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Old 05-24-2006, 01:26 PM   #1
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Registered: May 2006
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Help required for novice

Greetings to all,

I am new to Linux and to this forum. While I have experience working with ERP software I amabsolutely new to Linux and hope I can get all the help that I need from you guys. Here is my first question:
I am keen to try out Linux and have ordered for the Ubuntu distribution. My present system has the following config: Pentium 4 3000 Mhz Processor., 512 MB main memory.
I have a 120 GB HDD with Windows XP loaded. The HDD is configured as follows:
File System: FAT32,
The HDD has 4 partitions each having a capacity of about 18 GB. I am using the first two partitions ( C & D drives) for windows.
The remaining two partitions ( E& F drives) are empty which means I have about 40 GB for Linux. Is this enough to start with or should I install a second drive of about 120 GB.
Also if I decide to go ahead without an additional HDD how do I handle the partitioning business. How can I manage without buying software like Partition Magic? Do I need something like the SystemRescueCd. Is SmartBootManager a good piece of software to switch between Windows and Linux? I am absolutely new to Linux and shall be grateful for any and all advice fit for a someone trying Linux for the first time.
Regards to all
Old 05-24-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Rochester, MN
Distribution: Ubuntu 7.04
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My opinion is that your hard disc space is more than adequate for installing Linux. However, if you eventually wanted to store a lot of multimedia files, you may have a problem. There is a partition manager during the install that should allow you to reallocate the empty drive space.

The grub bootloader will handle the dualbooting for you. Check out and/or these forums and/or ubuntuforums for more information on dual booting.
Old 05-24-2006, 01:39 PM   #3
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Welcome to linux!

Partitioning is just like picking a linux distro, you'll find out over time what works best for you. Typically I install everything to a single partition and use a separate FAT32 partition to store important files (so my wife can access them from XP).

I have a separate boot partition that uses a 3rd party bootloader to allow me to select windows or linux. You can use the Grub bootloader, which will come with Ubuntu to do the same thing (Saikee, who you'll see around these forums has a page on the net with 100+ distros all booting using grub, so it's more than capable). If you use Grub, I would recommend making a separate /boot partition of 100MB or so. Then if you delete Ubuntu later, you will still have your config files to boot up windows (otherwise, you have to do some command line stuff to restore the windows bootloader, etc, etc).

As for partition size, a typical linux install takes up about 5GB if you install everything, including the kitchen sink. If you go for a minimal install on Ubuntu and then only load the things you want, you'll probably be more like 1.5 GB. So in general, I would say 10GB is more than plenty for most systems. If you're doing video or MP3 stuff, you might like more space.

You shouldn't need partition magic as each install CD has partitioning tools. The only reason you might need SystemRescueCD for partitioning is if you have to resize an NTFS partition as not all distros have that option. Smart boot manager is a good piece of software to use if you don't want your linux install to touch Windows at all. What you would do is install grub to the root partition (not the Master Boot Record) and then chainload it with SMB from floppy. So if you boot without the floppy, then it boots windows directly. If you boot with SMB floppy, you can pick which to boot.

Anyway, that's my . There's lots of information on dual booting around these forums and on the web. If you have problems with the setup, be sure to post back here before doing anything rash like reformatting the whole drive. If this is your only machine, you might keep a Knoppix CD handy so you can get back online if you hose something up. Then people here can help you fix it...
Old 05-25-2006, 10:13 AM   #4
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Registered: May 2006
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Help for Novice

Meng and Valdez thanks for your response. It is a great feeling that you guys are out there wanting to help. Since I live away from the big cities in a town (Tiruvannamalai in South India about 4 hours from Chennai and Bangalore) I donít have broadband. Downloading a Cd of data is almost impossible for me. Hence I have to wait for the Ubuntu CD that I have ordered for. Otherwise I would be out sailing in Linux by now!
I forgot to mention that my HDD is a SATA drive Ė does it make things any different?
Wont the Grub Bootloader do what the Smart boot Manager does?

Thanks and regards
Old 05-25-2006, 10:45 AM   #5
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: California USA
Distribution: Ubuntu,(Feisty Fawn) Windows XP(Home Edition)
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Well, I have a dual boot system with a 120GB master containing Windows XP and a 20GB slave containing Linux Suse 9.3

In my experience with the several linux OS's that I have experimented with, the OS will recognize windows and any free space on your drive/drives and partition them on its own!

its a good idea to have windows installed already before installing linux. Your linux cd should ask you where you want to place the boot loader and with a dual boot configuration, you want this to be on your windows partition.

A 40GB HD is plenty of room for all the OS's that I've ever used!

Good luck and welcome!


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