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Old 06-30-2006, 06:55 AM   #1
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installing dual boot (linux and windows)without corrupting windows

i'm new to linux.i installed and used cygwin and i'm already impressed with linux.i'd like to install linux on my pc,but still keep windows(unltil i'm good enough in linux so as not to need windows).
but i'm afraid that partioning my existing disk(like all the installing linux tutorials say)will corrupt my data.i'm going to buy a new computer soon,which will have windows preinstalled.
since in the new comp,there is no risk of data loss,i'd like help for installing linux ON A NEW COMP ,ON A SINGLE HARD DISK,FOR A NEWBIE(plz answer for a newbie,i can't make head or tail of some of the answers that are given).
Old 06-30-2006, 07:28 AM   #2
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It depends on what distribution you like to install; Ubuntu is very user-friendly to install. Probably the worst thing you can do is break your Windows bootloader (and Linux's so you can't boot your pc, though the files are ok on the HD), and that's easily fixed by booting from the Windows' (XP) install disc, running the rescue/repair utility and then running fixmbr.

1) Get a LiveCD (Like Ubuntu installation/LiveCD, that's what I suggest if you're starting for the first time with Linux install).

2) Launch it, and use the partitioning software it has inside (if it doesn't have, get one that has), like QTparted or Gparted. They're graphical, quite easy-to-use programs.

3) Select your HD (hda usually), then select your Windows partition, then open the Resize tool, make the partition smaller (so you'll end up with 20-40 gigabytes of free space, as much as you want; you'll need a few gigabytes anyway I'd say).

4) Save the changes so you'll have free space on your HD

5) Start the installation program; if you used Ubuntu's install CD, it's the icon on the desktop

6) If the installer can, choose it to install onto the free space on your HD (and not overwrite/delete/remove anything), Ubuntu can do this, I'm not sure of the others these days. If there's no such option, choose manual partitioning. Then simply create new partitions as follows (do not delete anything):

-boot partition, mount point /boot, size a few dozen - hundred megabytes. Not much. Just as much as the installer wants.

-SWAP partition, mount point "SWAP" (no mount point), size usually twice the amount of your RAM memory..something like 512 megs to 2 gigabytes. I wouldn't make it 2 gigs anyway.

-root partition, mount point /, size the rest what you've got free.

After this follow the instructions. Install bootloader (I recommend GRUB) to MBR (you can fix this if you want Windows back later or if you break it, easily), if it detects Windows, let the setup add an entry for it. If not, you'll add it later, it's just writing a few lines.

Then just sit back and enjoy..the main parts in partitioning are:

1) create free space by resizing existing partition(s) or if you're a rough dude, deleting the existing partitions
2) let Linux install onto the free space either by itself or if it can't, then do the manual partitioning as mentioned above. More help is available through the Search page.
3) install grub to MBR; reinstalling is not difficult if you mess up, and reinstalling Windows bootloader is a piece of cake if you have XP installation disc (older systems don't even need that).

And that's quite about it. If the installer doesn't create an entry for Windows in Grub (you only see Linux as a boot choice), don't panic - Windows is there, you just need to create a boot entry for it. Ubuntu creates the entry automatically, so that's one reason why I recommend it. But if you can't get it, then ask here or use the search page; that has been asked and answered here before.
Old 06-30-2006, 07:35 AM   #3
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Well, if you want to keep it simple, buy a copy of Partition Magic. This program is fairly easy to use. It has a graphical interface, so you get a good view of what you are doing.

The first step is to shrink the windoze partition, using Partition Magic. Most new pre-installed windoze systems come with the just one partition for the whole disk. Shrink it, leaving the space after the windoze system. Since you have not stated how big the disk is, it is difficult to do any recommendations on space. For a fairly full install, 10 gig will do for starters. If you have more space, all the better.

You didn't state what distro you intend to install. Pick one of the more popular ones like Mandriva, or Ubuntu. Both have installers that work well. Both can add a partition to the space you make, and format it. The installs are fairly straight forward. Take the defaults the first time. Usually this will create a system that works well enough. As you gain experience, you will learn how to tune it.

With two systems on a disk, you will need to select a boot loader program. That will get installed during the Linux install. The two choices are Lilo and Grub. Either will work with that configuration. You can find long discussions on which is best.

Do some research on the hardware BEFORE you buy it. Not all hardware has drivers available for it in Linux. Wireless cards, some video cards, and printers are areas to pay attention to. Even sound can be troublesome. Hardware that has been out for a year or more is probably supported.

Good luck, and post back if I have made it too complicated, or left questions unanswered.
Old 06-30-2006, 08:57 AM   #4
Registered: Oct 2005
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Try This

This thread i really need some help!!! - brought a response from aysiu with a link to Ubuntu Linux Resources. Fantastic, step-by-step instructions with illustrations - including repartitioning to dual boot.

Last edited by Dragineez; 06-30-2006 at 08:58 AM.
Old 06-30-2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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Download your choice of Linux Distribution and burn it to CD or DVD. Click Download Linux near the top right corner of this web page and follow the instructions.

>>> If you want to dual-boot Linux on your current computer:

First, if possible, BACK UP YOUR DATA!

Method 1) The easiest way to make room for Linux is install an extra hard drive. That way, you won't touch anything except the master boot record on your current hard drive--your programs and data will be safe. If all you intend to do is test Linux, you won't need more than a few gigabytes. Anything over 10 GB is plenty. Simply install Linux to the new hard drive and you're done.

Method 2) You are correct: Most partitioning programs will corrupt (erase) your programs and data. Generally, all they allow you to do is create and delete partitions. Partition Magic, a commercial product, can resize a partition without destroying everything in it. I've seen it work. The Ranish Partition Manager documentation says it can do the same, but I haven't experimented with this. Once you have recovered a few gigabytes from your other partitions, simply install Linux into this free space.

>>> If you want to dual-boot Linux on a brand new computer or hard drive:

Since Windows is probably preinstalled, you should save a backup of the operating system as well as the product key. It's a valid license; don't throw it away, you might use it later or sell it. If there's any other commercial software preinstalled, you probably will want to save it, too.

This is entirely optional, but I zero-fill a hard drive before I install the first operating system. This is also sometimes called low level formatting. Zero-filling a hard drive destroys all partitions, master boot records, programs, data--everything. My favorite program for this is DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke--Google it). It is a free download and boots from either floppy or CD.

Remember that Windows does not play nice with others. If you want to dual-boot a computer, install Windows first, THEN install Linux. What's more, I had a problem using the Windows 2000 Pro fdisk program. For some reason, it left a very few free sectors at the beginning of the hard drive (I guess it wanted to start at the next whole cylinder). The problem didn't show up until I tried to install Linux. The few free sectors fooled the Linux installer into thinking the entire Windows NTFS partition was free space. If you run into this problem, you may need to use a partitioning program that gives you more control over your hard drive. I used Ranish Partition Manager (another free download--Google it) to force Windows into a partition that didn't skip any free sectors. (The Ranish website has step by step instructions for dual booting Windows and Linux, but it only details FAT32 Windows partitions, not NTFS Windows partitions. Windows 9x and Me use FAT32. Windows NT, 2K, and XP use NTFS.)

>>> If you want to single-boot Linux only on a brand new computer or hard drive:

Save your Windows license as above.

Drop the first Linux CD into the drive and reboot. Part of the install process will allow you to destroy any previous partitions (Windows in this case) and reclaim all that space for Linux.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
Old 06-30-2006, 09:28 AM   #6
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Wales
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There is no need to buy a commercial partitioning product.

I can't speak for other partitioning utilities, but I have installed SUSE and Mandake/Mandriva many times on dual boot systems (including shrinking of the Windows partition to make room for Linux) and have never had any problems with corruption or erasing of programs and data.

It is wise to defrag your Windows partition first, and even wiser to backup anything important.

Last edited by john2; 06-30-2006 at 09:30 AM.
Old 06-30-2006, 01:57 PM   #7
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Where is OP? How do we know if we are helping????

Ditto the comment about partitioning tools--I just got the Gparted bootable CD--It seems to do everthing that Partition magice will do--and more.
Old 06-30-2006, 02:16 PM   #8
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thanks to all u guys,specially b0uncer,camoori and tnandy.u've all been very helpful.thanks to you,i'll switch to a dual boot windows linux system soon!!!


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