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Old 07-27-2004, 11:40 PM   #1
LeftofCool
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Slackware Dual Boot Questions


I want to dual boot XP and Slackware, however, I want to completely reformat before I do the operation. On to the questions.

After I reformat, which should I install first, XP or Slackware? I've never done this before, so whichever makes the partitioning easier would be preferable.

I'm still not sure how I can make my files available to both Slackware and XP. Does the file system need to be FAT32 in order for this to happen? Does my entire C: drive need to be formatted in FAT32 or can it be NTFS and still work properly with Slackware? Do I need to create an extra partiton in order to do this?

Sorry if most of this is answered in the Slackware book, I've read through the installation and may not have read far enough in order to have these questions answered. If that is the case, just tell me and I'll read on.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 12:19 AM   #2
rgiggs
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in general, install xp first, then install linux. it's because if you install linux first and then xp, you'll have headaches with the boot issue, not the partitioning issue. to me, partitioning difficulty (or ease) in xp is the same as in linux.
linux has read write support for fat, so if you want linux to be able to write to any windows partition, that partition should be fat. linux ntfs write support is very limited right now.
my personal system has C: on ntfs and another partition on fat so linux can write to it. you can also make one big fat partition for windows, but it's your taste.

Last edited by rgiggs; 07-28-2004 at 12:22 AM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 12:49 AM   #3
LeftofCool
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Let's say I make another partition just FAT32. If I boot into Windows after I've created that extra partition, it will show up in My Computer as another hard drive/partition, correct?
 
Old 07-28-2004, 05:28 AM   #4
motub
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Yes... that's why you make an extra FAT32 partition, after all-- to share files between Slackware and Windows (as both OSes can read and write to that FS reliably).
 
Old 07-28-2004, 01:33 PM   #5
LeftofCool
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Alright, thanks. Another question, why is it necessary to resize the Windows partition before installing Slackware and what way is the best?
 
Old 07-28-2004, 02:00 PM   #6
motub
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It is not necessarily necessary... unless you are using Windows 2K or XP, which both use the NTFS filesystem by default, which most Linux installers are unable to resize during the install process.

Secondarily, even if you are using FAT32, the installer may be unable to resize the partitions, usually due to fragmentation.

So it's usually best to defragment your Windows partitions before attempting the install, and since you're already working with the partitions in Windows, you might as well resize them using the Windows tools anyway (especially since you have no other choice if they are NTFS partitions).

Leave the newly-freed space unallocated, and you can let the installer partition it as it finds appropriate (or you can do it manually).

My rule-of-thumb is: Windows tools for Windows partitions, Linux tools for Linux partitions. Some tools under both OSes are cross-platform, but in actual practice (and my experience), partition tools work best with the filesystems native to the OS they are designed to run on, and I just feel more secure keeping it that way.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 04:38 PM   #7
LeftofCool
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I'm using XP and right now my entire 40gb C: drive is an XP partition with an NTFS file system. Would I be better off using a tool such as Partition Magic to resize the partition or are the Windows tools the easiest way to go? Also, I was looking under disk management and didn't see any options to resize the partition, so it would be great if you could specifically tell me what I need to do in order to correctly resize the partition. I am going to completely reformat XP do before I do any kind of dual boot installation.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 04:56 PM   #8
motub
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If you're going to "completely reformat XP", then you don't have to worry much about resizing anything at all. Boot from Partition Magic's Rescue disks to resize the NTFS partition, or delete it completely (which I would suggest). Make a new NTFS (or FAT32; Windows can reformat it to NTFS, and I don't know how reliable PM is to make NTFS partitions) partition of the size you want to use for XP. Leave the rest of the space (that you want to use for Linux) unallocated. Reinstall Windows to the Windows fs partiton normally. Install Linux to the unpartitioned space using either automatic patitioning (if you don't want to deal with cfdisk) or custom partitioning (if you feel comfortable making the new partitions yourself).

That's about all I can tell you as I have never used XP, and my memory of how to do these things using the native Win2k tools is fading fast. If you have Partition Magic already, I would suggest using it anyway, as it's a much more full-featured tool.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 05:05 PM   #9
LeftofCool
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Thanks. Since I have a 40gb hdd, should I allocate 15gb to windows, 15gb to the Linux swap and /root partitions, and 10gb to a FAT32 shared folder that could be written to by both XP and Slackware? I know there are many other ways to do this, so if anyone has a better configuration or another method besides using PM to resize XP, please, don't hesitate to share.

Last edited by LeftofCool; 07-28-2004 at 05:40 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 05:47 PM   #10
rgiggs
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i don't think you're gonna need 15 gb for linux. also, i think you meant the root directory /, not /root. i think only allocate to / about 5 gb, swap about .5 to 1 gb (depending on how much RAM you have). the the rest is however you like them. however, i always leave some unpartitioned space (or partitioned but not used so i can reformat it without having to back up), in case i'll need it later. who knows, for example, you might find that gentoo does something better than slackware, and you want to install gentoo, too.

Last edited by rgiggs; 07-28-2004 at 05:50 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 05:54 PM   #11
LeftofCool
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I'm planning on doing a full install, so would the 5gb for the root directory still be ok? Also, I think PM has its own bootloader, I don't have PM, but if I get it, will I still be able to use GRUB or LILO over BootMagic, and if so, is GRUB or LILO superior to BootMagic?

Last edited by LeftofCool; 07-28-2004 at 05:56 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 06:07 PM   #12
agiacalone
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Quote:
Originally posted by LeftofCool
I'm planning on doing a full install, so would the 5gb for the root directory still be ok? Also, I think PM has its own bootloader, I don't have PM, but if I get it, will I still be able to use GRUB or LILO over BootMagic, and if so, is GRUB or LILO superior to BootMagic?
Yes, in all of the above.

A full install of Slack 10 is about 3 GB of space, so it should be fine. Personally, I would give a bit more (I like to have some "breather" space) but it really isn't necessary.

BootMagic is an optional, seperate program from PartitionMagic, which does come on the same CD, so you can use one with or without the other.

I've also used all three bootloaders (GRUB, Lilo, and BootMagic), and I have found GRUB and Lilo to be superior to BootMagic. GRUB supports better booting of Windows and other OS's then Lilo, but both open source programs function well in most environments. I would almost certainly go with GRUB over BootMagic, not only because it's much more customizeable and functional, but using GRUB supports open source software as well.

Last edited by agiacalone; 07-28-2004 at 06:13 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 06:26 PM   #13
motub
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BootMagic is included with Partition Magic, but not part of it; you can use one without the other.

You can really only have one bootloader active at any given time: the Windows bootloader (which cannot recognize Linux), GRUB or LiLO (either of which can recognize Windows and will probably create a menu entry for it on their install), or a third-party bootloader such as Boot Magic.

Superiority is not really a question; all bootloaders do their job adequately (leaving aside the Windows bootloader, which only boots Windows, but maybe you want to boot Linux from a floppy and not disturb the Windows bootloader for other users of the machine). GRUB and LiLO are both perfectly fine for a dual-boot setup; some prefer one over the other for various reasons, but whichever one your distro chooses to offer as the default is perfectly OK.

A third-party Windows bootloader has both pros and cons: it mostly depends on what you need. It's nice that you can make rescue disks for it, so that makes it much easier to repair in the event of problems. On the other hand, it's essentially a Windows program, which means that you have to get into Windows to install and configure it in the first place. And there can be some scary-looking, but ultimately minor, bumps on the road with respect to the native Linux bootloaders, depending on the distro.

It's really up to you.

As to the 5 GB for the root directory...I'd go for about 7 or 8 myself, in order to have room to install extra stuff as you learn what's available and perhaps want to try it out.

Whether you really need 10 GB for a shared partition is more the question, but of course only you can know how many files you'd be planning to keep there. I would consider making /home a separate partition of 2-3 GB (again, depending on what you might want to be keeping there; the config files usually kept there don't take up much space, but things like your email and downloaded files might, if you don't pipe them to that shared partition instead).

To be honest, and with no disrespect intended, don't get all worked up about this planning, because you're likely going to get it wrong in some respects this time around.

We all do.

There's no way around it, because you don't know anything about Linux, you don't know how you're going to use a Linux system, and you don't know how your usage patterns are going to change when doing the simple common Windows tasks you are used to requires a complete reboot-- it might just be easier (and more pleasant) to figure out how to do the same task in Linux, for example.

Until you know how this is all going to work for you, you really can't know how to prepare for it effectively, so just take your best guess and go for it. Just don't expect this to be permanent (and keep good backups), because for all you know, you might well decide that you don't like the distro you chose (or you'll hear about another that sounds enticing), and you'll wipe the slate clean anyway to install that instead.

This is a learning experience, after all, so don't worry about getting everything "right" right out of the box. Probably not going to happen, and also not the point of the exercise. As long as you've got backups, you're golden.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 06:47 PM   #14
LeftofCool
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Thanks, I appreciate it. So would PM be the best way to go as far as creating and resizing partitions is concerned? I know there are several freeware utilities available, but would like some recommendations.

Last edited by LeftofCool; 07-28-2004 at 08:28 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2004, 11:31 PM   #15
agiacalone
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As far as creating partitions, fdisk or cfdisk work just fine. Resizing Fat32 or NTFS, on the other hand, is a much more difficult thing to do. I would recommend PartitionMagic for those tasks. I don't know of any open source programs that can do that (yet).

Last edited by agiacalone; 07-28-2004 at 11:33 PM.
 
  


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