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Old 12-30-2005, 04:06 AM   #1
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Dual Boot w/ Shared partition

I've been been doing the hard drive IDE cable swap from Windows and Linux for about a year now. I used to have a dual boot between XP and Slack, but haven't got around to creating another. I bought a larger hard drive and want to do a dual boot again. This time I wanted to add a shared filesystem/partition between XP and Slack. I have read multiple posts and tutorials around LQ and Google but wanted to clarify my theoretical perspective before going on with it.

I have made seperate partitions on a linux drive alone for just my /home directory before -- but not shared. I'm curious to whether if I install Linux first and assign /home to my shared partition space (w/ FAT32 format), then install Xp, can I add that partition to my Explorer in "My Computer" as a seperate drive (e.g. "E:") using the Manage---->Disk Management feature? Then will the partition be automatically mounted on each OS without me having to go through Disk management or do a manual mount on each boot?

Thanks to anyone who can help.

P.S. I'm curious, when using cfdisk to add the FAT32 partition, do I choose the WIN95 FAT32 type or do I choose a FAT32 (LVM) type?
Old 12-30-2005, 04:30 AM   #2
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When you install XP it will automatically see all NTFS and FAT32 partitions so you will have no need to do anything to see the partition with your /home.

Why not create your home partition as a native linux filesystem and then create another partition where you can copy files to if you will need to access them from XP. I suspect that having your /home on a FAT32 partition is not very efficient. I could be wrong on this last point though.
Old 12-30-2005, 05:05 AM   #3
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Yeah I was thinking the same about FAT32 as well. I'm trying this out as a temporary solution. But making a seperate Linux native partition for /home and then a seperate smaller FAT32 partition for sharing might be a better idea.
Old 12-30-2005, 03:08 PM   #4
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I like 3 separate drives--one for each OS, and one (FAT32) for Windows.

The two OS drives can be really cheap
Old 12-31-2005, 09:11 PM   #5
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pixellany: Do you mean to say that the FAT32 is shared?
Old 01-01-2006, 11:54 PM   #6
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Cool shared FAT32

Jongi is correct, Wxp reads and writes to itself, and the FAT32 partition, but not linux. Linux sees everything and writes to all except NTFS (experimental and sketchy). Most linux distros install root and home partitions separately - precisely so that if you trash the OS, your personal files are left intact and you can just reinstall the OS.

Not sure about the physics behind it, but recommend Windows installation first because its bootloader doesn't play nice with other OSs. When installing Slack next to Wxp, be sure and defrag Wxp first and backup any important data.

You can use three separate drives, but make sure your power supply is happy with the additional load. I have also split hda into half - 1/2 NTFS for Wxp and 1/2 FAT 32 for a shared partition, and 2nd drive hdb for linux.

If you want it all on one HD, I have had good luck with the following: (this assumes no hdwr issues)

Set Bios to boot from CD - use the Wxp partition utility to create three partitions (you pick the size), I generally do 1/3 NTFS for itself, 1/3 FAT32, and leave the last third alone (linux installer will locate the last 1/3 and you can partition and format that later).

I believe there is a way to temporarily halt the Wxp installation and format the FAT32 partition as well as the NTFS during install, but since I'm not sure, I always do it once Wxp is installed from the 'manage computer' utility.

After Wxp is installed, repeat the process for Slack. Sorry it's been a while , I think you have fdisk or cfdisk to choose from.

Be sure to install the bootloader (GRUB?) to the MBR of the Wxp partition. This way you don't have to do the cable swap mambo.

Once both OSs are installed you can create links (icons) to the FATShare partition and place them wherever you wish in Wxp and Slack.

good luck and backup!


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