Help Me With Linux.


Rayek

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Okay, I am totally new with Linux, to get that out of the way.

I have just bought a nice, new 200 gb hard drive, and would like to set up Linux on a partition, and use the harddrive I have now to boot with Windows, when I want to play games.

I plan on having 2 partitions on the new drive, and the one partition on the old drive. One of the partitions on the new drive will be for Linux storage and installing the Linux distro I choose onto it, and the other partition will be for storage for both OSs.

Herein lies my problem:
Windows WILL NOT recognize any files written by Linux, but Linux can recognize files written by Windows.

My Questions:
How should I format the new drive (With a Windows disk or a Linux disk)?
What filesystem should I use (FAT32 is what I was thinking)?
How do I switch between OSs during startup? I heard you can't use the Windows bootloader to do so, so I don't know what to do there.

Thank you for your time, Mandriva, here I come!
 

Ravnos

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If you're dual booting and planning to share files between the OSes, do NOT format your Windows partition as NTFS. FAT32 has its problems, but it's also writeable by pretty much every other OS out there.

As for how you should partition the drive, that depends on how much you'll be using Windows. I have a 200GB drive in my current machine with 20GB for Windows and the rest formatted ext3 for Linux. I don't really have any problems in this regard because I never even touch my Windows partition. If you're fairly sure that this willbe the case for you, then I'd recommend doing the same. If you're going to be going 50/50 each, or spending more time in Win than Lin, then go with a smaller Linux partition and make the rest of the drive FAT32. If you go the first route, though, and you find that you're still using Windows a lot, there's an app for Windows that will let you read ext2fs partitions. It should work for ext3 as well, but I'm not sure. I can't remember the name, but it's pay software in case that matters to you.

Oh, and as for booting between the two OSes, make sure you install Windows first. Then when you install Linux, 9 times out of 10 it will detect the Windows partition automagically. It will probably present you with an option to install its bootloader, and if it detected Windows that bootloader will give you the option to boot into Windows or Linux when you start it up.
 

Rayek

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Hmmm. the computer I'm using right now has NTFS already on it, and I really don't want to start over again, considering I've lost my XP disk. Does that mean that the Linux distro installation won't be able to recognize the Windows OS that I already have installed?

It's OK if Linux won't be able to read STRAIGHT off the Windows harddrive, If both Windows and Linux can see the fat32 partition on the new drive, then I could easily move files between the NTFS drive and the Fat32 partition of the new drive, boot up with linux, and copy the files. A little extra work, but no biggie.
 

Ravnos

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Hmmm. the computer I'm using right now has NTFS already on it, and I really don't want to start over again, considering I've lost my XP disk. Does that mean that the Linux distro installation won't be able to recognize the Windows OS that I already have installed?

It's OK if Linux won't be able to read STRAIGHT off the Windows harddrive, If both Windows and Linux can see the fat32 partition on the new drive, then I could easily move files between the NTFS drive and the Fat32 partition of the new drive, boot up with linux, and copy the files. A little extra work, but no biggie.

Linux can read NTFS just fine. Writing is a bit more problematic. This project might help you out with that but I've never tried it. I just take the path of least resistance and format everything as FAT32.

An intermediate partition like you suggested would work as well, but as you said, it's a little extra work and I'm a lazy lazy man. If you're not then that's the route to go.
 
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Rayek

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So the link you gave me is for when I have Linux running, correct?

The link I gave pretty much addresses all of the installation questions, except with Knoppix, do you have to unmount ALL the drives, not just the harddrives to format just one harddrive? And will Knoppix recognize the drive before it's formatted? (I assume so, but the way they explained it, it seemed that all the drives in question have to have drive letters assigned to them within 'My Computer'.

Argh, this is very complicated.
 

Ravnos

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Yes that link is for after Linux is installed, and I have no idea about your Knoppix questions. Knoppix is really only useful to try Linux out and see if you have compatible hardware. Also, Linux doesn't use drive letters at all. It sounds odd to hear it when you've used Windows all your life but in Linux you have to think more of mount points than drive letters. Even that, though you don't really have to think about much unless you're mucking about with things.
 

Rayek

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In the guide on the link I posted, it says to burn Knoppix to format the drive... Now I assumed that any nice distro would have one of those built in.
 

Rayek

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Next question: Should the Linux harddrive be Master because Linux is running the bootloader, or does it not matter?
 

Ravnos

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I've never had it on anything other than Master so I'm not sure. As for formatting, yes, any distro will allow you to format your drive during the installation. You won't need a second distro just to format. If you're installing Mandriva, then Knoppix should be wholly unnecessary.
 

Rayek

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Thanks so much for your help...

I'll move my questions to the linux forum for more detailed instructions.
 

deadlychicken22

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Next question: Should the Linux harddrive be Master because Linux is running the bootloader, or does it not matter?
I believe the linux harddrive must be Master because of the bootloader, but i'm not 100% sure. I am new to linux as well and don't have a very good knowledge of it. I am running on ubuntu 5.10 and rarely have to see a command prompt (i use it for running some programs) or any inner workings of linux.

EDIT:
If you haven't decided on a linux distro, i would highly recommend ubuntu. It is very nicely layed out and comes with just about all the necessary programs. It has a great help service/wiki and a great community (most distros do). The thing that has probably amazed me most about linux is the synaptic package manager, it is simply amazing.
 
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Rayek

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Actually, i've installed linux on the slave harddrive and the bootloader works just fine. I'm typing this on a KDE Mandriva-driven Linux Firefox. Kind of nifty.

I'm such a Linux noob. I have no idea how to do anything. The simplest tasks, such as installing ZSNES is a pain to do. I'm so used to MS's way of seeing things that I have to completely rethink how I work a computer. It's like I'm five and I thought I new how to use a computer, but when actually confroted with one, I shit my pants.
 
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