Re: Looking for dual booting advice

On Monday 24 July 2006 00:40, PaulFXH stood up and spoke the following
words to the masses in /comp.os.linux.misc...:/

I'm going to dual boot WinXP and Linux (?) from a single HD.
Although I've researched this quite thoroughly, I'm surprised that
there is no simple step-by-step instruction available. In addition,
there seems to be two distinct schools of thought as to whether Linux
should be installed BEFORE or AFTER Windows.

*Always* install whatever version of Windows you intend to be using as
the first operating system on the hard disk, and make sure that you
don't give it all the space on the disk.

If you plan to use a common storage between GNU/Linux and Windows and
you want your Windows to be secure, then install Windows in an NTFS
partition, and create a second partition with a FAT32 - we call that
/vfat/ partition - for the common storage. GNU/Linux can read NTFS,
but it has poor or absent - depending on the distribution - write
support for NTFS.

*Then* install GNU/Linux, creating at least two partitions for it: one
as the root filesystem and a swap partition. Set the /vfat/ you've
created in Windows up to be mounted under */mnt/common* or something -
in UNIX, filesystems are /mounted/ to directories, not to drive

You /may/ - depending on the diskspace you have - choose to create a
third GNU/Linux partition, to be mounted on */home.* If you don't do
this, the contents of */home* will simply sit on your root filesystem.
It may however be a good idea to keep them separate, so as to minimize
filesystem fragmentation and the risk to filesystem corruption and
subsequent dataloss.

*/home* is where the user home directories live, with the user's own
work and personal configuration files.

In any event, my intention is to install Linux after WinXP (which is
already there).

This is a sane set-up. ;-)

I would appreciate if somebody can direct me to a link which might
clarify some of the issues involved in this. I would particularly like
to understand a little more about the whole boot loader/MBR thing. For
example, it seems to be stressed in many of the articles I read to
avoid the Linux boot loader installing into the MBR. OK, but how?

There were some issues with having the GNU/Linux bootloader in the
master boot record on dual boot systems with Windows NT and Windows
2000, but for all other set-ups, it is recommended to have the
bootloader in the master boot record.

There is a /HowTo/ regarding the use of the NT bootloader - which is
also used by Windows 2000 and all current NT-based Windows versions
such as XP - at the website for the Linux Documentation Project, i.e.:

Although I have tried a few of the Linux LiveCDs, I'm still unclear as
to which Linux flavor to install on the HD.
My needs are very simple (OOo, Media Player and Internet are the only
essentials) and I would appreciate advice as to which is likely to
suit my situation as outlined above.

In that case, I would advise Mandriva, SuSE or Ubuntu/Kubuntu. I have
no experience with a boxed retail version of SuSE - Ubuntu and Kubuntu
are download-only distributions - but if you buy a boxed version of
Mandriva, you get so-called non-free software as well.

This is software that wasn't distributed under the GPL, although it
/may/ be free of charge. Examples of this are the proprietary video
drivers for ATI and nVidia cards, the Sun Java Runtime Environment,
RealPlayer and proprietary browser plugins and codecs.

A boxed retail pack usually also comes with a printed manual and a
limited customer support. I would definitely recommend this approach
for a beginner. You can always get into downloading and burning the
CD's/DVD yourself later when you're more experienced.

Dell 4550 Desktop
WinXP Home SP2
CPU P4, 2.53 GHz
1.0 GB RAM
Int HD 80 GB ntfs, non-partitioned

If it's non-partitioned, it won't have NTFS on it. ;-)

Ext HD 160 GB ntfs, 3 partitions
Ext HD 250 GB ntfs, 4 partitions

Hope this was useful... ;-)

With kind regards,

(Registered GNU/Linux user #223157)