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Hello everyone, first time poster here! Just before I start, a few things about me : I'm a windows programmer with a big tendency towards open-source programs. Linux-wise, I've never ...
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  1. #1
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    How should I partition my hard drive for triple boot?


    Hello everyone, first time poster here!

    Just before I start, a few things about me : I'm a windows programmer with a big tendency towards open-source programs. Linux-wise, I've never really got further than the ubuntu liveCD. However, windows vista scares me and I want to try linux programming and softwares.

    I've just received my new laptop. I want to triple boot Vista/xp/ubuntu (vista for future-proofing, xp for main system, ubuntu for fun). I will be using this tutorial, unless anyone has a better one : http://www.hevnikov.com/blog/2006/11...e-boot-screen/ . I have 120 gigs available (I know it's not a ton). I want to know how I should partition my hard drive to suit my needs (which sizes & formats). I figured out that I'd need the following minimum partitions sizes for the bare OSes :

    Windows XP (NTFS) - 5 gig
    Windows vista (NTFS I think) - 8 gig
    Ubuntu (ext3) - 5 gig
    Linux swap - 2 gig

    I want to have some place to store my data and some place to install my programs. My data should be accessible from all 3 OSes and, ideally, in NTFS format (linux has a patch to support it, right?). It could be in another format but I think the only other option is FAT32 and it's not great with filenames (I think). Now for programs : linux programs could be in the linux partition but the windows programs should be accessible from both XP and vista, if possible. I was thinking of something along the lines of :

    Windows XP + windows programs (NTFS) - 40 gig
    Windows vista (NTFS I think) - 8 gig
    Ubuntu + linux programs (ext3) - 20 gig
    Linux swap - 2 gig
    Data (NTFS) - 50 gig

    Is that possible, and does it seem to be a good idea?
    Are my sizes and formats correct?
    Would vista be capable of using the programs on the winxp partition?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Hi and Welcome !

    Tutorial link is not working.
    Windows XP + windows programs (NTFS) - 40 gig
    Windows vista (NTFS I think) - 8 gig
    Ubuntu + linux programs (ext3) - 20 gig
    Linux swap - 2 gig
    Data (NTFS) - 50 gig
    Partition structure is Ok except 2GB SWAP. 512MB Swap space is enough.
    Install Windows XP first and then Vista. Install Ubuntu after setting up Vista/XP dual boot properly.

    Good Luck !
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
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  3. #3
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    I would give XP and Vista a 5-10gb partition each, have all the windows programs on yet another partition. More flexibility that way. I also would go with a 1-2gb swap partition, use that for Windows and Linux. No need for each OS to have it's own swap, they can all share one. Always better to have more swap than too little, not having enough can easily bring a Linux system to it's knees, if it makes it that far. For normal use not much (if any) will probably be needed, but sometimes that extra swap space is happily used.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valan
    I also would go with a 1-2gb swap partition, use that for Windows and Linux. Linux. No need for each OS to have it's own swap, they can all share one.
    How would you share SWAP space in Windows and Linux? I have never heard anything about it.
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    Thanks a lot for the info. That solved the logical problems...

    ...however, there are also technical problems! First of all, let me just say that I'm doing this on a new Dell inspiron 1520 laptop. Okay, I've had problems with both winXP and Ubuntu :
    WinXP - Absolutely no drivers, dell ships only with vista drivers so I couldn't get on the net neither via ethernet (weirdly) or via wifi. I can hardly see a way of solving this.
    Ubuntu - The 7.04 liveCD doesn't work on my new computer (it used to work on my old one). After the loading bar screen, it jumps into a fullscreen console screen instead of booting (I only remember something being written about an error with "tty" or something). This happens independantly of if I select safe graphics mode or not and of the currently installed os. Any info about this problem?

    For the moment, I can only run vista.

    BTW, the tutorial I was going to follow is : Ilya Hevnikov’s Blog » Blog Archive » How To Triple Boot (XP, Vista, Ubuntu) With Single Boot Screen
    I don't know why the link didn't work.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Post you Laptop's specs here. I think its a Graphics Card problem. Try Ubuntu Alternate Installation CD. It has text based installer.

    That link is working right now. I will check it and let you know.
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  7. #7
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    Have you successfully tried any other distros? Perhaps Ubuntu doesn't like your hardware, but maybe another distro will.

    As for sharing the swap, here are a couple links. Should be easily adaptable to Vista.
    HackITLinux: Sharing swap partitions between Linux and Windows
    Linux Swap Space Mini-HOWTO

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    Ok here's my laptop's specs :

    DELL INSPIRON 1520
    Processor : Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7100 (2Mo cache/1,8GHz/800Mhz front bus)
    RAM : 2 gig DDR2
    Graphics card : nVidia GeForce 8600m GT
    HDD : SATA 120 5400rpm

    Both XP and vista had to run slow and at very low resolutions before I installed graphics drivers, I'm pretty sure that's normal. What's less normal is that Nvidia's official drivers couldn't install, I had to find another way using modified drivers .inf files or something.

    I'm going to have a look at ubuntu's text-based installer and post back. A text-based installer does scare me a bit, though.
    EDIT : And if it doesn't work, I might try openSUSE.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valan
    Have you successfully tried any other distros? Perhaps Ubuntu doesn't like your hardware, but maybe another distro will.

    As for sharing the swap, here are a couple links. Should be easily adaptable to Vista.
    HackITLinux: Sharing swap partitions between Linux and Windows
    Linux Swap Space Mini-HOWTO
    Thanx for the links. There are a few problems there. one has to execute zcat command on every reboot. I will try to share swap space in my test machine and let you know.
    Quote Originally Posted by TrillianX
    I'm going to have a look at ubuntu's text-based installer and post back. A text-based installer does scare me a bit, though.
    Text based installer uses minimal graphics and its very easy. dont worry.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
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  10. #10
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    I've found out that my bug is known :
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/75135
    Apparently, there's nothng to do though, so I'll have to try with OpenSUSE.

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