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Old 07-24-2008, 08:18 AM   #1
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Linux Install from Scratch

Hi Gurus,

I have a WindowsXP machine and would like to install Linux on it as well so that it can be used as dual boot (That way I can learn some linux as well).

This is my work machine (spare), so it has WindowsXP-SP2 already installed on it.

Can someone please take time out and tell me in complete detail, how I can go about doing so (assuming I have no CD/DVD's with Linux burnt on them and I have no partitioning S/W and do not intend to buy any).

PS: I'm thinking of installing RHEL5.

Many thanks!
Old 07-24-2008, 08:44 AM   #2
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Tricky requirement that you haven't got CD or DVD. One of the nice ways to quickly try Linux is with any of the Live CDs. A lot of distributions have these. One of the first ones to make them was Knoppix Linux.
Anyway, if you haven't got a CD, you can download Wubi-installer (Installs a variant of Ubuntu Linux) and run it from Windows. read about it and download from here:

Later if you like it you can set up a normal dual boot on your machine. You won't need any new tools. You need to run the disk defragment tool in Windows a few times to compact your windows installation, then you can take some of that free space and create a new partition for a full Linux installation.

Anyway, just give Linux a try first with that Wubi thing. You can also find Linux Live CDs included in magazines (e.g. Linux Format)

Last edited by monsm; 07-24-2008 at 08:46 AM.
Old 07-24-2008, 03:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by heeru View Post
how I can go about doing so (assuming I have no CD/DVD's with Linux burnt on them and I have no partitioning S/W and do not intend to buy any).
Get linux disk (if you are in UK as mentioned above, coverdisks are a good source; as you don't mention your country YMMV, but you can buy them at a reasonable price or download them). Canonical (Ubuntu) will mail theirs out, but there is a bit of a wait.

Plug in disk


Follow instructions to install

(I've oversimplified a bit; you'll have to understand a bit - not much - about partitioning if you are going to dual boot, and the issue of making contiguous free space has already been mentioned.)

I'm thinking of installing RHEL5.
I'd recommend Ubuntu (actually Ubuntu + kde) as a place to start, but then I'd also recommend re-visiting that decision after, say, six months. Ubuntu does a good job of being newbie-friendly and has a good community, but there are others, too.
Old 07-24-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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There are several ways to install a Linux distribution:
- install Ubuntu using Wubi, which will give you a Linux distro that behaves like any other Windows application. Easiest.
- install virtualization software, which will let you run any Linux on top of Windows; virtualization is like a computer inside your computer: the two operating systems are more or less independent except that one has to "host" the other. A bit more difficult.
- install to bare metal. Considering that you haven't got cd or dvd, there will be a couple of hoops to jump through. Download an iso, use software such as Acetone ISO that can open distros an extract the kernel and initrd files, copy them to your boot folder and install a boot loader to boot them; once they are running, the iso will behave exactly as if it were running of cd or dvd. If you have got only one partition, then you'll need to select a Linux distro that comes with partioning tools so that your can shrink the windows partition during installation. Details can be found on the internet. This is definitely more advanced stuff.


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