linux/vista dual boot separate drives?

  Picklefactory 17:14 18 May 2008

Hello folks
I have Vista Ultimate ticking away quite happily, but still want to try Linux (PClinuxOS). I have 2 hard drives, both split into 2 partitions each (4 total). I'd like to dual boot, what's the easiest/best way to do this? I've shrunk the Vista partition just in case, but would I be better to stick Linux on other drive, and if so, can I still dual boot or will BIOS only look at default drive for OS?

  octal 17:39 18 May 2008

I would be inclined to put Linux on a separate drive, it's not the BIOS the selects the drive to boot from, the will be what is called the GRUB boot loader which is loaded when you install Linux on the system.
By the way, I use PCLOS and love it, although it does become a bit boring because it just keeps working and doesn't seem to go wrong, it certainly doesn't need any housekeeping like Windows does.

  octal 17:44 18 May 2008

Just one thing, I don't know what size your hard drives are, but if you have room I would give about 25GB for the operating system, although it doesn't need that much as you progress using the system it will grow, the users files are put on a different partition by default which makes life easy if you have to reinstall the operating system again, because you are bound to mess it up a few times while you get used to it, it's nothing to worry about, it's just part of the learning curve.

  ambra4 17:48 18 May 2008
  Picklefactory 18:18 18 May 2008

Still looks a bit scary. Checked out your link ambra4, but if I choose to install to empty drive, which I think might be wise, that doesn't apply, does it?
I think I need to read up a bit first. I loaded PCLOS Live CD and went into install feature, but the default system seemed to want to load to current drive and was about to reformat. I went into custom and it all got very complicated with mounts /root / swap etc, etc. No idea what all that is about.

  octal 19:28 18 May 2008

I agree it can be a bit daunting. Do a bit of reading up on it first, because Linux isn't windows as you are finding out, in fact once you get used to Linux it is actually simpler than Windows, the file structure is very simple and logical once you understand what all the files are. Don't be to hasty and expecting to be able to understand things straight away.

Just a bit of explanation, because everything in Linux is treated as a file, therefore all the drives, partitions and applications have to be mounted to make them work, at one time it used to have to be done manually using the command line, things have changed now and it is all done automatically.

The forward slash / is the root which is the very start of the file structure, this is a screenshot of the file structure of my PCLOS click here you'll notice how small the file structure is compared to Windows. I have expanded the /home folder which is exactly what it says on the tin, it contains all the users on the system, there are three users on my system including me. As you see I can't get into the other users because all the other accounts are password protected, this is why Linux is very secure. The swap partition is exactly that, it's a small partition the system uses when it's swapping files, I think it's something like the page file in Windows.

This site might help answer some of your install questions:

click here

  Picklefactory 22:54 18 May 2008

Thanks for the info, I will persevere, I think I was just hoping it would be a little more automated. Never the less, I'm sure I will get my head round it, I just won't jump in today.
Thanks again both, I'll update with results when I have them.

  spud22 23:12 18 May 2008

pcxlos is one of the easiest linux distros for windows users but maybe think about linux mint it comes with all the codecs for music plugins for video flash etc ,which can sometimes be a pain to find it is not allowed to distribute the mp3 codecs with linux in the USA so most distributions don't contain them by default. The main reason i would recommend mint is that it is based on ubuntu and i think they have the most helpful forums anywhere .You will probably hit some problems but it shouldn't effect your windows partition 25 gig is big enough for a linux partition . As octal says it should be easy to use the empty space on your other drive i had 3versions of linuxx and xp all running on a 160gig drive with no problems.

  spud22 23:32 18 May 2008

another possible route is ubuntu 8.04 which has an installer called wubi which lets you run linux as if it's a windows program . I've not tried it but it's suppossed to work nearly like a full install and doesn't effect your partirtions.

  alan2273 23:34 18 May 2008

I have to agree with spud22, Linux mint is the way to go.
When installing it will show all your drives and give you the option to install to any of them.
Just use the second option, (guided),select the drive you want, then let it do its job.
If you can wait a couple of weeks, there is a new version coming out.
KDE version is better for Windows users to get on with rather than Gnome which is more MAC like.

  spud22 23:50 18 May 2008

Personally I'd advise a new user to use mint darnya elisa is just out and like the new ubuntu may have some issues for a few months . I prefer gnome but agree kde is more windowish and yes it is a breeze to set up. the only thing i need windows for is the occasional game , as i hate office is very good and gimp is almost as powerful as photoshop.

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