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Maybe this will sound weird to someone, but anyway I'll ask...
This is exactly what I want:
I don't wanna install Linux on the same hard drive where I have Windows installed. To much time spent on configuring everything to loose it right now... long story-short... Partition C: is where I keep my Windows, partition D: is where I keep all my backup files, all pictures, photos, all music files I've created in my whole life, installation files for important programs and applications. C: is NTFS, and D: is FAT32 (need to be able to boot in DOS and access my Norton Ghost)...
What I want to do is...
I have brand new spare hard drive, 40 Gb Seagate (actually, I have 2 extra HDs, but non-relevant now), and if it's possible I want to have my Mandrake Linux 10.1 Community installed on that separate HD. Completely clean installation, just like I have another computer without Windows on it. Sometimes, if I feel I wanna do something in Linux, I would boot from that HD, not from the one with Windows. I don't wanna make dual boot, I just wanna leave everything like it is, without questions what OS I want to boot in, but I also wanna have Linux installed on my spare HD, just in case... don't wanna mess with dual boot, messing everything up, and one day if I decide to uninstall Linux, everything is changed, complete partition scheme is changed, boot loader is still present, and needs to be removed manually, etc. etc..
Simple and short. I want to install Linux on a separate HD, leave my HD with Windows setup untouched. Every single time when I turn my system on, I want it to boot straight to Windows, without asking me first... Only, sometimes, if I want to work in Linux, I would change boot priority settings in my BIOS to boot from second HD and that's it... simple... Is it possible ?
I don't wanna mess up my Windows boot by adding another boot option... just want everything to look like it looked before... like second hard drive with Linux doesn't exist, and if I want to work in Linux, I want to be able to choose it from BIOS.
Sorry, but all this is pretty new to me, and I am just careful (maybe too much), so I wanna try Linux first and than we'll see from there...
If you "just wanna try Linux", you can use some Live CD - it doesn't mess up with your hard drive, whole OS i loaded from a CD. You can save the configuration on a windows hdd, so you don't have to change the wallpaper and set the mail properties every time you log into Linux.
Another choice is to install Linux on a separate drive and create a bootable floppy disk which loads Linux OS, not Windows. This way you don't need to mess up with BIOS every time you want to use Linux, just insert a floppy on reboot (could be a USB pendrive as well).
With most of the distros you can choose to install boot-loader on a floppy drive during installation. If it's not possible, you can edit your /etc/lilo.conf after installing and change the line:
Save it and execute:
from the command line. This way you have the bootable floppy ready to use.
A little problem could be the installation. If you have 2 harddrives, you need to know which is your promary master and which is your secondary master (or slave), so that you don't accidentally erase you Windows drive. Primary master is in Linux notation: hda, and secondary master is hdb. So I guess you should choose: hdb when installing Linux.
To be 100% sure you don't mess up, you could of course remove the Windows drive phisically before installation
you can easily install linux on the second HDD, and
install lilo/grub onto a floppy ... that way you don't
need to muck about with the BIOS either. Floppy in
drive -> boot Linux .. no floppy, boot windows.
Good point. You can choose not to install a bootloader, that will keep Linux from trying to alter the bootloader that Windows installed. Then you can make your own boot disk. In the past I have done what you were thinking of, go into bios, make set the primary IDE disk type to "None" or "disabled", and then enable the secondary master ( which would be the Linux disk ), install Linux on it and then where you are done, reboot, switch the settings in the BIOS ( enable primary master, disable secondary master ), and then boot into Windows.
Both are valid solutions. The BIOS solution is more work but a bit safer at install time as two OS's do not even know the drive the other OS is on exists, and therefore cannot mess with it.
Thanks guys, this is unbelievable... your responds are so quick and very very helpful. Yes, I already tried DSL (Damn Small Linux) and Knoppix booted from CDs. I like them very much, but now I'm thinking to try with MandrakeLinux 10.1
All responds from all of you guys are very helpful and I really appreciate it.
Just one more question... I know that Linux most likely doesn't use NTFS, but I wanna ask this... I will completely disconnect my Primary HD (anyway, I make my system backups on regular basis, every week I make one Ghost image, so no fear at all), and I will connect the one that I will install Linux onto... Do I have to format that drive first, how many partitions, or everything is done automaticaly, during Linux installation ?
Thanks in advance and thanks again for your previous answers !
Originally posted by SZCAlien
Just one more question... I know that Linux most likely doesn't use NTFS, but I wanna ask this... I will completely disconnect my Primary HD (anyway, I make my system backups on regular basis, every week I make one Ghost image, so no fear at all), and I will connect the one that I will install Linux onto... Do I have to format that drive first, how many partitions, or everything is done automaticaly, during Linux installation ?[/B]
It should be able to partition the harddrive automatically if you like it to do so.
You can also choose to partition it yourself. If you choose so, I recommend creating 2 partitions,
one for the root filesystem (with mount point: /) and another for your personal files (mount point: /home). This way when you're bored with Mandake and want to install a real linux like debian , you don't have to worry about loosing your personal files, desktop settings, bookmark, e-mail accounts and stuff like that.
Actually Linux installation is quite easy and you shouldn't worry too much. You just need to read everything what the installator has to say and make wise decision. And if you can't do that, just stick with the defaults
I feel like I'm gonna stick around. You are great bunch of people. I'm forum regular (with more than 2900 posts) in avast! antivirus forum as part of the technical support. I also make skins for avast! People in those forums are great, just like here in this one, and we all are like one great family.
I am very cautious, so please try to understand me when I say I don't wanna mess up Windows configuration and my current hard drive configuration. I just like to be sure before I do anything, then I can proceed with installation. It's always better to ask now then sorry later. Few people is always more clever than just one man, so I stick to that one, hehe...
Again, thanks guys, I'll try to install it on my separate hard drive and I'll keep you updated.