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Old 04-01-2005, 09:53 AM   #1
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Intending on using mandrake

Hey folks, I just have a few questions that I was hoping someone could answer for me.
I would like to learn how to use a linux system, and have done some research into it, and decided that mandrake is the one for me, as it has very good community support, great software, and is relatively easy for a newbie like myself to use. I'm currently downloading the 3cd pack of mandrake 10.1 from the mandrake servers.
However, I have a couple of questions concerning the current set up of my computer.
I'm currently running winxp sp 2 on the following machine :

asus a7v8x mboard
amd 2500 xp processor
1 gig ram
ati 9600 xt 128meg gfx card
creative snd blaster live snd card
1 60gig maxtor diamondmax 7200 hdd
1 80gig maxtor diamondmaz 7200 hdd
1 samsung cd-writer
1 lg dvd drive
1meg broadband from BT with BT Voyager 205 adsl router

I believe that all my hardware should work fine with mandrake 10.1.
I basically use my computer now for playing games, watching movies, listening to music and browsing the internet, and using bitorrent.

What I would like to do is keep windows xp on my 80gig drive so I can carry on playing games.
I would like to partition my 60gig hdd into 2 partitions of 30gig/30gig, and put mandrake on 1 partition, and keep the other partition for storing my films and music.
I would also like to be able to read and write from and to each hard drive in windows and mandrake.
So basically, I'd like to be able to view and use the files on each drive, regardless of which OS im using at that time.
I was just wondering if this was possible and how I would go about doing it.
I have read some tutorials into this, and found out that I would have to re-format each drive into FAT 32, is this true? Does it make any difference having my drives running from a fat32 file system or not?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much!

PS. Sorry about the long post, but I thought it would be advantageous if I explained my current system and intentions as best as I could!
Old 04-01-2005, 10:17 AM   #2
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The easiest way to read your Windows partitions in Linux is to format them as FAT32. There is software you can use to read NTFS but from what I understand it's not all that fun. On my Windows/Linux dual boot, I have the Windows side set up with a separate partition for the system files which is formatted NTFS, and a partition for data formatted VFAT. I think it might end up being a pain to to do this is you already have the Win drive formatted as NTFS and even worse if it's all one big C: drive with no partitions. It might be worth the hassle to back up your Windows data files and rebuild the Windows partition in the manner I described, if you have data files on the system partion.

So, you probably want to have something like this: First partition Windows NTFS for XP system files. A Windows data partition on the rest of the drive formatted VFAT. Mandrake root parttion formatted ext3, boot and swap partitions as desired, and a data partition formatted VFAT on the additional drive. So from Linux you can't read Windows system files and from Windows you can't read Linux root partition but all of your data is accessible from either OS.
Old 04-01-2005, 10:43 AM   #3
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Location: Omaha, NE, USA
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Mandrake should do all this for you, pretty easily. (You *will* have to do a few things manually.) There is virtually no problem reading ntfs partitions from Linux; the only problems come when writing. So go ahead and keep your XP stuff on the 80G drive as ntfs.

On the 60G drive, make *at least* three partitions. You will need a "swap" partition (formatted as Linux Swap) of, say, 256 - 512 Meg. (You can make it bigger if you want, but unless you are doing some very memory intensive tasks, like editing extensive movie files, you will probably never touch your swap. ) You will need a "/" partition , formatted as ext3 or ReiserFS for your Linux system, and you will want that FAT32 ("vfat" in Linux) Partition for sharing data between Linux & Windows. You *may* want to split that "/" partition into two or more parts, such as "/" and "/home", so that if anything happens to your Linux system, you can reinstall the system without losing your personal stuff (in "/home").

The Mandrake Installer has a good partitioning tool within it. Just choose "Custom partitioning" when you are at that step.
Old 04-01-2005, 11:28 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot guys, thats some really helpful advice.
So if I keep my 80gig drive as ntfs and keep all my movies, programs and music on there, I should be able to watch a film from my ntfs drive while using mandrake?
Old 04-01-2005, 02:28 PM   #5
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Sure. Should be no problem at all.
Old 04-01-2005, 06:27 PM   #6
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Well, thanks a lot for your help folks.
I have managed to install mandrake without blowing my computer up.
I was very impressed with how easy it was to understand, as I had heard linux distros are generally very daunting for beginners, especially the installation process, but I didnt have any problems.
Now that I am using it, I can tell I am out of my element, but starting tomorrow I will be downloading beginner guides so i can understand it better, and hopefully start using mandrake more often.
thanks again for your help!
Old 04-01-2005, 10:58 PM   #7
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Congrats on solving the problem misagh and thanks for posting back with the positive feedback. It will be a big help to future readers who have similar questions. Naturally also big thanks to Padma and Patterson for the guidance. -- J.W.

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