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Old 11-08-2004, 11:22 AM   #1
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The Move from XP to Linux - How can I deal with my Data?

Hi All
First of all apologies if this is in the wrong section, I just couldn't think of where else it would fit. My problem is this. I have been dabbling with Linux on and off for a while now on various old PC's and on VMWARE on my work machine (what i am using to type this now!). However at home for my main PC I am using Windows XP PRO. However I feel the time has come to move over to Linux for good and to get rid of XP on my home PC. I have 2 physical 120GB HDD partioned as follows:
C: OS And APPS (20GB)
D: Data (50GB)
E: Data (50GB)
Disk 2
F: Data (20GB)
G: Data (50GB)
H: Data (50GB)
I want to keep the data of every drive except for C:\ which I am not bothered about. All of the data is just office data, pictures, music and videos which I will still use in Linux.

How would I install Linux on my PC and get access to my data? I am willing to puchase a new HDD if that is the best solution. I just need to check if I can squeeze another one in!

Or is there another better solution? Once linux is installed how will i read the data from the NTFS partitions (Is it Samba?)

Thanks for your help.

Old 11-08-2004, 11:43 AM   #2
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Since you say that you don't care about C:, I would suggest that you just install Linux (whichever distro) to the first partition. The newer kernels are able to see NTFS partitions - writing is a little patchy. If you feel that's not what you want, do a search on LQ for "dual booting", that way you can keep Windows to see your data (maybe have a FAT32 partition to move data to to view in Linux and in Windows) and Linux to continue playing with.
Old 11-08-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
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That's quite a lot of data there!

Samba is used to create/view network "shares". This is not what you're looking for.

Since you have all your partitions as NTFS, you will be able to read the files without a problem, but you won't be able to write the them. As XavierP mentioned, writing to NTFS is sketchy at best. However, if your partitions are not actually full (please tell me you haven't got 240Gb of data!) then all is not lost.

Personally, I would sort out the storage before installing Linux.
Let's look at your setup, and make some assumptions - let's say, you've only used 50% of the space on any given partition:
  • C: = 20GB, 10Gb used
  • D: = 50Gb, 25Gb used
  • E: = 50GB, 25Gb used
  • F: = 20GB, 10Gb used
  • G: = 50Gb, 25Gb used
  • H: = 50Gb, 25Gb used
Since you have many "drives", I would do this:
Create a new "folder" on D and on G, called "E stuff", for instance. Move/copy 1/2 (ie 12.5Gb) of files onto D and the other 1/2 onto G. This way you have a 50Gb partition that is now empty. Reformat it as FAT32 (if Windows won't let you format a FAT32 partition that size, try Knoppix - Windows will still and use it). Move your files back from D and G to your shiny new FAT32 version of E.
Do the same for all the partitions that you need. With some finigling and luck, you will end up with all your "Data" partitions as FAT32.

Now you can install Linux.

You should always have a backup of your important data (ie data that you cannot, under any circumstances, afford to lose) before attempting to do anything like this.
Old 11-08-2004, 12:56 PM   #4
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thanks so much for your excellent advice so far. Unfortunately I do have almost 240GB of Data!! Mostly uncompressed music and video projects that i need to finish off. If I am honest though I am sure I could delete half of it / or burn a lot to DVD and not be too bothered. So your solution might be possible.

I definitely don't want to dual boot. I have done this in the past and found myself just being lazy and using Windows. I want to get rid of it altogether.

So are you saying that Linux can read and write to FAT32 much better than NTFS?

When I am in Linux how do I read / write to FAT32 drives? I think i have done this in the past by mounting the drive. Is this what you woud suggest? Is there a new way in linux of then converting the drives but keeping the data?

on the other hand I might just drink a bottle of JD before i start the linux install and scrap the whole lot
Old 11-08-2004, 01:05 PM   #5
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Simply mounting a fat32 drive makes it readable/writable. Maybe you could look at moving your data around to create a big empty partition which can be reformatted as fat32 and then wiping out Windows.


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