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Ok, I had PCLinuxOS insalled on one of my laptops but I wanted to be able to also boot Windows, because let's face it. There are just too many good ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! NickWelder's Avatar
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    Installing PCLinuxOS on partition without reformating entire drive


    Ok, I had PCLinuxOS insalled on one of my laptops but I wanted to be able to also boot Windows, because let's face it. There are just too many good programs for Windows that aren't available on Linux. That, and I am a Windows programmer and I don't want to have to bring two laptops with me everywhere I go. One with Linux installed, and one with Windows.

    So last night I reformatted my hard drive on my Linux laptop and created two partitions. One is 51.7gb formatted to NTFS where I installed WindowsXP , and the other is 22.7gb formatted with FAT32 for Linux.

    Now on to my question. How do I install Linux onto the empty FAT32 partition without reformatting the entire drive and as a consequence erasing my Windows XP intall. The catch is I want to do it from the GUI installer with PCLinuxOS.

    Basically I need to know what options to click/set when using the GUI installer.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Install PCLinuxOS 2007

    Hi Nick,

    hope this helps:

    Partitioning/0.93 - PCLinuxOS Documentation Wiki

    The install is initiated by clicking on Install on the Desktop from the livecd. When the system asks for the password just type in root. One piece of advice though, I wouldn't install Linux on a fat32 partition. In fact, I wouldn't install Windows on a fat32 partition either. Fat32 is notoriously unreliable as you probably already know and it seems to slow up disk access quite dramatically. I know people use fat32 for USB memory and portable hard drive installations but this is purely to alleviate the problem of quickly transferring files to and from Windows systems.

    If this is a permanent install I would go for ext3 for your / partition. Once you have Linux installed you can install ntfs-3g and access any Windows partition. If you need to transfer files to Windows from Linux then setup a separate small fat32 partition but don't keep anything in there for too long that you really need. In the link above they advise you to setup a different partition for /home but this is not neccessary as Linux will create the directory in /.

    Once again, hope this helps

    moonshinerat

  3. #3
    Just Joined! NickWelder's Avatar
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    How do I convert that FAT32 partition to ext3 without reformatting? What windows tool can do this?

    Also, what are the problems with using FAT32? I selected it because it was the only option in the Windows XP partition tool that is used during the install/setup.

  4. #4
    oz
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    If it were me, I'd download the PartedMagic LiveCD and use it to delete the Fat32 partition, then tell the PCLinuxOS installer to use the available free space for installing Linux:

    Parted Magic
    oz

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickWelder View Post
    How do I convert that FAT32 partition to ext3 without reformatting? What windows tool can do this?

    Also, what are the problems with using FAT32? I selected it because it was the only option in the Windows XP partition tool that is used during the install/setup.
    If the FAT32 Partition is empty already then it is no problem in the GUI installer to just select the partition and format as ext3. This is done after you have clicked install on the desktop and as per the instructions in the link, selected Custom Disk Partitioning.

    If Windows is on the FAT32 partition then I would suggest you download Gparted on livecd and use this to resize the FAT32 partition and then create your partitions. Gparted boots as a livecd and is a simple point and click utility. If you use this to create your partitions then I would first create a SWAP partition of roughly twice the size of your system ram and place this at the end of the disk. I would then create an ext3 partition in the remaining space. When you boot up PCLinuxOS again on the livecd and click install you will not need to do anything with the partitions except set the mount point of the ext3 as / (point and click in th GUI installer).
    One caution though if you have to resize Windows: don't resize to less than 52% of the original size because XP stores non-movable system files in the middle of the disk).

    Fat32 is not all bad, almost every OS can read and write to it, but it is also prone to failure. File corruption and allocation table corruption is a regular occurrence and the space fills up quickly due to smallest file restrictions. The maximum file size on fat32 is 4GB - no good for video files and copying dvd's etc. Fat32 has no journaling (see below) and thus more prone to errors and corruption.

    Journaling file system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And lastly, file fragmentation is a nightmare on fat32 and defragmentation is even worse in Linux because the native Linux file systems don't need it.

    Don't forget to backup before you install.

  6. #6
    Just Joined! NickWelder's Avatar
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    So if I subpartition my empty FAT32 partition with the installer to create a swap space will my Windows OS be safe?

  7. #7
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
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    The fat32 partition was created just for using linux right?
    All you have to do is tell the PCLOS installer to install to that partition, you will not have to worry about your XP install.
    PCLOS should setup a dual-boot for you.
    Just ake sure that you install grub to the mbr.
    How to know if you are a geek.
    when you respond to "get a life!" with "what's the URL?"
    - Birger

    New users read The FAQ

  8. #8
    Just Joined! NickWelder's Avatar
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    What is MBR?

    And where is grub?

    I googled it and found someone who said this:

    Install GRUB on the first sector of the /boot partition. DO NOT INSTALL IT ON THE MBR!.

    So what do I do?

  9. #9
    oz
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    The MBR is the master boot record.

    I've been installing GRUB to the MBR for 7 years now and have installed it there hundreds if not thousands of times, and have never had a problem caused by doing so.
    oz

  10. #10
    Just Joined! NickWelder's Avatar
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    So where is grub, how do I install it, and what/where is MBR?

    And I am having a weird problem. I go through the steps to install on the partition and it copies all the files and several minutes go by and I guess it finishes up because the installer closes. So I look in the hard drive and linux isn't installed. It still has the same amount of data as it did before I installed. I wonder what is going on here...

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