Going to try and dual boot my PC XP/Linux... what should i know?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ingenious, May 7, 2004.

  1. ingenious macrumors 65832

    ingenious

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    #1
    In the spirit of ditching M$ for open source and since i cant afford to buy a mac yet (my PB is my schools), i would like to dual boot my PC with a linux distro. what one should i use? i need an easy/free one to set up cuz im new to linux. also, what can i use that (Free) that will let me non destructively repartition my sys so that i can keep all my XP files?
     
  2. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #2
  3. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

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    #3
    I use SuSE (www.suse.com) and use Grub as the boot loader. I have never had any issues wih Grub being the boot loader, so my recommendation is Grub.

    I've never had a problem resizing a Windows partition, and SuSE will do it for you during the installation. So, while adding an extra hard drive is nice, it is not mandatory.

    Does Red Hat require a RHN registration to get updates with Fedora? That's the one thing I like about SuSE: You can patch from mirror servers and don't have to mess around with registering with the vendor.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #4
    Either Fedora or Suse will be a piece of cake. Avoid Gentoo unless you want to muck with things for an entire weekend. I can tell you from experience that Fedora's installation is basically automatic and totally painless.

    Main thing to remember: Install Windows FIRST. If you install Linux first, the Windows installer will overwrite the boot loader (the program that'll give you the choice of running Linux or Windows when you power up the machine).
     
  5. ingenious thread starter macrumors 65832

    ingenious

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    #5
    Okay, I'm going to try SuSE. I knew that if i was installing both for the first time that I needed to install windows first. But, I would like to keep my win installation on my computer to save re activating. (that's one of the reasons i moved to mac.... oh how i wish i had enough mulah for a new PB right now....
    :p ) the suse website said that it could be installed along side my windows installation. Is this true? Has anyone had any luck with this? I have the computer listed below.
     
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #6
    I may be misunderstanding you - but I think you'll have the best luck if your windows partition is not being used as your Linux partition as well (I don't even think that's possible with XP or 2000, but only with the FAT16/32 partitions used by Windows 95/98/ME). Linux can read the XP file format (NTFS), but writing to it is not considered a good idea.

    If you were going to use Fedora, I'd suggest resizing the Windows partition ahead of time using BootIt-NG or Partition Magic. From what tomf87 is saying, Suse will even handle that chore for you - probably with a tool called parted (you don't really have to worry about remembering that!). But the end result is that a part of your disk (a partition) will have the Windows installation, and the rest of the disk - divided into one or more additional partitions - will be used for the Linux installation.

    Make sure Suse says it will resize NTFS partitions BEFORE you start. If there's any question, you can use a program called BootIt-NG (free trial) to resize the NTFS partition without destroying your data.

    Both Suse and Fedora use a program called grub that will basically control the computer's bootup by installing itself into your disk's boot partition - this type of program is called a "boot loader". When you turn on or reboot your computer, you'll see a menu that will basically say "boot into Linux" and "boot into Windows", allowing you to choose one or the other.

    Edit: I just looked at Suse's Website and indeed they do NOT resize NTFS partitions. Grab BootIt-NG and use it to create the floppy disk tool - that'll let you resize your XP partition while keeping your files intact. Of course it's always a good idea to back everything up ahead of time if possible; but I've done this several times without incident.
     
  7. ingenious thread starter macrumors 65832

    ingenious

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    #7

    i meant creating a new linux partition.

    Ok, now i need some help! I am such a newbie at this. Okay, I'm at the ftp website: ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/9.0/ . Now how do i get firefox to download the whole dir? Do i need to do this? I printed off the readme and it says that im supposed to download the boot.iso file and burn it to a cd and then boot from that, so that is what im doing. I am on dial up(ugh this is going to be great... :p but i can get this downloaded at school) So i wanted to know if it will work from the boot prompt like it says:
    ok see what i mean? is it going to connect and download (which is ok, but will it work?) am i doing this right? am i making *any* sense? :p some more cut and dry steps would help if you could help, please. :D
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    I'm going to leave the Suse-specific questions for someone like tomf87 that has worked with Suse. :D Most Linux questions will not be dependent on the distribution; but at least part of what you ask will be better answered by a Suse veteran.
     
  9. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #9
    Reply to tomf87's Fedora question

    Nope, not at all - no registration is required. Fedora is more free in that sense than the old "demo" version of Red Hat.
     
  10. justinshiding macrumors member

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    #10
    I just went through the same thing a few weeks ago (not enough money for a powerbook yet , but tired of good ol' xp.) I'm using Red Hat 9. It's no more difficult to use than any other linux I've seen (which isn't many , so take that with a grain of salt.)

    I'd suggest using partition magic to make some extra partitions on your hard drive. What I did was use partition magic to shrink the windows partition down a few gigs to make room for the actual linux files and then just moved the windows partition "to the right" 200 megs to make room for the boot sector(some distros will throw a fit if the boot sector is beyond the 1024 cylinder wall.) Then ran the redhat installer and having it automatically make the needed linux partitions using the free space.
    That worked wonderfully for me. The only problem I would recommend you look into is your hardware. Make sure that it's supported by the distro you choose. I didn't, and had to monkey around for a few hours until i found a driver that would support my aging radeon 7500le.

    Good luck though. Honestly linux feels more rewarding to use , although it's less "snappy" than xp is on my poor old computer (Athalon 700mhz.)

    Oh, one other thing about redhat. You initially cannot use it to play mp3 format files...you have to add support for it due to some silly copyright issue.
     
  11. ingenious thread starter macrumors 65832

    ingenious

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    #11

    ok tomf87 work ur magic and explain this to me, please! :D i really want to ditch XP at home, not completely cuz i paid for it, but mostly.
     
  12. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

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    #12
    Sorry for the delay. Been really busy as I'm getting married in June and work is going overboard!

    During the SuSE installation, it will come to a partitioning setup and it will automatically suggest something for you, which will resize your current Windows partition. If you do not like the amount of space, you can adjust it manually. I would recommend backing up your data first, as I wouldn't trust any resizing utility 100%.
     

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