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drone 10-24-2003 08:52 PM

Installing Slackware for the first time
Hi, I have acquired all the boot/root disks I need and now I am finally ready to install Slackware 9.0 :D.
Now how do I setup the required partitions and the like? I think FDISK will be the best way to go about it but I need some help.

slakmagik 10-24-2003 10:29 PM

Need some more information. Fdisk is pretty simple.

If you want to partition your primary master, do 'fdisk /dev/hda' and then 'd' deletes partitions, 'n' creates new partitions, 'e', 'l', and 'p' specify whether they're extended, logical, primary. Type in the number of the partition and its size. 't' can change it's type, like for swap. 'p' shows what the table looks like, and 'w' writes it out if you're sure you're happy with it. Any time you need help, type 'm' to get a menu of choices. And you can get as creative as you'd like, but Slack only really needs one partition for all the real stuff and a swap partition.

But your hardware specs, current disk setup and OSes, and your goals for the machine would help for more specific stuff.

nitro66 10-24-2003 11:16 PM

Starting fdisk

When you start fdisk you need to specify the device to use. By default it will try to open /dev/hda, but in some cases this is not the correct device to use. Just specify the device name after typing fdisk on the command line. For example:

fdisk /dev/hdb

This will tell fdisk to open the primary slave IDE hard disk. Notice that you do not specify a partition number on the device name.

An alternative to fdisk is cfdisk, which provides a menu-based setup program for the partition setup (DOS users comfortable with DOS's fdisk may find this program easier). Just run cfdisk at the prompt instead of fdisk.
fdisk Commands

Here are some key commands you should be familiar with when using fdisk.
p Display the current partition table.
m Display the help screen.
d Delete a partition.
n Add a new partition.
t Change the partition's system ID.
q Quit fdisk without saving changes.
w Write changes to device and quit fdisk.
Unwritten "Rules"

So what kind of partitions should you make? It is always a good idea to make the swap partition first so you specify an exact size for it. It is also a good idea to make seperate partitions for /, /home, and /usr. People will tell you many things about how to divide up your disk, but it really comes down to what you want. There are many good reasons to breaking it up into /, /home, and /usr. For example:

* Home directories are always on their own partition and you can upgrade the distribution without having to backup the home directories.
* /usr is where software goes, so you can keep that whenever you upgrade distributions.
* The root directory should really remain untouched, except for the modified files in /etc and root's home directory.

Others may tell you that you must have a seperate /var partition so log files won't fill up the root filesystem or so that the mail spool gets its own partition. Really, the choice is yours. Experiment with it, you can always change it later.

drone 10-24-2003 11:48 PM

sorry i meant FDISK for Windows, I want to set it up from there and then install Slackware.
I will be using the machine primarily for desktop use so nothing fancy but maybe later on I will use it as a firewall to share the internet to my laptop.
My desktop runs Windows XP without any delays (Cyrix 333, 256 MB RAM, 3 gig HDD)

slakmagik 10-25-2003 12:07 AM

Wait a minute. You've got a 3 gig HD - or 30? Because 3 gigs can be a tight fit, to say the least. And single hard drive? And you're using XP. I'm assuming it's currently taking the whole disk in a single partition? That's going to be tricky. You need to take a chance on ntfsresize or something like Mandrake which can resize NTFS partitions, or a third-party tool. Or you can delete Windows and repartition and reinstall.

If it's FAT, you can use something like fips or parted or something. Like I say, we need more specs here relevant to what you're trying to do.

And what fdisk? I don't think XP even has fdisk. That's a DOS/9x tool for FAT.

All this goes out the Windows, so to speak, if you just want to replace XP with Slack, rather than dual-boot - that's easy. But use the Linux fdisk.

drone 10-25-2003 12:10 AM

I'm going to get rid of XP, so Slackware will have all of the 3 gig

nitro66 10-25-2003 12:15 AM

Slackware will walk you through the whole process, beware that slackware is a hard distro to start out with, i'm a newbie and have enjoyed Red Hat much more, just now starting to dive back in to slackware a little. Also, you may want to buy slacks manual that they sell on their website, it helped me tremendously. Good luck, got to their site to find hints also.

slakmagik 10-25-2003 12:20 AM

Yeah, that's easy - like nitro66 says - just boot into the Slack install and take it step-by-step. And 3 gigs is roomy enough for just Slack. :)

I'm a newbie and an idiot besides and I manage for the most part. I definitely prefer Slack to anything else I've tried.

drone 10-25-2003 12:28 AM

So what do I need to do to set everything up? I play to delete everything with my 98 boot disk and then put Slackware on, will this work? Or do I need to create a partition? Bit confused here

slakmagik 10-25-2003 12:33 AM

Just boot Slack. Slack's setup will drop you into the command line. Do

'fdisk /dev/hda'
There'll be a partition readout that'll probably have one entry. Do 'd' and '1' - maybe just 'd'.
That will delete it.
Do 'n' and 'p' (for primary) and '1' and hit enter to start at the beginning, and hit a number for about how much space you want your main partition to be. Then do 'n' and 'p' and '2' and hit enter a couple of times. Do 't' and change the second to type 82 (83?) - do 'l' to find out - to mark it as swap.
Do 'p' to see the resulting table. If it looks good do 'w' to write it out and then you'll be back at the prompt. Type 'setup' and follow the menus. :)

That's simplest case above, but the principle applies for more complex partition arrangements.

-- I mean, what I'm saying is you don't need to worry with the 98 boot disk to get rid of Windows. That'll be taken care of by the fdisk process that's part of Slack's install routine.

drone 10-25-2003 12:34 AM

Ok thanks a lot mate, cool so Slackware will handle the pariion arangements? I don't need to use the win98 boot disk at all?

slakmagik 10-25-2003 12:35 AM

*lol* Yeah - see my edit above. :)

nitro66 10-25-2003 12:36 AM

boot from the slack cd, you will have to login as root at the first prompt. Just type root

from there type: fdisk /dev/hda

drone 10-25-2003 12:37 AM

LOL thanks mate

nitro66 10-25-2003 12:42 AM

This is this the full process word for word, read carefully and it will be a successful install everytime.... Good luck


After booting from your preferred media, you will need to partition your hard disk. The disk partition is where the Linux filesystem will be created and is where Slackware will be installed. At the very minimum we recommend creating two partitions; one for your root filesystem (/) and one for swap space.

After the root disk finishes loading, it will present you with a login prompt. Log in as root (there is no password). At the shell prompt, run either cfdisk(8) or fdisk(8). The cfdisk program provides a more user-friendly interface than the regular fdisk program, but does lack some features. We will briefly explain the fdisk program below.

Begin by running fdisk for your hard disk. In Linux, the hard disks do not have drive letters, but are represented by a file. The first IDE hard disk (primary master) is /dev/hda, the primary slave is /dev/hdb, and so on. SCSI disks follow the same type system, but are in the form of /dev/sdX. You will need to start fdisk and pass it your hard disk:

# fdisk /dev/hda

Like all good Unix programs, fdisk gives you a prompt (thought you were getting a menu, right?). The first thing you should do is examine your current partitions. We do that by typing p at the fdisk prompt:

Command (m for help): p

This will display all sorts of information about your current partitions. Most people pick a free drive to install to and then remove any existing partitions on it to create room for the Linux partitions.



There is no easy way to recover from deleting a partition, so always back up before playing with them.

Looking at the table of partition information you should see a partition number, the size of the partition, and its type. There's more information, but don't worry about that for now. We are going to delete all of the partitions on this drive to create the Linux ones. We run the d command to delete those:

Command (m for help): d

Partition number (1-4): 1

This process should be continued for each of the partitions. After deleting the partitions we are ready to create the Linux ones. We have decided to create one partition for our root filesystem and one for swap. It is worth noting that Unix partitioning schemes are the subject of many flame wars, and that most users will tell you the best way to do it. Our advice is to make two partitions to start with, one for the root filesystem and one for swap space. Over time you will learn a partitioning scheme that suits your system.

Now we create the partitions with the n command:

Command (m for help):n

Command action

e extended

p primary partition (1-4)


Partition number (1-4):1

First cylinder (0-1060, default 0):0

Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (0-1060, default 1060):+64M

You need to make sure you create primary partitions. The first partition is going to be our swap partition. We tell fdisk to make partition number 1 a primary partition. We start it at cylinder 0 and for the ending cylinder we type +64M. This will give us a 64 megabyte partition for swap. (The size of the swap partition you need actually depends on the amount of RAM you have. It is conventional wisdom that a swap space double the size of your RAM should be created.) Then we define primary partition number 2 starting at the first available cylinder and going all the way to the end of the drive.

Command (m for help):n

Command action

e extended

p primary partition (1-4)


Partition number (1-4):2

First cylinder (124-1060, default 124):124

Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (124-1060, default 1060):1060

We are almost done. We need to change the type of the first partition to type 82 (Linux swap). Type t to change the type, select the first partition, and type 82. Before writing your changes to the disk, you should look at the new partition table one last time. Use the p in fdisk to display the partition table. If everything looks good, type w to write your changes to the disk and quit fdisk.

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