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Partitioning New Hd For Multi-boot


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#1 Alchemist

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 05:50 PM

I've got a pair of brand new Seagate 120 GB HDs here and I'm trying to figure out how to arrange the partitions for a multiboot system. What I want to do is have Linux on its own partition and Windows XP/98 dual boot on the same 'primary' partition using two different logical drives (which is how Windows dual boot has to be setup -- right?). I do plan to eventually remove the Win 98 stuff and give the whole partition to Win XP, but I want to keep 98 around for a while.

I've been searching the web for information, and the tutorials I've found all look to be out of date by quite a few years.

What I want, simply:

1) Linux first (unless that's not a good idea?) -- EXT3, single primary partition
2) Linux swap
3) Windows 98/XP - single primary partition, but two logical partitions The Win98 would be FAT32, and the Win XP would be NTFS (Is THAT possible? Or do both have to be FAT32 in a dual boot arrangement?)
4) The rest of the disk as a huge data storage space (extended partition)

There are some technical questions I can't find any answers for at all. What is a good size for the swap partition? Is it better to locate the swap partition 'near' the Linux OS partition on the disk? Or someplace else? Maybe first thing on the disk? Can the bootloader GRUB run from the Linux partition without needing a special partition of its own as some bootloaders do?

Thanks for any help or pointers to up to date step-by-step instructions.

Edited by Alchemist, 11 April 2007 - 05:52 PM.


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#2 Monster_user

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 12:17 PM

First, Windows 98 cannot boot on a logical partition. It requires a primary partition. Usually the first. Linux and Windows XP are not limited by this requirement.

Your NTFS and FAT32 issue is not an issue. Each logical partition is no different from a regular partition, as long as the OS supports it. Well, aside from booting from it...

It IS better to have the Linux partition close to the Swap partition. Since the "head" (or whatever its called) will be going back and forth a lot, you don't want it to have to travel across the entire disk. That said, you may not even notice the difference.

As for the size of the swap partition. It should be about the same as your RAM. It can be less, but I wouldn't recommend going more than double the size.

If you have a gig of RAM, then you could set it anywhere between 128mb, and 1536mb. You really don't need the swap partition, it is just a safety net. You will need just enough to allow the system to slow down a little, instead of slowing down to an almost dead stop (freeze), when it runs out of RAM. In addition, the swap partition can become fragmented, if the size it too big. Which will cause it to be slower. I never make my swap partition more than 600mb.


1) Windows 98 first
2) Windows XP/Linux/Swap - single Extended partition, but three Logical partitions. The Win XP would be NTFS, Linux would be Ext3, and the swap would be blank.
4) The rest of the disk as a huge data storage space. Extended partition, with one multi gig Fat32 partition (recommended to transfer files between Linux and Windows.).

Edited by Monster_user, 13 April 2007 - 12:22 PM.

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#3 Alchemist

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 12:24 PM

Well, I wondered if I was going to get any response at all. The requirements for booting Win98 are looking to be a problem. All I wanted was to keep the old system around for a while until I got settled into WinXP, but giving Win98 it's own primary FAT32 partition will require a rather large re-organization when I decide to get rid of it. XP runs much better on an NTFS volume, of course. A more standard dual-boot of Win XP and then Linux looks like a the way to go. Apparently all the major distros include GRUB these days, so as long as Linux is the last thing to touch the boot record, dual boot is fairly simple. If I need something from the 98 stuff I'll just have to connect the old drive to another computer so I can copy the necessary files.

It used to be 'very important' to have a swap partition about 2 times the size of your RAM with Linux. Good to know it's not so important anymore but I still sort of resent having to put about a gig of HD space into limbo like that.

As far as the storage on the rest of the disk, yeah, I was planning on FAT32 logical partitions. At least one smaller one of 16 or even 8 gigs for collections of smaller files and the rest as a huge space for large data files like MP3s.

#4 need TOS

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:27 PM

I do not think that it will be necessary to install Windows 98. What you can do is. Make a small serperate partition on one of the 120 Gb HDs. Copy all the files that you want from your windows 98 partition to the new partition. Then you will not need the old Hard Drive anymore. Now then partition the hard drives to the way you need them being careful not to delete the partition with all of you Windows 98 files. Install Windows XP. Then install Linux. Now you can use the files from the partition with your windows 98 files on it. As long as you have the proper application to run them. If a program that you run on XP from windows 98 does not work then run it in compatibility mode. You can do this by right-clicking on the program file and selecting it to run in either Windows 95, Windows 98/2000 or Windows XP.

(Beware some programmes and games will not run on XP with the NTFS file system. I do not know why but they dont.)

-Steve
Forgiveness is forgetting about a past that could have been

#5 Monster_user

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 11:30 PM

Virtual PC applications.

Run Windows 98 inside a virtual environment, either from XP, or Linux. As long as your not needing 98 for games, and such...

There are a few free, and open source Virtual PC applications.
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