Thread: installing linux for the first time

  1. #1
    Registered User Micko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    installing linux for the first time

    Hi, I decide to try Red Hat Linux. I'm windows user since I've pressed

    keyboard key for the first time in my life. I don't know much about linux.
    I have the following configuration:

    CPU AMD Duron 750 Mhz
    MB: ASUS As7-vm
    256 MB RAM
    40 GB Hard Disk
    modem Conexant
    svga integrated chpset SiS 730

    OS: Win XP

    Now I decide to try Red Hat Linux 8. I have another disk 15 GB Maxtor and
    want to use this disk to install linux to have dual boot. Win XP on one disk
    40 GB and Linux on other disk 15 GB. I don't know how my hardware will react.
    I don't have drivers for motherboard, graphics card, sound card, modem... etc
    for linux, just for windows. My computer is pretty old and I'm not sure I'll
    be able to find drivers for linux (or maybe I don't need them just like with win XP).
    However, I don't have any experience with linux and don't know from where to
    start preparing for linux OS. How to test if my hardware is compatibile with
    linux and for example will my modem work. How to set up dual boot. I think it
    would be wise to remove my hard disk with windows (40 GB) when making new
    file system for linux, and then I return it back after linux is installed.
    If you had similar experiences and dillemas,or know good links for linux
    newbies it would be nice to share them with me.
    All advices are more then wellcome!

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Registered User manofsteel972's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    This should help answer some of your installation questions
    "Knowledge is proud that she knows so much; Wisdom is humble that she knows no more."
    -- Cowper

    Operating Systems=Slackware Linux 9.1,Windows 98/Xp
    Compilers=gcc 3.2.3, Visual C++ 6.0, DevC++(Mingw)

    You may teach a person from now until doom's day, but that person will only know what he learns himself.

    Now I know what doesn't work.

    A problem is understood by solving it, not by pondering it.

    For a bit of humor check out xkcd web comic

  3. #3
    unleashed alphaoide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Free Redhat has transformed to Fedora Core, currently version 3
    Considering Fedora Core is way newest realease than RH 8, you might have less trouble installing it. And you'll get more support also from other users.
    I think it
    would be wise to remove my hard disk with windows (40 GB) when making new
    file system for linux, and then I return it back after linux is installed.
    I would suggest that too, because linux installation could put the bootloader in the MBR and when you decide to remove linux, you could have problem restoring the MBR to load Windows only. When that happens, you'll have to low-level format your HD.
    However, when you install it that way, switching between OS may involve switching the HD boot order in bios.
    Last edited by alphaoide; 12-02-2004 at 02:43 PM.
    source: compsci textbooks,, world wide web, common sense

  4. #4
    Registered User Micko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Thanks for replies.
    I'll use another hard disk to install linux!
    In that case will it be possible to set up dual boot with choice of OS similar to one when win 98 and win XP are installed together?

    If I decide to uninstall it is and use the same disk for windows OS, will I have to use fdisk because of another file system that is used by linux?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Linux distro's in general come with a bootloader program called lilo. This is fully configurable by hand however the red hat installation should set this up for you.

    You will need to know what device your windows machine is setup as, for example primary master ide hard drive would generally be /dev/hda1.

    /dev/ - devices
    hda - Hard drive a
    1 - partition 1

    You should also refer to the linux hardware compatibility howto, to make sure your hardware is compatible but from the top of my head you shouldn't have any problems with the hardware you stated. Also most vendors provide linux drivers for download on their website if you run into any trouble.

    Linux Hardware HOWTO
    Last edited by dagdarian; 12-03-2004 at 02:52 PM.
    Microsoft is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.

  6. #6
    Registered User Micko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Ok, thanks, one more question.
    I currently have win Xp installed on hdd Maxtor 40 GB and plan to remove this disk, insert new hard drive (Maxtor 15 GB) install linux on it, and then insert back hdd with windows XP on it to be primary master and other disk with linux to be slave. Will it be possible to setup dual boot in this case?

  7. #7
    Registered User Bajanine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    The most peaks over 10,000 feet!
    Sure it is possible, but it is easier to just install Linux without removing the other hard drive. And let Grub or Lilo be your boot manager.

    I would also recommend Fedora Core, very easy installation.
    Last edited by Bajanine; 12-04-2004 at 11:00 AM.
    Favorite Quote:

    >For that reason someone invented C++.
    BLASPHEMY! Begone from my C board, you foul lover of objects, before the gods of C cast you into the void as punishment for your weakness! There is no penance for saying such things in my presence. You are henceforth excommunicated. Never return to this house, filthy heretic!

  8. #8
    Registered User Micko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Ok, but I found this:

    "Install GRUB on the first sector of the /boot partition. DO NOT INSTALL IT ON THE MBR!.
    If you are performing the Red Hat installation, for the "Boot Loader Installation" screen:
    Select "Use GRUB as the boot loader"
    Select Install Boot Loader record on "...First sector of boot partition".
    After finishing the Red Hat installation, reboot into Linux. If you don't have a boot disk, try booting in linux rescue mode "

    If I don't remove first hard disk (with Windows XP) there is a chance I'll screw something with boot sector and lost data.

    I found this also

    " If you have multiple hard drives (disks), /boot must be on the same hard drive (probably the first hard drive) that has the Windows boot loader (NTLDR) on the MBR. "

    and there's something about shrinking partitions for creating /boot. I want to bypass that to reduce risk of loosing data.
    Here are some options for where to create /boot partition.

    (What I did) Shrink the Windows partition such that there is 50 MB of unused disk space at the beginning of the drive and lots of space after the Windows partition. You can install the /boot Linux partition in this first 50 MB and avoid any potential issues with the 1024-cylinder limit entirely.
    Shrink the Windows partition such that it does not cross the 1024 cylinder (~8.5 GB), and install the /boot partition right after the Windows partition.
    Use LBA (Logical Block Addressing). LBA allows you to boot beyond the 1024 cylinder. In order to use LBA, your BIOS must support it. In addition, for LILO, you must also add a flag to enable LBA support. GRUB supports LBA "out-of-the-box"
    I didn't toyed with partitioning before and I'm afraid to try this.


  9. #9
    Its not rocket science vasanth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    even if your MBR is overwritten.. restoring it is quite easy.. just use a DOS bootable floppy on the windows boot CD and in the DOS prompt type the command "FDISK /MBR" this will restore the windows MBR and you will be able to boot into windows..... so nothing to worry...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Once you've got the hang over using linux, and like it, you should try using a real distro.. check out
    Microsoft is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.

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