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Old 05-19-2004, 11:37 AM   #1
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Registered: May 2004
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Advice for dual-boot sys setup

I'm planning to dual boot a Linux OS(haven't decided on dist yet) with Win2Kpro (seperate partitions) and I'd like some advice on what I should have on hand before I start and which dist would be the easiest to get working.

A link to a "For Dummies" style tutorial would be really helpful (some of linux buffs have a tendancy to ramble on. ie.: I have yet to find a tut that gets to how to mount a filesystem rather than rambling on and on about why to mount a fs and the concept of it).

I'm almost a complete n00b when it comes to linux, but i'm pretty good when it comes to win32/nt based os's (I can install/config/secure[relative term I know] NT4/95 and newer, familiar with the concepts of tcp/ip networking and fdisk/regedit are no strangers to me. Just so you know you don't have to explain to some boob that spent $3500 on an off-the-shelf PC and can't find the hdd activity light on his tower.)

the system hardware I'm setting up on is as follows (I'd like to be able to light up all of this HW):
A7N8x deluxe rev 2.0
AthlonXP 3200+
1024MB RAM
120GB SATA Drive (using the onboard SiI 3112 SATA)
Radeon 9800XT 256MB (ATI built) EDIT: forgot to mention this is an AGP card
SB Audigy2
Plextor premium CDR/RW (secondary IDE: master)
LG DVD ROM (secondary IDE: slave)
generic 1.44m floppy
onboard 3com NIC
onborad Nvidia NIC

Internet connectivity is coming from a NAT router with DHCP enabled so connectivity shouldn't be hard to setup

I'd prefer NOT to install lilo to the boot record if i can avoid it.

ps.: sorry for all the ranting... i'm a little too passionate about my PC and i want an OS that isn't going to push-install DRM (which should really be called DBLP: Digital Bottom Line Protection) or some other crap

Last edited by gliengul; 05-19-2004 at 11:39 AM.
Old 05-19-2004, 11:59 AM   #2
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: New York City
Distribution: Debian Sid 2.6.32
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I have a very similiar set up on my machine here at work. I dual boot win2000 pro and redhat 9, but my hardware is much less powerful that what you have.

I would make one very strong suggestion. Install Win2kpro first, and DO NOT use NTFS to format that portion of the drive. The newest version of the kernel alows linux to read and write to NTFS, but most of the distros compile with 2.4.xx kernels, which do not support NTFS read/write. Format the windows side with fat32, which all current linux distros support reading and writing to.

Say you want to split the 120 gig drive 50/50 between linux and windows, I'd format 60 gig with fat32 and completely install all the software/anti-virus/windows updates etc, which I'm sure you are familiar with.

When that is finished, reboot the system with the first disk of whatever distro you decide to use. Tell the installer to use the unformatted space on the drive, and it will put linux in the other 60 gig space.

The reason I suggest doing windows first is Windows doesn't support multi booting, but Linux does. If you install in the other order, windows might write over the boot portion of your drive, and then you can't get into linux without a boot disk. Grub or lilo will see windows, and during boot you can choose whatever os you want.

You can find many useful guides just by using the search feature on this site. I'll post the files I had to edit to allow my linux to read all of my windows files (the reverse isn't possible).

Here is my /etc/fstab

LABEL=/ / ext3 defaults 1 1
LABEL=/boot /boot ext3 defaults 1 2
none /dev/pts devpts gid=5,mode=620 0 0
none /proc proc defaults 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs defaults 0 0
/dev/hda5 swap swap defaults 0 0
/dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom udf,iso9660 noauto,owner,kudzu,$/dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy auto noauto,owner,kudzu 0 0
/dev/hda1 /win2000 vfat defaults 0 0

all I had to add to this file was the last line, beginning /dev/hda1

Here is /etc/mtab

/dev/hda3 / ext3 rw 0 0
none /proc proc rw 0 0
usbdevfs /proc/bus/usb usbdevfs rw 0 0
/dev/hda2 /boot ext3 rw 0 0
none /dev/pts devpts rw,gid=5,mode=620 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs rw 0 0
/dev/hda1 /win2000 vfat rw 0 0
/dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom iso9660 ro,nosuid,nodev,user=jim 0 0

You may need to issue the command mount (what) (where) at some point, but other than that it isn't too bad. If you search here, you'll find all the answers you need.

Welcome to the linux side of computing!

Old 05-19-2004, 12:20 PM   #3
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Location: Houston, TX
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Jim has very good ideas but I personally like two drives. I did this because my bios has a boot option (press F8 and select HDD0, HDD1, CD, etc.) and each drive was then capable of independent operation so if one went out or Windows started getting buggy, I just work on them one drive at a time and the other is still working if you need a bootable system to get drivers, etc. Sound like a killer system you got going, just think of it with 2 SATAs .
Old 05-19-2004, 12:27 PM   #4
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Yeah, 2 drives is of course a better option, for the reasons you state. I didn't even consider changing the hardware, but with drives so cheap now, that is a good way to go.

My system was built this way about 3 months ago, and I have had linux up continuously for 67 days. I never boot into windows, but fortunately I can read all the files contained there.

Old 05-19-2004, 02:24 PM   #5
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actually the winnt family of MS OSes do support multiboot. Checkout boot.ini in the root of your win2k partition (usually this file is hidden)

My one experiment with redhat before gave me some strange initialization problems when I was booting into the MS OSes with lilo written to the boot record.

My instructor at the time was using a utility called "bootpart" to add a pointer to the linux partition to the NT loader's boot.ini and that seemed to fix the issue. I'm going to see if i can find a copy of that utility again. (I'm pretty glad i kept notes)

Thanks for the mention of a second sata drive, I was going to fdisk my current win2k instalation and repartition, but adding annother drive sounds like a better idea. (won't have to lose a perfectly stable OS setup)

Any idea which libs i'll need to get my hands on to get that video running properly? I prefer to have my video running properly very quickly. Preferably before I go blind. I goofed with knoppix a little bit, but it did a pretty sad job of picking up the radeon, and completely missed the audigy board I suppose I can't expect alot for free... I just hope I don't have to write any of my own drivers, because I'm too afraid to destroy a very expensive 3d board.

If anyone has some good tips for the audigy and radeon let me know


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