[clug] Assistance to leave the Bazaar.

Michael Carden crash at michaelcarden.net
Sat Apr 29 02:05:13 GMT 2006

On Sat, 29 Apr 2006 04:13 am, Steve wrote:
> If any Linux experts that live in
> the A.C.T. wish to assist and advise me in how to get Linux fully
> functional on my machinery in a dual boot configuration 

Hi Steve.

You can ask your specific questions here if you like and I'm sure there are 
many who will pitch in to assist. There are a variety of ways to create the 
dual boot system that you're after and I'll make no claim to knowing 
the 'best' one. I semi-regularly set up dual boot Windows / Linux machines at 
work or for friends. Last Thursday I had to dual boot a Windows XP machine 
with Fedora Core 5. Here's how I did that.

1. Clean up the Windows machine. It's likely that the Windows machine has 
files scattered all over its hard drive. You need to remove any junk and 
defragment the drive to make room for Linux. 

Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup

Be prepared for this part to take a while. Then the defrag which may also take 
a while:

Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter

2. Next you need to re-partition your drive to make room for a Linux 
Partition. I use a graphical partitioning tool called QTParted. To get 
QTParted I boot the PC using a Knoppix 3.9 'Live CD' where I work within a 
fairly complete Linux environment. Other partitioning tools may be used... I 
just happened to have a Knoppix CD to hand.

From memory, to start QTParted, boot into Knoppix, then:

KMenu -> System -> QTParted

Wait for it to gather your drive information then highlight your drive and 
right click -> select Resize. Either use the slider or the up/down arrows or 
just type a number to decide on a new size for your Windows (probably ntfs) 
partition. From memory you then choose a menu option to execute your changes.

Device -> Commit		(I think)

Wait a bit while your partition is shrunk. I usually split the drive 50/50 for 
Win/Lin but the ratio really comes down to your needs. I'd better state the 
obvious here and mention that you shouldn't shrink the Windows partition any 
smaller than the space it's currently using or it will die. Leave it some 
room to breathe.

At this point you may choose to make a new partition from the space you have 
freed up and give it a Linux partition type (probably ext3). Depending on 
what Linux you go ahead and install you may not need to do this because many 
Linux installers will take care of formatting the drive anyway, but it 
shouldn't hurt if you do.

3. Install Linux. This week I used a Fedora Core 5 DVD, but I have recently 
done the same with various Ubuntus (my current preference), Debian, Suse and 
Damn Small Linux. The Fedora Core install is very much a colour-by-numbers 
experience. Having created free space on the drive, I just selected the 'use 
free space' option when presented with it by the installer. The installer 
also set up the GRUB bootloader for me and prompted me to enter a name for 
the existing OS (Win XP) to show up in its menu at boot time.

One issue to be aware of on dual boot systems. If you use a USB keyboard, your 
PC may not see the keyboard until the OS has booted, so you can't access the 
GRUB menu to select the second OS at boot time. If you use a PS2 keyboard, no 
trouble. In theory, it ought to be possible to select a BIOS option to 
support USB keyboards at boot to avoid this, but on the Dell GX-270 (A06 
BIOS) I dual booted this week, this didn't work. So I have to keep a spare 
PS2 keyboard plugged in to access GRUB at boot.

Any suggestions to address that little issue will be gratefully received.

Anyway, get out there and start fiddling!


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