Originally Posted by lessax
However in checking with Gparted I find that the Dell already has 4 partitions:
sda1 -- fat 16 47 MB
sda2 -- ntfs 79 GB -- 14 GB used
sda3 -- ntfs 26 GB -- 3 GB used
sda4 -- fat32 8 MB
I'm not sure what the fat16 is but sda2 is my C: drive and sda3 is by D: drive. I think sda4 is a drive that Dell sets up for a re-install.
I need to keep XP on the box for my mapping programs but would really like to use MEPHIS as the primary OS. I suspect that I need 1 GB swap, 10 GB for /root, and 15 GB for /home.
BTW I have googled for this info without satisfactory results.
You are correct that there can only be four primary partitions on the hard drive. The way around this is to use an Extended Partition for one of the primary four partitions. Since your plan is to dedicate about 26 GB to Linux, the easiest approach would be to move your data from your D: drive over to the C: drive, and plan on using that space for your Linux drives.
The steps below assume that you have GParted on a live-CD (i.e., it will boot up from the CD.)
1.) Back-up your hard drive. (In case anything goes wrong.)
2.) In XP: Move any data from D: drive to the C: drive that you want to keep.
3.) Reboot your computer using the GParted CD.
4.) From GParted
4.a) Select the sda3 partition, and then Delete from the partition menu. (The apace sda3 occupied should then show up as unallocated space.)
4.b) Select the unallocated space, and then Create from the partition menu. In the Pop-up dialog box, change the partition type from Primary to Extended for the whole space.
4.c) Within the extended partition, create the three Linux partitions that you wanted
Create the 1st as 10 GB with ext3 as the format type.
Create the 2nd as 1 GB size with linux-swap as the format type.
Create the 3rd as 15 GB with ext3 as the format type.
4.d) Then Click Apply to implement these changes.
5.) Reboot your computer using the MEPIS live CD. Click on the Install MEPIS icon from the desktop. On the installation screen where it asks about where to install MEPIS, make sure that the "Use the entire disk" option is nor selected. Select instead the install MEPIS in custom partitions option.
I hope this helps. I have only recently begun using Linux, so my advice may not be the best, but this was the approach that I took when I installed MEPIS. By the way, when I installed MEPIS, the supplied Qtparted disk partitioner would not create the needed extended partitions, which is why I used GParted to set my partitions up before installing MEPIS.