Multi-boot planning

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Multi-boot planning

Postby kansasnewb on Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:56 pm

I've been using Ubuntu since about March. I started out with Freespire and gOS 1.0.1 in February - don't laugh - we all start somewhere, and discovered the Gnome desktop from gOS, then downloaded and installed Ubuntu 7.10, loved it and it was nearly release time for Hardy and I've been using Hardy since the Release Candidate came out, and I've loved it.

But I love the look of Mint so I simply must give it a true test drive. I've tried the Live CD and it's time to install but I have a question about partitioning. I'm currently running a dual-boot with Win XP (sorry, it stays!) and Hardy. I'm not sure how this image hosting works (new to me) so I apologize in advance if it doesn't work:

[img]<a%20href="http://s345.photobucket.com/albums/p372/elance_bucket/?action=view&current=Screenshot--dev-sda-GParted.png"%20target="_blank"><img%20src="http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p372/elance_bucket/Screenshot--dev-sda-GParted.png"%20border="0"%20alt="Photobucket"></a>[/img]

What I have (hopefully the image makes this explanation unnecessary) is one 29gb Windows XP partition (sda1), and about a 45gb extended partition (sda2) that contains an appropriate Swap (sda6) and the Hardy partition (sda5).

Where my indecision comes in is this:
{a}should I only "shrink" Ubuntu (sda5) and install Mint within the same extended partition (sda2) and have them share the same Swap or:
{b} would it be better to "shrink" both sda5 and sda2, and then create a new extended partition for Linux Mint and give it it's own Swap.

I'm not concerned about data loss because I long ago learned to backup everything.
All important data is stored on removable drives and/or CD's and DVD's. In fact my drive is virtually free of data, which is why I don't bother with creating a separate Home partition either, in fact the Win partition could be much smaller if Win didn't splatter unmovable data all over a partition, but it doesn't matter to me, an 80gb hard drive is huge for my purposes.

One advantage I can see if I choose option {b} is that I could just choose "Guided - use the largest continuous free space" when installing but I have done some manual partitioning before so I'm not scared of partitioning.

Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated. Except those suggesting I delete the Win partition :D
kansasnewb
 

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Re: Multi-boot planning

Postby kansasnewb on Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:00 pm

Looks like I need some guidance in the image posting department too :oops:
kansasnewb
 

Re: Multi-boot planning

Postby kansasnewb on Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:10 pm

Image
By erick_l at 2008-07-20
kansasnewb
 

Re: Multi-boot planning

Postby eStyleS on Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:16 pm

You can absolutely have them share a swap partition. A swap drive is necessarily only written to when the OS is running, and it's throwaway data that doesn't need to be saved. Sharing the same swap drive is like having two OS's share the same RAM.

I really do think it's a good idea to have shared data partitions, but a) you don't seem to mind and b) don't seem to intend to store much data on your drive anyway. I just recently installed Mint, and I worked out a pretty decent scheme for sharing my data across two distros (with Ubuntu), although it's actually way more complicated than you would think. I have seen quite a few recommendations for creating shared data partitions, but I haven't seen a good step-by-step tutorial, so now that I've done it, I might just write a howto for others that are considering it. We'll see if and when I have time.

But, as far as your question, I would just shrink the Ubuntu partition, create a Mint partition, and then designate the same drive as swap for Mint.
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Re: Multi-boot planning

Postby kansasnewb on Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:46 am

Well, I'm one step closer. I have only one computer right now because my youngest kids have finally moved out ......... ah, empty nesting finally. But I wimped out and changed hard drives just to do a full install as a final test drive.

The test drive was a total success! Soooo easy! Everything just worked although sound is weak but I'll probably just need to install and tweak gnome-alsamixer or the equivalent.

So now I'm ready to do the multi-boot with Mint, Ubuntu Hardy and Win XP, I know what I want to do with partitioning and I've actually done some multi-booting before: Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and Ubuntu ............... hey I like to play :lol:

But at that time I hadn't discovered startupmanager - which is pretty neat to deal with dual-boot options, kernel updates, etc. and I'm just wondering if I should remove startupmanager from my Ubuntu Hardy before I install Elyssa?

Common sense tells me that stage 2 (I think) of GRUB will be changed anyway so it probably won't matter. Planning is always better than breakage though, eh?

Oh, and thanks for the previous response!
kansasnewb
 

Re: Multi-boot planning

Postby eStyleS on Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:39 pm

Well, I broke my grub when I installed Mint. Was pretty easy to fix though, I just booted the Ubuntu LiveCD (for whatever reason, it seems to be faster than the Mint LiveCD), and mounted my Mint partition and edited the menu.lst file. With my current setup, I have a separate 256MB /boot partition, but I forget exactly how I setup grub to look there. I think it involves:
Code: Select all
 grub
root(0,0) (replacing (0,0) with the device number and partition number of wherever you have the /boot partition)


I can't guarantee that, though. You should either do a search on installing grub, or else just count on changing your menu.lst file after you boot. Most likely you will be able to boot fine into Mint, and will just have to add Ubuntu back into the menu.lst. Or possibly will boot fine into Ubuntu and have to add Mint. Or you'll get lucky and it will detect both distros and setup the boot menu fine. Good luck, although even worst case scenario you shouldn't be too bad off.
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