Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:07 pm

I personally see no point in resizing the Windows partition, but if that is what he wants to do...

Consensus or not, you are less likely to have file corruption problems if you defrag first.

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Decemberdoom on Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:28 pm

I think he wants to turn his three partitions into two, which is why he would be resizing his current Windows partition. I really don't think more than 10-15 GB of free space is needed for the "/" mountpoint.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:58 pm

Decemberdoom,

My point, which is based on the Windows partition table posted which is admittedly risky at best, is there is no point in messing with the partition that Windows is installed on, the C: drive in windows. The other partitions have nothing on them so just delete them and create the appropriate sized partitions for the file systems needed. It would be much faster and less trouble prone.

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:30 am

Well, I've not had time to reply to your latest advices yet, but I did manage to snare a screenshot from Gparted, which I'll post now.

Here's my latest thinking, based on your excellent recommendations:

I want to resize the C partition (Windows) down to perhaps 20 GB because that's more than I think I'll need.

I'm not sure that I should resize the existing D and E partitions because I am wondering if it might be better to just delete them. I am thinking that if you resize and reallocate space on partitions, maybe you will end up with partitions in which the space is not contiguous? And that this might make the hard drive work harder?

If it's simple to delete D and E, I can do that, and just create new partitions in the exact size I want, as someone suggested. Any reason not to do that?

I'd also like to have an extra partition, unused for the present time, in which I might test out other distros.

So, here's what I'm thinking:

(1) 20 GB NTFS partition for the existing Windows installation
(1) 25 GB ext3 partition for Mint and all the Linux programs I install
(1) swap partition of 1.5 GB (I have 1 GB RAM)
(1) 175 GB ext3 personal data partition mounted in /Home as per Lindsey's and December's suggestions. (180 GB is way more than I need but what else am I going to do with all the space on this 250 GB HD?)
(1) 10 GB ext3 partition for testing new distros in the future

I'm open to the suggestion of having a FAT partition for the purpose of any data sharing I need to do with Windows, but I wonder if I will really need it, as there are other ways to share data, and, apparently, no problem copying my FAT archives to ext3.

Does this sound reasonable? The thing I'm worried about now is that I think I read that if you have more than 4 partitions, it gets more complicated to create them, and that's a subject I still know nothing about.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Screenshot--dev-sda - GParted.png
Gumby's partitions as seen by Linux
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:30 am

gumby,

Good... This tells me that you don't have a hidden partition that Windows usually won't show you. Also, you won't have to worry about creating an extended partition to keep from running out of primary partitions. You already have an extended partition. The two FAT 32 partitions are logical partitions in this extended partition. :-)

You can, of course, shrink your Windows partition if you wish, but I honestly don't think I would bother. You have plenty of space to work with without doing that. You are not space restrained. It would certainly speed up your install process not to shrink. Shrinking a partition is time consuming. There is also more risk of damaging your Windows install if you shrink too. Shrinking can be done reasonably safely these days but there is always a small chance that damage will occur, even if you do everything right. In my mind it isn't worth even the small risk involved.

Since you are looking toward making a complete transition to Linux, you are right in not going with an NTFS shared partition. Use ext3 for your data partition. You can mount it and your existing Windows partition in your /home folder and still have access to what is on your Windows install. This will let you use a more robust and secure Linux file system for your data storage.

I would trim back your / partition a bit, as there is no need for that much space but other than that you seem to be pretty much in line with what I would suggest.

Trying to keep the install instructions as simple as I can this is what I would do.

1.) Boot Live cd to the desktop and open gparted partitioner, as you did to get the screen shot.

2.) Delete sda5 and sda6 partitions. There are lots of how-tos on how to use gparted on the net. Just Google gparted and familiarize yourself with the screens and process. It isn't hard, really.

3.) Create a new sda5 logical partition of 1.5 Gig. and set the type as swap

4.) Create a new sda6 logical partition of say 15 Gig., (I usually use 12 Gig.), for / , format the FS type as ext3

5.) Create a new sda7 logical partition of say 12 Gig., for distro testing, format the FS type as ext3

6.) Create a new sda8 logical partition of say 65 Gig., for your first data partition, format the FS type as ext3

7.) Create a new sda9 logical partition of say 65 Gig., for your second data partition, format the FS type as ext3

Leave the rest unallocated. There is no law that says you have to allocate all your space now. You can always come back and add another partition if/when you need it for something that you don't anticipate now. It is much easier to make another partition than it is to start trying to shrink and rearrange other partitions to get space to do something you didn't anticipate. When you get ready to remove Windows you can just reformat it to ext3 and you will have another nice size partition to use too. You may want to use VirtualBox or VMWare at some point and this would work nicely to store virtual machines on, as an example.

When you have finished making your new partitions close gparted and start the installer from the desktop.

8.) When you get to the partitioning part select "manual". To keep this part as simple as possible I would suggest you only assign two partitions. Assign sda5 as swap and sda6 as root. In fact, I think the new installer picks up the swap automatically, but if it doesn't assign it yourself. Forget the rest for now. Let the installer complete the install. Reboot and remove the Mint disk when it finishes.

9.) You should get the nice Mint boot menu where you can select to either boot into Mint or Windows. Boot Mint.

10.) Ok, now we will mount your data and Windows partitions in your /home directory so you will have easy access to them. This is pretty much a cut & paste operation. Where I have WindowsXP, Data1 and Data2 you can change the folder names to whatever you want them to be. Just be sure you change all the occurrences to match your choices. You should substitute your user name for mine in all cases. Open a terminal, you will find it in the desktop menu, and type:

mkdir /home/fred/WindowsXP
mkdir /home/fred/Data1
mkdir /home/fred/Data2

sudo su

echo "/dev/sda1 /home/fred/WindowsXP ntfs defaults,umask=007,gid=46 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

echo "/dev/sda8 /home/fred/Data1 ext3 defaults,noatime 0 2" >> /etc/fstab

echo "/dev/sda9 /home/fred/Data2 ext3 defaults,noatime 0 2" >> /etc/fstab

(There are no returns in the above lines.) Close the terminal.

Reboot your machine and select Mint once again. You should now have your Windows and data partitions mounted in your /home directory for easy access.

Oh yeah... you should probably check and make sure your Windows install still boots ok. :-)

One thing you mentioned in one of your posts was encrypted files. Before you do any of this you might want to make sure that you decrypt these files. I don't know what you encrypted them with but you need to make sure that whatever it is will work on both Windows and Linux. It is just safer to start with unencrypted files and use an open source encryption routine. I would suggest TrueCrypt but there are others that work fine too.

Enjoy! :-)

Fred
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:00 pm

Thanks Fred. Couple of questions:

Why should i have two data partitions of 65 gb each instead of one partition of 130 gb?

Are you sure that 15 gb for the / partition is enough for someone who might install lots and lots of Linux programs? How much space does the average Linux program require?

"There are no returns in the above lines." Do you mean carriage returns, from old typewriter terminology? Do you mean that the lines should be single spaced, not double as you typed them here?

I thought you could mount the data partitions during the install easily? Why do it manually from a terminal with a lot of geeky unfriendly text commands? :) One false character in those commands and you're ruined! Why is this the better way to go?

Thanks again. Really appreciate your help.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:31 pm

gumby wrote:Thanks Fred. Couple of questions:

Why should i have two data partitions of 65 gb each instead of one partition of 130 gb?

Are you sure that 15 gb for the / partition is enough for someone who might install lots and lots of Linux programs? How much space does the average Linux program require?

"There are no returns in the above lines." Do you mean carriage returns, from old typewriter terminology? Do you mean that the lines should be single spaced, not double as you typed them here?

I thought you could mount the data partitions during the install easily? Why do it manually from a terminal with a lot of geeky unfriendly text commands? :) One false character in those commands and you're ruined! Why is this the better way to go?

Thanks again. Really appreciate your help.


From what I've seen of Fred's posts, he knows, at a conservative estimate, about 1000 times more about this stuff than I do. When in doubt, do it his way, or the way of another experienced poster; there will be a reason for it.

I will say that I'm sure I created and set the mount point for my Data partition at install. I don't do this stuff regularly enough to have it at my fingertips, and I'm not in front of my Mint box right now, so I don't recall all the details, and I could have forgotten something. But I believe that somewhere in the partition manager is an option to tell your new partition what its mount point should be. I distinctly recall telling the Data partition to mount in /home/richard/Data, and when I booted up Mint there it was. This seems easier than what Fred is suggesting, or at least simpler. Seems to me there was a column in the partition table for mount points, though I don't see it in your screenshot for some reason.

You don't absolutely have to have two Data partitions, it's just an option. Say, one could be for work and the other personal, or one could be for photos and music and the other for text and spreadsheets, or whatever.

But again, to be safe, follow the advice of those with more experience.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby pluraldave on Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:21 pm

You can do it from the partition editor during the install if you like. I think it's easier that way but each to his/her own. You simply type your chosen mountpoint into the box instead of selecting one from the drop down list.
i.e. /home/username/data (remember username is lowercase)
Then as long as you choose the same username when you get to the part where you actually set your username they are automatically mounted on the first boot. You still have to use the terminal though to set ownership with chown
Code: Select all
sudo chown -R username /home/username/data

and repeat for all other data partitions.

You might have to then set permissions with chmod -R but you can do it via GUI by right clicking the mount folder icon and choosing the permissions tab.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:26 pm

gumby,

1.) Smaller partitions are faster partitions. It is always better to not put all your eggs in one basket if you don't need to. You have more options as far as the way you want to organize your data. Otherwise, one big partition is ok. :-)

2.) If you use your partitions as you should, you are highly unlikely to ever run out of space using it as a general purpose desktop. I have a KDE install and multiple programs of the same type, for testing purposes. Basically everything but the kitchen sink. My root partition has 7.5 Gig. used.

3.) No returns in the above lines means that the long lines are word wrapped, I didn't hit enter to get to the next line. All one line for each entry. Look at my second sig. line and you may be able to figure out why I used an old typewriter term. :-)

4.) In my opinion, the installer is not very clear on how to setup your own mount points. I just though you were less likely to make a mistake doing the install if you had less to do in the installer itself. As far as "geeky stuff"? The terminal is part of Linux's strength, not a weakness. The weakness is yours. You will find that a lot of things can be done much easier and more efficiently from the terminal than from a GUI. They both have their place. It won't hurt you to start turning loose of your prejudices. Better sooner than later. You said you wanted to learn to use Linux. Well, now is your chance to start. If you can read and write you can learn to type a line of text into the terminal.

As far as false characters go. Copy and past the commands I gave you into a text editor. Gedit works just fine. It is in your menu. It is like notepad on steroids. Change the things you need to change, like your user_name. Just pay attention to what you are doing. If you were using a GUI just one wrong click and you would be screwed too, probably a lot worse than you will be if you make a mistake in a line of text. :-) Then copy and paste directly into the terminal, one command at a time.

Note: Your ownership/permissions will be taken care of in what I gave you. You won't need to worry with that.

In short, you have no excuse for not taking action. You have gotten advice galore from here and other places. You now have specific instructions that will get the job done. It is time to get off the fence and go to work. You will never get the job done until you begin. :-)

Yes there are as many ways and methods of installing as there are people doing them. This is one way. It works. Now it is up to you. :-)

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby oliverjames on Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:01 am

Just stumbled across this post while search for samba setup info.
My policy before discovering Linux was to put all personal data on a separate data partition (Fat32) You can point My Documents at it with a bit of jiggery-pockery. I also placed the Thunderbird mail folder there.

This makes backups easy although remember that the config. detail for users resides in the relevant Documents and Settings folder on the Windows software partition. Having all the MS type software on one partition enables an image to be made (Open source Clonezilla works well) in case of problems.

When I discovered the wonderful world of Linux I wanted to try it out while avoiding duplicate sets of files. My approach was to create additional / and /home partitions for each Linux OS. Linux was good at reading and writing to Fat32 partitions at the time - I believe it can deal nicely with the more secure NTFS now but I have never found the time to change over.
Anyway it is usually possible to mount the Win partitions during install. Afterwards you may want to go to /etc and modify the fstab (save backup first (ALWAYS)) to give the type of access required. For my FAT32 data partition I have found the following to work well:
/dev/sda3 /mnt/DATA vfat rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=hal,shortname=mixed,uid=1000,utf8,umask=077,flush 0 0
Note Fat32 file check disabled, I prefer that Windows does this for a number reasons.

This configuration enables one to import the Thunderbird config from Windows and then point Tbird at the local mail folder on the Fat32 data partition. One can also set OOffice and other packages to use this global data partition. So it is possible to have any number of different OS's all using the same file repository.

A note of caution, I did have a problem with this setup. Some nasties came into the mail folder via Mint (no antivirus and similar stuff - the WinXP OS is protected many times over) snuck in through the back door so to speak. I've not really solved this problem but take regular backups of the mail folder to be safe.

This way It is possible to change a Mint Installation while retaining the /home folder with all of its config files while leaving the Data partition untouched. What I actually do is to copy the files in /home to another partition, do a fresh install and then copy back the configs for Mozilla, Thunderbird, Google etc as required. This way one can decide what OS to work from according to the software and functionality needed. All being well you'll find yourself spending most time working with Linux but for some operations third parties persist in only producing Windows versions. And no I don't have a powerful enough box to run a virtual machine.

This means of course that if one screws up any OS one can continue working with the same data files until there is time to repair the broken system.

A couple more things, You can copy the file abook.mab from your Windows users applications directory in "Documents and settings" and replace the one in the mozilla-thunderbird folder (hidden file) in your Linux user home directory - after backing it up of course, then you'll have the Windows address dbase under Linux.
Ideally one could place symbolic links in both the windows and Linux directories to one central file in the data partition but I think I'm dreaming at this point. I'll try when I get a chance.

And if one has a google account and uses google toolbar it makes no difference whether Firefox is open under Linux or under Windows. Is there no end to this wizardry...

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:38 am

I'm afraid my first attempt at installation failed. Here's what happened:

I did as Fred suggested and went to Gparted before attempting installation. I had some problems understanding what "Mib" meant -- I am used to terms like MB and GB, and it took me some time to find out what a "Mib" was, because my internet connection chose today to become totally unreliable.

I also did not know what a "label" is, and if that had to be formatted any special way or was just a name you give the partition, and I couldn't find any good Gparted info on the web, I guess because my connection was very spotty.

Nevertheless, eventually I was able to partition it the way Fred described, adjusting the partition sizes a bit to suit my tastes. When I was finished, GParted looked like this:
Mint GParted after changes.png
Mint GParted after changes.png (53.47 KiB) Viewed 888 times


So then I exited GParted and started the install. When I got to the partition section, I chose manual, and the next screen that greeted me was this:
Mint Install partition result.png
Mint Install partition result.png (30.67 KiB) Viewed 891 times


When I double clicked on the "SDB1 (unknown)" partition I got an edit partition window that said "Do not use the partition."

So...I have no idea why the install does not see the same partitions as GParted sees. After aborting the install, I checked Gparted again, and it still had my new partitions. So, I don't know why the install doesn't see them. Anyone know?

The good news is that Windows still runs.

Thanks again for the help. I'm sure we'll get this distro running eventually :)
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:05 pm

Interestingly, in Windows, "My Computer" is only showing the 39 GB C drive and no other partitions. But Windows Computer Management seems to show most of the new partitions.

Where did I screw up? :?
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:20 pm

gumby,

There does seem to be a problem, but don't panic, we can work through it. First, don't believe anything Windows tells you about the partitioning. Windows has problems recognizing non-Windows partitions so the information you may get from anything Windows is unreliable. Don't let it confuse you.

Put your Mint live cd in your drive and boot to the Mint desktop. Open Gparted. Are your partitions still showing as they should be? I didn't mention anything about labels as it wasn't necessary, but since you assigned labels let's fix one thing. Labeled partitions can be quite handy on down the road, although they aren't necessary. When labeling partitions it is best to use only text and no symbols. Symbols can present problems to some programs when handling labels. You used the symbol "/" as the label for the root partition. Change that to "Root" instead. You can right click on that partition and change the label and then click the "check-mark" at the top of the gparted screen to apply the change. Otherwise the partitioning screen you posted looks good.

The install screen you posted is not correct. This isn't what you should see. To start with it is showing the drive as sdb. You don't have any other storage connected do you? After you have corrected the partition label above, reboot and try to run the installer. When you get to the partitioning part again pick the manual option and let me know what you find this time.

What version are you trying to install? I'll install it too and try to duplicate your problem.

Fred
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:18 am

Fred,

I'm trying to install Felicia Gnome

You are right, I think. I had a Flash Drive connected to a USB hub when I tried to install previously. I think that error "sdb1" might have been the installer reading my flash drive.

Okay, I did as you said, I changed the label of partition 6 to Root, restarted and tried to install again without the flash drive connected. This time, when I chose manual partition, I got the correct partition diagram.

I then tried to follow your earlier instructions:

"8.) When you get to the partitioning part select "manual". To keep this part as simple as possible I would suggest you only assign two partitions. Assign sda5 as swap and sda6 as root. In fact, I think the new installer picks up the swap automatically, but if it doesn't assign it yourself. Forget the rest for now. Let the installer complete the install. Reboot and remove the Mint disk when it finishes."

Okay, here's my latest problem. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to "assign sda6 as root." There does not seem to be a way to do that in the dialog boxes I am presented with. When I highlight sda6 and select "Edit Partition," in the "use as" menu there is no selection for "root." Also, if you're supposed to do it via the Mount Point menu, unfortunately, that menu is greyed out.

I looked everywhere and don't see a way to "assign as root". So then I thought that maybe I should just click "forward" (or next, or whatever it was called) and see if I can assign it as root in the next installation step.

No such luck. When I went to the next step, I got the message: "No root file system is defined. Please correct this from the Partition ___ menu." (The ___ is a word I can't decipher from my hastily scrawled notes of what happened -- I'm not at my computer now.) But there was no such menu to be found. So this drove me pretty nuts.

So...in addition to more internet connection problems today and the Live CD behaving in a very flaky manner (I'm making a new post about this), it was a rather unproductive day.

Thanks again. Hope you can help me with this one.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:31 pm

gumby,

There is the possibility of a bad burn on the live cd, but I don't think you should put too much stock into that yet. I am now downloading Mint 6 and will get back to you with more specific instructions on the correct clicks needed to assign the partitions in the installer.

If you accidentally roll the "wheel" of your mouse on the desktop background it will change the desktop displayed. Maybe that is what is happening with your other problem.

I'll get back to you when I start the installer for Felicia.

Fred
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:23 pm

gumby,

ok... Boot your Live cd and start the installer. When you get to the partitioning part select "manual."

You should see your partition table, as you pre-made it in "gparted." It should be for drive sda. sda6 will be your / partition so we need to set this mount point. Right click on the line for sda6 and select "edit." This will open a window for that partition. You will see a line that is blank called "mount point." Click on the drop down menu symbol on the right and you will see a list of mount points. click on "/". This will enter "/" in the mount point line. Ok your change and you will return to your partitioning screen. This is the only thing you need to do. Hit the forward button on the lower right of the screen. Ignore the warning message about unassigned partitions and continue with the install.

If you don't see what I am referring to post back with what you do see.

Fred
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:10 am

Fred,

The "mount point" drop down menu in Edit Partitions is greyed out and unusable. This is the case for all of my partitions, not just sda6. I can't get it to drop down, and can't enter any text in the field.

Also, the "format the partition" check box is greyed out.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:19 am

gumby,

I am beginning to think you have a bad burn on your cd. Did you burn it s-l-o-w, < 8X, and in a RAW mode? Usually listed as DAO, SAO, or TAO. Distros use pretty aggressive compression and are sometimes problematic to get a good burn.

Check the MD5 sum of your download against the one published on the Mint download page. When you burn let the burning software verify the accuracy of the burn.

Let's try that and see if we can get a good cd to work from.

Fred
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:08 am

Fred,

I don't know. I used Ashampoo Burning Studio Free and I don't think it allows you to set the speeds and mode, or verify. I'll try to burn a new one with a different program. I will search for a freeware burning program that lets you adjust those settings.

I did run MD5 checks with two different programs when i downloaded the file. Funny, the first time, one of the programs said the files did not match. Then I downloaded another program and it said the files DID match. Then I ran the original program again and this time it said that the files DID match. So...maybe they really don't match. But the CD does run, most of the time.

I'll do as you say and let you know the result. I have also been searching for an easy way to copy the ISO to a USB stick and see if it can run from there. Haven't found that info yet. Have found some instructions but they seem rather complicated, or are written for Ubuntu, or whatever. I'd be doing it from Windows, of course.
gumby
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby oliverjames on Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:27 am

Gumby, When burning your ISO from Windows. I suggest that you use Alex Feinman's excellent ISO burner.
http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm
When installed just right click on the ISO icon and select burn to CD. You can select the burn speed under properties (or similar) Set it to 1 or 2.

This has always worked flawlessly for me although of course you should check the md5sum first.

Oliverjames
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