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-   -   How to reinstall Linux on a Dual Boot PC (

meigwil 02-18-2007 09:44 AM

How to reinstall Linux on a Dual Boot PC
Hi all,

I currently have Mandriva 2005 SE on a dual boot machine with Win XP.

I'd like to install Ubuntu 6.10 on the partition instead of the Mandriva, how do I go about this?



xpromisex 02-18-2007 12:05 PM

If you want to use the partition again - just format the partition with some partitioning software (Parted, cfdisk, fdisk, gparted, PartitonMagic etc.) and install Ubuntu on the newly formatted partition. Make sure that you back up first though.

saikee 02-18-2007 12:31 PM

I would just tell the installer to install Ubuntu over the same partitions of Mandriva and format them before the installation. However not many Linux newbies known where their Linux are or wish to find out.

johngreenwood 02-18-2007 12:42 PM


Originally Posted by saikee
not many Linux newbies known where their Linux are or wish to find out.

How could they not know where it is?

meigwil 02-18-2007 01:55 PM

Thanks for your replies guys.

I'm running the live CD, and tried the install, but the only options I was given were:
  1. repartition one current partition (hda2)
  2. delete the whole hard disk
  3. create new partitions

Any ideas?

Thanks again,


saikee 02-18-2007 02:04 PM


How could they not know where it is?
From the information so far need I say more?

benerivo 02-18-2007 02:40 PM

Those options you were given seem strangely limited. Try booting in to XP and deleting the partitions that Mandriva is on. I think you can do this from the Computer Management window, then go to Disk Management option. See this pic for an idea of the bit of XP i mean...

Then delete the partitions that Mandriva is on. There will be at least two - one will be the main Mandriva partition and one will be the Linux Swap partition. XP will proabably refer to them as unknown partitions, and they will probabaly show up to the right of the C: drive from that pic above.
Once deleted you will have empty space. Run the live cd again, and hopefull you will now have an option for installing on to the unused space you have just created.

saikee 02-18-2007 02:58 PM

If only hda2 is reported Mandriva may have been installed into it and using "edit" option would be the easiest and quickest because we don't want the swap to be deleted.

One way to find out is while loading Ubuntu, drop into the terminal and do a

sudo fdisk -l
To see how many partitions with Type 83 for native Linux, Type 82 for swap and Type 7 for XP.

If a user is to create or delete partitions for Linux it is better to use the partitioning tools in Linux and Ubuntu is an excellent Live CD.

meigwil 02-18-2007 03:53 PM

The Mandriva boot loader shows 5 partitions. Two Windows, two Linux and a failsafe. I'm not sure what that one is.

Are there tools on the Live CD to manage the partitions? It's Ubuntu version 6.10.

Thanks again,


johngreenwood 02-18-2007 04:51 PM

The entries in the bootloader are not partitions, for example Mandriva and failsafe would boot from the same partiton, but failsafe would boot differently, but I'm not sure how. To see a list of partitions use

fdisk -l
This will give info about the partitions on your hard drive(s)

meigwil 02-18-2007 04:58 PM

fdisk -l gives

/dev/hda1 Hidden W95 FAT32
/dev/hda2 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda3 Extended
/dev/hda5 Linux
/dev/hda6 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/hda7 Linux

I continued with the installation program, choosing to manually edit the partition table.

I've chosen to leave hda1 and 2 alone, put / (root) on hda5, the swap on hda6 and /home on hda7.

I'll get back with the results.


johngreenwood 02-18-2007 05:25 PM

OK then, good luck.

saikee 02-18-2007 06:18 PM

It will work.

Partitions are partitions. Just make sure they are formatted first.

Apart from the swap I normally use just one partition for a distro.

meigwil 02-18-2007 06:19 PM

Well, I think I managed to install the OS ok, but I didn't choose to reformat the /home partition (hda7).

After I switch on and boot, I put in the username and password and get this warning message:


User's $HOME/.dmrc file is being ignored. This prevents default language and session information being saved. File should be owned by user and have permissions. $HOME directory should be owned be user and not writable by other users

After I click OK, there's a pause, and an error message that says something like:


Your session lasted less than 10 seconds. There is probably an error.
and gives


home/mei/.gnome2/ could not be created

I poked around using the command line, and the home directory contained the old users from the Mandriva installation. I removed them and created a new /mei directory, but still the same.

Should I reinstall and reformat the partition? Or can I fix this manually?

I'm back on the live CD now.



johngreenwood 02-18-2007 06:39 PM

Maybe you could try

chown -R /home/mei
Does your distro have useradd?
useradd asks where you want your home directory and if it exists, asks if you want to chown it. I use this and have never had a problem.

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