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I really want to get into Linux but I don't want to give up on Windows until I feel completely comfortable with Linux because I know it is not easy to use at first. I have a Compaq Presario 2700T laptop runnnig Windows XP Home Edition with 30Gb, 256Mb RAM, floppy, cd-rom, and Partition Magic 7.0. I want to ba able to turn on my laptop and be able to choose between XP or Linux. What I figure I have to do is run Partition Magic and make a partition for Linux then pop in the CD for Linux and not install a boot loader. Will the windows MBR work with Linux? Plus do I resize my partition or do I make a new one because I do not want to lose all my data. Sorry for making you read all this.
bleh @ floppy linux
just put lilo in the mbr it will not let u loose any windows data.
and if u fuck up your MasterbootRecord just put a windows startup disk in the drive and do a fdisk /mbr and voila the mbr is clean again.
and if u mess up lilo just get a linux bootdisk and type lilo in /usr/sbin after u mounted the drive and voila
Actually neo77777's response is pretty much the accepted way of dual booting with an XP windows setup. You can use the NT boot loader and a menu to select either XP or Linux. Go to The Linux Documentation Project and look for the how-to on dual booting NT and Linux for an additioal view of the process.
But when I use Partition Magic, do I create a new partition? or do I just resize the current one?(which is my whole hard drive) And is there another easier way to boot into Linux using the windows MBR than using a boot disk. I kind of don;t mind doing that but if it is not completely necessary then I would prefer not to.
Ok so then when I install Linux, I install it on the (new or resized) partition without installing the boot loader? Is that right?And this will make me use the boot disk with Linux right? So when I start up my laptop, it's just gonna go into XP unless I put my boot disk for Linux?
I also saw the linux-laptop.net website and found my laptop. In that entry the guy said "I selected GRUB as my boot loader and selected to install in the Master Boot Record (MBR). I also added another boot image for Windows and set that as the default boot image. " How do I do that? Sorry for all the newbie qustions.
As futurist said, you only need to use PM to shrink your current Win partition and leave free space for Linux. You'll create and format your Linux partitions as part of the installation process.
As for booting, both lilo and grub can boot Windows partitions if you want to dual-boot without uing a floppy. Here's how it works with grub. At the beginning of the tutorial there is also a link to instructions for dual-booting with lilo.