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Preperation and Instalation

An easy way to dual boot Windows and Linux (on a empty HDD) by AP81
Posted: 24 Apr 03

This is a very easy way to dual boot Windows an linux on an empty HDD.  This guide is suited for someone who has never partitioned before and has a relatively new PC (< 2 years old).  This partitioning may not allow linux to work with older BIOSes due to the 1024 cylinder boot limit.  New PCs however, do not have the 1024 cylinder BIOS problem.

For this example I will use a 20G HDD and be installing Windows and Linux Red Hat (or Mandrake- both are very similar to install).  This is the planned partition layout:

1. Windows
2. /boot
3. /swap
4. /

------------------Section 1: Preparation--------------------

You will need three things:
1. A Windows 98SE boot disk.  
This can be created on Windows 98 (control panel > add/remove programs > startup > create boot disk), or alternatively you can search on the internet for one.

2. Microsoft Fdisk.
This is again available from Windows 98.  Just do a Find Files and folders for 'fdisk' (I think it is in c:\windows\com) and copy the file to floppy.

3. A bootable Windows disk and Linux installation disks

---------------End Section 1-------------------------------

----------------Section 2: Paritioning----------------------

-Now, insert your boot disk and boot the PC.  Go into your BIOS and set the first boot to Floppy.  Save changes and exit.

-Your PC should boot and eventually prompt you to make a selection of three options.  Choose 2 - Start Without CD ROM support (you can choose 1, but you don't need CD rom support).

-It will take a minute or so and you will end up at the command prompt (A:\).  Now insert your disk with 'fdisk' on it and type: fdisk.  You will then be prompted whether you want large disk support.  Select 'Yes'

Now you will be presented with some options.  

-Select option 1: Create a DOS partition of logical dos drive.

The next screen will give you three options.  

-Select option 1 again: Create Primary DOS parition.  Now we're going to create a Primary partition. If asked to use *all* space, answer 'No' and enter the amount you wish for the C: drive.  I want 12Gigs so i\I enter: 12000

The first partition on your first hard drive should automatically be set to Active partition. If not, FDISK may ask you, or you may have to select item 2: Set active partition from the main menu.

You can also go back and delete it if you made the wrong choice.

-------------------------End Section 2--------------------

--There are two things we can do here now.  We can create the other paritions, or we can continue and create the other partitions when installing Linux.  If you want to create the partitions now, read the next section, otherwise skip to section 4.

----Section 3: Creating extended and logical paritions------

After creating the first partition, we now go back to the main menu and select option 1 again: Create a DOS partition of logical dos drive.

Now we select option 2: Create Extended DOS partition.  This partition will hold the swap, /boot and root.  

When prompted to enter the amount, use *all* the space left.  If you don't, you'll wind up with unused space on your hard drive.  

After doing so, FDISK should automatically advance to the next step -> creating Logical DOS drives. It should give you a message that says (something like), This drive has no Logical DOS drives. Would you like to create some now?

The logical DOS drives are just all the partitions within the extended parition.

Select 'Yes'.  Now we enter the first amount.  I want 70MB for my boot, so I type 70.  Now I create another one and enter 512 for my swap.  Again, I enter the remaing space which will be my root (/).  
---------------End Section 3-------------------------------

-----------Section 4: formatting the drive for Windows-----

Now, exit from the fidsk menu, put your boot-disk back in and reboot.  Select option 2 and when arriving at the a prompt (A:\) type: format c:

This will format the drive for installation.  When finished, reboot the computer (make sure you take out the floppy).  Go into the BIOS and set the first boot to your CR ROM.

Now put you Windows CD in, and save the changes you have made to the BIOS.  Windows will boot and install from the CD.  After installation, don't worry about installing all your drivers, you can do that later.
------------------End Section 4-----------------------------

------------------Section 5: Installing Linux--------------

Now reboot the computer with your Linux disk 1 in the CD ROM.  Make sure that your first boot device is set to CD.

Run the installation program.  When prompted to partition, you can just use the existing paritions and assign them to swap, boot and /.  Otherwise you can create the partitions from within the program by manual paritioning.  Make the partitions to suit you preferred sizes and assign them to their mount points.  Continue with the installation.

When prompted to install a bootloaded, choose GRUB if it is there.  LILO will also work fine, but GRUB is better.  Make sure you install the bootloder on the Master Boot Record (MBR), otherwise you will not have a boot option screen to boot Linux and Windows.

When prompted to make a boot disk, insert a floppy and let it create a boot disk.

When finished, reboot and you are done.

**This is one of many ways to partition a Hard disk.  It is a simple way for a newbie.  When you are more comfortable with partitioning, you can experiment a bit more.

Paritioning really boils down to personal preference.  There is no right or wrong way, and it seems to spark debate amongst many people.

I hope this guide was helpful.

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