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Old 09-27-2003, 11:03 AM   #1
kkathman
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Some Advice on a Strategy for Install


Greetings collegues. Please excuse me if my questions are redundant, because I know they have been answered elsewhere! However, since I am a real newbie to Linux, Im sure you all will be of great help.

Here's my situation. I currently have a home LAN with everyone running Windows XP (yes all NTFS). I have one computer, an old Dell, that serves as a central CPU for anyone to use. My wife has a laptop with WIN XP on it ...she gets on the home network via Wireless. My youngest son is a user also, but he's hard connected. I have a company laptop that is hard connected also.

Now my final machine, is a big AMD 1800XP with Ethernet, CDR, CDRW, floppy, Sound Blaster Audigy, and with two HDD...one is 40 GB that came with the system, and the other is a 100GB drive that I added (both IDE). I basically use this computer now to develop web sites.

With that background, I am thinking of using a portion of the latter machine and installing Linux as a failsafe. With viruses getting more prolific and the increased speed at which they spread, I think its only a matter of time when we get to a Zero Day event, where an antidote to a virus cant be issued fast enough to save computers. So thats what prompts me to go to Linux.

I want to have a common area (FAT) that I can put shared network files that are valuable so I can get to them in case of failure. I'd like NOT to use the entore 100GB for Linux however, and would prefer not having to reformat my development drive. I have Partition Magic so I can change partitions up at will.

Assuming that I want to leave the 40gb HDD alone, and say leave 50 GB of the second drive alone, can I take the remaining 50GB on the second HDD and use that strictly for Linux? Or do I have to use the whole thing? I was thinking that I would use the first 50GB for my windows FAT common area, and use the other 50 for Limux.

I am a total newbie..and I just bought Red Hat 9 Professional, and Sam's Publishing Red Hat 9 in 24 hours. The installation instructions seem very straight forward as long as you are installing on a new, unblemished machine, or if you are installing on a Windows machine with Win 9x or ME.

I know this is long..but any help or direction would be very helpful. Im very adept at following directions if its laid out stepwise. Thank you for your help, in advance.

Kork
 
Old 09-27-2003, 11:16 AM   #2
david_ross
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Welcome to LQ.

If your 100GB drive is unpartitioned, just start the installation process. When asked about partitioning - say that you want to install onto the unparitioned space. After this you will be given an option to modify the partition table. This way you can reduce the partition sizes down so that they take less than 50GB. I would make sure you have at least parititons for:
/
/boot
/usr
/home
swap

If there is data on the drive - I would move it off to a safe place (sounds like you probably have plenty of space on other machines). Then when It gets to the partition stage in th einstaller you cna choose to remove all partitions on that drive.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 11:35 AM   #3
ranger_nemo
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Rather than using your important computer first, I would look at the Dell you mentioned... Play around on that for awhile and see how you like Linux. If it turns out you don't, no big loss. If it turns out you love it, you can then install on the big box.

If / When you do install on the main computer, you won't need anywhere near 50GB for Linux. Use the first 10 for Linux, and the rest as your FAT32 storage. Linux can easily read / write to any FAT filesystems, so you don't need to set-aside 50GB "strictly for Linux". You'd have to work like heck to fill 50GB as a new Linux user. Any files you want to share between Linux and Windows on the same computer can be seen on a FAT by either.

If the drive is empty, or can temporarily be made empty, you can use the standard hard-drive partitioning tools in XP to set it up. Otherwise, Parti Magic will do the job easily. Create a FAT32 10GB (or whatever size you want for Linux) at the front of the drive. Create a second FAT32 using the rest of the drive. Delete the first, and leave that as free-space. When you install Linux, have it set-up that free-space for it's use. There will be a section of the installation that creates Linux-specific partitions.

If you do use the important box first, I think I would use a boot-floppy rather than letting GRUB install to the master boot record on the first drive. That way, if something goes wrong with the boot loader, you can get to Windows and your important stuff by booting normally. You can change it later when you get more experienced.

I'm looking at it from the direction to minimalize the chances you could do something wrong and mess up your Windows install. Make sure you do have off-computer back-ups of anything really important, just in case.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 11:41 AM   #4
kkathman
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David thank you very much for your response. I appreciate that very much. It seems that in reading the RH install manual, I should be able to do what I want. The terminology gets a little bit confusing, however.

Lets assume that I can remove everything from that 100GB drive to say, CD Roms.. While I dont have room on the other computers, I do have tons of CDs!!

Should I use Partition Magic to then partition that 100GB drive first, to say 2 partitions...one 50gb for Linux, and the other 50gb for FAT or VFAT (dont know the difference)?. Or should I just let the Linux install do that? Actually I probably dont have 50GB of shared files, if that helps.

If I remember correctly from the last time I did this...way back with SuSE 2.0, you can use Partition Magic to create the partitions, but there is something weird about the order.

So in essence I'd like to end up with:

hda = 40GB - 100% Win XP
hdb1 = 50GB Linux
hdb2 = 50GB Shared VFAT space.

Dont know if thats the right nomenclature, please forgive me if it isnt. It that something you'd do..and is this the best way?

Thanks.
Kork
 
Old 09-27-2003, 11:54 AM   #5
kkathman
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Ranger Nemo...thanks very much for your kind response. In fact, several years ago when I was experimenting with Linux, I did use that very Dell to do a dual boot system (using SuSE 2.0 at that time), and it worked. However, because that Dell has so much proprietary stuff in it, Linux wont support everything. For instnace, the sound card and modem were never supported. Hence thats why I gave up on it.

I had more or less decided to do a floppy boot, so your response encouraged me. Im sure somewhere in my documentation it will tell me what kinds of space I am going to need for Linux. I currently dont have ANY FAT partitions in Windows...they are all NTFS. So, thats the reason why I need to create a separate partition. I doubt I need 50GB. The Dell has family information on it such as old tax returns, financial things that I want to back up to the common area. I can replace the programs, but not the data, of course.

In any case...thank you very much for your time and your reply!

Kork
 
Old 09-27-2003, 12:03 PM   #6
david_ross
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As far as I am concerned:
partation magic=Evil

Just let the RedHat installer do that. Linux will want to create multiple partitions. As I said before I would usually create at least these:
Code:
Part.  Size.    Desc.
/      2GB      You need a root partition to mount everything under
/boot  100MB    Used to store kernels and bootloader configuration
/usr   7GB      For storing programs/applications.  If it is seperate
                it shouldn't get fragmented and progs will start faster
/home  40GB     For storing your user files
swap   1GB      Unlike Windows which uses a file - linux uses a partiion
                for swap space again this reduces fragmentation
The sizes given are my own estiamtions/guidelines for partitioning a 50GB drive. You may want to tweak it but I have left plenty of space for logs (usually /var under /). Plenty of swap (1GB may be overkill but you have space). 7GB should be enough for the OS and any other apps you wnat ot install. I would therefore give the rest to the data partiton (/home) A good reason for haveing /home seperate is or upgrades since you can format all other partition and leave your data in tact.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 01:07 PM   #7
kkathman
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David thank you again.

I guess my mystery is how does that OTHER 50GB get partitioned? Are you saying that the Red Hat Installer will "see" the 100GB drive and then ask me how I want to partition it. And I tell it those 5 partitions, then somehow tell it I want a DOS partition for the other 50gb and make it FAT (or VFAT)???

Thanks.
Kork
 
Old 09-27-2003, 02:19 PM   #8
david_ross
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You can either create the last 50 GB partition at this stage or leave it and modify the partition table and format later. I have found problems with windows reading the fat partions when linux formats them but not he other way round. It shouldn't matter either way since you can always reformat that partition later.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 03:21 PM   #9
kkathman
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Quote:
I have found problems with windows reading the fat partions when linux formats them but not he other way round.
So, you sound like you are suggesting that I partition this 100gb first. So I am inclined to take the first 50 or 60 gb of that 100gb drive and just let Partition Magic or Windows do its thing on that one making it a FAT partition. Then fire up the Linux installer and install to the remaining partition.

Am I right that the installer should see then,

hda
hdb1
hdb2 <------- where I want to install Linux?

David thanks for taking so much time and patience!

Kork
 
Old 09-27-2003, 03:36 PM   #10
david_ross
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I would install linux at the start of the drive since it will run faster. When you get to the partion stage of hte install you will be prompted to install to hda or hdb (assuming the 100GB is the primary slave) When you install create the partitions I mentioned at he start of hte drive then the fat partion at the end. If Windows can't access the partion just format it again under windows.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 04:02 PM   #11
kkathman
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Many thanks David...I appreciate your time and valuable advice.
 
Old 09-27-2003, 04:07 PM   #12
david_ross
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No problem - let us know how the install goes.
 
  


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