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Old 05-29-2010, 12:10 PM   #1
ZXDunny
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Question What does a Win7 user need to know before installing dual-boot Slackware 13?


Hi all - first post, hope this isn't a dumb question. A little background, if I may - this may ramble a bit!

I'm a pretty experienced Windows user, and have coded in x86 and win32 API for a while, so I know the system reasonably well. I've used windows since the days of Win95, and prior to that I had an Amiga - so I'm pretty rusty in unix-like operating systems. I have little C coding knowledge beyond reading it, though I can understand what the programmer is doing from reading the source.

My only experience with installing linux was on a 486 laptop that failed spectacularly when the CDROM couldn't be detected and used, so I'm necessarily a little wary of doing this, but I've become quite exasperated with Windows lately, and have decided to make my life interesting (if not easier at first) by dual-booting Linux with Win7.

My current machine is a dual-core intel laptop with 2GB of RAM and an ATI X1250 mobile GPU, with a 120GB HDD. I have two partitions currently on this machine - both 60GB-ish. The main C: drive is Win7. I'm aware of the hidden partition that Windows installs. I have an external 1TB USB drive for my applications and data, so space shouldn't be a problem. There is no floppy drive (unsurprisingly) and I can boot from the internal DVD drive.

I have chosen the Slackware 13 distro because it seems to be well respected as a learning tool for unix-like operating systems. My main aim here is not to abandon Windows at first, but to learn a new OS. I'm aware that Slack may not be the most user-friendly distro, but will give me knowledge that I might not gain under other distros. If I'm making a mistake here, then let me know! I have plenty of free time to devote to this little project, and I'm not afraid to learn. I am however afraid to destroy my Win7 fall-back. If all else fails, I need to be able to go back to a working OS to jump on the net to find the answer to what went wrong.

So my question, as per the subject title, is:

What do I need to know before I do this?

I have no idea what I'm doing with regard disk partitioning beyond Partition Magic - which I don't actually possess anymore. I can use the Windows disk management app. I have no idea how to manage a boot sector.

So are there any gotchas that I need to bear in mind? I've already read this thread:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ws-7-a-783713/

Which I must admit looks very complicated!

I have a fair bit of time before my Slackware 13 DVD-ISO image downloads (20KB/Sec) so have some time to gather information.

Thanks for any and all help.

D.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
pixellany
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Welcome to LQ!!

The first thing that a Windows power user needs to know is that "Linux is not Windows". There is plenty of debate about the pros and cons, but "different" does not appear to be controversial.

To setup dual-boot, the first word is "backup".

Dual-boot is not really that complicated:

1. Backup important data
2. Reduce the size of the Windows partition to make space for Linux*
3. Install Linux---let it put the bootloader in the MBR.
4. Configure the bootloader to recognize Windows. (some installers do this automatically)

One caution: If you do not have a Windows install disk, you should at least find some kind of rescue disk that can re-install the Windows boot code if something goes wrong. Personally, I would never run a computer with the ability to re-install the OS.

*Many people have multiple partitions (~10-20GB each) for operating systems, and then one larger partition for shared data. But there are as many partitioning schemes as there are users.
 
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
sycamorex
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Quote:
My current machine is a dual-core intel laptop with 2GB of RAM and an ATI X1250 mobile GPU, with a 120GB HDD. I have two partitions currently on this machine - both 60GB-ish. The main C: drive is Win7. I'm aware of the hidden partition that Windows installs. I have an external 1TB USB drive for my applications and data, so space shouldn't be a problem. There is no floppy drive (unsurprisingly) and I can boot from the internal DVD drive.
I think the only point where there's a risk of messing up something is partitioning. What's on you second 60GB drive? Could you spare the whole of it for slackware?
You could download any of linux LiveCDs and run gparted (looks very similar to partition magic) - delete the second/last drive and create linux partitions before-hand.
You could also do it during the installation of slackware but it uses the 'fdisk' command line partition tool, which might be intimidating for a linux newbie.

Last edited by sycamorex; 05-29-2010 at 01:37 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 12:30 PM   #4
ZXDunny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Welcome to LQ!!

The first thing that a Windows power user needs to know is that "Linux is not Windows". There is plenty of debate about the pros and cons, but "different" does not appear to be controversial.
Yep. I'm aware of that :-)

Linux seems to be a step backwards, if I might be so bold - back to the days of stability with a very powerful command line. As I said, the only unix-style OS I've used is the AmigaOS, where the OS gets out of the way when you need it to, and doesn't hide anything from you.

Tell the truth, I'm getting quite excited about this - it's a bit dangerous, if you know what I mean. Unknown territory!

Quote:
To setup dual-boot, the first word is "backup".
As I say, I have two partitions - Win7 on C: and data on D: - and I've removed all the data on D: to my external USB drive. As it's empty, I'm intending to delete the partition entry (NTFS) and use the 65GB that remains for my Slackware install. This will give me say, a 5GB swap partition and a 60GB partition left over. I'm assuming that Slack's installer will allow me to do this.

Thanks for your kind welcome.

D.
 
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:37 PM   #5
ZXDunny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
I thing the only point where there's a risk of messing up something is partitioning. What's on you second 60GB drive? Could you spare the whole of it for slackware?
Yes, I'm intending to remove it and use it for Slackware - from web searching, I think that should be enough... especially as Win7 has a similar size space to work in, and seems happy!

Quote:
You could download any of linux LiveCDs and run gparted (looks very similar to partition magic) - delete the second/last drive and create linux partitions before-hand.
You could also do it during the installation of slackware but it uses the 'fdisk' command line partition tool, which might be intimidating for a linux newbie.
Hmm. I'd be terribly afraid of deleting the wrong partition by mistake - being mostly a Windows user, I'm a tad rusty on the command line barring the odd file copy on 'cmd'

D.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
thorkelljarl
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Working with Windows 7...

If you want to make room for linux on the HDD containing Win 7, use the Win 7 partitioning tool to reduce the size of the Win 7 partition, thus preserving the ability of Win 7 to boot.

If you need to reduce the Win 7 partition more than the Win 7 tool makes able, you may use a live-cd such as PartedMagic or GPartedLive.

You will then probably need this to restore the Win 7 boot loader. Note the link to the Win 7 Recovery Disk Download.

http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBC...r+from+the+DVD

If you wanted to be more adventurous, you could install and boot your linux from that USB HDD.

In addition to having a back-up of your system, I trust that you have taken the opportunity to made a copy of your Windows 7 installation files.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 05-29-2010 at 02:06 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #7
linus72
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hey man
you can check out a real live or installed slackware current environment
with

1) my nFlux slackware livecd/usb
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ml#post3984102

2) PortableQemu emulator for windows/linux
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ml#post3969567

if you run or install any linux cd to a parttitioned qemu img
it will run just like the real thing; a little slower

and you can try nFlux without installing anything

Always Always backup your win7 before doing anything; you got a recovery disc?
slack rocks so its good choice
 
Old 05-29-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
ZXDunny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorkelljarl View Post
Working with Windows 7...

If you want to make room for linux on the HDD containing Win 7, use the Win 7 partitioning tool to reduce the size of the Win 7 partition, thus preserving the ability of Win 7 to boot.
I've noticed this on a couple of "How To..." for dual booting - can anyone explain why I'd need to reduce the size of the Win7 partition if I've got a spare 65GB?

And thanks to Linus72 - I might check those out, if I have time to download them! At 20KB/Sec on my connection, it takes a day to download a CDRom .iso

D.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 02:35 PM   #9
linus72
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Read this too
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...tebook-810492/

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...tition-810503/
 
Old 05-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
sycamorex
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Quote:
I've noticed this on a couple of "How To..." for dual booting - can anyone explain why I'd need to reduce the size of the Win7 partition if I've got a spare 65GB?
You don't have to. It would be necessary if you had only 1 partition already taken by Windows.

Let's take it one step at a time.

1. Get one of those Live CDs and use gparted to prepare partitions for slackware. There are different ways of doing it - let's take the simplest: 1 partition for / (root) and one for swap.

a) in gparted: delete your 65GB partition
b) create a new partition 64GB - ext4 filesystem (for your slackware - it's way too much than you'll need but just to keep it simple)
c) create a new partition 1GB (for swap (something like windows' page file))

2. Boot your computer with a slackware CD and start the installation process.

Last edited by sycamorex; 05-29-2010 at 02:53 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 03:06 PM   #11
mryuck
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If you already have 2 partitions, There is no need to resize windows partition.
I think that is for windows users with 1 partition max sized partition.

The slackware installer partitioning tool I use is fdisk. It is not graphical but not hard either.

Your drive will probably be /dev/sda. The first partition will be /dev/sda1.(where windows is)

The command fdisk /dev/sda will launch the program. At this point press m for a list of commands press p to display the current partitions.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 03:07 PM   #12
mryuck
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Or you can just do what Sycamorex said. Got in just in front of me.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 03:07 PM   #13
thorkelljarl
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Is it Windows or not...

I assumed that the D partition was part of your Win 7 installation. In that case, eliminating the D partition will change the HDD partition table. The Win 7 bootloader refers to this in booting, and upon noting any discrepancy, will not boot Win 7.

The remedy for this ill is to use the Win 7 partitioner. However, Win 7 has certain unmovable files that block the reduction of the Win 7 partition beyond a certain point, thus the need of another partitioning tool and a repair procedure.

You should need to make a similar repair if you modify D as part of Windows 7.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 05-29-2010 at 03:09 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 03:11 PM   #14
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorkelljarl View Post
Is it Windows or not...
You're right - let's establish the facts first so that we would provide any ill advice to the OP

ZXDunny, does you second partition contain only data, or are there any Windows programs installed on it or is it in any other way part of the windows installation?
 
Old 05-29-2010, 04:57 PM   #15
ZXDunny
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Ok folks - thanks for the answers so far!

My main drive is partitioned into two - C: is 60GB, and is Windows7, NTFS. D: (65GB, NTFS) is empty, barring the recycle bin - I've backed up and deleted everything on there. When I installed Win7, I installed only to the C: partition.

I guess I should use the Windows disk management tool to remove the D: partition just in case?

D.
 
  


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