Sorry about the longish text but I thought it might be interesting for you guys to know why and how I decided to dual-boot W2K and F8!
Here it goes - I was experiencing boredom during the weekend and decided to play around with my F7 machine. So I went for the potentially riskiest task for a newbie, and that is playing around with encryption applications without having a clue about how to set it up properly.
Installing dm-crypt was easy and of course without reading it up from source, I read some 'how-to's' from someone's blog and decided to encrypt my /home partition based on what the blogger wrote.
I can only conclude that it destroyed my F7. It failed to boot properly and spat out messages like, "can't access /home" or something like that.
Well, I didn't really lose any valuable data other than lots of fine-tuned configurations and installations of great stuff like Enlightenment and so on.
After several failed attempts to mount the partitions via the live cd, I decided to give it up and try out some other solutions. I've read praises about F8 and I still have some Windows specific software that I occasionally want to use, so yeah I attempted to give dual-booting a shot.
Harddrive specs: 320 gb Seagate Barracuda.
So I installed W2K on a 20-ish GB partition and then booted into the F8 DVD. F8 detected my W2K partition (sda) I chose the custom layout option where I sliced the disc up and made another primary partition for '/' and mounted it (here, I am pretty sure I did it right since I couldn't create an extended partition on the W2K one BUT the layout overview shows the W2K partition and F8 '/' under the same sda while other partitions such as swap, /home and unused space shows up under sda3, 4 etc, under different "threads" so to speak) I don't know how it could have been done in a different way.
There was an option where I could choose to force F8 partition to be the primary one, which opted for.
Next, configuring Grub went like a breeze - the installer simply inquired whether or not I wanted to add the ntfs partition to the grub, which I instructed it to do.
(I don't know if this option is available if one would choose the "simple grub install")
Also, I chose the option to write to the MBR.
---> F8 installation <---
Now, it was time for the dreaded reboot! I was feeling nervous since messing up the grub could potentially spoil both the W2K and F8 boot and I don't possess the knowledge on how to manually add appropriate lines for dual or triple bootings.
Re-installing Fedora isn't a big issue since it only takes 15-20 minutes but doing a clean W2K install demands couple of hours (including the service packs) which I didn't want to do again.
The reboot went fine and pressing any key simply let me have the option on which OS I wanted to boot into. Tested F8 - no problem. Tested W2K - no problem!
Perhaps I was lucky but I consider Fedora to be very easy on noobies whether it's about simple installations or when it comes to dual-bootings.
I've tried to dual boot with Zenwalk (which I find to be very snappy) but it failed.
Didn't encounter any problems dual-booting with CentOS, but CentOS felt ... pretty boring
considering I've had F7 for a while!
So the questions I have are:
1. What would have happened if I chose not to force the F8 partition to be primary?
2. W2K doesn't support discs larger than 137 GB, and there is a registry fix to overcome this problem (I have W2K, service pack 1 and 4 installed but it still requires the registry hack) but doing this, will this in any way mess up ... the system?
Some thoughts about F8 -
*There are more eye-candy in it than F7.
*Nvidia drivers (both 96XX and 169.XX) for my 7300 card work better in F7 than F8
*F8 demands over 300 MB of memory while F7 demanded about 50 MB less)
*Firewall in F8 is much nicer
*F8 is generally slower on my machine both in boot time and general responsiveness than F7