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Old 07-20-2008, 02:11 AM   #1
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Looking for good dual-boot distro

Howdy all!

I just got a new notebook, and it's running Vista. I was never able to install linux on my home computer, so I'm looking to install it now as a dual boot.

Since I'm completely new, I'm having trouble finding a good distro, and that's (hopefully) where you come in.

I want a distro that will introduce me to linux, but won't be holding my hand the whole way. I want to learn and become somewhat proficient in linux. I'd also like it to be free, since I'm mostly just getting it to dink around and learn. I don't mind if it's a live-cd, either, but I would prefer it to be on my hard drive.

It's probably pertinent to mention what I'll be doing on my PC. For the most part, I'll be using it for general school applications. I'm attending college, and will be majoring in electrical engineering, but I will also need the ability to code (mostly in Java and C++) I also do some music recording, but I don't need much in that department.

My computer's stats:

HP Pavilion 6700
Windows Vista Home Premium
Processor: AMD Turion 64 2.00 GHz
3.00 GB RAM

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by EvanWilson; 07-20-2008 at 02:17 AM.
Old 07-20-2008, 02:36 AM   #2
Registered: Dec 2006
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With all that RAM, u should have no problem running any live cd.

For a hard disk install, I would suggest Debian, since installation would teach you a lot
about package management and stuff which will help you upgrade your system later.

Also, though Slackware is another similar alternative, my Debian experience has been great enough that I never had to go to other distros.

Grab the Netinstall *.iso image from the debian website. Make sure you download the 'testing' release. Read up a bit on package installation on the net.

Install Xorg, a desktop environment (KDE, Gnome or XFCE), ALSA and whatever else you need over the internet (requires a fast Broadband connection).

in my opinion, this approach gives u one of the neatest little systems as far as bloat is concerned.
Old 07-20-2008, 03:03 AM   #3
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What is good and what is not so good depends on what you like to do with it
Second how do you like to use Linux as much as possible with a GUI ?
Or did you also like to learn the LInux commands too ? Knowing the Linux commands is good thing
IN other words did you like to use it in the way you use Vista or did you also like to learn a general knowledge
how a OS works

all the best
Old 07-20-2008, 10:53 AM   #4
Registered: May 2005
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Laptop hardware can be slightly more finicky, especially wireless.

Try some live cds. Some that handle wireless well are Puppy, Mandriva, Pclos, Mepis, Parsix, and Sidux.
Old 07-20-2008, 02:59 PM   #5
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Howdy again.

I looked around, and I'm going to give Debian a try, but I'm having a few issues...

The first is that my computer didn't come with a copy of the Vista install DVD. If I were to mess up the partitions or something, and needed to reinstall Vista, would I be able to call Microsoft, give them my Serial, and request an install DVD? Or would I just be SOL?

Second, my processor is an AMD Turion 64, but my copy of Vista is only 32-bit. I'm conflicted, then. Should I download the AMD64 release of Debian? I am almost certain that my processor is 64 bit, but then why is Windows only running at 32 bit

Those are the two main issues I'm having.
Any help is much appreciated.

Old 07-20-2008, 03:33 PM   #6
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In my country if you by the machine with a legal version you always get the install DVD or CD.
On the box is the license number you need it to install Windows.
Even if retailer has installed windows you get the install DVD or CD
YOU all so need it to put windows MBR back
But maybe the have a different policy in other country

all the best

Last edited by ronlau9; 07-20-2008 at 03:34 PM. Reason: save too soon
Old 07-21-2008, 04:38 PM   #7
Registered: Jul 2004
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first step, learn how to backup and restore the mbr so that you can copy vista's bootloader back over the linux one that you will install. You are very right that it will be tough to reload vista without the disc, but if you save the mbr you'll be fine - can reload it from a live cd.

i'd recommend not ubuntu, but any other distro that is well-developed (Fedora, OpenSUSE) and if you're really curious, Debian or Slackware (my personal favorite). I think the Debian recommendations you have already are very good - give it a shot.

As for your question about 32 or 64 bit, any applications that you want to run to take advantage of the 64-bit processing have to be coded for that architecture, and there are very few, mostly scientific applications that use it. I would say for the sake of learning, just stick to the 32-bit build. 64 has been out long enough that you should have plenty of help on the forums, but the application market just isn't demanding 64-bit processing yet. You'll likely end up rebuilding your system pretty soon once you get the hang of linux administration anyway, so you can always make the switch then
Old 07-21-2008, 06:23 PM   #8
Registered: Jun 2008
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The Knoppix live CD has an option to install the Knoppix system on a regular Windows partition as a single (though very large) file. I've done it a few years ago on a computer where the Windows installation had to be kept intact. See the Knoppix cheatcodes.txt for details. You will need the Knoppix CD/DVD for booting, but from then on it all goes from the hard disk and Windows is unbothered.

Linux Archive

Last edited by FranDango; 09-20-2008 at 06:47 AM.
Old 07-21-2008, 06:52 PM   #9
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contact the company you bought your computer and GET THE INSTALL DISK that you should have gotten in the first place
instead of resizing a working os ( vista) resizing can FUBAR it
but a second hard drive and install Linux on that one
Old 07-22-2008, 11:53 PM   #10
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I'm not sure why, but HP decided to institute some system where everything is disc-less. There's a separate area on my HD called "HP Recovery" and that's supposed to recover the OS if something were to go wrong, but if re-formatting/partitioning were to go to hell, then I don't know how that would work. I think I'll call HP tomorrow morning and ask for the install disc.

The processor issue is confusing, though. I have an AMD processor, but the only AMD download on the Debian site is the AMD64 one. I assume that's the one I need, but I don't know much about the inner workings of my computer (yet.)

As far as kernel's go, I've pretty much made up my mind on Debian after much looking around. Now I'm just working out the technical issues before I go all the way.

I guess the only question I have left is: Is the AMD64 release the proper one? Here's the link: Link
Old 07-23-2008, 12:20 AM   #11
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AMD64 verson is the 64-bit verson (EM64T/AMD64), and i386/x86 is the 32-bit version. Since you hav a Turion processor and enough RAM, its good to choose AMD64 version.


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