First time Linux User

I want to start using Linux, and was planning on making my computer dual boot into XP/Mandrake. I need a lot of basic help. As far as I know, here is what I should do.

1. Format HD (30 gig WD)
2. Put two partitions on HD
3. Install XP on what partition
4. Install Linux on other partition

Now what I want to know is, what software should I use to control the boot? Any recommendations? Will Linux support NTFS? I don't have much of use for Linux right now, I mainly want to have it to try out. I will probably be using XP home edition.

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  1. Ill post a dual booting guide in a day, I'm not at home right now.

    "If you teach a child to read, then he or her will be able to pass a literacy test" - George W.
  2. Okay, here we go. I've successfully dual-booted Win2k Pro and Linux Mandrake 8.0 by doing the following...Not sure XP has the same process.

    1. Install XP on the unformatted disk. Create 3 partitions, the first NTFS, the second (large), blank (Partition Manager or similar could do it, too), and the third (250MB or so) blank as well (This is yor swap). Install XP on the first partition.

    2. Install Linux on the second partition, format it with Reiser or ext3. Format the swap space as Linux swap, mount the big as /, the other as swap. Finish the install process and create a boot disk.

    3. Boot from the boot disk, login as root. edit you /etc/lilo.conf file so that the boot and root are the same, i.e. /dev/hda2 (Sometimes Mandrake messes this up, make sure you note which partition is mounted as /, could be /dev/hda5 or something)(The simplest lilo.conf I can think of is:


    ). Then, remove the boot floppy and insert a blank, msdos formatted disk. Start up a console, and Type

    #mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt
    #dd if=/dev/hda2 (or 5 or whatever your root partition is) of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512
    #cp /bootsect.lnx /mnt/bootsect.lnx
    #umount /mnt

    What that just did was copy your bootsector to the file /bootsect.lnx, then transfer that file to the floppy. Please don't actually do this until you are sure you understand what's going on (Kelledin, did I get this right?), because if you mess up of= and if=, you will hose your hard drive.

    3. Boot into XP. Transfer the file bootsect.lnx to the C: drive. Now, here comes the hard part. In order to get the bootloader to work, create the file "boot.ini" (In notepad). You will want it to look like this:

    [boot loader]

    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winxp = "Windows XP"
    C:\bootsect.lnx = "Linux"

    Give the file read-only and system file status (Use the "attrib" command). If this doesn't work, try replacing the "\winxp" with "\winnt" or "\winxppro" or something). You should now be able to configure the boot loader using the config panel. On WIn2k, this is in control panel => system => advanced => startup and rexovery)
    You should be able to pick the default OS and the timeout here. Once you've done that, try rebooting the system. You should get the WINdows XP boot manager prompting you to select which Operating System to start. Experiment with both, make sure they both work correctly.

    If this works, you may be one of the first people to dual boot XP and Linux. Congrats!

    Some of this information was adapted from the "dual-booting WINNT and LInux mini-howto", but I seriously updated it. Think I should release this as a mini-howto?

    "If you teach a child to read, then he or her will be able to pass a literacy test" - George W.
  3. Thanks man, that was a lot of help. I'll try and remember to tell you how it works out.
  4. Print it out. This will boot with the NT boot manager, which I find to be simpler to use than LILO, plus, it makes microsoft happy. The part that might trip you up would be boot.ini . boot.ini is necessary for dual booting but doesn't get set up normally. It is up to you to create this file (something hte authors of the original NT and Linux dual boot guide left out). Good luck I would recommend giving as much space as you feel okay with to Linux. I would recommend 3-5 gigs.

    "If you teach a child to read, then he or her will be able to pass a literacy test" - George W.
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