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hello. First here is my specs. custom built computer, 120gb western digital, 30 gb generic, 512 ram amd pc 3200 duron 1 ghz toshiba dvd/cdrw, windows xp home on the 120 gb. 30 gb drive had win 98 se on it but now I just use it for storage, i did not merge it when i installed xp. My xp is locking up everyday for no apparent reason. I looked in event viewer and found no hardware errors at time of lockups, and It seems to do it when i run certain programs like real player xnews, etc. 'm fed up with it, this is a brand new motherboard and hardware. I heard about linux, and how it doesnt lock up, so i went and bought linux magazine which has a caopy of SuSE pro 9.3 4.3gb dvd in it. My question is, I kinda wanna try it first and I heard it can dual boot so could i install it to my 30 gb drive and keep xp on the 120 and try it out to see if that SuSE runs good? How do i set it up to dual boot and install to my 30 gb drive. Also do I need to delete all the stuff in my 30 gb drive first? Thanks for any help
I strongly recommend using another distribution besides SUSE. I had successful attempts with Mandrake 9.0 or Mandrake 9.2 and Redhat 9. Mandrake or Mandriva 10 and up are poor versions of Mandrake that has too many loose screws. The distribution that is the best (IMHO) is Gentoo because you are able upgrade with out any problems. Gentoo is not designed for Linux beginners and people that are impatient. There is also Mepis and Ubuntu, but I have not tried them. Any Linux distribution can multi-boot. Mandrake does it for you without any problems. I suggest using Grub as your bootloader.
It is easier to install Linux on a seperate drive because Windows always screws itself. First backup any files that you want to keep on the 30 GB hard drive. Disconnect the Windows drive or the 120 GB drive, so you do not do anything stupid in the next steps. Use a low level formatting utility from your hard drive manufacture to get rid of many faults that Windows did to the 30 GB hard drive. During installing Linux, erase all partitions and add new ones. Depending on the Linux distribution, you can select several filesystems. I suggest XFS because it is much faster than people think although several distributions will default to ext3 which is ok. The speed of an XFS filesystem is very noticable with the defaults. By formatting the partitions with XFS manually you can tweak it to go much faster.
To make multi-booting with Windows 98, Windows XP, and Linux as easy as possible, it does help to use only FAT32 for Windows. Some people will argue that Windows XP only accepts NTFS which is not true. Windows XP can handle FAT32. NTFS has its own problems such as locking files or directories if a Windows programs crashes and Linux is not able to write to this filesystem with out running into reliability issues. NTFS does not have any security compared to Linux filesystems. In conclusion, do not use NTFS for any Windows partition.
Good advice from one of our senior members. I have some NTFS paranoia with linux involved. I wish NTFS would go away. It's a pain in the butt. I like SuSE for beginners. I like Mandrake and Fedora, too. My all time favorite is debian. Everything works with debian, but you have to learn how to work debian. I can't really say whether I would like to have learned on debian because I learned on SuSE.
SuSE is really rearranged from other linux distros. I've had a lot of problems installing rpm's from other distros, and installing from source. The good thing is, SuSE has about 9 GB of packages for 9.3 i386. I have found a few things I had to get elsewhere, but SuSE has a lot of stuff.
I've only run Mandrake occasionally, in VMware, as a virtual machine. It's really easy, but not quite as automatic as SuSE 9.3. It seems very stable. Fedora core is kind of bare bones. It has the basic stuff you need to do everything.
Debian is my personal favorite because it is real linux. It's very slick. Everything always installs correctly, because it is organized like standard linux. It comes with 8700 some packages, with some really freaky stuff. Everything works in debian. If I can't get something to work, I do it on my debian machine. Debian may be a little intimidating for you. You really need to be used to reading the screen. There are instructions for everything, but you have to use your head.
After using Windows XP for years I wasn't used to using my head anymore, just my mouse. XP doesn't really do anything, so it isn't very hard. Linux is like a classy woman. You have to treat her right, and tolerate her whims. Fortunately, unlike a classy woman, linux comes with instructions. And, you are never far from home if you can just get linux to install. Then you will be able to get to this forum. i have faith you can do it. Take courage. Keep Windows for a security blanket, in case the classy woman won't cooperate. Please be patient with her. If you are, you will be so happy.
There is nothing I regret about Windows, except that I was inflicted with it. I still keep a Windows partition, but I haven't booted into it for as long as I can remember. Whatever gets you to where you want to go. You can use a four cylinder automatic, or a 350 V-8 with a six speed stick. It's your choice.
I would not recommend Debian or any Debian based linux system for a newbie. I have no doubt that Debian is a great Linux system when you get it working. The key words are "when you get it working". In my experience, nothing works out of the box, especially when it comes to hardware detection. I guess it boils down to the type of person installing it. I work in the computer field by day, but during my evenings I don't have the patience to fool with an operating system. I just want it to work. I've tried many linux distributions including Debian, and the one I find the easiest because it detects most things out of the box is Suse Linux. The YAST configuration tool is unmatched.
In a nutshell, for someone that doesn't have the time, patience, or interest in endless hours of tweaking an OS, I would recommend Suse. Later when a person gets more experienced in Linux, Debian might be a good choice. Mandrake is usually good too, but they're getting a little too "commercial" for my tastes. They want you to sign up for a monthly subscription for updates as opposed to free updates that many other distros have. Fedora isn't bad, but they don't have much for package selection and sometimes I find the menus poorly organized. Novell recently "opened" Suse just as Redhat spun off Fedora. The free Suse is at www.opensuse.org. The DVD of 9.3 that you received with the magazine is their commercial version, but you're getting the full version free through the magazine, so there should be no problem in using it. I too have that same version that you have.