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Old 01-28-2003, 04:24 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2003
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Talking Yet another Windoze/Linux dual boot question

I am a complete newbie here. I've never installed Linux, but am seriously considering it, there are several progs I would like to be able to use. This needs to be a dual boot.

Ok, here goes (and be gentle).

Current system:
Windows XP Pro
C: 4GBHD (Used mostly for windows - FAT32) - almost full
D:/E: 20GBHD (2 10GB partitions - both NTFS) D: is 20% full and E: is 90% full
H: 40GBHD (1 40GB partition - NTFS) 60% full

Options: I can format what is currently the D drive (changng it from NTFS to FAT32 - at least I think I can) install both os's and use that as the main boot drive, then send the 4GB HD to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico (where it belongs) after moving needed files.

A number of questions here, since I can't seem to find what I need to know.

1) Is there a way to install Linux on this machine without sacrificing the information on the current D drive?

2) How does the dual boot work with Linux? Is it similar to 2 windows versions? (ie; screen at startup asking which OS you would like to start. Press 1 for Win 95, 2 for Win 2000, etc)

3) Does the NTFS on my other drives cause a major problem when using Linux? (ie; listening to mp3s or accessing documents from the h: drive)

4) Linux should recognize my already setup drives and partitions, right?

5) Which distribution would be best? (Free is good... I know, this is a can of worms.)
Old 01-28-2003, 04:46 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2003
Distribution: Redhat 9, Fedora Core 1, Suse 8
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1) I use Partition Magic, this will resize and create new partitions without loosing any data. Partition magic is a windows based program, that will even format linux partitions.

2) there are several ways to set up a dual boot for linux. You can use grub or lilo, I would recommend lilo for a dual boot with win 2k. The boot loader will install to the windows mbr. The inital screen on boot will look completely different than the boring black "choose your OS" screen windows loads from the boot.ini. But functionialy, it is the same idea.

3 - 4) If you mount your drives correctly, red hat will be able to read the NTFS partitions (not fat), however, it will NOT be able to write to them. I personaly dedicate an entire drive for the redhat installation and try to forget windows :-)

5) This is debateable and up to you to decide ;-)
Old 01-28-2003, 06:10 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Distribution: MDK 8.0, 9.0; RH 7.2, 8.0, 9.0, FC3, FC4, FC5
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Things go best if you first get XP installed and happy (assuming you want to reconfigure your drives). When Windows is happy, then make some room (unused disk space) for Linux and install it.
Old 01-28-2003, 08:00 PM   #4
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mosquitoville
Distribution: RH 6.2, Gen2, Knoppix,arch, bodhi, studio, suse, mint
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it looks like you're thinking that linux installs onto fat32
like windows, but it doesn't really, unless you use a
loopback install, and you don't really want to do that.

You could probably make a big zipfile out of the data on
your bigger drive and see if you could jam it on your other
drive somewhere.

there is a demo download of some other software
that converts ntfs to fat32 and resizes and stuff, but
i can't remember what its called.
Old 01-29-2003, 11:26 AM   #5
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OK. I decided on Mandrake 8.2. Seems like the best choice for me. (Comments? Suggestions?)

Ran into a major problem (lucky I had backups) and somehow completely screwed up my partition information (Don't ask me what I did, because it's embarrasing and I know better). Was unable to rescue any of it. Luckily I had those backups. Wound up having to do a low level format on a 20GB HD. (shudder)

It's OK though, I wanted to get rid of that 4GB POS that has been in all of my computers since 1997. It can now retire in peace. Or become an external drive for the wife's notebook.

So, I now have a fresh XP Pro install on a clean 10GB C: drive partition - formatted to FAT32. I should just be able to follow the directions in Mandrake to get it set up, right? .

Any pointers, suggestions, advice, stock tips, dirty jokes, etc?

If I need to set it up for something other than FAT32, this is the time. I only have the fresh XP install on it now. I can do it again after making changes if needed...
Old 01-30-2003, 08:26 AM   #6
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Location: australia
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u must have a good reason to put xp pro on fat32... anyway, only way i could get dual boot to work properly (complete noob) was to use grub and mbr. also had to have a small boot partition b4 the windows one.
Old 01-30-2003, 08:29 AM   #7
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but that wuz rh8 too...
Old 01-30-2003, 09:06 AM   #8
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Since you already installed WinXP as FAT32 , just go ahead and install Mandrake now; you shouldn't encounter problems.
Old 02-01-2003, 04:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info. Although the circumstances have changed. I started a new thread with that particular problem.

Thanks again. I'm trying. I really am...
Old 02-01-2003, 04:57 AM   #10
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, OR USA
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In random order:

Using FAT32 over NTFS won't kill your XP

You may want to use the dull windows loader since it's easier to get linux to not overwrite that loader than to get windows to not overwrite the grub or lilo that linux uses. See for the scoop, a little tricky but worth the hassle in case you ever need to reinstall windows.

If you have unpartitioned space then Mandrake should see it and let you make new linux partitions there without much effort.

Other partitions don't really cause a problem with linux but reading them can occasionally be a trick to set up. fat32 ones are easier than ntfs ones in that department though, and also more reliable under linux.

stock tips: sell microsoft

dirty joke: these two condoms walk into a ga... nevermind


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