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I'd like to setup my sytem to accomodate fedora and windows xp. I'd like to be able to access certain files regardless of which OS I use. I understand that ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Partitioning for dual boot


    I'd like to setup my sytem to accomodate fedora and windows xp. I'd like to be able to access certain files regardless of which OS I use. I understand that I'll need:

    • 1 Windows boot partition ~2-4GB
    • 1 Linux boot partition ~2-4GB
    • 1 Linux swap partition ~1-2 GB


    I'm unclear/unsure of:
    1. How can I keep my non-boot linux files separate - i.e. /home, /usr, etc.? Do I need another partition? If yes, what format -- FAT32, ext3, etc. -- should it be?
    2. How can I access certain files regardless of what OS I use? Do I need yet another partition, formatted in FAT32?

  2. #2
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    I don't know that you would need a windows "boot" partition although I believe windows 7 uses that. Not familiar with windows

    You do not need a "boot partition" with Linux although there are reasons for having one. For the average home computer user it isn't necessary. You should have a swap partition and of course you will need a root partition for your system files. You can create a separate /home partition but that again, is a matter of choice.

    If you are not familiar with Linux, it might be best for you to keep your system (including boot) files on a separate partition from /home partition. Almost all major Linux distributions are able to read/write windows (FAT32 & NTFS) filesystems. You do not want to install Linux on a partition with a windows filesystem. You can google Linux filesystems to get info. To access Linux files from windows, I believe you will need to install third party software.

    Perhaps if you explained more of what you plan to use the computer for, you could get more detailed advice.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Perhaps if you explained more of what you plan to use the computer for, you could get more detailed advice.
    Essentially, I need the computer to support both windows xp and fedora. I want to separate the "boot" components of each OS so that if one or both get corrupted, repairing or re-installing won't cause me to loose any of my platform specfic data (programs, files, etc.). Lastly, I want to share certain data -- mail profiles -- between the two operating systems, so that regardless of which mail client I open (in either OS) the mail profile stays consistent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DKing0 View Post
    Essentially, I need the computer to support both windows xp and fedora. I want to separate the "boot" components of each OS so that if one or both get corrupted, repairing or re-installing won't cause me to loose any of my platform specfic data (programs, files, etc.). Lastly, I want to share certain data -- mail profiles -- between the two operating systems, so that regardless of which mail client I open (in either OS) the mail profile stays consistent.
    I think you'll be well served by creating a layout similar to this.
    Code:
    Windows partition 
    Extended partition 
    /  (Linux root) I think you want at least 10GB for this.
    /home size will depend on your needs, more is better but 10 GB should suffice nicely
    /swap no more than 1GB, no matter how much RAM you have.
    /data fat32 partition for sharing files between the two OS's
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  5. #5
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    In addition to MikeTobb's layout suggestion, you can use NTFS instead of FAT for the partition with files you want to be accessible to both systems, if your linux distribution provides ntfs-3g. I also think that just two ntfs partitons and three linux partitions will be just fine, instead of three for each. Basically MikeTobb's suggested layout, minus one partition for windows. That would be:

    "windows c:"- ntfs - more or less equivalent to linux root, with the main "windows" folder

    "windows d:" - ntfs - may be used for program files, user profiles (if you referred to windows "boot partition" for the reasons I suspect, which is to be able to reinstall windows and get things from previous configuration files *), or, at least all the files you want to be accessible by both systems.

    linux root "/" - ext3

    linux home - ext3

    linux swap - swap


    Ext3 is what I use, I've read it's the preferable system type for a desktop. It may be a bit slow depending on the hdd, but can be substantially accelerated if you mount with "noatime" option, which will simple disable the writing of last accessed time.

    I've read this recommendation (ext3) and other explanations in this pdf file:
    http://infohost.nmt.edu/~val/review/choosing.pdf

    Here's a link to the online google pdf viewer for the same file:
    Choosing and Tuning Linux File Systems





    * this is a bit tricky in windows though, if I recall, you will often need things from the "program files" folder, and things from the users folders, some folders with names such as "configuration files". The software you install won't be just still installed after you reinstall just windows on a separate partition, even though the program files and user files are intact; you may even need to rename these folders to avoid overwriting by a new install, and then overwrite some fresh new files with the old configuration files. But I guess you know that, if you mentioned the concept.

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