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On hard drive or withing Windows?


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#1 floridaze

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:19 PM

Hi, wonderfully helpful folks. I'm just wondering, when I give Linux Mint 7 another try (or should I use the latest version?), do you all prefer to install it within Windows, or on the HDD letting the install do the partitioning? Those of you who bother with Windows at all, that is. :wink:

May I ask the merits of each method?

Thanks!

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#2 MadDawg

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:24 PM

I recommend using the latest version. When you mention installing it from within Windows, do you mean with something like VirtualBox or VMware? Or, something like Wubi (or rather Mint4Win)?

With VBox or VMWare, you can install and use Mint in a virtual machine while Windows is running, which means you can resolve any compatibility issues in real-time, and you can back up the hard drive image and restore it in case you nuke Mint. However, If Windows becomes unusable, so does Mint, unless you copy it over to working OS. This becomes a bigger problem if the drive/partition becomes unreadable, as you will have to use data recovery tools to recover either OS. Another downside to this method is that Windows and Mint have to share the same resources (RAM, processor time, etc.), meaning that the overall computer performance will diminish while both OSes are running.

With something like Mint4Win, Mint installs as an application within Windows, which an be removed through Add/Remove Programs. After you install and reboot, you are given the option of which OS to boot into. I've read that there is a slight performance loss due to the extra steps required at bootup. Mint4Win is included on the Mint CD.

I prefer to install Linux on its own partition. This method allows you to easily recover files from other operating systems in case they become unusable, and you also get the maximum performance out of the OS. Although I've done this several times without any issues, there is a higher risk that you may damage any existing partitions in the disk.
A penguin broke my windows with a half-eaten apple!

#3 floridaze

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:48 PM

I installed Mint from the CD, not using any of the Virtual options you mentioned, at least as far as I know. I'm not even a beginner yet regarding Linux. I know less than nothing.

I seem to have installed it twice -- once inside of Windows (it appeared in Add/remove programs and had a folder in My Computer), and onto its own partition(s) as well. Uninstalling it from Windows XP was easy. Getting its partitions off my HDD and restoring my MBR was too tedious for words, because of some user-induced corruption which indeed rendered the entire drive unreadable.

You mentioned choosing which OS upon boot. That's a big reason why I wanted to uninstall Mint. If I wouldn't have to choose each time I booted, that would be great. Sounds like having it only on its own HDD partitions wouldn't employ that?

Thanks much for the feedback. I'll take it all into account when I try Linux again.

#4 MadDawg

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:05 PM

You mentioned choosing which OS upon boot. That's a big reason why I wanted to uninstall Mint. If I wouldn't have to choose each time I booted, that would be great. Sounds like having it only on its own HDD partitions wouldn't employ that?

Having each OS on their own partition would make the boot menu (bootloader) a necessity, as you need some method to boot into the OS you plan on using. You can set the bootloader to automatically boot into a certain OS after a certain amount of idle time, and if you need to boot into the other OS, you'd be able to.

The only easy way I know to avoid this altogether would be a virtual machine. Just make sure your computer can handle both OSes running simultaneously.
A penguin broke my windows with a half-eaten apple!

#5 floridaze

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:08 AM

OIC. Did I mention I'm a total moron about Linux? Or for that matter, any two OS on the same HDD. Or for THAT matter, installing any OS at all. I've never had to reformat or anything, knock on wood.

It was Mint asking me which OS to boot, and automatically choosing itself after so many seconds which I didn't like. Then it asked me AGAIN, because I had it installed twice, both on the HDD and in Win XP. (I hear you laughing!) :crazy: But in my own defense, I thought I was "reinstalling" it (yeah, into XP when it was actually on my HDD ...) because I was getting errors of some sort, don't remember what, and I thought "reinstalling" would help. Good in theory, but not in practice. :blink:

Semi-related questions if I may: could I run Linux from an external HDD? Not booting from the external, but being in Windows on my machine, and then as the humor hit me through the day, going to the external and loading Linux? And if so, would it be better in that scenario to install it into Windows on the external (it's a clone of my current HDD which is Win 7), or onto the external HDD? I believe that my computer could handle two OS. It's an Intel Quad 2.4 GHz with 4 GB RAM. OR, could I run Mint "live" from my external?

Thanks a million in advance for bearing with me.

Edited by floridaze, 16 March 2011 - 07:39 AM.


#6 MadDawg

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:07 AM

Semi-related questions if I may: could I run Linux from an external HDD? Not booting from the external, but being in Windows on my machine, and then as the humor hit me through the day, going to the external and loading Linux? And if so, would it be better in that scenario to install it into Windows on the external (it's a clone of my current HDD which is Win 7), or onto the external HDD? I believe that my computer could handle two OS. It's an Intel Quad 2.4 GHz with 4 GB RAM.


You could do that if you choose do use a virtual machine (which your computer can easily handle). Since the hard drive image is a single file, it would not matter how you get it onto the external drive. As long as the VM manager knows where the image is, it will boot Linux. It should be noted that if you do this, Linux will run slower unless you're using something faster than USB 2.0 (e.g. USB 3.0, FireWire, eSATA, etc.).

OR, could I run Mint "live" from my external?

This can be done as well. Take a look at this. It covers Mint 9, but it shouldn't matter which version you use. Please note that I have not tested this recently, therefore I do not know if it will wipe the external drive.

Edited by MadDawg, 16 March 2011 - 08:17 AM.

A penguin broke my windows with a half-eaten apple!

#7 floridaze

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:33 AM

Great info. It looks like running it from my external would be a great bet until I poke around Linux enough to know whether I want to go the penguin route or not. I have a Firewire port, but not a cable. I'll look into that, but at least it would be faster than the Live CD. THAT is just about unbearable. I have a drive with nothing important on it which I can put into my external, so it wouldn't be a problem if Mint erased it. I'll read those good instructions carefully and probably get Mint 9 as well.

Thanks a million! Have a great day or night.

#8 Ramchu

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:16 PM

Here is what I would suggest (my 2 cents worth)
About 21/2 years ago I was just exploring linux just as you are wanting to.

I downloaded EaseUS and used it to shrink my Windows partition
down to approximately 1/2 of the HD size.
Then I used the live CD for PCLinuxOSand installed it on to the free
space on my HD.

After asking a few questions on the PCLinuxOS Help Forum I was able
to set the Grub Boot Loader to boot Windows as default.
Then any time that I wanted to boot into Linux All I had to do was Restart my computer and arrow down to PCLinuxOS and press
the Enter key.

A bit of further info: Linux is not Windows and it does not always work like Windows, there is a learning curve and it takes a
little work to begin to master. Anything that you can do in windows can be done in Linux, just open your mind and be willing to
except change and learn.

#9 floridaze

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:48 PM

Thanks Ramchu! Lots of good advice worth far more than 2c. I look forward to poking around Linux, and that sounds like a good way to do so. Much appreciated.




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