Linux - NewbieThis Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question?
If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly and active Linux Community.
You are currently viewing LQ as a guest. By joining our community you will have the ability to post topics, receive our newsletter, use the advanced search, subscribe to threads and access many other special features. Registration is quick, simple and absolutely free. Join our community today!
Note that registered members see fewer ads, and ContentLink is completely disabled once you log in.
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you need to reset your password, click here.
Having a problem logging in? Please visit this page to clear all LQ-related cookies.
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
I'll probably end up getting PM on ebay or something, but does the fact that I'm most likely going to reformat the hdd mean that I won't need to resize at all? Is there a way to go in and create a Windows and Linux partition directly after reformatting before anything shows up automatically after installing Windows?
If the PM CD is bootable (which it might well be), I don't see why not; otherwise, you can install the program before you wipe Windows and use the installed program to make the PM Rescue Disks. Those definitely are bootable (as they are intended to help you repair partitions that have been damaged to such an extent that you can't get to the installed program) so you can boot from those. That will enable you to run PM from the floppies, and you can delete and repartition to your heart's content.
Fdisk is available on the boot disks for both Windows and Linux. Different programs, of course, under the two OSes. The Linux installers also have partition managers (fdisk, cfdisk and sometimes one other whose name I forget); there's nothing wrong with running a Linux install up to the part where you partiton the drive(s), then partiitoning the drives using the Linux tool, saving the new partition table, and then hitting the Reset button on the front of the box to reboot to the Windows CD so you can install Windows.
No, do not use any such PM feature where it tries to create some "dedicated" partition for any OS that is not Windows. Really, you want to do as little as possible with PM to create or manage Linux partitions; overall, you'd do better to just create the Windows partition of the correct size and leave the rest of the space unallocated so that the Linux installer can partition it automatically or manually, as you choose.
But there is no way to know that "you won't have to resize anything" in the future. You're starting from a clean slate, no matter what partition manager you use to pre-create the partitions that you're going to install these two OSes to, you're going to be guessing as to what seems like the best partition layout is going to be.
And like I said, you're probably going to find out that you were wrong once you actually start using the layout and discover that one partition is much bigger than it needs to be, and another is smaller than what you really need once you start using the system. And you're going to have to repartition, which in the current state of affairs in terms of your experience and knowledge, is going to mean a wipe and recreation of the Linux partitions (not the Windows or FAT32 shared partitions), because there is no reasonable, easy-peasy, and perfectly safe way at this stage of your migration to resize a Linux partition that is in use (not that managing partitions is really ever safe, but PM under Windows will really fool you into thinking it is). You will be able to resize the Windows fs partitions using PM to give you more space for newly-created Linux partitons, but that's about it.
I mean, look at my sig. I've been through a lot of distros, and I do have quite a lot of experience with setting up dual-boots (and even multiboots) on a single box. I am, now, after almost a year and a half since I started with my first Linux distro, about to repartition for what I know is going to be the very last time, because I am going to set up my partitions in L(ogical)V(olume)M(anagement) groups, which will allow me to resize partitions on a running system without endangering the partition table so that the bootloader doesn't know where the fs starts and ends anymore. But at this time this option is not available to you, as it was not available to me in my first install, as it's taken me all this time to learn that this possibility exists, and develop the confidence to take advantage of it. You don't want to know how many times I have repartitioned in that first year of trying all those distros listed below... because my best guess as to the best partition layout for my needs turned out not to be quite good enough for what it turned out that I wanted, but didn't know I wanted at the time.
This is how I know that you can't know what you want right now either. It's impossible. Do your best, take your best guess, but don't get attached to the idea that now you did that, you're done and won't have to do it again fairly soon.
Keep backups. And keep as much volatile data such as downloads, personal files like art you're working on, or the Greatest Novel of All Time (In Progress), your email-- anything unrelated to the OS that you want to be reasonably sure is out of danger from any possible future deletion of the partition-- as possible on the shared FAT32 partition. That really makes the likelihood that you will have to repartition at some point much less problematic.
I really, really appreciate this. Your time is invaluable, thank you so much. I just turned 15, so at this point I just want to learn, and you, this forum, and forums like this have made that opportunity available to me, thanks again.
If I'm thinking correctly, when you mentioned that I could run the Linux installer up to the point where I can save the partition table, would I just need at that time to create 1 large partition to accomodate Windows before rebooting? Then, after that, will the Windows installer be able to recognize that partition and/or give me the option to use that partition to install Windows to?
Yes, that's generally the idea of what you'd want to do no matter what method you used to create the new partition; 1 NTFS or FAT32 partition (Windows will ask you what fs you want to use on it anyway, just so long as its some native Windows fs) of a specified size (let's say, for this example, 10 GB of a 40GB total size disk) for the Windows system root install, and a second FAT32 partition of (let us say, for this example) a second 10 GB FAT32 partition for files that must be readable between both OSes.
Naturally, if you're dong this with a Linux installer, you can also make Linux partitions at this time, but you can also leave that for the real install, and I think that's a good idea-- doing only one thing at a time is a very wise policy when messing around with partitions and preparing to install two OSes.
So that would give you 2 Windows-native fs partitions of 10 GB each, and 20 GB unallocated space. When you then rebooted with the Windows CD in the drive, and went to install Windows, it would find an available C:\ and D:\, and will ask you where you want to install Windows, and do you want to reformat the chosen partition to NTFS, format it to FAT32 (yes, you can install even Win 2K and XP to FAT32 partitions if you so desire), or leave it as whatever FS it currently is.
Even if you have created it as NTFS (let us say), and that's the fs you want to use ultimately, I would still suggest letting the Windows installer reformat it to NTFS. Of course, I'm just very picky about what tools I want messing with my partitions, and further, I don't trust Windows... I always suspect that there may be some "extra" code somehow that makes an NTFS partition formatted by Windows itself slightly different or more "legitimate" to Windows than an NTFS partition formatted by any other partitioning tool, even one so good as PM. FAT32 is much more "stupid" (or less complex, anyway), so I don't worry so much about those.
Admittedly, I feel pretty much the same way about Linux partitions being formatted by any other tool than a Linux one, again hinging on the complexity of the fs; I'd let PM create ext 2 and swap partitions, but never ext3 (which is journalled, as is NTFS), and I would always use a native Linux partitioner (the one included in the installer) to reformat the "final" partiton to ext3 or whatever fs I was actually going to use (I don't use ext2, because it's not journalled, and there's no point in not using a journalled fs if it's available and appropriate for the situation).
Keep in mind when creating your Windows partitions that if you are going to be using NTFS for the system root, you won't be able to reliably write to it under Linux, so if there are also programs that you might want to use under both OSes (via Wine or Crossover Office), that you will be wanting to install those to D:\ (the shared FAT32 partition) as well, not to C:\Program Files, so plan appropriately. Applications, when run, write their settings to initialization files that are often contained in the program folder; in addition, many programs and games have configuration files in their program folders that you might want to edit for some reason-- and you will not necessarily be able to do so if those files were mounted from an NTFS partition.
Don't forget to take that into consideration when planning your partition sizes (you need room not just for all the MP3s, but also for Microsoft Office and Far Cry, for example).
You see why I say "take your best guess, but there's a good chance you'll be wrong?"