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Old 11-03-2004, 09:43 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, openSuSE
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Questions about dual boot. My Windows XP box is collecting dust!

Hello everybody.

I have been using linux for just over a year, and have finally gotten pretty comfortable with it using Slackware 10. Now that I really know the ins-and-outs of the OS, I'm EXTREMELY bored with the windows xp install on my "good" computer. Yeah, I started out using linux as an experiment on an older computer because I still needed my windows box for school stuff. I've figured out how to do most everything I need to with linux, and now I can barely stand using the windows box... but I have Mathematica 5 for windows, and I absolutely must use it for school.
I thought I could get away with ssh'ing to the linux labs at school and running X forwarding with Mathematica, but it's painfully slow.

Anyway, I have plenty of extra space on the windows box and I'd like to make it a dual boot so it doesn't sit and collect dust between Mathematica sessions. I don't want to have to reinstall windows or back up all the data I've collected over the last couple years, so I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for editing existing NTFS partitions and installing linux side by side with win XP.

I've heard that Knoppix is a good choice for editing partitions, and I'm about to burn a copy. I'm thinking about trying to install Gentoo now that I'm bored (well comfortable, at least ) with Slackware. I guess what I'm looking for are suggestions regarding Knoppix, and for editing the existing NTFS partitions so I can avoid losing my windows install. I'd also like to hear any suggestions about configuring lilo or grub--which one works better/easier for win/linux dual boot, etc. And if anyone has any info about Gentoo and possible difficulties with dual boot/co-existence with windows, please let me know.

Thanks in advance...
Old 11-04-2004, 09:42 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Distribution: Suse 9.1 Pro
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Rep: Reputation: 15
I'm not sure about using knoppix to change the partition sizes, but I'm pretty sure that it has parted on it, so that should allow you to work with the partition sizes. I personally use Partition Magic from Windows, but I've heard that parted works just as well.

I'd recommend grub. I've been using it for quite a bit now and haven't had any problems. I've found it very easy to configure and use.

Hope this helps.
Old 11-04-2004, 10:13 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Distribution: Kubuntu
Posts: 71

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When I installed SUSE on my laptop, a dell Inspiron 5150, I needed to dual boot XP Pro and Linux still. The installer helped partition my NTFS drive correctly and I have had no issues since then. In fact, I have found SUSE works best w/ NTFS and mounting it correctly. /windows/C is my NTFS partition and I can access any of my files. Maybe dual booting you can run Mathmatica through WINE?
Old 11-04-2004, 08:25 PM   #4
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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Do a defrag first.

I hope your Windows install isn't a ghost such as emachines uses. If you need to reinstall, it wipes out all partitions and uses the entire disk.

You could use the mandrake install cd (which has a NTFS resizer (and exit the install after writing the new partition table), then install your chosen one.

Preparing to install Linux:
# Choosing a Linux Distribution:
Will your hardware work?
Do you have good RAM? Memtest86 - A Stand-alone Memory Diagnostic
A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Linux Distribution
Reasons to Choose or Not Choose Linux
LWN distro list
elinux Linux Distributions
# Freeware tools for partitioning/resizing hard drive partitions:
Any Linux Live CD usually have fdisk, cfdisk and other tools available
Ranish Partition Manager
# Understanding Linux Filesystem layout:
Directory Navigation Help File
Filesystems, Directories, and Devices Help File
Proper Filesystem Layout
Advanced filesystem implementor's guide (requires registration)

Do I buy a boxed source, download off the internet or buy some cheap CDs?
It's your choice! If you download, I suggest that you check the md5sums on the Linux ISO Images and make sure you know how to burn ISOs in Windows to install Linux
# Cheap CDs
Discount Linux CDs
Linux Central
Os Heaven
Old 11-04-2004, 10:21 PM   #5
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, openSuSE
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fancypiper, thanks for all the info. My win box is a home built Athlon XP 2400+, 512 ram, same mainboard as my current linux box, etc. It's running a full install of winXP pro, so I shouldn't have any of the oem windows problems. The only thing I'm worried about is my Radeon 9550. I'm running an nVidia on my linux box due to bad support for the old radeon i was running. Damn ATI drivers.

Anyway, I think I'm leaning towards using Knoppix (and parted) to resize the windows partitions. And I still can't decide if I want to dive into Gentoo. I may since the box is basically just sitting there between Mathematica's not like i'd be losing any time waiting for Gentoo to compile.

I do have Mandrake 10 floating around somewhere. The NTFS resizer sounds interesting...that might be easier than screwing around with parted, although I haven't used either one with NTFS partitions before.

Thanks for the input everyone, and if anyone has any other pointers for me, let me know. I think I'll probably dive into it sometime this weekend.
Old 11-05-2004, 02:05 AM   #6
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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You gotta hotter box than mine (Win XP). I have a 950 Mhz Duron, 1 gig ram, 80 gig 7200 rpm hard drive, and nvidia 64 mb vid card. All I do is play games with it and use one graphics editor I like. I have an ISP that I never could get Linux to display what is on the server with any ftp prog I could find, so I do use WSFTP-LE occasionally on it.

My workbox (Linux only) is a 850 Duron, 512 MB ram, with 2 80 and a 40 gig for hard drives.

You can always enjoy Knoppix during the Gentoo install, of course. That's how I plan installing on my gaming box (Windows XP) when I get a new hard drive I have ordered for it.

I just feel safer with separate drives. I can un-plug them during Windows installs and then Microsoft can't see it and fsck it up.
Old 11-05-2004, 08:34 PM   #7
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Location: Fargo, ND
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Actually, the SuSE installation program uses parted to resize the NTFS partition. Mandrake uses code written by Partition Magic. ( Although I don't know about the latest Mandrake distro's 10 & 10.1 ). I was able to resize the NTFS partition on my HP laptop using the SuSE installaton. ( I wanted to try out a 64 bit OS for my AMD64 ).

If something goes wrong with the boot loader installation, grub can make it easier to boot up anyway, thanks to auto-completion in the command mode.
Old 11-05-2004, 09:14 PM   #8
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, openSuSE
Posts: 357

Original Poster
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Thanks for the input everyone. I tried out parted on a Knoppix cd and ran into some problems. Not sure if it was due to the stuuuuupid logical partitions set up by windows or what. So I started a Mandrake 9.2 installation, resized, quit, restarted windows, and everything is fine. I know have space for /swap, /, and /home. Now I have to decide if I really want to try out Gentoo....


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