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Old 03-13-2005, 12:17 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK
Distribution: Mandrake 10.1 [soon]
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Setting up new HD for dual boot and storage

I'll soon be starting out with Linux for the first time with an install of Mandrake Linux on a computer that I'm building. I'd like to set up a dual boot system, as I'll still need Windows XP for gaming and other bits and bobs. My dilemma now is how to set up the partitions on the disk. I understand that Linux doesn't run on the NTFS filing system, but that's about the limit of my knowledge so far. So without further ado, here's my initial plan:

Total size of disk: 250GB

First partition: 60GB NTFS partition for Windows XP
Second partition: 60GB FAT32 partition for Mandrake
Third partition (remaining space): 130GB FAT32 partition for My Documents/file storage etc.

The idea behind this plan is to be able to store files in a place that Windows and Linux can both easily access. Is this the best course of action? If not, what should be changed to improve it?

Oh, and in advance, thanks for helping out another !
Old 03-13-2005, 12:24 PM   #2
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: San Jose, CA
Distribution: Debian, Arch
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Installing a linux distribution on a FAT partition is not an ideal situation. In fact, I'm not 100% sure it can be done. Anyway, you should probably split up mandrake's 60 GB for /boot, swap and / at least. Make /boot and / ext(2/3) or reiserfs. You can then use the last partition (your 130) for file storage if you want both OSes to get to it.
Old 03-13-2005, 12:33 PM   #3
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK
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Okay then, what filing system should I use for Mandrake, and will it be able to sort it out when I boot from the CD?

Also, I've heard about these various partitions within Linux, but I'm not sure what they do. So what are they, and what partition sizes should I use for them?

Finally, is there any problem with the final 130GB storage partition, or is that a sound idea? I've heard about problems with large FAT32 partitions, but I really have no idea at the moment. Thanks!
Old 03-13-2005, 12:35 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Roc City (Rochester-NY)
Distribution: Slacker 4 Life
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Been a while since I built a dual box (broke free from my M$ chains last summer) but if I remember correctly this is what you want to do.

1.) Install M$ first and on the first partition. From what I understand, it's what's best.
2.) Install your prescious Linux OS. Seperate partitions are recommend for the following directories but are not required:
2a) /, /boot, /home, /usr, /var, /log
3.) A seperate partion for swap is required, however having swap is NOT required
4.) If lilo is your boot manager, append this to the end of lilo.conf:
4b) other=/dev/hda1 # hda1 is the first partition(1) on the first ide hd (hda)
label=win # This can be changed to whatever, it's just a label

That's all that's coming to mind right now. I'd give you more detail on the actual install but I'm a Slacker, never touched Mandrake. Best of luck!!
Old 03-13-2005, 04:46 PM   #5
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK
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Right, thanks for that, some useful info there. I'm still left with a few questions though.

1. What are /, /boot, /home, /usr, /var and /log, why should I make separate partitions for them, and what sizes should the partitions be? (I know, kind of a three-in-one there)
2. From what I'm gathering, Linux has it's own filing system that can be set up when I boot from the OS CD. Is this correct?
3. Is it okay to make such a large FAT32 partition (130GB), or will I experience problems with that?

Once again, thanks for your help, I'm learning!
Old 03-13-2005, 07:32 PM   #6
Randy High
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: California
Distribution: Currently Redhat 8
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Wow I just found this site.

I too am a newbie.. I too want to install mandrake and windows.

I have some understanding on what is going on.

I hope adding to this thread is better than starting a new one.

Let me explain.

I bought a Work Station as my first PC about 2 years ago.
It is an amd mpx chipset based k7d MSI motherboard with dual amd's

I bought RedHat off the shelf and with some help of chat room friends was able to get the system up and running.

Well RedHat stopped the update service and i have been lost for what to do.
So with Tax refund in hand I have ordered Mandrake, bought Windows, bought an external HD,
bought the Sony Dvd burner, added memory.

So what do I do now? I have a few thousand files I want to transfer to the new linux system.

The RedHat I have is 8.. I found it doesn't handle external HD's or DVD burners..

I'm a bit lost.

What do people do?

I can add a second HD if that is a great way to do things. I admit I would be learning how as I did it.

My goal is to install Windows and Mandrake plus have my old files.

Can I add the second HD under RedHat and transfer files to it?

Will Mandrake handle this when I install it??

Would two HD's be ideal for a dual boot system?

I need a mentor I suspect. Anyone up for the job?


Last edited by Randy High; 03-13-2005 at 07:33 PM.
Old 03-13-2005, 08:45 PM   #7
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: New Jersey, USA
Distribution: Slackware 11
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randy high:

what hardware a distribution supports has more to do with the kernel than the version of your distribution. update your kernel and add support for external hardrives. but anyway.......
the first step to multi boot in to install windows on its own partition. then your choice to distribution next. redhat and mandrake will have no problem transfering files between the two. if you want to transfer between linux and windows, i good i dea would to make a reasonable size fat partition. this is the most effiecent way to transfer files between the two os.


2. i have never installed mandrake but you should be given a choice between ext3, ext2, or reiserfs during installation.
Old 03-13-2005, 09:06 PM   #8
Randy High
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: California
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Buffed317 thanx

I am thinking a second hd might be the thing.

Is this an easy thing to do?

I have not read up on adding a second HD.

You say and I have read as well that transfering files is possible between os's that's good.
Then I assume that if I can install windows on a second drive I can then use the new external to store the Linux files on and then install fresh on the first HD the new Mandrake.

Does this sound like a good plan?

I am thinking more room is better.


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