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Linux and 7. How to have both?

By mountaincat ยท 38 replies
Nov 16, 2011
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  1. Glad we got that out of the way early in the thread... :rolleyes:
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Well, as it was mentioned above. If you can start from a blank hard drive, it would be easy enough to install Win 7 and then install Ubuntu. You can even do the default 7 install (where it uses the full disk) and then when you install Ubuntu you allow it to resize your Windows partition.

    I think Ubuntu will want to take a lot more than it probably needs. So you may want to manually partition at that point in the install, and give Ubuntu like 10-12 gigs with a couple of those going towards swap and the rest going to /

    The dual boot will be set up automatically for you then, and you'll have 2 usable operating systems with minimal headache. And if everything goes to hell with the Ubuntu install, its simple enough in Windows to just wipe out the Ubuntu partitions and then expand your Windows partition to reclaim the space.
  3. mountaincat

    mountaincat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I will have my son read this thread and see whether he wants to pursue this dual environment. Reading all of your comments I now realize that for me, the dual OS looks like double the trouble of just one OS and I already have issues with the one. But if son is willing to give it a go, well maybe. And he has used linux a bit and likes it.

    I do appreciate all the feedback, the banter between you all makes me see that I either must jump in the deep water, or just stick a toe in. Posting these questions is like the toe thing, and I see there are big fish biting....
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Just install Virtualbox on your own computer, then install Ubuntu to it. You can find out for yourself what is involved then without any concerns about dual booting and/or breaking your Windows install. It won't be as fast, but save for a few things (VM's usually install better for start) it will offer you the same desktop experience as it would running it as a full host OS -- all-be-it slower.

    Either way you'll then have a definitive answer as to whether you wish to proceed or not.
  5. mountaincat

    mountaincat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great Idea Leeky. Will do.
  6. Night Fire

    Night Fire TS Member Posts: 28

    Firstly i want to apologize for the state of the guide i was on a hurry when i made it didnt get much time to organize it and the photobucket came in and screwed the order of the pictures.
    Due to the post limitation regarding images and links i couldnt post the pictures here so please dont hold that against me :)
    The 3rd partition is for data sharing between both systems ofc i could just make one partition for windows and linux would still read data off of it but if this partition gets crowded it will effect windows performance as windows needs alot of free space on the system partition to operate correctly.
    Its also not small as i said its for demonstration only (a partition for windows 50GB+ and 20-25Gb for linux i know its too much but better safe than sorry and the rest for a data sharing partition. if u have larger/smaller HDD u can modify the given layout to fit ur HDD.
    Also ubuntu's install process isnt that much different from fedora's and most linux distro's so it should be fine
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    No worries dude, though I'll share with you my thoughts:

    1. A 3rd partition for sharing is unneccessary. I understand your reasoning behind it, but Linux is capable of reading and writing to NTFS partitions with the correct driver and permissions. Most scenario's would involve the file being needed for Linux. On the rare occasions that you need a file for Windows (on Linux) you can just send it to the C: disk. If cross-OS readability is a major concern you could just use the C disk as a default for files as you use Linux. Just because you have a /home partition doesn't mean you need to keep all your documents and media there for example.

    2. Linux is fine with as little as 5-10GB, though it is dependant on the DE you run. e.g. KDE, Gnome, XFCE etc. In extreme cases with minimal installs as little as 3-5GB is possible, and with storage availability on modern systems typically larger than ever its not a massive concern.

    3. Dependant on the software used with Windows, less than 50GB is possible. I think your estimate is about right though, and will provide for a optimum experience.

    4. I suspect most people would view it differently. My situation is a little different to most, as I have a 64GB SSD, 1TB, 2x 2TB (Raid 1), and 320GB. Even with all that storage space I still only use about 30GB for Linux. Any more is just unneccesary, though I do appreciate as I said that my circumstances are different to most.

    5. I haven't really looked at Fedora since release 14/15, so I can't confirm. There are usually differences in all installers though -- how much depends on what distro's your comparing.
  8. I don't run windows, so my interest in dual boot is minimal...

    There is some use in Night Fire's idea if a "storage partition" however. In fact I have always had a FAT32 storage partition and still do:

    $ df -hTl
    Filesystem     Type   Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/root      ext4   9.2G  1.2G  7.6G  14% /
    /dev/sda5      ext4    28G   12G   15G  46% /usr
    /dev/sda6      ext4    26G   14G   11G  56% /home
    /dev/sda3      vfat   9.8G  8.8G  988M  91% /fat32
    tmpfs          tmpfs 1004M     0 1004M   0% /dev/shm
    (it's an 80GB PATA disk - I do have a SATA 2 controller on this board but no SATA disk drive yet...)

    As you can see I always mount separate /usr and /home partitions. I do this so that between installs/reinstalls of different distros (happens rarely these days) I can preserve my files untouched and any other stuff I have in /usr/local/ . Ideally that stuff should go in /opt and if/when I next reinstall that's probably how I will do it.

    My /fat32 is a relic of the dual boot days. I used it as a convenient means for dumping files that I wanted to access in Windows. Nowadays it's simply redundant and I've been meaning to get rid of it for quite a while but have never quite gotten around to it.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    EXCELLENT system management :) As a developer, not only do I isolate /Home, but have a /Dev partition for building software.

    {failure to plan is defacto planning to fail }
  10. Strange that you mount /dev on a separate partition. Isn't that pretty much pointless nowadays as in most modern systems udev populates that directory at boot time and there would be nothing worth preserving there between different installs anyway...?
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    oops; /SDEV, aka Software Development. /dev is for devices :( grrrrr.
  12. I see. I don't do any coding, but I keep my /build directory under /home/myuser as it's more convenient, I don't need to set any permissions or use root permissions and as I said previously /home is on a separate partition.
  13. Night Fire

    Night Fire TS Member Posts: 28

    thats the beauty about linux you can do whatever you want with it and it'd still perform 100% making your install and distro up to the entire system as personalized as it could get.
    The only problem that would make someone dual boot/OS is that some of windows software cant be ran on linux and doesnt have a decent alternative on linux which are needed by most people who are emigrating from windows to linux also all modern games "which what im keeping windows for :)".
  14. DeepThought007

    DeepThought007 TS Rookie

    It's not really that hard to do. Just download a copy of Gparted(it's free).
    Burn it to a disc. Insert the disc. Reboot the computer and Format a free portion(Unused) of your HD to an NTFS partition. Then remove your Gparted disc and insert the Windows Seven Installation Disc and Windows will install in the newly formated partition. There is no danger at this point of losing your linux partition because your Windows OS Does not recognize that part of the Hard Drive. You will want to download and burn a copy of GRUB(it's free) as the new Windows OS tend to mess up the boot sequence and GRUB will restore it.

    The two things you have to careful about is in formating the Hard Drive you DO NOT
    format the part of the drive that holds your Linux System and that you format an NTFS partition large enough to hold the Windows OS.

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