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Hey all! I'm new here and I'd just like to say Hello first... so, Hello! I've finally decided to have a serious go at Linux. I've been a windows user ...
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  1. #1
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    Installing on 2 HDD without using grub or other booter


    Hey all!

    I'm new here and I'd just like to say Hello first... so, Hello!

    I've finally decided to have a serious go at Linux. I've been a windows user for just too long Tried Knoppix a few months ago and loved it so I decided to "make the move" and give Fedora core 4 a go.

    At the moment, I have 2 HDD. One is 80 GB all NTFS, 4 partitions with XP. Another is 8 GB FAT32 with win98 on it. I do this to download torrents with 98 so that the NTFS partitions are protected (I'm a little paranoid )

    Anyway, I don't use microsoft's bootloader, I just use the motherboard's boot menu (F8 at startup on my m/b) and select which IDE device to boot from.

    What I wanted to know is: Is it possible to do this with a linux OS on the 8 GB instead? i.e. not use a boot loader but just do it manually by selecting which IDE to boot from?

    Also, I've been reading that writing to NTFS in linux is a bit of a dodgy area so I'm definitely not gonna mess about with it.

    What I was wondering was if the NTFS partitions will be protected as they were before when I download torrents (which would be from Linux). They may be able to be seen but would it be enough protection against hacking/viruses to have the NTFS partitions unmounted? Or even if they are mounted, will a virus/hacker even be able to screw anything up then?

    Okay, that's it I think. Thanks for your help in advance and kudos to all you dudes for being so helpful in helping people to come over to Linux.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_new_mr
    What I wanted to know is: Is it possible to do this with a linux OS on the 8 GB instead? i.e. not use a boot loader but just do it manually by selecting which IDE to boot from?
    yes, just install the bootloader to the ide device i.e. you 8Gb drive. All operating systems need a bootloader (windows sets its own to a 0 sec timeout, unless you have another Windows installed). Then you just boot like you would i.e. press F8 and select which drive to boot from. This way your windows bootloader won't be touched. In summary, yo do need a bootloader, just give it a low timeout e.g 0 - 2 sec.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_new_mr
    What I was wondering was if the NTFS partitions will be protected as they were before when I download torrents (which would be from Linux). They may be able to be seen but would it be enough protection against hacking/viruses to have the NTFS partitions unmounted? Or even if they are mounted, will a virus/hacker even be able to screw anything up then?
    SInce you can't write to NTFS partition, no virus can write there and, also there are extremely few ( < 50 or so) Linux viruses. And as long as you use a normal user account and not a super-user account, even if someone hacks in, they can't do anything except mess around with your home directory (Like My Documents in Windows, and not the whole C: drive) unless they have root permission.

    One thing you should keep in mind is that 8GB is a little small, so you should go into the detailed package selection and try trim off what you don't need.
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

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    Thanks for your help AlexK! Much appreciated

    So, when I finally do get the time to try installing Linux, I'll put the bootloader on the 8 GB then. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexK
    One thing you should keep in mind is that 8GB is a little small
    I was thinking of formatting one of the partitions on the 80 GB to FAT32 to use for dual storage between the two OS.

    I read somewhere that someone suggested that I should have a partition just for /home so that I won't have to recopy stuff over if I re-install linux or install another distro. So, does that mean that I should have, say (on the 8 GB):
    Around 2 GB ext3 for Fedora
    1 GB for swap (I have 512 MB RAM, is 1 GB enough? should I make this ext3 also?)
    x MB for /home (ext3 as well?)

    and the rest FAT32

    How many MBs do you think would be necessary for /home and do I have to give it a special label or anything?

    I'm know I'm being a bit fussy for my first install but I thought I'd ask anyway Thanks again for your help.

  4. #4
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    Personally I don't have a separate partition for home as there arise some problems when trying to use the same home folder's config files with two different distros. But that is your choice. I'd say just backup whatever documents and stuff in home directory to a cd or dvd before trying a new distro.

    For swap space, a 1:1 ratio between RAM is enough as you have 512 already. And you would Have FC format the swap partition as SWAP and not ext3. I also have 512 RAM and 512 swap and in my experience, the most swap I have seen used is 30MB....

    If you want a separate home partition, tell FC to mount it as /home that is all.

    If you are going for 2GB root partition for FC, that may not be enough for a default install, I'd definately suggest you try and trim a lot of stuff off if that is the case. (I heard default FC installs are 5GB+).
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

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    5 GB+!!! WOAH!!! Okay, gonna definitely have to format one of the 80 GB partitions to FAT32 then

    Thanks again for your help AlexK.

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    One last thing... (anyone know Columbo? )

    Assuming that I'll install FC4 on the 8 GB (and disconnect the IDE cable from the 80 GB drive whilst installing), is there any chance that I'll lose everything on the 80GB when FC4 boots up or anything. I know it's unlikely and I'm planning to backup all the important stuff before I start but I thought I'd ask first just to make sure

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_new_mr
    One last thing... (anyone know Columbo? )
    No. Who is he/she/it?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_new_mr
    Assuming that I'll install FC4 on the 8 GB (and disconnect the IDE cable from the 80 GB drive whilst installing), is there any chance that I'll lose everything on the 80GB when FC4 boots up or anything.
    If you disconnect the IDE cable for 80GB, nothing on it will be touched. Fedora will think your computer has only 8GB of space. And backing up is always a good policy when attempting to install various OS'es (from experience).
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexK
    Quote Originally Posted by the_new_mr
    One last thing... (anyone know Columbo? )
    No. Who is he/she/it?
    He's a tv detective and he always used to say "One last thing..." when asking questions
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0068395/

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexK
    If you disconnect the IDE cable for 80GB, nothing on it will be touched. Fedora will think your computer has only 8GB of space. And backing up is always a good policy when attempting to install various OS'es (from experience).
    Yeah, I know the 80GB will be okay on installation since the comptuer will only see the 8GB drive. I was just wondering if anything crazy would happen on bootup of Fedora. Anyway, I'm sure nothing will happen and it's just me being paranoid again

    I think I'm gonna give the installation a go on the weekend. I'll let ya know how it went.

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    So, I finally got round to it

    Originally, I wanted to have about 4 GB of FAT32, 512 MB of swap (512 MB of RAM) and the rest ext3 on an 8GB drive. However, I found that druid wasn't having any of it. I let it do an automatic parition setup and then edited it to put the FAT32 partition and reduce the swap from 1GB to 512MB. When it came to finally install, it gave a message like "hdb1 has been changed and the changes will not be felt until the next reboot..." or something like that. Then, the install would crash and the machine would restart.

    So...
    I went into windows on my 80GB drive, formatted 4 GB of FAT32 on the 8GB and left the rest as free space. Made the automatic parition "leave partitions as they are and use remaining free space". Reduced the swap again from 1GB to 512MB. Same error message. Then I tried just leaving the swap as 1GB and it worked this time.

    Then, when performing the yum update (which installed over 400 MB!!! is this normal?), I was informed that I was out of space.

    So...
    back to the drawing board. This time, I decided that I would make the whole 8GB drive as ext3. Had to do the yum update again which again took a long time.

    Now, thank God, I have it all running on the 8GB and there's about 2.5 GB left on the drive.

    I have a couple of questions though that I would appreciate if someone could answer.

    1.: Should the update have downloaded so much? It took literally hours. I'm not sure how old the version of Fedora core 4 I had as I copied it from my cousin who got it from his father in law who got it from a magazine and I don't know how old the magazine was but it just seemed like a bit much

    2.: In order to try and read from the 8GB from windows, I found a link to some utlities from the linux-ntfs.org website (here) which can read ext3 in windows. Unfortuantely, they can only read from the boot partition and I can't get to the main parition. Is there a way around this?

    3.: When trying to install the ATI video drivers, in following this guide to install Fedora, I found that trying to run "fglrxconfig" as root brought up "-bash: fglrxconfig: command not found". The ATI driver installer said to run aticonfig and I read somewhere that ATI have changed the method for their driver installation in linux to aticonfig. I'm at a bit of a loss with it though, can anyone help?

    //Edit
    Got the ati driver working

    A small question now...
    4.: I download the tar.gz file from getfirefox.com for firefox 1.5. What should I do to install it? Where should I put it? Is it just a question of replacing the current firefox version? (and where is that one?)

    Sorry for all the questions

    Thanks in advance!

  10. #10
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
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    1. Being the 1st YUM update, it would have downloaded a lot to get everytihing to the latest packages. Subsequent updates should not download as much provided you update regularly.

    2. Personally I don't have a separate partition for boot, so when I used explore2fs long back, it could read the partition just fine. Either try another tool, or start a new thread on these forums asking wether someone has the same problem.

    4. For Firefox, did you download the source code, or the installer. Look at the name of the file you downloaded and if it has installer in it, then do the following:
    Code:
    su -
    cd /path_to_firefox_downloaded_file  <--- e.g. cd /home/user_name/downloads
    tar -xzvf firefox-xxxxxxx.tar.gz
    cd firefox-xxxx
    ./firefox
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

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