View Full Version : New installation questions (Partitioning, etc)

21st May 2006, 01:15 PM
I am new to Linux. I have been fiddling with it over the last month or so.

I had a 40 gig hard drive, and had an empty partition, so I had been installing various Linux distros on the partition to see what it could do, waiting to pick up a second hard drive. Never had a problem. Last week I bought a new WD 160 gig HD and attached it as primary, used the WD Data Lifeguard Tools to copy the other drives main partition. Then I had to fiddle in Win XP to get the new drive to be the boot drive, and everything seemed OK. I loaded Linux and was going to make it my main OS.

Everything was fine. Until once when I booted into Windows, and saw a new listed drive, G: which seemed to be the Linux partition (never had seen something like that before when I had loaded Linux earlier). Anyway, I did something to a windows partition, tried to reboot, and I just got some grub command line, and I was lost. I was not happy with my partition decisions in Linux, so I was going to start over. But I also could not boot to my XP install disk, which had never happened before. The Linux did boot fine. I used the WD disk to set up the HD and re-partition and reformat everything, and started to reinstall XP, but decided to just go with Linux. Had it up, by itself, doing fine. I had cut the umbilical chord.

But then I decided I needed WinXP on there (am I decisive or am I decisive), and for the last time started over (Linux is so easy to install, that I could do this) but again, the WinXP install disk would not boot. Grup would, but not the XP install. I repeated everything I had done before, put on a small XP partition, installed Fedora with default layout and I am up and running, and have booted back and forth from WinXP to Linux several times.


When I installed Fedora, and used the option to install it into the largest open space (all but 20 gig of my big drive,) I checked the option to examine the choices. I did not change anything, just looked. The main / partition was listed as a LVN2 (or maybe logical something or another type. ) In Linux, if I look at Qpart, the main partition is listed as being unknown. Is this OK?

Does anyone have a guess at why I could not boot to the Windows install disk? Is it connected to the problem I had originally with booting in Grub?

I did a quick Google on the WD software, and did not see anything. Is it putting something on the drive, and Linux is overwriting it?

21st May 2006, 01:29 PM
Ok, several problems. Here we go.

Firstly you WinXP disk problems are strange but this is MS we are talking about!! If settings in the BIOS are fine, check the CD works on another PC. If they dont boot, but FC disks do, that is a problems with the winxp cd. worth a check in the BIOS to see what the boot order is. Should be CDROM, HDD0, HDD1.

Secondly you have been setting things up worng. If dual booting windows should be installed onto the primary HDD first. Then Linux is usually installed to the second partition or another drive. Otherwise you lose grub and cant boot to linux due to the windows bootloader.

Format all drives again, this time with the partitiions you want as ntfs, and install windows xp. When complete, boot to a live cd like Knoppix and use QTParted to resize the SECOND partition where you want LINUX installed. Format it. Windows would read this drive as a drive, but it cant be accessed under windows due to its format, but this is not unusual.

Boot to FC5 cd's, and install and when you come to partitioning tell it to install partitions by selecting: "Remove all Linux partitions". Tell it it is ok to remove them and you know it will clear all data (there is none since it was a formatted partiton).

Install as normal.

NTFS is not supported under Fedora unless you add that support later, when you are running it. there are plently of stuff online about this. That may be why it is read as unknown.

Doing the above got mine up. IF you cant get windows xp cd to boot, install Linux so you have an OS, and when in Linux put the Windows cd in. If it can be read and you can navigate this could indicate problem with the boot files on the CD or something odd with the hardware layout?? you need to post back if this happens as i may have a solution but it will cloud things at the moment.

You should only really format using the tool that are on windows instalation cd's or linux ones. i dont know what WD put on when they format or what format the do it as FAT32 / NTFS?? Best is to only format with Windows and Linux and use those tools, IE FDisk, QTParted, etc.

Let us know if this goes OK.

21st May 2006, 01:55 PM
I did get the WinXP install disk to boot, but only after I used the WD disk to set it up (this has happed twice.) I did set up one NTFS drive and installed winxp first. I installed Linux second. When I got to the partitioning part, I think I chose to have it just use the largest unused part of the drive (most of the drive.)

Is there a problem with Linux using LVM2, or is that standard?

Is there a problem with the fact that QPart does not recognize the partition from within Linux?

(Side note: I just booted back into WinXP, put on SP2, rebooted and everything fine. I rebooted to the WinXP install CD, as a test, and it worked. Just booted back into Linux, so maybe it is OK. Will stay in Linux now, at least until my daughter gets World of Warcraft--which is part of the reason that I decided to get XP on the system.)


21st May 2006, 05:11 PM
If Linux and Windows are working both togther like it sounds, then it isnt a problem. you can check out stuff here (http://www.linuxforum.com/tutcomments/1/3.php) to mount NTFS file systems in Linux (so you can access data on the windows drive).

I would say that if both work then you have cracked it so all should now be well. As for the WD HDD only working when you use the manufacturers tools then i cant speak too much. i always format using system tools with all new drives and it works fine. in fact it has been a while since seeing tools shipped with HDD's!! well i do buy from the internet from components sections and not manufacturers boxed (ie OEM not Retail).

Hope linux works out great, i know it will.