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Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:48 pm
by Septe
Hi,

I'm a long time Winblows user. About a week ago, my windows became hosed. At the time, I didn't realize that it was due to my hard drive failing. Luckily, I had downloaded Mint Linux 11 - 64 bit version and had burned it on dvd. I installed it onto my hard drive. It worked. I went on my merrily way. Well, a couple of days later, I tried to download smplayer to install. It wouldn't work. Tried to update and kept getting a blank screen. At this point, I'm getting frustrated. I got my dvd back out and reloaded Linux. This time, Linux came up with a hard drive failing message. I'm examining the hard drive and am going to have to buy a new hard drive. I originally had 500gb, and this time, going for 1.5tb.

What all of this is leading up to is this: I want to create a dual system since I want to play some of the games that's for winblows. I'm assuming that means I need to load winblows xp first. Then use Linux to shrink the partition. Is it possible to move the partition so Linux can occupy the front end of the platter? Also, I'm thinking of setting up partitions for Linux and winblows: swap (2gb), /boot, /, /windows, /home (taking rest of the hd) I'm not sure what sizes I should put for /boot, /, and /windows.

I've been reading the forums and the advice is really all over the place. I have an Intel Core 2 Quad cpu Q9550 @ 2.83 Ghz, 2 gig ram, GeForce GT 430 with a wide screen monitor. The computer is about 2 1/2 years old. I hope to get more life out of it. I will appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks,

Septe

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:02 pm
by soapy138
Instead of dual booting I would suggest using VirtualBox and VM'ing windows.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:03 pm
by tdockery97
My personal opinion: I would install Windows first, then use the Disk Management tool in Windows to shrink the partition. It will let you shrink it by about 50%. If you use GParted in Mint to shrink the Windows partition, you don't know if you will be deleting necessary files that are on the space you are taking away.

Then You can install Mint partitioning the available free space how you like (separate /home partition, etc.). There are several different schemes possible, all of them covered in the forums. I wouldn't worry about having it at the beginning of the drive. I don't think you could possibly notice a real difference in access times.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:13 pm
by Aging Technogeek
My suggestion is to boot Mint from the DVD to the live desktop. open gparted (Menu=>Administration=>gparted) and use it to preset your partitions.

The Windows XP partition should be formatted to ntfs using gparted.

The other partitions (except Swap) should be formatted to ext4 (the default file system for Linux Mint). In the formatting menu, there will be an entry for Linux Swap also.

Once you have all of your partitions set up and formatted (this will take a good deal of time for a 1.5 TB drive), you should install Windows first. The installer should find the ntfs partition and offer the option of installing Windows to that partition or to the entire drive. Select the partition and continue the installation.

Once Windows is installed, proceed with the installation of Mint. You do not really need a boot partition, Windows will create an MBR at the beginning of the drive and Mint will overwrite it with the Grub menu automatically when it is installed, and Grub will automatically find the Windows install and add it to the boot menu.

Also, Windows is not normally installed between two partitions used for a single Linux installation. I know of nothing terrible that could happen, but then I have never seen it done so I do not know if there could be any negatives to doing this. Windows would normally be installed in the first position on the drive unless there is some specific reason ttht you have to put MInt first. If this is the case, I would recommend setting up your drive like this:

Swap / /home Windows.

As you will be partitioning with gparted before you begin the installation, you can create any size partition you want for each.

EDIT

As usual, any question on partitioning draws multiple suggestions. My advice is to read all the suggestions made here over the next day or two, ask questions about anything you do not understand, and, when you are completely clear on what you want, implement a partitioning scheme that does what you want and you are comfortable with.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:20 pm
by Septe
Ok...but how much does Windows need? I'm thinking maybe giving Windows 200gb for itself and some games. I don't need /boot but what is recommended for /? 20gb? 30? 50? I want to give /home as much as possible.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:26 pm
by Septe
Well I have about a week to figure all this out. Someone said virtual box. I'd be for that but I don't know what's needed to set that up. Would I need a windows installation? I know that when I ran linux in a virtual box, I had to use a linux live disk to boot from. I'd imagine I'd have to set something like that up?

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:38 pm
by Aging Technogeek
Window XP should work just fine on 200 GB, but wit such a large drive, you may want to give it 300 - 500 GB to allow plenty of expansion room.

Typically, I use about 10 - 15 Gb for a Mint / partition, and I have never yet filled one up.

As a way of protecting your important files and data against the rare possibility of a Linux system crash (yes Linux can crash too), you might look into setting up a separate /data partition apart from the Mint installation and linking into your /home partition directories (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Etc.). If you are interested, start with this topic

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 93&start=0

to learn how to create and mount a partition and set up symlinks.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:05 am
by soapy138
to use virtualbox all you'd need is the installation disc for windows when you set up the vm. you can set the vm file to either a certain size or let it be dynamically expanding. VMing w/ virtualbox is incredibly easy.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:04 am
by jose_r
Hi Septe,
I just want to say that windows on virtual box is not an optimal platform for gaming. Your computer needs to run linux+windows+the game, so the performance will always be worse than doing it on windows directly. Also, hardware 3d acceleration on virtual box is an experimental feature for now, meaning that the game will not be using your graphics card at full potential (if it uses it at all).
http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch04.html#guestadd-3d
So, unless you your games have modest needs, I think dual boot is the best option.

After you install Linux Mint you can try Wine. You can play Windows games on Wine with native speed. However, there is no guarantee that a particular game will run on wine. See http://www.winehq.org/ for info on particular games.

As for the partition scheme/dual boot installation, just follow Aging Technogeek recomendations :)

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:54 am
by woojo
I say install windows first - shrink the partition using the "Disk Management" tool & install linuxmint.

That's basically what I did with an off the shelf HP I've been using for a week. I would guess that wine could run your windows stuff fine.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:39 am
by SimonTS
If you have bought a PC with Windows already installed then it makes perfect sense to let Windows shrink the partition and then install Linux afterwards. If, however, you have a blank system to start with then it makes far more sense to set up the partitions using gParted as Aging Technogeek said. Letting Windows shrink the partition does have risks (however minimal) and can take quite some time to complete as well.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:57 am
by xenopeek
The /boot need not be big; on my system it is just 30MB. Perhaps give it 200MB or so. The / need also not be very big; on my system it is just 6.5GB. 10-15GB should be enough as Aging Technogeek points out. If you are planning to install a lot of big software on linux, perhaps double that. For the rest, Aging Technogeek's advice on way to install everything sounds good.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:23 pm
by SimonTS
You don't even need a /boot partition. That is just a hang-over from legacy systems and has no real benefit on Linux nowadays.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:16 pm
by chiefjim
Most cpu enclosures have the capability of holding two disc drives. Save yourself major future challenges by letting Windoz occupy one disc and Mint in the other. Drives are cheap, time isn't.

Re: Jumping Winblows to install Linux

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:39 pm
by Jolinar
I would suggest Windows First!
As for VirtualBox not all Windows games are able to be run through Virtualisation, most Windows games still require DirectX 9 this is not supported in VirtualBox.