View Full Version : Dual booting my laptop

11-02-2005, 10:48 PM
I have a HP ze 1230 with 256 MB RAM, 20 GB(18 in actual) hard disk, AMD Athlon 1.3 gig processor. I was thinking of making this a dual boot with XP. I was looking at what distro to install and kind of narrowed it down to Ubuntu 5.1.0 or Suse 10.0

I've tried Debian woody (crashed umpteen times, so am not going for that). Redhat 8.0 never booted up, Redhat 9.0 has good device support but uses up too much space. Did'nt quite like Mandrake 9.1 either, lacks lot of device support.

I am kind looking to divide the partitions like this order:

1. Primary NTFS 5 GB (for XP)
2. Primary ext3 5 GB (for root)
3. Extended with rest of 8 GB, within which the first 512 MB is for swap and rest am planning to have it as a FAT32 so that I can have it as a space to share data between Linux and Windows (read and write use from both sides).

So what do you people think of this dual boot configuration. Am a newbie, I've used Linux but not much. Usually played around a lot with installations, but hardly worked on Linux.

11-02-2005, 11:08 PM

Good to see a Linux buddy :)

I think Fedora is also quite good I have been using it for close to 1.5 years in my laptop and I am very very comfortable with that. It recognized all the devices but for the display properties for which I spent one week trying out different options and questioning in the fedora forum but at last it was a simple addon line in the xconfigurator file which i did and it is now working perfectly. I also have dual partition with WinXP. Mine is Dell inspiron 1.6Ghz 256ram, 30 gb

My partition is like this

1) Primary 1 - NTFS C drive (for WinXP) - 10gb
2) Primary 2 - \root - ext3 - 2gb
3) Primary 3 \swap 512mb
4) Ext 1) Fat - 5GB - D drive, 2) \usr - ext3 - 7 gb 3) \home - ext3 - 5gb

I think u might need a partition for the linux packages to go in like \usr. Although I have worked in Linux for many years I am not an expert in system side.


11-02-2005, 11:35 PM
The thing is, I just have a 20GB hard disk (my laptop is almost 3 years old now), have'nt really screwed around a lot using Linux (mainly due to many historical crashes and lot of trouble with the 1024 cylinder problem :doh:).

Haven't really decided on the final geometry yet, what would be your suggestion. Also I was kind of concerned about using the FAT32 partition as a way to share data between Linux and Windows. Have you encountered any problems with that?

Not really a Redhat fan, was using Redhat 9 for a few days in some other system. Kind of had a Windows like feel :Ksp: I might end up in Ubuntu 5.1.0, still gotto figure device support with that. These installation instructions (http://www.crhc.uiuc.edu/~mjmille2/howtos/dual-boot-linux-and-windows/) seemed good to me.

Anyways have about 3-4 days before I actually do it, so am in no hurry :D. Am actually looking for a one with good device support (ethernet, modem, video and audio are the main things i'll be interested it), atleast problem free for my initial learning experience.

11-03-2005, 12:36 AM
There was no serious problems until now in the commom partition that is my FAT paritition that is the d drive. One small issue came up in the filenames. When I created dir/files in cap letters from Linux it is looking all in small letter when viewed from windows. Otherwise there was no problems. But anyways I would advice you to have a separate home extended parititon and a d drive in the extended partition which u can share it with windows; since FAT support in Linux is still beta version I suppose. I am not very sure when my linux boots up it gives a warning saying FAT support is still beta. But for me it is working good as of now. To minimize risk have ext parititons for home and d drive.

I do not know why redhat u feel like windows. As far as I know redhat now fedora has all the support for devices than any other distributions though I ahve not used ubuntu.

Yes in older machines 1024 is a big problem.

11-03-2005, 02:25 AM
Good to see you going to Linux.
These are the distros i have tried:
Debian(never got the X running. So 3 days and i removed it.)
Redhat(Was kind of OK. It didnt recognise my ethernet card So gave up after 1 month)
Suse 9.1(Really good. But i had only 1Cd and the application were very limited. So, when i bought my new PC, i removed Suse)
Mandrake10.1(Again had the internet/sound problem.)
Mandriva LE 2005(After the Mandrake-Connective merger, they released this distro. I tried it and have not gone back yet. I think its realy good with 5 CDs. I've been using it for ~6 months. There are lots of apps., MOST importantly, there's the URPMI, which makes software installation very easy. This is one of the things anyone starting with with linux should be aware of. One of the reasons i ditched Redhat was i couldnt install any software as a large no. of dependency problems arose.. I dont know if any similar package manager is available in redhat/fedora, but please make sure there is one before you select the distra. Otherwise, you will be frustrated as even media player may fail to install.... I think there's YAST in suse. Check if there's something similar on the others...
I have given 10GB for / 1 for swap and 10 for home.

Edit: Mandriva recognised all my devices-ethernet card, dialup, my intel915 chipset :ee:, sound card, monitor etc...) So did suse. i am going to get suse dvd from a local linux club(suse 10), so if i get to install it, i'll post a review here.

AFAIK, suse has THE best GUI., debian:power, mandriva:ease of use, redhat:ease of use.

11-03-2005, 07:33 AM
There was no serious problems until now in the commom partition that is my FAT paritition that is the d drive. One small issue came up in the filenames. When I created dir/files in cap letters from Linux it is looking all in small letter when viewed from windows. Otherwise there was no problems.
Does Windows ever allow you to name folders in all CAPS??
FAT is read and written excellently from linux, emyesbee.(in mandriva anyway.) The only problem i had was when i extracted a 1gb zip file in fat32 directly to my linux partition :ee:
ns80 , Before tinstalling linux, you may try one of th LIVE CDs. they're very easy, and you get the feel of things.. most distros have live cds nowadays. ubuntu's is famous.. so is linspire.
All the best with linux!!
Once you see the variety of applications available, you will like linux(except for games :( :( )

11-03-2005, 04:29 PM
Does Windows ever allow you to name folders in all CAPS??

Yes it won't allow. But I said that was the only problem I faced till now.

11-03-2005, 06:32 PM
Suse is great Narayan... one of the fastest kernels around... the driver support aint bad too... except that it took me quite some time to configure my wireless card. But my friend who has a similar laptop installed fedora and the configuration was a breeze.

Fat32 is the best way to share files between windows and linux partitions., change out mount options and you are done... this hasnt been a problem on any of the linux versions. There are tools that let you access NTFS partitions but I have had a bad experience with them in the past wherein they corrupted my filetable twice...

If space is a concern boot of knoppix from a CD/ DVD and use one of your fat32 partitions for operation. My friend has a version that boots of his 2gb flash drive (the speed is incredible becauuse there are no moving parts) and that is one of the best pieces that I have ever seen... Infact I would recommend this if you are just planning to do some harmless exploration of linux and not serious dev work and stuff...

Have fun...

11-05-2005, 06:37 PM
Finally got Ubuntu 5.1.0 (Breezy Badger) up and running on this machine. Just did the typical install, recognized all basic devices(ethernet,audio and video), filled about 2GB of basic packages. I've partitiioned as I told earlier, 5 GB for XP, 5GB for root, 520 MB for swap and 8.2 GB of FAT32 (both these in the extended partition). Right now just exploring whats there and whats not.

Ashok, even I've had bad experiences playing around with NTFS partition from Linux, crashed the Debian installation a couple of times.
One question, what Tamil font do I need to install :think: I get Tamil here, but readability is horrible.

11-06-2005, 01:16 PM
Some of my friends have had bad experience with NTFS in linux. So I did niot try it at all.

The partition I did is not that good: I did give 10 gb for C I think it is unnecessary and since my root partition i put only 1gb it is already full so some of the X files i had to move to some other partition. after my installation i did yum to get all the updates without seeing only few MBs avaialable in /root. when yum was updating ]root became full and it ended abruptly then when i reboot it my x win can not come up becaise it had to write some file in /root where there si no space so i had to make it write in some other partition with one of my friends help . I think i should have put at least 2/3gb for \root and only 5gb for c drive. i might repartition and reinstall everyhting with fedora core 3/4 and winxp. but since i ahve so many data files i need to take care of copying that to CD and then reformat and resintall it, it is a process i like but it si very time consuming process. may be i will do this in 1/2 months. i think i will update you when iam done and my exp with my installation.

11-27-2005, 03:39 AM
has anyone tried making tamil fonts work. i can almost see tamil fonts on my Linux box, except that I am having the same probem which coolian had in the Windows box here (http://www.geetham.net/forums/htopic,17054,firefox+tamil.htm l). i have that otrai kombu on the wrong place, uyirmei's with u or U end up with a suzhi above. aargh this ate up like the last 4 hours today and still am not able to fix it :doh:

11-28-2005, 04:59 AM

Can you tell me what font you are using.


11-28-2005, 04:46 PM
in the system wide font settings or in firefox :think:

In system wide settings it is,these are by default fonts of Ubuntu:
Application font: Sans
Desktop Font: Sans
Windows TItle font: Sans Bold
Terminal font: Monospace

Here's a screenshot of what I get: http://img352.imageshack.us/my.php?image=screenshot3lt.png

11-28-2005, 05:01 PM
Found this: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=309853, but is'nt everyone else getting Tamil fonts in Linux here :think:

11-28-2005, 07:46 PM
I have these follwing fonts in my .fonts directory

AMU_B_95.ttf tmnews.ttf
Eltpan-n.ttf Shree-Tam-0802.ttf TSCu_Comic.ttf

I just installed FC4 and installed the above fonts and I am now able to view tamil fonts in Geetham very nicely in mozilla. If that is working in mozilla it should work in firefox too. In fact I had the same fonts installed in FC2 and I was able to view tamil fonts in firefox. I think TSCu_Comic.ttf is doing wonders. Try to install that font and see how it comes.


11-28-2005, 08:25 PM
One silly question, I should add these ttf's to .fonts directory within my home directory right?
Will try them once I reach home thanksu :sm03:
BTW by Mozilla, you mean the Mozilla browser or Firefox :think:

11-28-2005, 11:23 PM
Yes exactly. But I am not sure if this works for other distributions of linux also. If the font installation is different for your distribution you have to do it accordingly. For Fedora core we just include the .ttf file in the .fonts directory (which u might have to create) in your home directory itself. The browser will take care of the fonts :)


11-28-2005, 11:25 PM
Yes by mozilla I meant Mozilla browser that comes with the Fedora core 4.

11-29-2005, 03:45 AM
I have all the fonts except Tscu_comic :( I put the other fonts in .fonts, logged off and logged in and tried mozilla browser. There does'nt seem any change on my side. It still remains what it was before :?

11-29-2005, 11:55 AM

Please do the following. Download the font from the link below. Have only this font (i.e downloaded now) in ur .fonts directory and try opening mozilla. I was having some other fonts which are similar to TSCu_Comic or which came as a package with TSCu_Comic so my tamil letters were coming nastily. So I moved out all the other similar fonts from the .fonts dir then it worked for me. Try doing this and let me know the result.

http://s62.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0JH3TNEEGGY601BVCHYZ DM5A69


12-04-2005, 01:41 AM
I tried adding Tscu_Comic too, still some problems. I read in someone's site that removing ttf-freefont package from Ubuntu would render the fonts correctly. Yeah this looks close to it. But still not there yet. I have taken a screenshot (http://img524.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tamilfont8tc.png) of the fonts I installed and way I am seeing the fonts. Are there any fonts I am still missing :think:

12-04-2005, 06:17 AM
Just try with only that font in ur .font directory. some other font might override it. it occurred to me especially for geetham.

12-05-2005, 02:10 AM
I successfully crashed my system :lol:. So reinstalled Breezy all over again. I did'nt upgrade to Firefox 1.5 this time. Jaffnlibrary's unicode looks fine. Geetham Tamil fonts look kind of collapsed. Still some issues with u and U, but that I can adjust. It is decent enough to read now, before I find some way to fix this.

05-14-2006, 12:23 PM
I'm planning to put Slackware on another system for experimenting, just to get a feel of a more UNIX-ish environ and probably understand what really happens better. Gentoo is the other choice, would like to know if anyone's tried them.
Also would like to know what all distros you know of display Tamil fonts properly. I know Fedora 4 does (Courtesy: Shakti).

05-14-2006, 12:44 PM
Slackware I have never expereienced it....Gentoo one of my friend is having he says it is really cool, in fact he wanted me to put gentoo in my lappy.

any specific reason for trying slackware?


I get tamil font perfectly in firefox in linux; was not getting tamil fonts in dinamalar, vikatan, kumudam etc...but after I installed the extension padma in firefox that too is good.....

05-14-2006, 01:44 PM
Slack is the oldest Linux distro and still available. From what I read from reviews, Slackware is pretty stable and is one of the source based distros (Gentoo is another). Proabably would know about whats going inside :think:

These are distros for the intermediate/advance Linux user not quite the newbie type. I've read that people take days even weeks to get Gentoo installed :ahha: well thats whats motivating me :ee:

05-14-2006, 03:19 PM
i've heard slackware is the oldest and most stable distro .... Its the most popular distro for servers i think...
But i've heard that there's no package management software there...
all the best ns, solving all those dependencies :lol: :lol:

05-14-2006, 04:02 PM
But i've heard that there's no package management software there.

Yes thats true. Actually not yet started, still in the in the planning stages. Lets see how it works out

05-14-2006, 06:01 PM
We can learn more ............but spending time is the big problem........if I get a ottai system in my office I can try it in the nights to learn more....have to see if I can get that....in IIT we used to have 2/3 ottai system which will be only for these purpose :ee: even for RH5.x,6.x,7.x we use to spend few weeks to install and make it workable...but now RH is smooth ......not mucbh work around needed...but we r losing the knowledge because of that....:oops: if somehting negative happens we can learn more....necessasity is the mother of invention...its absolutely true...

05-15-2006, 03:28 AM
if somehting negative happens we can learn more....

i recently joined the local LUG here.... thatts pretty much the same thing they said... to create problems.... so they're actually recommending debian to newbies... but as you said.. time.... vere evalavu valai irukku ;)

05-15-2006, 06:56 AM
Actually debian is a nice distro. Was one of the first distros to work perfectly for me. Except that I really struggled to get the modem to work :doh:

Do you all have out of the box support for Tamil fonts :think: Am curious if anyone's used this FAQ (http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Tamil-Linux-HOWTO.html) to get Tamil fonts :think:

05-15-2006, 02:48 PM
well, any fonts in Geetham work for me by default in SUSE... havent tried anything else...

05-15-2006, 04:04 PM
I read somewhere (Tamil wikipedia I guess) Tamil fonts work out of box in Mandriva.

05-15-2006, 05:15 PM
Read these reviews on Gentoo (http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/gentoo-linux-help/48555-i-dont-know-if-im-ready.html). pull arikkudhu ba..i cant wait to get my hands on Gentoo. Will try once I get a enough experience and a proper sytem to experiment on.

05-16-2006, 12:15 PM
A few days back, I was asking Shakti about a Linux-Linux dual boot, here's something related:

Remember, few days back cools posted a Firefox with 100s of extensions, now what do you call this as (http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=143973) :think: :lol: (very inspirational huh :ee:)

05-16-2006, 01:03 PM
What the...

05-16-2006, 01:30 PM

05-16-2006, 04:23 PM
:00: :00: :00: :00: :00: :00:
:sm03: :sm03: :sm03: :sm03:

05-17-2006, 06:27 PM
avan ennadana 100 distro pottutu irukkan. naan 2 podave ivlo yosikkaren :Ksp: So basically what does GRUB do when you write to MBR :think:

This one (http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/22463/) sounds a bit encouraging. I've decided one of my distros to be Debian. Prolly i'll installed it 2nd then :think:

05-17-2006, 06:50 PM
This one sounds a bit encouraging. I've decided one of my distros to be Debian. Prolly i'll installed it 2nd then

Very useful link......very informative....

Yes as per their advice debian recognizes other OS correctly including Debian itself :)

05-17-2006, 08:43 PM
Hmm..gonna attack tonight :ee:

Planning to install Gentoo first, Debian then. Hopefully doesnt give me the trouble while booting.

Following this (http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/325758-post5.html) recommendation, prolly will follow it. So the partition table is like:

hda1 100 MB - /boot for Gentoo
hda2 100 MB - /boot for Debian
hda3 500 MB - swap
hda4 - Extended
hda5 - 4.7 GB - / for Gentoo
hda6 - 4.7 GB - / for Debian
hda7 - 7 GB - /share - for data

Does this sound good :think

05-17-2006, 09:55 PM
hda7 - 7 GB - /share - for data

Then have different login names in gentoo and debian...if you have same the user config files might conflict....

I think that is the only thing important....

why do we want /boot for both of them :think: may be this question might be silly...but really I don't know :oops:

05-17-2006, 11:22 PM
why do we want /boot for both of them

am curious about that too :Ksp: anyways just makes a difference of 100 MB.

05-18-2006, 02:18 AM
when u do debian installation, make sure u select the 2.6 kernel, default is still 2.4
type linux26 or expert26 at prompt initially. ididnt read the help or manual and had a gr8 time not knowing abt this...

05-18-2006, 07:34 AM
well, i guess u wud knw abt that debian anyway...

frm that forums...

The beginning of the harddrive is always faster. SWAP needs to be fast. Plus your OS will boot faster with a separate boot partition.

Does that stll hold?? beginning of HDD being faster?? How so?? Any idea?

And about that grub... It all boils down to this right :

Booting process starts by reading from MBR... So you put the grub there...
Then there's a /boot which contains all the kernel images of all the OSes.. correct? Is this conceptually correct?
So i guess, when installing, u simply install the grub over and over everytime in the MBR, and the last OS u install(as long as it is linux) will detect all the OSes.
And the /boot, if you dont have a separate partition for it, well :ee: no fear of reformating it ? correct ??

I too am planning to get 4 OSes running in my PC...
/sda1 : 20GB : XP(FAT32) [only R from linux, to be safe]
/sda5 : 20 GB : data(FAT32) [RW from linux]
/sda6 : 20 GB : data(FAT32) [RW from linux]
/sda7 : 6 GB : Suse / (reiserfs)
/sda8 : 1 GB : SWAP
/sda9 : 3 GB : Suse /home(reiserfs)
/sda10: 8 GB : -------- (planning to do two '/' here for 2 more OSes)

Those two OSes will not be my main distros, just for testing, experimentation and stuff.. and will change all the time i hope...

And one word of caution, do not , i repeat, DO NOT, even try to install a BSD, unless you know what you are doing... i recently just put in the CD(nothing else) and it screwed up all my partition table... It can install only on a primary partition i think...

05-18-2006, 07:42 AM
Then have different login names in gentoo and debian...if you have same the user config files might conflict....

Wouldn't it be better to have a home in the / itself( for all the config files), but make another partition
hda7 - 7 GB - /share - for data for data alone??

that config is good, i guess..

why do we want /boot for both of them
Why do we want it at all???? :Ksp: :Ksp: :think:

05-18-2006, 09:47 AM
I don't have /boot in my lappy and I have never put any partition /boot in any of the system I had installed till now...

05-18-2006, 11:44 AM
I didnt have a seperate /boot for win-linux dual boot. kena thanama i tried stage2 and the installation did'nt even go past loading :? will try again with stage3. Actually stage2 wasnt all that complicated, but donno why the installation hung up :Ksp:
By data i meant, am just putting some docs, mp3s in that partition. nothing related to the kernel or any app as such.

make sure u select the 2.6 kernel, default is still 2.4
type linux26 or expert26 at prompt initially.

yeah i did something similar while installing woody couple of years back. it had 2.20 idepci as the default and 2.4 had to be manually selected at the boot prompt.

Why do we want it at all?

thats what i've been thinking too :think: i never had a /boot before.

05-18-2006, 12:05 PM
What is stage2/stage3 :think:

05-18-2006, 12:36 PM
Gentoo has 3 stages of installation, stage 3 being the easiest. you dont have much to do. Stage 2 and 1 are of more detailed customizations. mebe it takes time to install i suppose. but doesnt seem to take all that time for initial config, atleast for stage 2 and 3.

05-18-2006, 12:48 PM
Oho....... :sm10:

05-18-2006, 03:50 PM
Looks like a installation freeze :Ksp: Installation does'nt even go past setting LiveCD password :Ksp: sexy start :clap:

05-18-2006, 04:23 PM
sexy start


05-18-2006, 05:39 PM
Finally got the installation to start :dance: well looks like Gentoo had some problem with the partition table :Ksp: and it looks like Gentoo does need a /boot parition :think: So what I did was to use the Recommended setup and resize the root partition.

Right now the installation is underway. If it succeeds might try my hand with a stage2 install.

05-18-2006, 05:51 PM
Hmmmm :cool: :sm10:

05-20-2006, 02:31 PM
Finally after 3 long days, ended up installing Debian and Slackware. The partition table geometry does'nt seem to satisy Gentoo installation :(

The Debian GRUB bootloader does'nt see Slack yet. Should manually edit it. Will post a detailed account later, when I find time.

05-21-2006, 03:10 PM
Donno why Tamil fonts look good on Konqueror, but look very bad on Firefox :Ksp:

If you guys want to try Bon Echo for Linux, just give it a shot. There is no install required. Its as easy as gunzip and use :D

05-22-2006, 03:20 PM
From RT -->

Illai entha systemla entha linuxa potu install panni vilayaditu iruko theriele

actually I did :ee: I was trying to repair the bootloader to get Slack up and running. But finally ended up installing Gentoo successfully :sm10: Damn! its finally taken Thursday-Monday morning to get it done :Ksp:

Installation using the LiveCD is pretty tricky. Its a known problem that LiveCD breaks on installation. The problem was'nt with the base system installation. It was the extra packages that screwed up the installation process :Ksp: The only packages I chose for the final installaton were: Gnome desktop env, emacs, vim and xpdf. You should see the speed at which the GUI worked :ee: ofcourse it is a bare bones system. Should play around more sometime today evening.

Gentoo GUI installation fails in all cases. Use the command line one. AFAIK, the installation breaks on choosing KDE, any audio related package especially xine. Doesnt seem to break on any internet packages.

All these were my experiences with the 2006.0 version of the Gentoo LiveCD. The end product now is a Debian Sarge (chosing the default 2.6.x kernel) with Gentoo 2006.0. Will add more with screenshots soon :ee:

Can someone tell me some graphical partition tool, so that I can get a screenshot of my partition table.

05-22-2006, 05:10 PM
[Can someone tell me some graphical partition tool, so that I can get a screenshot of my partition table.

Just get the screenshot of the terminal after the command df -m :Ksp:

05-23-2006, 02:10 PM
But you get it on 'df' only if you have the partitions mounted on /etc/fstab

Here's the output of what i get:
Filesystem 1M-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda1 5629 1888 3456 36% /
tmpfs 118 0 118 0% /dev/shm
tmpfs 10 1 10 8% /dev

05-24-2006, 01:26 AM
edit fstab then...
its easy.

05-24-2006, 02:32 AM
Yeah I know, but is there a command or command line tool that shows the partition information :think:

05-24-2006, 02:56 AM
cat /proc/partitions :think:

05-24-2006, 02:58 AM
it just shows the paritions not the mount point and filesystems though :Ksp: