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By dalek at 2003-11-18 22:27
Mandrake 9.X Install How To

List of steps

1: Research your hardware for compatibility
2: Order/Download Mandrake 9.1
3: Dual booting and preparing windows
4: Change your BIOS
5: Installation of Mandrake 9.1 OS
6: Partitioning
A: Single Drive system
B: Two Drive System
7: Selecting packages to install
8: Final installation and setup of passwords
9: Installing the Boot loader
10: Monitor test
11: Reboot

DISCLAIMER: I assume no responsibility for data loss. This is a use at your own risk guide. No exceptions!

This should also work with 9.2. The only change being the it will ask you what CDs you have. If you have all three just click next on that screen.

Research your hardware for compatibility

You can check your hardware compatibility by going to or **** Also have a look at the LinuxQuestions Hardware Compatibility List and see if your hardware is listed. (Feel free to add any hardware regardless of compatibility). Another good tool for searching for Linux information is It is important that you check your hardware, especially video card, modem and components that are built into the motherboard.

You also need to see if you need any patches to get through the install. Some issues are 1Gb or more of memory, slow to install, and AMD read errors. You can check for these at .

Order/Download Mandrake 9.X

You can download or order Mandrake from their website or from or . There are other sites that sell similar to these. If you can, do support Mandrake either by buying from them or supporting after the install. There are links on the site.

If you download, you will need to check for errors. Visit this link for how to test. You can do this in Windows or Linux.

Dual booting and preparing windows

If you plan to continue using Windows and Linux, have no fear, You can install both operating systems either on the same drive or on separate drives with almost no problem. It is always easier to install windows first since it overwrites your master boot record. You have the choice of boot loaders - either grub or lilo. The default is lilo, but a lot more users are starting to use grub. It's up to you.

If you keep Windows on a single drive installation you must run "scandisk and defrag" (antivirus must be disabled for these steps) before you install Linux. Make sure that "make programs load faster" or something to that effect is NOT selected. This will move the data to the first part of the drive. When defrag gets finished DO NOT RUN ANY PROGRAMS, GO DIRECTLY TO SHUTDOWN. This will ensure that the data stays on the first part of the drive.

I recommend about 10Gbs for Linux. You can get by with less depending on what you plan to install and do with Linux. I have put it on a 2Gb drive with no problem and some space for data. Your choice on space.

Change your BIOS

You need to change a couple of things in your BIOS. You need to make sure that you have "plug n play" or PnP disabled and that you can boot from your CD drive. Windows will usually work just fine with it set this way. It should recognize your hardware just fine. You will however need to change the boot sequence from CD back to your hard drive after the install.

Installation of Mandrake 9.X OS

If you have the rest done it is time to start the installation. Put the #1 CD in the drive and reboot.

You need to look and see if you get a message on the screen right after the memory count that says "hit any key to boot from CD" or something to that effect right at the bottom. A few motherboards require that you confirm booting from CD. If the system boots from the hard drive, you may have to do a bit of research on how to boot from CD.

You should get a screen with a lot of text scrolling up. This is good. You should get a screen that says "F1" to rescue or "enter" to install. If you need a patch you must hit "F1" and follow the
instructions with the patch. If you have no patches just hit enter.

The next screen will ask what language you want. Click the language and then "next". The next screen is the license agreement, click accept and next. The next screen is for the mouse. Make sure you select the right mouse and port. If you change the selection you will likely have to test the buttons. Mine required me to push each button and roll the wheel. When done click "next" for each screen. The next screen is for the security level. I always use "standard". You can leave the password for this blank. Root will give you all the permissions you need. When you set any passwords always write them down so you don't forget.


Now comes the partitioning part. DrakX will appear and you will have a few options that may vary with your system. I suggest you use "Custom disk partitioning". This will allow you to control the sizing of the partitioning. This is important if you are dual booting. If you are not dual booting you can select the appropriate action.

Note, in Linux you must have a root partition and a swap partition at a minimum. You can have more than that if you want but you must have those. If you only pick a root and swap partition, you must ensure that root is large enough for linux to fit all of its files on it. Usually 4-5GB is more than enough. For easy setup I recommend you have a root partition and the swap partition. In most cases this will be just as good unless you are running a FTP server or something else requiring more space.

**** Although a root and swap partition are the minimum requirements you should seriously consider adding partitions for /home (user's data store), /var (mail, logs, some config files), and /boot. Keeping /home on its own partition will make it easier to migrate to a different distribution.

A bit of information about swap. It is generally recommended that you have twice the amount of system memory, no more than 512MB however. You can have as much as you want. The upper limit is 2Gb. Remember, if you have a small amount of system memory and use swap a lot that it will slow you down. Linux will run with 128MB, and even less, but 256MB or even 512MB is better. If you plan to use a program that will need a lot of memory, you need to adjust this to suit your needs, both on system memory and swap.

Partitioning: Single drive system

If you have Windows on your system you should have one large partition colored blue. (Resizing can also be done with partition magic 8.) You will need to resize this partition. Click the mouse inside the blue part and some options will appear on the left. You should have the option to resize. Click resize and a box will come up in the middle of the screen with a slider. Put the pointer on the slider and move it till you get the size you want. You can make more precision adjustments with the arrow keys. You are adjusting the Windows partition not Linux. Make sure you leave space for your Windows data. When you are done click "OK".
You should have some that is colored blue and some that is white. The white is "not used" yet. Click inside the white space and the options will appear on the left to create a partition. You can click "auto allocate" at the bottom to let the software do the sizing or click "create" and a box will appear for the sizing, file system type and mount points.

The first partition can be swap. Click on the slider and move till you have the amount of swap you need. Select "swap" for the file system. Remember note above for swap. Click OK.

The second partition needs to be root "/". Click in the white space and then click create on the left again. In the box slide the slider all the way to the right to use the remaining space or the amount of space you want to use. Make sure there is a "/

by CiTE on Thu, 2003-12-11 05:02
As a beginner to the world of Linux, i last night installed Mandrake 9.1 to a system made of spare parts. As i believed this edition to be a one disk install i happily worked away until the install was complete. I chose to have no passwords set.
As lame as i possibly sound(!) now when this system boots i get to the login screen and am confronted with the need for a name and password which i dont believe to have set.
First time i was shown this screen i merely put in my name and was then shown a blank white box with 'OK' and 'BACK' as my only options.

Any help would be greatly appreciated,


by dalek on Fri, 2004-01-02 01:07
Post the problem here.

You can get help there. You may have to login as root, if that helps.

See you in the newbie forum.


by m.veeravagu on Fri, 2004-12-17 00:54
If I have windows on C:, How do I install using an ISO burn CD on partition D:

Thank you

by dalek on Fri, 2004-12-17 01:22
The best way is to use the custom partition option. It may be best to let the installer make the partitions. Just click on the d: partition, delete it, then select it again and hit the auto button at the bottom. It should create the swap, the / and maybe a /home directory for you. They have a formula on how it does that but I have no clue what it is. I have never had it do the same way twice on different machines.

It has been quite a while since I used Mandrake. I switched to Gentoo a while back. If you are new, you may want to wait a bit before jumping into Gentoo. The install is not the easiest.

I hope that helps. If not you may wnat to start a thread in the newbie section. There are always more ways than one to do something.


by wallyj on Thu, 2005-03-10 09:22
Hey all, I have searched and searched online here but haven't found much usefull info. Here is my problem. I have been toying with Mandrake for a year or two, still considered a newbie to be sure, but I decided to put my copy of Mandrake 9.2 on my Toshiba Satellite pro 4600. I have the same thing running on my desktop without problem, dual boot.

My problem is that when I insert the disk, it re-boots to start the install process. That's fine. But the second page of the re-booted process changes the display to some weird resolution that my poor laptop couldn't display properly. I can barely make out the letters. I tried guessing my way through until I hit the display settings (i've installed on my desktop a few times) but decided I shouldn't mess with my partition without being able to read the screen properly.

I'm now officially fustrated and would like to continue, but can't find a way to force a more normal screen display. I'm not quite sure what it's trying, because the initial install screen works fine, but when it comes to configure anything, it goes low res..

Any help would be appreceated!


by dalek on Thu, 2005-03-10 22:04
You may want to start a new thread here.

Also note, you can add boot options for the video that MAY correct the problem. It has been a long time since I messed with Mandrake and have never had a laptop so I am not much use on this one. May also want to read this page and/or browse a bit there.

Hope that helps. Wish I knew more to tell you.



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