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UMG:Chicken_Sop 01-07-2008 12:46 AM

Linux Windows Dual Boot Installation Notes
Hi all,

I set up a friend tonight as a dual boot XP SP2/Slackware. He's happy as a clam in the sand at high tide, and can choose his OS based on what he wants to do. I took careful notes, so I thought I'd share in the interest of helping out some poor soul who is stuck.

I have found this type of setup to be extremely effective and work very well. I plan to install another drive in his machine as FAT32 for backing up files.



hda1: Type Linux, 10GB, Slackware Linux OS
hda2: Type Linux Swap, 0.5GB
hda3: Type NTFS, 30GB, Windows XP SP2 OS
hda4: Type FAT32, 120GB, Shared


1. Partitions must be in the correct order. hda1=Linux, hda2=Linux swap. Fine. Here was the problem. The FAT32 partition was hda3 and the NTFS partition was hda4. Thus windows assigned a drive letter of "C" to the FAT32 and "G" to the Windows Installation! I didn't like that at all, and saw him him having crazy problems in the future, because some programs assume that C: will be your Windows installation directory. So I deleted the installation and repartitioned them as 30GB THEN 120GB, it assigned them correctly.
2. The Windows disk was a Dell "Reinstall Only" disk, so when I tried to install it on the clean partition it hung at 34 minutes to go. I power cycled (using the button) and it installed the second time around. This is a licensing issue. From my reading this phenomenon is also part of Vista, as these disks expect a previous version to be there and it works the second time.
3. The tool I used to partition was Ranish Partition Manager. I love it; it's very powerful and if I ever meet Ranish imma buy him a drink. But be very very very careful... when you boot with this diskette you are one keystroke away from burning your disk!
4. FAT32 is the choice for a shared partition. To make a long story short, Linux and Windows don't get along at the file system level. They're sitting next to each other on the drive and that's as close as they will come. Perhaps an irrational fear, but I refuse to mount my NTFS partition on Slack (or vice-versa) (note resistance of urge to bash Microsoft for failing to support FAT32 after ME... resisting....resisting........)
5. I gave XP control of the MBR, and made Slackware the second option. Windows likes things this way. I installed LILO onto the MBR of the Slack partition to manage the booting of Slack. There is a dynamite article about this at I had to modify my dd command to Slackware but other than that it worked like a charm.

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