Trying Linux: Dual-boot

This is a discussion on Trying Linux: Dual-boot within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Ok so my family got a new computer so I get to play with the old one Currently, it has ...

  1. #1
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    Trying Linux: Dual-boot

    Ok so my family got a new computer so I get to play with the old one Currently, it has Win 98 installed, but I'm planning on installing Windows XP and I wanted to dual-boot that with some distro of Linux (suggestions?)

    Anyways, it has two hard drives, one 20gb and one 80gb, so I figured I could install one os on each drive. I've never used Linux before, so I'm wondering how I should go about this. Install Windows first, or Linux first?

    I've read a couple tutorials on dual-booting windows and linux, and they all talk about partitioning the hard drive, but do I need to mess with that if I have two hard drives? Any pointers are appreciated
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    It can be a little messy.
    The disk that's gonna have XP should be the primary disk on the first ide-channel. That's the last drive on the cable, check your mother board which channel is the first. On this drive, Make (at least) two partitions:
    One tiny primary partition, maybe 100 megs to use as /boot partition in linux.
    One primary partition to be the windows partition.

    On the linux drive you will want to make one partition for / (root directory) and one for swap. If I were you, I'd make a separate partition for /home too, so I could salvage my stuff in case of the OS blows up for some reason.

    Install windows first, and make sure it doesn't use the tiny partition in the beginning. When windows is installed, install linux using the partitions as described above.

    I think you'll be able to do this, but it's been a while since I used windows, so I'm not sure. The most important thing is to make sure windows has a primary partition to install to, otherwise it will whine about that and not install. You can have a maximum of 4 primary partitions(I believe).

  3. #3
    Registered User linuxdude's Avatar
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    well always install windows first, because if you do linux first. It overrides the boot process and you have reinstall the boot. You will still have to partition the hardrives. Well not really the one with windows on it. After you install windows on one then you should install (which OS) then it should help you partition the hard drive. But when you set up your multiboot loader, you have to let it know of the windows partition(not that hard(I'll help when/if you get stuck(you'll just have to give us some information))) then you're done

  4. #4
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    Just to clarify: I don't need to do any partitioning until I start the installation process, is this correct?

    I think I'm gonna wait until Christmas break to do this because I have some school stuff I need to get finished and then I'll let you guys know if I need any more help.
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

    "Work hard and it might happen."
    -XSquared

  5. #5
    Hamster without a wheel iain's Avatar
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    I would go for Slackware 10 as the linux distro - unless youre looking for something with an simple and easy install as a main feature then go red hat or mandrake. As for which one to install first - always Windows. Linux is far more likely to recognise that other operating systems exist and to preserve their space, data and boot records. Windows is simpley ignorant and may well wreck installs of linux.
    Monday - what a way to spend a seventh of your life

  6. #6
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    I just took a look at the CD burning software that came with this computer and it turns out you have to pay for an upgrade to burn ISO images, so I was wondering if anyone knows of a good free burning tool to do this. A search came up with this: http://www.petri.co.il/how_to_write_iso_files_to_cd.htm

    That first one sounds good, anyone used it? Or maybe I should just use the command-line tool further down.

    I have so many questions
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

    "Work hard and it might happen."
    -XSquared

  7. #7
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    I recomend the Debian distro. Just remember when it comes to installing lilo (boot loader) don't install it to the mbr. Windows normally kicks up a fuss, but if it all goes wrong dont worry you can re-write the mbr using fdisk (fdisk /mbr)
    Microsoft is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.

  8. #8
    I am the worst best coder Quantrizi's Avatar
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    For distro's, I'd honestly go with Mandrake 10.x. It does the partitioning for you, and is VERY easy to install. I've dual-booted my old Win98 with it without any problems whats-so-ever.

  9. #9
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    If you've already had a little experience with Linux, I'd say go for Gentoo. It has a huge, easy to manage package tree, compiles automatically from source and thus has full use of CPU-specific optimizations on your PC, and generally lets you configure everything yourself. This is both an up- and a downside, of course.
    It also has a great config protection system.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

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    someone already said it, but i'll say it again... if you mess up the boot loader, use
    fdisk /mbr to be able to boot back into windows, but make sure you have a disk to boot into linux....as an alternative, i suggest installing lilo on a floppy disk and booting from the floppy when you want to use linux...it's just a matter of preference, but it may save you a lot of time and hassle putting lilo on a floppy....

    also, before you spend hours on end trying to connect to the internet, make sure you don't have a proprietary modem...or if you're using a wireless ethernet, then you may or may not have a lot of work to do...(*cough* *cough* linksys)....

    ..and, uh, whatelse....

    oh yea, i suggest Core Distro... it actually spoonfeeds you the directions to install it step by step...although it's not very fun once you get it installed, it only contains the essentials for linux...that may sound bad, but the first time i installed linux (mandrake) i soon realized i couldn't tell my ass from my head b/c there were so many damn files...if you install Core you will get a good understanding of how to do the basic configurations and what the "main" files are.

    ..oh yea... i used NERO to create my iso..i don't think it's free, but you can use a trial version to do it....(hint: download all the iso's you can possibly burn in 45 days)....
    i seem to have GCC 3.3.4
    But how do i start it?
    I dont have a menu for it or anything.

  11. #11
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    burn4free and countless other free burning tools which support burning iso's. Google it.

    *Cough* Still recomend Debian *Cough*
    Microsoft is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.

  12. #12
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    Haven't decided what distro I'm going to use yet, but I'll take all your suggestions into mind before I decide

    also, before you spend hours on end trying to connect to the internet, make sure you don't have a proprietary modem...or if you're using a wireless ethernet, then you may or may not have a lot of work to do...(*cough* *cough* linksys)....
    Yeah I figured setting up the network stuff might be a bit difficult...One of the reasons I want to dual-boot with windows. (I'm using a microsoft wireless router)
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

    "Work hard and it might happen."
    -XSquared

  13. #13
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    You might want to have a look at vmware for playing around with whatever distro you go for from within windows.

    vmware.com
    Microsoft is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.

  14. #14
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    I think you should look for a distro with an automated package manager, with dependency-checking.
    Those things install programs automatically for you, and if the package need some other package(and this happens a *LOT* when installing linux/unix apps) it installs that/those packages too. And checks their dependencies
    A good choice is Debian, which has already been mentioned. Another is Arch linux. Gentoo has such a package manager, but if you are not an experienced linux user, then I'd not recommend it.
    I haven't tried arch or debian, but I hear they're really good.

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