Dual Booting help

Link to this post 18 May 09

I'm going to be honest... I'm a COMPLETE noob when it comes to dual booting and such. So, bear with me, if I frustrate you in anyway.

Ok, my problem is that when i try to get Debian installed it wants to just gobble all my hard drive space. Now, I'm running a 160gb hdd with 2 partitions one that's 9.81gb and another that is 139gb ( Don't ask where the other space is, I have no clue ). Now on the 139 partition I have around 41gb left over, this is main partition that Vista is running everything from, where I keep all my media and such. The other partition is a recovery for Vista, personally I don't care what happens to this one, I HATE Vista, and am looking to get rid of it but as of now, I can't because I don't have a boot disk for XP. Now is there some way I can partition about 35gb of the man partition and then just wipe the 2nd and use it also? If not then ill just use part of the main partition and go from there. Any help is appreciated greatly.

I won't be able to reply tonight and most of tomorrow because of school and my social life, but once I get back on I'll drop by here to talk again. THank you again for any help you can offer me.

First Edit : Also is there anyway I can access my media FROM Debian into the other partition that Vista runs from? I have over 50gb of music that I am not willing to have on my hdd twice just to use it.

Link to this post 18 May 09

Hi Avery,

Welcome to the new :)

The first thing you need to do, is modify your existing Vista partition and create some new ones for your Debian installation. Unfortunately, Debian is NOT a "Live" type CD, so you will not have access to a graphical partitioning application.

Here's a quick and nasty solution: Download an Ubuntu Live CD. You can boot up to this CD and utilize the excellent graphic partitioner application (gparted) on that disk.

BE VERY CAREFUL! READ THREE TIMES before clicking any "OK" buttons while resizing or partitioning your drive. Also, MAKE SURE you have your Vista data backed up to external media (CDs, DVDs, whatever).

Once you have resized your Windows partition and cleared (deleted) the others, you should create at least three more partitions for your Debian installation. Here's one way you can do it:

Partition 1: formatted as ext3, mounted as /(root) --> 10Gig

Partition 2 formatted as ext3, mounted as /home --> 20Gig

Partition 3 formatted as Linux swap, mounted as /swap --> twice your installed RAM value

Once you've made those partitions, you can then boot up your Debian install CD and begin your installation. You'll mount the 10Gig partition as /(root), the 20 Gig as /home, and the last one as /swap. You'll see this mounting options in the Debian istaller.

It's been a while since I used the Debian install, so I'm a little rusty on how it works exactly, but it is pretty self-explanatory.

One last thing... as a "Complete noob", you should know that Debian is not the best choice for you to start with right out of the gate. I would recommend Ubuntu instead. It has a graphic installer and lots of support for first time Linux users. After using Ubuntu for a while, you can always install Debian right over it on those same partitions that you created above.

Whatever you choose to do.... Luck! Give a holler if you need some more assistance. There are many, many sharp GNU/Linux folks here to guide you along.


P.S. Oh, and yes... you will be able to mount your Vista partition and access your music files from within Debian/Ubuntu. :)

Link to this post 19 May 09

Excellent suggestions, Eric. I would only suggest that, if you wanted to read AND write to your music collection (or any data) from Linux, that you create a FAT partition and migrate your media there. That way, you can use Linux to add to your collection, while still being able to do the same in Windows (until you drop Windows entirely, of course). Yes, you can write to NTFS via Linux, but that typically that requires a kernel rebuild (on some distros - not sure about Debian/Ubuntu - i use Fedora). but even, so, I don't have as much faith in writing to NTFS from Linux as I do to FAT.

just personal preference.

Link to this post 19 May 09

That is absolutely correct, Atreyu. I didn't suggest it to him because I believe he's going to have limited space due to the large amount being sucked up by his Vista installation.

Again, though... you are definitely correct. It is better to have a separate "common" FAT partition for storage between operating systems. That is how I do it on my own system, too.



Link to this post 19 May 09

I applaud you for wanting to give Debian a try. Some people feel that you should try something else - and I would say this much - something like Ubuntu is a bit easier on a few details, but those who have not tried installing Debian Lenny might be in for a big surprise - Debian is no longer that unwieldly, complicated mess of an installation program that tarnished Debian's otherwise outstanding reputation. A Debian installation today suffers only in a few respects - and it shares these with Fedora - both are adamant about including ONLY true "free software", free as in freedom - meaning that the source code has to be available, not just binaries. That prevents Debian from including on their CDs and DVDs some binary firmware that eases the use of wireless interfaces, and it prevents them from including software that allows commercial DVD movies to be played, and it prevents them from including binary flash players (though they DO have a free alternative there called Gnash, which is starting to "progress" and improve).

Having said all of that, is Debian worth it then? Well, how much study are you willing to do and how much will you invest? Installing Debian Lenny will get you a ROCK solid system, and one that will also outrun Ubuntu because it does not have as many memory consuming applications loaded by default.

If you are too much of a newbie to handle it, then Ubuntu is a good choice, SimplyMEPIS is another good choice, and some people like DreamLinux 3.5 too, which is pretty decent. But there are plenty of good distributions. I think the main things are to do a bit of reading and try out a few installations. Live CDs are good to experiment with; you can try them before installing them. Also, if you have a test system where you can repeatedly install, experiment, make a few mistakes and learn from them. Learn how to research and ask good questions, and before you know it, you may surprise yourself with what you have learned. I'd be glad to help you out any time!

Link to this post 19 May 09

Hi Brian,

Believe me when I say that I wasn't trying to take anything away from Debian by suggesting that the original poster install Ubuntu instead. I agree with you 100% about Debian. You see it in my sig. It's just that as a pure neophyte, the Ubuntu might be a bit easier for him to install as his first GNU/Linux experience. After playing with Ubuntu for a while I would definitely suggest a move to Debian, though.



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