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  1. #1

    Want to start...have NO clue

    Hi, I want to begin experminting with Linux for the FIRST time for personal and professional reasons. I have a spare HD with XP home on it and figured why not. After many hours of forum sniffing and Google searches I have come to realize 1 I need to repartition but don't know how, 2 I have no clue about the basics of Linux installs ( I don't even know how to do the beginning steps). I have downloaded Gentoo, and after reading their installation manual I'm no smarter that I was a week ago lol. I have searched several forums and asked around with people I know, but I haven't been able to find the help I need presented in a way I understand. Any help would be welcome. Thanks

  2. #2
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    You can partition from within windows with partitionmagic, paragorn,....
    The easiest is to just delete a partition (or shrink a partition and delete the rest, ...) and most linux distributions have an option to install in this empty partition.
    I wouldn't recommend gentoo if this is your first install, but that 's your choice offcourse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Welcome to the forums, Doball!

    Gentoo is not really a good starting place for a person totally new to Linux, although it can and has been done. I'd recommend installing something like Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora, or Ubuntu if you want something easier to get up and running right away.

    I agree with Fraggle about using PartitionMagic from within Windows if you feel uncomfortable trying to do partitioning under Linux. Once you have your partitions created, you are over the first big hurdle. You can use those partitions for just about any Linux install.

    I generally use the ext3 filesystem for my partitions and make them something like this:

    / (usually about 6 GB)
    /boot (if I use one it's about 32 MB)
    swap (about 512 MB)
    /home (about 4 to 6 GB)


  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4


    If I understand your post correctly, you are saying that you don't need the 'XP Home' and whatever else is on your spare drive. If this is the case, and you are going to format it - then I would like to suggest:

    ~ Install the spare drive in your computer. Assuming that you presently have only one hard drive in your computer and it is installed as "first master" - and your CDROM is installed as "first slave" - install the spare drive as "second master" (it would be good to install this arrangement anyway - whatever it is now).
    ~ Go into your BIOS setup environment and make the CDROM drive "first boot" and your spare drive "second boot" (make your original drive "third boot" if you have that option).
    ~ Boot from your Linux install disk.
    ~ Install Linux on the spare drive, placing the MBR ("Master Boot Record") on the spare drive. Create whatever desired partitions on the spare drive.
    ~ Create a boot option for the original drive.

    What all this does for you:

    ~ You don't actually change anything on the original drive - it preserves MBR and all...
    ~ If you should ever need to, you can simply un-install the spare drive and change the BIOS settings - and your computer will be returned to what you had to start with.
    ~ If you should ever move that drive to another computer as the main/only drive - it is "ready to go, MBR and all" - with little or no effort to set it up and get it going...
    ~ If you should ever desire to remove the original drive from that computer - it will be very simple to do with minimal effects on the system as a whole.

    I believe you should find this [self-contained] approach very much "worth your while" (especially, in the long run).

    I know you said you were new to Linux. Don't let this over-whelm you or "scare" you -- it is really not that bad -- it's just part of learning how to "do" Linux. Just take it in steps... And, if you need any assistance with any of these steps, post on the forums...

  6. #5
    Thanks for the advice. I'll just burn the Gentoo rar on to a cd for now then. Looking into it I think I'll go with Suse. As far as my HW goes, I guess I should have said it's for a laptop. I have to manually remove one drive for the other. I have about 20G free in the drive so I'll probably partition under windows (I don't feel comfortable doing anything in Linux yet lol). I was wondering though, If Suse is 5 CD's @ ~ 700M compressed how is that useable for an install, or am I just stuck thinking windows? I'll keep digging, but the pointers are greatly appreciated. What's the worst I can do...start over on a blank drive? lol Thanks

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    You won't be installing everything on the 5 CDs. When I install SUSE, it's usually under 8 GB of actual space used, although my partitions total about 12 GB.

    HTH ...

  8. #7
    Yeah, Ozars right. Since linux is opensource, the disks that come with SUSE are filled with additional software that you can use to set up your box as a server, or to set it up as a workstation, etc. Since i doubt that you are going to need all that sotware, it is very possible that you will use most of the 1st disk and only a few megabites from the other 5. Infact, you might not even use some disks at all.

  9. #8
    As far as my HW goes, I guess I should have said it's for a laptop. I have to manually remove one drive for the other.
    Yes, that definitely reduces your available options a bit...

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Sacramento, CA
    Don't really have anything to add except that I think its great you are taking the plunge into open source software. I think you will find that it's a lot easier to work with when you don't have to save your product key stickers *just in case*. And don't worry about the partitioning, it's not as hard as it seems.

    Welcome to the forum!

  11. #10
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Texas, USA

    distro on laptop

    Not too familiar with laptops but have installed Mandriva on quite a few random desktops and also used its partitioning tool to dual boot with Wxp and W2000 on single and two hard drive setups with great results.

    Two suggestions:
    1. Download/buy a live version such as Knoppix, Suse or Mandriva Move and set your BIOS to boot from CD. Then you will be able to see how linux plays with your hdwr. Remeber, a live boot version will almost always run slower than an actual install.

    2. Google your laptop model+the distro you want to use to give you an idea of those who have done it before.

    3. Dual booting is a liitle scary at first for newbs, but don't let that stop you. Just make sure to BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP and defrag Wxp first if you want to keep Wxp. (Also make sure you have Wxp discs if you want to reinstall Wxp later).

    good luck

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