please do not think that you need to create any partitions in order to install - you merely need to make sure there is space available on your harddrive that is not already taken up by your Windows XP setup. Did that make sense or was it as clear as mud?
Distribution: Fedora Core 1 & WinXP Pro & Gentoo 1.4 & Arch Linux
I agree with Thymox, I had problems installing RH9 when I had a Fat32 partition on my HD. For some reason Linux didn't want to use it. I went and deleted the partition so my Hard Drive had the Win XP partition (NTFS) of 55 GB and a blank partition of 55 GB. When I started installing RH9, I selected automatic partitioning and hit the button for "Use free space" and it worked magically well.