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Old 09-10-2007, 02:49 AM   #1
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How to install linux on a second hard disk

I tried to search a comprehensive how-to around and here in these forums, but I could not find something for me.
I have 2 hard disks; on the first (master) there's Windows XP; the second is a 240 Gb Maxtor with a single NTFS partition, which i've been using as a "repository" of files, music, etc.
I'd like to install linux on this second hd, so that to have a dual boot (in case of success, my wife would keep on using windows, while I finally would use linux only!). The secondary question is: do i have to make a little ntfs on this second hd to allow files exchange between Xp and linux (i think linux can't write on ntfs?)
Thanks a lot in advance
Old 09-10-2007, 04:17 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if it can write to ntfs.
I usually setup a small FAT32 partition.

but you don't need to do this from windows, tools like parted
can do it. and of course you can always change it afterwards.

I would also create at least 2 linux partitions (apart from swap)
1 at least for your /home directories, so you can
keep that stable between installs upgrades and what not.
say about 10G for root / directory would be easy big enough.
Old 09-10-2007, 04:24 AM   #3
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The usual way is that you create an ext3/reiser/x fs on the second harddisk. File exchange between windows/linux is then done e.g. by using ext3-drivers for windows. Writing NTFS with linux is very experimental (correct me if this is no longer the truth).

So you have to decrease your NTFS partition on the second hd and create new partitions for linux (you should also have a swap partition).

You can shrink your ntfs partitons for example with gparted

(Be always sure to know that a simple just one mistake can destroy all of your data)

EDIT: Too late ...

Last edited by Bariton; 09-10-2007 at 04:26 AM.
Old 09-10-2007, 05:06 AM   #4
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Thanks both for your replies, let me ask one final question before doing everything: what about the dual boot? I mean, once linux is nstalled in the second drive, how can I boot alternatelly disk 1 or disk 2?
Old 09-10-2007, 05:38 AM   #5
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Resize the ntfs partition to make free space for Linux, then go ahead and do the Linux installation in the free space and let it do a default installation where it will create it's own partitions as the designers of the distribution see fit. Then install the "stable" ntfs-3g package if it is not installed by default, Fedora will install it if it sees ntfs partitions. This will allow you to read/write to the ntfs partition. During installation at the boot loader stage, usually you just go with the default location the installer wants to put it which should be the MBR of the first drive with Windows, like /dev/hda or /dev/sda. Normally, when you re-boot you'll get a menu with a choice of either Linux or Windows to boot, Linux will be the default to boot if you don't make a selection within 5 or so seconds. Use the arrow keys to select either one.
Don't be afraid to let it put the boot loader where it is best to put it, it only takes two minutes to restore the Windows boot loader in it's MBR with the Windows installation disk if something does not go right. Usually when things don't go right, it's because the user made a wrong choice instead of just going with the default selections.
Old 09-10-2007, 05:42 AM   #6
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Thaanks for your help, I'll try right now!
Old 09-10-2007, 07:05 AM   #7
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Seems to me that there is no reason to keep any ntfs partition on the second hard disc. I have exactly this set up. My PC has two hard drives with Windows XP on the first. The second has a number of paritions for Linux. I also have a FAT 32 partition for sharing files between XP and Linux though you can read and write to ntfs from Linux quite reliably nowadays.

I have not set up drivers to enable Windows to read Linux partitions. One of the reasons I have gone for Linux is security worries with Windows. I would rather keep Windows from being able to interfere with my Linux files.

Dual booting is not a problem and your installation will probably set it up for you.


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