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Old 03-22-2005, 02:32 PM   #1
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Newbie questions: How do I set up a dual-boot system? What order to install OSes in?


I was going to set my computer to dual-boot Windows XP and Linux (right now I'm leaning toward Mandrake,) with a third partition for my data files. I have a 150 GB hard drive, so I was going to allocate 30 for each OS, and the remaining 90 GB for files. So C: would be Windows, D: would be data, and K: would be Linux. (I have a CD drive, a DVD drive, and a built in card reader, so E through J are taken.)

Once I get the hard drive formatted and partitioned, in what order should I install the OSes? I'm pretty good with computers, but I've never used Linux and I've never had a multi-OS system before. Also, is there a good walkthrough out there for this? I can probably figure it out, but it would save so much frustration....

Thanks for your help.
Old 03-22-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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what I did was install windows XP first, then used mandrakes partition software to partition the drives. That seemed to the be the easiest way for me.

I dont know of any walkthrough but following the install for linux is pretty straight forward.
Old 03-22-2005, 02:44 PM   #3
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Do you have to set up a free space for Linux, or can I just install Windows on a single partition (C: ) and make a second one in the Linux installer? That would be easier; my computer has a recovery partition and I won't have to delete it that way.

Also, can Linux read NTFS-formatted partitions?

Last edited by Dawnshadow; 03-22-2005 at 02:46 PM.
Old 03-22-2005, 03:16 PM   #4
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You should have seperate partitions for windoze and Linux. You can use the Linux installation disk to create your partitions before actually installing.

If you really want to give stored filess acces between Linux and windoze, create a fat32 partition for file storage. This is easily handled by both operating systems. Linux NTFS writing is still a little quirky at times.

You need to do your windoze installation first. If you install Linux first, windoze will just overwrite your boot loader in the MBR. When you do your Linux install, the bootloader installation of automatic installs like Mandrake, SuSE, Mepis (an excellent newbie distro), and many others will detect your windoze installation and make a dual boot entry for it.

If you install a more manual Linux distro like slack or gentoo, you'd create the boot entries manually.

Easiest way to get started would be to begin the Linux install and go through the point of creating your partitions. Once the partitions have been created, simply exit the install and make your windoze install.

As far as a walk-through goes, it's fairly straight forward with most noob installs.

1. Create your partitions.
2. Install windoze
3. Install Linux distro.

The exact installation sequece depends on which distro you choose. mandrake, SuSE, Mepis, and the like are pretty automatic in much the same way as windoze. You answer a few simple questions here and there and the installer does most of the work.
Old 03-22-2005, 03:23 PM   #5
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I would almost recommend not even touching the linux distro until you have completely installed Windows. During your Windows installation you can partition your hard drive just as effectively, and you don't have to quit an installation halfway through the process.

Creating separate partitions for each OS is really the most difficult part of configuring a dual-boot system. Once both OS's have been installed on their separate partitions, you should get a screen right after the BIOS asking you which OS you'd like to boot from. Simply take your pick and you should be on your merry way!
Old 03-22-2005, 03:59 PM   #6
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Also, since you have plenty of space and you're trying to get the feel of Linux, why not make a couple of extra partitions and try out several different Linux distros? You really don't need anywhere near 30GB for each one, especially if you're storing your files on a shared partition.


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