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Old 07-13-2009, 02:52 AM   #16
Wim Sturkenboom
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Ok, Vista will use C, D, E etc. My story is based on the use of the Linux partitioning tools.

Last edited by Wim Sturkenboom; 07-13-2009 at 02:56 AM.
Old 07-13-2009, 03:07 AM   #17
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I am not sure what the problem is.

In windows, the drives seem to be mapped in the order they are found, and only one primary partition can be seen on each drive, the rest remain hidden. At least it used to be that way, I haven't tested vista so much so I am not sure if they removed that silly and idiotic restriction that was good for nothing.

In linux, the names of drives and partitions are named and numbered according to some criteria.

Drives that are attached to the scsi layer are named as sd*, that includes usb drives, SATA ones and a few other devices. Drives attached to the IDE subsystem (which is being deprecated in favor of PATA) are named as hd*. The first IDE drive would be hda, the second sata one (or an ide drive that is being managed by PATA instead of IDE) will be named as sdb.

Partitions are numbered from 1-4 for primary (that includes extended partitions as well, which are just a kind of primary partition), and from 5 to 63 for logical drives.

So, if you have one primary partition and one extended one in sda, they'll be called sda1 and sda2, and the first logical drive inside the extended partition will be sda5 (it doesn't matter if sda3 and sda4 don't exist).
Old 07-13-2009, 03:41 AM   #18
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I prefer Virtual Machine to run Linux or Wnds
'cause most of my works are under both Linux and Wnds.
and I can't take spend too many time switching between this two OS.
Old 07-15-2009, 12:00 AM   #19
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Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.2GHz (Over clocked to 4GHz)
Nvidia GeForce 280 GTX
G.Skill Black DDR2 800MHz 4GB (2x2GB)
Gigabyte P45 UD3P Motherboard
WD Black Caviar 640GB
Samsung CD/DVD Burner
Corsair PSU TX750W

I backed up all of my files and went through the Linux demo in the Ubuntu LiveCD. I got to the partitioner and it is pretty easy to use. I didn't commit to anything yet though (meaning I didn't partition anything yet, just played with the program). I'm not sure what to do with all of my space though... I've got a 640GB HDD but it says I have 596.1GB (I understand why). I'm not sure how to separate that into my partitions. After thinking about a lot of things I ended up with this setup (not set in stone yet because it hasn't been partitioned):

/dev/sda1 Vista Ultimate - 165370MB Used NTFS
/dev/sda5 Linux Swap
/dev/sda6 Linux / root Ext3
/dev/sda7 Linux /home Ext3
/dev/sda8 Shared Files and Folders FAT32 (ntfs isn't an option...hmm)

Hopefully these are my final questions on installing Linux:
  • Since I already have almost 170GB used in sda1 how much more should I give it for expansion?
  • I have 4GB of RAM so how much space should my Linux Swap get? (2-4GB?)
  • How much space should I give the / root for Linux and does this file expand over time (with downloads like windows program files)?
  • How much space should I give /home and is this the selection of files where the program files will go?
  • Shard Files and Folders: In the linux demo version I have access to the windows files. I'm not sure if it is like this in the actual OS though. If so then why would this even be necessary?
  • In the partitioner when I enter in for example 350GB in MB (358400MB) it doesn't actually show up as such. How do I get 'clean' amount to show up in the partitioner?
  • In the demo version of Linux my standard hardware software isn't downloaded yet and it doesn't pull it from the windows OS. So this is like a new OS install per say, correct? Meaning I have to re-install all of my hardware software in the Linux /root or /home?

NOTE: I'll be downloading some large files in Linux and there's more large files to come in Windows.

Thanks once again for the amazing response times and informative posts,

Old 07-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #20
Wim Sturkenboom
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I would seriously consider to make a separate partition for my documents in windows. If you ever have to do a full re-install of Windows, you don't have to put back a backup.

Further you don't have to use all the space now. You can leave some unallocated and if
  • Windows needs it, create NTFS partition, format it and you will have an extra drive letter and use it for e.g. for movies
  • Linux needs it, create an EXT3 partition, format it and you can e.g. mount it 'as a subdirectory of your /home')
  • the desire arises, install another distro.

A full Linux install is usually around 3-5GB (all in the root partition). It will expand over time as all software that you install usually ends up in there and updates end up in there as well. I think that I went from 3.2GB to 3.7GB in 3 years (I did install some stuff but not too much). My guess is that you're safe with approx. 10GB and you're very, very safe with 25GB.
Your /home is only for the users' data (emails, documents, configurations like for firefox and evolution are some that I can think of at this moment). I mainly browse, email and write some code and after the above 3 years I have collected 16GB of data (I did allocate 100GB).

As you're considering web development, most Linux distros are configured to use subdirectories in /var for both mysql and apache (var is a subdirectory of the root directory). If this gets out of hand (large databases, many websites), you can always reconfigure your system and move the mysql database to another partition and the webpages to /home (as an example).

Linux, with the correct driver, can read and write ntfs. For windows, you will be able to find a program that can read and write ext2 partitions (possibly ext3 with some limitations, just do some research). I nowadays use an external (FAT32) HD or a memory stick for sharing.

Not sure what you mean by "In the partitioner when I enter in for example 350GB in MB (358400MB) it doesn't actually show up as such. How do I get 'clean' amount to show up in the partitioner?". Can you elaborate and tell us which partitioner? Do you mean that you only see begin and end sectors? If so, I don't know the answer or if it's possible; might depend on the partitioner.

Assuming that hardware software means drivers, you might want to install the nvidia driver (e.g. if you want fancy 3D stuff on the desktop). If you could surf the internet from the Live-CD, I don't think that you need any other drivers with the hardware that you specified.

On a 250GB (dual boot), I have given both operating system 25GB (that is, Windows C drive and Ubuntu's root directory), my documents 30GB and /home 100GB. I still have around 50GB unallocated space.
Old 07-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #21
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i havent read each response but here is my stab at it:
Originally Posted by pmacdonald View Post
  • When I purchase my laptop it will most likely have either Vista Business or Vista Home Premium on it. I plan to put Vista Ultimate on it because I purchased it when building my custom gaming rig in January. Should I download Vista Ultimate and erase the copy of the other Vista or should I keep both and then install Linux as well?
i guess if you paid for both versions of vista you can use both if you want. the rule of thumb is to install windows before you install linux. most linux installers will examine the harddrive to know what else lives there and install itself next to it without disturbing anything.
Originally Posted by pmacdonald View Post
  • I read a few posts on how to install multiple operating systems on a computer and am pretty confused. I'm not great at partitioning hard drives. I was wondering if you had a guide (assuming the person was new to partitioning a hard drive) showing me how to install the separate operating systems?
most newer distros will guide you thru the install prompting you to overwrite or to partition itself for dual-boot.
Originally Posted by pmacdonald View Post
  • I'm the type of person that likes to tinker with things. So when installing Linux on the laptop I'd like it if I could easily install other Linux distributions without too much hassle (I read a post where I'd have to set it to Logical instead of Primary...or something along those lines; but I'm not quite sure how to do that). This way I can try different Linux distributions and figure out which one 'catches my eye'. And I also find doing tasks like this fun.
may i suggest a live cd/ dvd/ usb.
most distros have live versions, my preference is fedora live-usb

Last edited by schneidz; 07-15-2009 at 10:36 AM.
Old 07-15-2009, 11:29 AM   #22
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I have a few comments and suggestions although everyone has a different approach to how they partition their hard disks.

Windows Vista saves shadow copies of files and system restore information as a percentage of the partition size. I've found that making the Vista OS partition larger than around 100GB to 150GB just wastes extra space saving even more shadow copies and restore information. Even a 50GB partition works fine for Vista if you keep your large user files in a separate partition.

I keep my User files in a separate partition. To do that I had to right click on "Documents" in the start menu and then change the location on the "Location" tab. I created a "Users" folder in a different partition than Vista and then created a folder with my user name and a "Documents" folder inside that. You probably don't need to bother but I also reset the security permissions and ownership to mirror that on the standard folders in the Vista OS partition.

I don't recommend using Linux to format an NTFS partition. You're better off to do that in Windows Vista. There is a Linux package called "ntfsprogs" and it has a "mkntfs" utility that can format NTFS partitions. You must first use "fdisk" or "cfdisk" to create the partition and then change the type to NTFS.

You have two choices for accessing NTFS partitions from Linux. The "ntfs" file system driver will access NTFS as read-only. The "ntfs-3g" file system driver will allow read and write access to NTFS. Neither one will use or set the security permissions for folders and files so I like to keep my shared NTFS files in a separate partition from the Vista OS or User files partition.

There is a free "ext2ifs" driver for Windows Vista that allows Windows to read and write Linux files in an ext2 or ext3 partition. Search with GOOGLE to find it. In order to use that you have to make sure that your Linux ext2/ext3 partition is formatted using 128-byte inodes rather than the newer 256-byte inodes used in some distros. You can do that by manually formatting your Linux partition before installing Linux.

mke2fs -j -I 128 /dev/sda6
mke2fs -j -I 128 /dev/sda7

Then don't reformat the partitions during Linux setup and installation.

Hard disks have up to four "main" partitions. Those partitions can either be Primary (to contain boot loaders) or one of them can be Extended (to contain any number of logical partitions). You can only have one Extended partition but it can contain any number of Logical partitions. Logical partitions cannot contain a boot loader but they can contain an operating system.

Linux numbers the main partitions with 1 through 4 at the end of the device names. The Extended partition does not appear as a device name, and that partition number (1, 2, 3 or 4) will not be present. The Extended partition can be any one of the main partitions so it is not necessarily the fourth (number 4). Linux numbers Logical partitions (in an Extended partition) starting with 5.

You have to install the Linux boot loader (lilo or grub) to one of the Primary partitions or the Master Boot Record (partition table). You cannot install the boot loader to a Logical partition, although you can put the Linux OS root in a Logical partition.

You can install Windows Vista to a Primary or Logical partition but the Windows boot loader "bootmgr" will ALWAYS be installed to the first Primary partition on the hard disk that is compatible with Windows (NTFS, FAT32, FAT16). Usually that means wherever you install Windows the first partition contains the boot loader. When you install multiple copies or versions of Windows ALL the boot loaders are installed to the first partition. That can be quite confusing because you may have boot loaders for Vista, XP, Windows 7, etc. all in the first partition. The Windows OS files are installed at the location you specify and can be separate from the boot loader.

I recommend using at least 5GB to 8GB for the Linux root partition. If you plan to update Linux in place then you may want to double that (so you can have two copies of the files). How much you need for the home directory depends on the size of user files. 2GB is way more than enough for just ordinary files created by Linux window managers and programs. Most of the required space will be determined by the user files that you create. Most of my disk space under "home" is taken up by virtual disk images for a virtual machine program.

There isn't much point in running multiple versions of Windows Vista. If you have Windows Vista Ultimate then just install and use that.

If you need other versions of Windows to help people or answer questions then I recommend using "VirtualBox". That's a free virtual machine program. You can create virtual disks containing other versions of Windows and other operating systems. Since "VirtualBox" works on both Windows and Linux you can copy the virtual disk images. I don't recommend having both versions of VirtualBox use exactly the same disk image files since that has cause problems for me in the past.

Be careful if you use RAID because most PC RAID controllers are "fake hardware RAID" and are difficult to support under Linux. There are some programs available and tricks that can be used but it's better to just avoid RAID. If you don't need Windows and Linux to share RAID partitions then you can use the operating system RAID and keep Windows and Linux RAID partitions separate.

There are lots of ways to boot multiple operating systems. You can have either the Linux or Windows boot loader start first. The Windows boot loader can chain to Linux boot loaders using boot sector files. You have to create those 512-byte files by copying boot sectors using the "dd" (Linux) or "DSKPROBE" (Windows) program. Since Linux boot loaders can directly chain to boot sectors it is usually simpler to have the Linux boot loader start first. You can install boot loaders to any Primary partition and Linux bootloaders can also be installed to the Master Boot Record. There is really no advantage to installing a boot loader to the MBR since the standard MBR software chains to the "Active" boot partition (where you can also install a boot loader).

You don't absolutely need a swap partition in Linux (unlike Windows). Since you have plenty of RAM any size swap partition (or none) will work fine. I usually try to make the swap partition around 1 to 1.5 times the size of RAM. In your situation I would probably use a 4GB swap file but if you're concerned about disk space, use 1GB or don't create a swap partition.
Old 07-15-2009, 02:36 PM   #23
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I have successfully installed linux with the following partitions:

/dev/sda1 - Existing Vista Ultimate = 300GB w/ around 170GB Used _ NTFS
/dev/sda2 - Windows My Documents Partition = 30GB _ FAT32
/dev/sda5 - Linux Swap = 3GB
/dev/sda6 - / Linux = 30GB _ Ext3
/dev/sda7 - /home Linux = 30GB _ Ext3

A couple of things I've noticed.
  • Upon booting there's duplicate copies of Ubuntu to boot. There's the normal one then there's another where I can boot Ubuntu in Recovery Mode. That's fine and all but there's duplicates of both (I'm seeing both twice). How do I remove one copy of each?

  • I'm also seeing MemTest in the boot loading option which shouldn't be there. That's a program I have on my desktop under windows.

  • In Linux when I click on my computer and look to the panel on the left (it says 'Places') I see a disk picture and it says 322.1 GB Media. Where did this come from? I didn't create that... When I click on it it shows me the files that I have under My Computer/ Local Disk C: in Windows. Is this supposed to be like that? If so then why even create a partition for sharing files.
    NOTE: When I right click and hit properties inside of the disk it says: Free Space: 143.7GB, 156.2GB Used, Total Capacity: why does it show 322.1GB?

  • Where can I view the partitions that I've created to actually use them?
Old 07-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #24
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You always get Memtest with Ubuntu.
If you've updated since installation then the two Ubuntu entries will probably be different kernels, check on the numbers.
Old 07-15-2009, 03:47 PM   #25
Wim Sturkenboom
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Two little comments:
  • I thought that it would be obvious but it is obviously not obvious. Only 30 GB for my documents and 300 GB for Windows does not make sense. Usually you have a smaller partition for the OS and a bigger partition for the data. It was my intention that you would change the my documents shortcut so it points to a directory on the new partition.
  • The other point is that FAT32 does not provide any means of permissions, so if you have multiple windows users, they can all get to 'your' my documents.
With regards to your 322 GB media: yes, ubuntu automatically places it there. If you don't want to see it, you can modify /etc/fstab and look for a line like below
UUID=2020F32C20F30814 /media/sda1 ntfs defaults,nls=utf8,umask=007,gid=46 0 1
and place a # in front of it. For you to learn how to edit a file
After the next reboot, it will be gone (or you can manually unmount it using the context menu).

I don't know why the numbers don't add up.

Last edited by Wim Sturkenboom; 07-15-2009 at 03:49 PM.
Old 07-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #26
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In the same lines, it's worth mentioning that fat32 has some other serious limitations, like the 4gb (minus 1 byte) file size limit, which is quite annoying these days when a dvd image easily exceeds that limit. Just in case you haven't considered it. It will probably be easier to reformat to ntfs now than later when the partition is full.
Old 07-15-2009, 06:17 PM   #27
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ubuntu may have some fan control issues for cooling dell's cpu

HI, I just wanted to caution you. I installed the latest ubuntu distro on my dell machine. I reviewed some of the log files for dbg and boot and found an error that logged ~ every 6 Sec. Searching the web I found several hits regarding this situation. My install was on a tower but I think it may be risky on a laptop. At the very least be sure to check those files after install. var/log/kernel.log.

Specifically- "Unable to turn cooling device db41cdec] 'on'"

Additionally Partition magic should help you create a dual boot system. I have not used it but I have many friends that have. It is a GUI app that will simplify the task.
Old 07-15-2009, 06:24 PM   #28
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To edit the Ubuntu (grub) boot menu you need to change this file.


From a terminal window you can use this command.

sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst

Use Control-O to save the file and Control-X to exit the "nano" editor.

You will see menu entries at the end that look similar to this.

title		Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic
uuid		bc277d13-bdeb-4600-8f65-e4b6c47c44da
kernel		/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=bc277d13-bdeb-4600-8f65-e4b6c47c44da ro quiet splash 
initrd		/boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
The "title" is the text displayed in the menu and the other lines define the boot information. Just delete the sections for the menu entries that you don't want.
Old 07-15-2009, 08:08 PM   #29
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Wim - Why would I make windows only 30GB...did you not read that I had 170GB filled up already. And just about ALL of that is in my program files for games and other programs...THEY DONT RUN UNDER LINUX...

My documents only has around 15GB right now. Why would I put a large amount of space if I'm not going to use it. That doesn't make any sense at all.

Anyone else have any ideas on why the numbers don't add up?
Old 07-15-2009, 09:43 PM   #30
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Virtual-machine technology is very well-advanced now, and USB/FireWire attached disk-drives are, of course, huge.

"Extra" laptops are also cheap.

So, you have lots of options.

If you want to " with it," then AFAIK either Windows Vista or Linux can be "the host operating system" in a virtualized environment. Let the system that you use most-frequently be the host.

In my opinion, don't " around with" dual-booting. Ever. Grab a second external drive for use whe you're running your guest in a virtual-machine.


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