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Old 02-07-2004, 06:30 AM   #1
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Question How to format disk for MAndrake/WIn98 install

Hi there, folks,

I've recently read a lot about preparing to install Linux, but I need someone knowledgeable to confirm what I'm about to do before I do it. Here is what I want to do: reformat my 20Gb hard disk, leaving 5 Gb for Windows 98 to be clean reinstalled there (which is taking up almost that now with all my apps and data, which I plan to move to Linux as soon as I get comfy with it.) and give the rest of the space to Linux.

As I understand it, I use FDISK to delete the existing partition and recreate a smaller one for Windows. I see conflicting opinions about whether I should make the Windows partition primary/bootable or the Linux one primary. Which is it?

And, do I need to create the remaining partition destined for Linux using FDISK or will my Mandrake 9.2 install take care of that? I don't suppose I have to format it under DOS as it won't be for DOS/Windows…

There's a fair amount of advice on the net about how to partition the Linux part of your disk, and it all seems different. I have 319 Mb of memory. Any suggestions? Should I just let Mandrake decide for me?

Also, when I get Crossover Office so that I can successfully run Word (required for my freelance work) I will want to bag Windows altogether and give Linux the entire disk. Will I be able to do this without reinstalling Mandrake?

How will I be able to access from within Linux the Windows folders containing all my files backed up on CDs?

Thanks so much for your help,

Old 02-07-2004, 06:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to LinuxQuestions

You do not need to delete and reinstall your windows unless you really want to. Mandrake is capable of resizing your existing partition to create some space on the drive. Be sure to run scandisk and defragment the drive first. linux uses its own filesystem so it is best to let the installer partition and format the free space.

You can let the installer auto partition using free space. As a beginner to keep things simple for partitions:
/boot 100mb
swap 512mb
/ (root) everything else

Mandrake will detect you have an existing windows partition and automatically configure to mount at boot up. It will be /mnt/win_c.
Old 02-07-2004, 07:04 AM   #3
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Well, at first you create a windows primary partition with FDISK, and install your Windows on it normally (leaving the rest of the disk unpartitioned). After this I've done the following thing to get rid of booting problems when removing/adding OS'es: I create a small partition, linux ext2 or ext3, for booting - Mandrake will tell the size of it, I guess it's somewhere around 60-100 megs, don't depends on Mandrake's wishes So...

After doing the windows-install, make the boot-partition with mandrake, then make a root partition and the swap partition. Now make your small boot-partition the active one (so that the windows's "primary" partition becomes unactive = doesn't have the bootable-flag. After this your windows won't come corrupted if you hazzle with bootloaders, and neither does your linux (I've seen them both do it back in the days, and an active bootpartition, not MBR, saved me).

Then install your Mandrake to the root partition you selected and grub/LILO (your bootloader) into the boot partition, which is the active=bootable. After this you should have one partition for win, other for Mandr, one for swap and one for boot. Nice

Then add both OSes to your bootloader's configuration: mandrake to boot from your root, and windows to boot from it's root (if you made windows in primary partition, it's hda1, and Mandr is something like hda3 or whatever...I think Mandr tells you) and after reboot you can select which OS you prefer.

Now the Windows file access....cdroms are read normally, but if you want to access windows partition itself, make a new folder into /mnt (where your mounting points are, or where you want the Windows partition to be mounted) like


then, as root, mount Windows with

mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/C

or if your windows is something else than hda1, change it. For this you need to have a line in /etc/fstab, something like this:

/dev/hda1 /mnt/C vfat user,noauto 0 0

to get it mounted. After it's done, just

cd /mnt/hda1

and you're in your Windows partition.
Old 02-08-2004, 03:27 AM   #4
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hey, thanks very much!


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