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Linux/xp, Dual Oss, And More


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#1 MattV

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 12:07 PM

I've been toying with the idea of Installing Linux for a while, now. I think I'm going to take the plunge.

First, I did some searching, but with about four quadrillion sites dedicated to Linux, I was quickly swamped. I tend to try finding things out on my own, but I do know when to turn to the experts for some help.

I took a little quiz at zegeniestudios, which recommended the following:

Mandriva

Kubuntu

Ubuntu

OpenSuSE

Now, I'm not new to the world of computing. The first computer I worked with was a DEC PDP-8. It used an IBM Selectric (before video) for I/O, and storage was by means of punched paper tape. Needless to say, I predate M$.

So, since I'm not a newbie to computers or operating systems (anyone remember cp/m?), but am a complete newbie when it comes to Linux, I'm asking for recommendations. I'd like desktop functionality similar to windows, but I'd also like to have the ability to work within the underlying framework of the OS (most of us are familiar with Unix or DOS, I believe). I'm also not afraid of new things. Most of the software I use is open-source. The only things I've actually paid money for are games or M$ Visual programming packages. (I'm a die-hard VB 6 person, and have fooled with VC++ a little.)

Next question - how easy (or hard) would it be to set up Linux and XP so that when I boot the computer I'm given a choice of which OS I want to use, Linux or Windows? I've never had multiple OSs (never felt the need) on one machine before, but as I said, I'm not afraid of trying new things.

And now the last question. The primary drive in my computer is the 40G drive that came with the machine, and it's getting pretty tired. The only thing on it is the OS, and a few things that won't install to anything but the c: drive. I also have a 100G drive that I use for everything else. I want to make the 100G the only drive (for now, anyways. I'm going to have to get rid of the old one soon, anyways, and then I'll have a bay free for another 100 G :thumbsup: ). I have the free version of Partition Magic, but it's been a while since I fooled around with disk partitions. I f I remember correctly PM can repartition a drive without erasing everything on it. Is that true? And, if so, would I be better off trying to repartition the drive and save everything, or should I just copy what I really don't want to lose to a CD and start fresh? (I know, that was two questions.)

Oh, almost forgot to mention. This thing only has the RAM it originally came with - 256M. And before everybody starts telling me to buy more, my wife and I are on SSDI incomes, which means a shoestring budget. I'm still digging myself out of the hole that last winter left me in. So what limitations might that limitation impose? (3)

Thanks in advance for any assistance any of you can provide me with.

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#2 BlackSpyder

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 04:58 PM

With your RAM you may have issues running the Gnome Desktop (I did on my laptop with same RAM) but KDE, Xfce, and Enlightement should run well. (X/K)Ubuntu has no root user (only a sudo command for BASH) enabled by default but is fairly easy to learn with. I have never used Mandrake but i use PCLOS 07 (a derivative of Mandrake) on my laptop and it is very easy to use and has a Root user. I have never used SuSE in any form so on that I cannot help. For you since you want Windows like functionality I would suggest either PCLOS 07 or KUbuntu both should run from a live CD for your system so you can try them out be fore installing.

Not very. KUbuntu and PCLOS 07 both offer an option to use the largest consecutive free space on the selected drive. Or if you want to control the partitions use the partition manager included in the install to make the following partitions
1 ext3 with mount point "/" I suggest about 10GB of space for this drive,
1 ext3 with mount point "/Home" make this one as big or as small as you intend to use for saving files and whatnot,
1 "SWAP" partition that should be no smaller then 512MB its like the virtual memory for Windows

Defag your drive before starting to avoid any Data loss and backing up is never a bad idea when fooling around with partitions.

Let me know which distro you wish to install and i can come up with better dual boot instructions (BTW if you dont feel like burning KUbuntu you can always order a free set of CDs from Connical, each distro takes up one CD)

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#3 MattV

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:54 PM

After much study, I think I'm going to go with PCLinuxOS, and I'm probably going to start with a clean drive, Installing XP first. I'll then probably need some help with installing Linux and getting it to play nice with Windows. (Being given a choice between which OS I want to use on boot. That's as fancy as I need to get.)

It'll probably be a few days to a week before I'm ready to embark on this daring adventure, but any tricks and tips from out there in the mean time will be most appreciated.

--M

#4 Joedude

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 06:04 AM

Sorry, it's a bit late, but here's my 2 cents.

If you are familiar with Unix, then you will have no problems working in the terminal. My recomendation for distro would be based on what you want to accomplish. If you just want it to work, I would go with Debian, Fedora or Suse. If you want to LEARN it, then use Slackware (yes, slack), that is like a crash course in Linux. I don't know much about PCLinuxOS, but the concept of a linux that feels like windows has never appealed to me. There are several here who have tried that and liked it.

Setting up a dual boot with XP and *nix is easy. Put XP on first, then install your *nix of choice. Xp will be on one fat32 or ntfs (whichever you choose) partition. Here's a trick, if you want the nix to be able to read and right to the win partition, you have to make it fat 32. You can do ntfs, but you will have to install the support for that. Windows, can not, and probably never will, read or write to any non win distro. Follow blackspyders partitioning info.

You do not need partition magic. Most live distros come with a disk partitioner, which in my experience has proven themselves to be more reliable than PM. If you like, you can follow my instructions here to completely move your partitons over, using only tools available on most linux live cd's. Here, are the instructions for the dd command. Icewalkers is a great site for command line (hint, you should book mark it). Now, if you move your windows partition only, when you finish, you will have to fix the mbr. after the move and you swap the new hd over to master (or first connector if you use cable select) or hd0 in SATA, you must boot through a system disk. Type in fixmbr (if an xp disk) or fdisk /mbr (if a 2k or earlier disk). When it's done, you should be able to reboot right back into your XP just like it was always there, without the worries of MS telling you you've usd the key too much and mmust purchase a new key and license.
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#5 MattV

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 09:22 PM

The whole question is moot right now. My CD-RW has crapped out, so I've got to replace that before I can do anything. :thumbsup:

Edited by MattV, 20 August 2007 - 09:23 PM.


#6 BlackSpyder

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 09:27 PM

Got a USB Drive (1gb or better)?? you wont even have to waste a CD you can wipe it when your done and reuse it for files.

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#7 MattV

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 09:45 PM

Got a USB Drive (1gb or better)?? you wont even have to waste a CD you can wipe it when your done and reuse it for files.

No. Low budget, remember? I've got one 256M USB memory stick that I use sometimes to transfer files between the computers in the house* - but only if they're too big to e-mail to each other.

* Mine's an HP Pavilion that I've had since 2001. My wife's mother gave her a Dell desktop a few years ago, and we've got an HP laptop that she bought with some school loan money. The one that gets the hardest workout is, of course, the ancient one. :thumbsup: And by the time we pay the bills and things, there usually isn't a hell of a lot left over to put into electronic toys. SSDI doesn't go very far, these days.

#8 BlackSpyder

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 10:51 PM

Yeah SSDI is shoestring at best. just thought Id throw out the option.

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#9 Joedude

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:44 AM

ney install from a boot disk could be a possibility for you. I have no idea how, but it's got to be fairly easy. I'll look around.
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#10 MattV

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:01 AM

ney install from a boot disk could be a possibility for you. I have no idea how, but it's got to be fairly easy. I'll look around.

I'd have done that already if my CD drive hadn't s**t the bed.

#11 MattV

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:03 AM

Yeah SSDI is shoestring at best. just thought Id throw out the option.

I'm going to look into it, though. They can't be that expensive. I hope.

#12 BlackSpyder

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 08:08 PM

What JoeDude was referring to was a Network install using a Boot Disk(kette) ie a 3.5" floppy. Ive never done it and if I read correctly you dont have a network (neither do I). When I bought my 1GB USB drive 6 months ago Walmart was carrying Sandisk brand for $24 and PNY brand for $20 (the PNY was on clearance). Take your time and when ever your ready or need help let us know.

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#13 MattV

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 11:12 AM

What JoeDude was referring to was a Network install using a Boot Disk(kette) ie a 3.5" floppy. Ive never done it and if I read correctly you dont have a network (neither do I). When I bought my 1GB USB drive 6 months ago Walmart was carrying Sandisk brand for $24 and PNY brand for $20 (the PNY was on clearance). Take your time and when ever your ready or need help let us know.

The 256M USB drive I'm using now is a PNY, and I've never had any problems with it. For $20 - $25, I might just as well pick one up. They're a great place to put stuff you need to keep around, but don't need cluttering up a HD.

As for the rest, It's just a matter of waiting for the parts. My brother has been building computers for years, and has lots of parts laying around, so he's going to send me a CD-RW drive and another 512M of RAM. Then I'll be good to go! :thumbsup:




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