View Full Version : Linux/Boot/Partitions

29-11-2001, 02:00 PM
Running Win98SE on PIII 500 128mg ram 13G Harddrive

My intention:

I have a copy of Linux Mandrake 8.0

1. Use it to partition my HD as follows:

5gig - Windows & Programmes
300mg - Swap
4.7gig - data
3gig - Mandrake (& let the installation programme further partition the linux bit)

Q? I currently use 3.7gig total. Can I shrink the current partition without losing anything and then transfer data/swapfiles over.

Q? If so, how do I tell windows to use the new partition for Swap files

Q? Are my suggested partition sizes logical (If it all works I will investigate putting programmes into a separate partition at a later stage)

Boot Question?

I would like the computer to automatically boot to windows and only boot to Linux if I have a floppy inserted at boot time. Is this possible and how do I organise it?


29-11-2001, 04:02 PM
You can use tools like Partition Magic to resize partitions (even Linux partitions if you get a recent version). They are pretty reliable, but it would be wise to backup any vital files before putting them to the test.

I believe it is possible to get Windows (NT at any rate) and Linux to use the same swap partition, but the effort would hardly be worth the effort ... probably only want 128Mb /swap.

3Gb should be plenty for Mandrake. Once you have it up and running, you can access your FAT32 Data partition from there if you want to.

LILO (& GRUB) will let you choose which system to boot. To use a diskette to choose Linux you should be abe to do the following (Note: I haven't tried Mandrake) ...

Get the install to write LILO to the Install Partition - NOT the MBR.
Make the Rescue Diskette. This should get you into Linux when you boot from it.
Note that this will really just point the boot to the Linux Partition - it doesn't contain the Operating System itself.

29-11-2001, 04:13 PM
Just a warning to be wary of using LILO. I have a dual boot machine similar spec with LILO running to give choice at boot for Win or Linux. After investigating the de-installation of Linux I discovered there are posts all over the place from people who have difficulty getting LILO off their drives etc. Do some reading before installing maybe.... my 2 cents

29-11-2001, 04:35 PM
Removing lilo is as simple as booting to DOS and typing

fdisk /mbr

That will replace the lilo bootloader with the dos one.

29-11-2001, 04:59 PM
The major problem with lilo (and any other software) is that people will not read the bloody manuals. There are a lot of HOWTO files about using LILO with various flavours of Windows.

I have repeatedly used fidsk/mbr to remove lilo. I have also used the recommended lilo command 'lilo -u' to remove lilo.

Anyway, you want to boot from a floppy. You do not need lilo to do that, although you can install lilo on a floppy. You do not need to steer anything to lilo on a hard disk partition.

I prefer the following:

Before starting, check and format a few good floppies: Scandisk them. Make sure they have no bad sectors.
Format them on the machine they will be used on.

Install linux. Do not install lilo anywhere, except maybe to a floppy.

Make rescue floppies if offered the chance.
If Mandrake does not give you an option to make a 'normal start' bootable floppy, just open a command window.

Type 'cd /boot'.

Type 'ls - l'. There is one big file which will probably be about 700-800k long. That is your linux kernel. If Mandrake does not compress the kernel, so it is too big to fit on a floppy, you will have to go back to lilo on a floppy. But if you have a compressed kernel, it is the fastest way to startup. The only thing you want to start from the floppy is linux, so you don't need lilo.

Type 'dd if=name_of_that_big_file of=fd0 bs=72k'. Wait for the copy to stop.

Change to the other floppy, and type that dd line again.

You now have two floppies, one to boot your linux system, the other your backup.

The other way I use is to load the kernel from a DOS partition. There is a DOS programme called loadlin.exe.
It and the documentation will be on your installation CDs.
(I actually use the DOS6.22 multiboot setup to start that.)
It is much the same, except that the kernel is stored in a DOS partition, which is probably now not always available.