Dual-Booting Linux and Windows

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by picoshark, Dec 17, 2007.

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  1. picoshark

    picoshark Notebook Consultant

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    This is a short tutorial on installing Sidux Linux onto an existing Windows XP partition. It should work equally well with any variant of Windows. This is a risky operation, and you should at very least back up the contents of your My Documents directory, and any other things you want to keep. Linux is very good now about manipulating filesystems that try to lock themselves out from other operating systems, but it is a good basic idea to back up anything that you consider important.

    Linux is very easy to install, if you have a separate disk to put it on. Dual booting is a way to test Linux and keep your existing Windows installation; installing Linux by itself now is much easier than installing Windows. There are many live CDs that will let you try Linux temporarily (Sidux is one) but performance is very slow unless you have a lot of ram. The only tricky part in dual-booting is safely resizing an NTFS partition so that Windows doesn't misbehave (as in, "WHERE'S MY STUFF!"). We will demonstrate how to safely resize an NTFS Windows disk, install Linux, and make it dual boot. You only need to choose an operating system from a menu.

    There are many great Linux variants today. In the last few years, Debian (most notably in the form of Knoppix) has become a real star on hardware detection. Since some companies try to keep how their hardware works a proprietary secret, latest and greatest hardware can sometimes be more difficult to use in Linux. In general, the older the hardware, the greater the chances that it "just works". Another very good distro now is Ubuntu, also based on Debian. Mandriva is also good at nearly everything. Linux Mint contains a lot of Windows codecs, and is good for multimedia. This tutorial should be helpful should you wish to install any other kind of Linux.

    There is a very active forum at http://sidux.com as well as an active IRC channel. You can get the latest version of Sidux at http://sidux.com/Article303.html Choose a mirror that is nearby to you. Look through the directory tree, there is a directory called Releases that contains the ISO. There are always two versions, a Full and a Lite version. The Lite is smaller (almost half the size of the Full), does not include Open Office and some other large apps (though you can add anything at any other time).

    The link below requires Flash, in a reasonably modern browser.

    http://home.comcast.net/~toughbookhack/tough_linux3.htm

    thx,
    Scott S.
     
  2. Toughbook

    Toughbook Drop and Give Me 20!

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    EXCELLENT job on the tutorial! Very well done! You should add the your rep for this one! I know I will add to it!
     
  3. Mega-Man

    Mega-Man Notebook Consultant

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    Scott - this rocks - I just fumbled through partitioning and installing PCLinuxOS a few weeks ago - going to follow your steps and see what she does, what do you recommend for replacing the PCLinuxOS with SIDUX - I think I formated the Linux partition as EXT2 ? I assume I would be best to reformat it as EXT3 but ?
    Thanks again this is super cool and very helpful - Clint
     
  4. picoshark

    picoshark Notebook Consultant

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    Ext2 will work fine with Sidux, Mega-man. They used to default to that. There is a world of disagreement on differing filesystems. For whatever reason they decided that ext3 would be the 'official' filesystem of Sidux, I just went with it because it's easier to get help if you need it, when you follow the Fine Manual!

    If your Toughbook is a spare as far as your computing goes (or you have a spare PC), I would really recommend bypassing the dual boot process, and just put Linux on it. It's much less stressful if you're not trying to preserve 'your stuff', in addition to learning new things. A good way to learn actually, is to be fearless, and don't consider your install valuable in the early stages. Blow it away, do it again. If you are dual-booting, you need to be more careful. It used to be a joke that if you installed Linux 40 times, you would understand it.... Finally. The distros are much better now, but doing it a few times helps.

    By the same token, if anyone has an XP install all fixed up just like they like it, dual-booting can be a good way to get your feet wet with Linux. But please back up your stuff first.

    The method I outlined (pretty much default) on partitioning is very coarse, if you want to get into it. When disks were smaller, it was hard to decide on various partition sizes. Having a separate /home partition is always a good idea, it's the equivalent of 'My Documents'. You can more safely reinstall, keep the /home partition and your stuff is still there. Anything that is much of a server should keep /var (which has all the system logs) on a different partition or disk, because if the logs someday grow to fill that up, the system will stop until you clear it out. If you have a fairly large disk, it will never be a problem for regular use.

    What I demonstrated was just making the whole thing one big slice, under the / partition. It will work fine, it is how Windows does it. If you get short on space in the future, it makes it more difficult to work around.

    I don't dual-boot (I made that tutorial in VMware, in case anyone was wondering why I had a 5 gig drive), but on a CF-28 (800mhz/384 meg ram/30 gig disk) I have Sidux only, and I consider it very usable for what I do.

    thx,
    Scott S.
     
  5. Doobi

    Doobi ToughBook DeityInTraining

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    I tried the install and maybe i'm too ignorant with it but it will not boot up from the disk. I downloaded the .iso image, copied to disk via CDBurnerXP with the option of creating a CD from an .iso and changed my boot options in BIOS to boot from CD first. It seeks it, but won't boot. I've tried several (3) copies of the CD just in case it was that. Any idea what is wrong? How can I check that I made a bootable copy?
     
  6. picoshark

    picoshark Notebook Consultant

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    It sounds like you've cleared the first big hurdle, which is usually someone not creating the disk right. The Fine Manual (available on their site, as well) has a section on downloading and burning the CD. It often helps to burn bootable ISO images at 8X or less.

    A quick and dirty way to check, is to look at the disk you've created in Windows. Is it one big ISO file? It needs to have subdirectories.
     
  7. Modly

    Modly Warranty Voider

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    I use ImgBurn when I use windows to burn discs. Never made a coaster yet out of an ISO.

    On my mac I use Disk Utility (Built-in).
     
  8. Doobi

    Doobi ToughBook DeityInTraining

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    Here is what I have on explore:
    \boot
    \release
    \SIDUX
    autorun (setup information)
    cdrom (icon)
    index (firefox document)
    md5sums (file)
    release-notes (PNG image)

    I do believe this is correct, but can somebody confirm? Could be a bad CDROM, but then why would I get lights on boot-up and can explore the disk but can't boot? Any suggestions on this one?
     
  9. Modly

    Modly Warranty Voider

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    Try using ImgBurn to make the disc. It's only purpose is to burn discs from .iso files. If that doesn't work, then something else is wrong (Maybe hardware related, what kind of drive is in your caddy?)
     
  10. picoshark

    picoshark Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, that sounds right on the files. Does the md5sum match? Is there any other CDs that will boot?
     
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