Post by Will
I am looking at installing a dual-boot (Debian/XPee) set up on one of
my machines at home. Please note my Newbie status - This is my first
attempt at such an install (including first Linux install on own ?
but with your help, technically, not on my own).
I'll be doing this on a brand new Seagate Barracuda 120GB hdd. I have
researched the topic on the web and have come across different views
as to the best way to approach this. Your learned views will be
DUAL-BOOT DEBIAN/WIN XP
Please note: For the Debian component I am using Phil's (from
Copyleft) Enhanced 2CD set (3.0r1a ? I know it?s old) i386.
1. Insert Win XP CD into CD-Rom.
2. Remove old hdd and replace with 120GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7
3. Restart machine - XP install CD will start (assuming BIOS is set
to start from CD-Rom).
4. FDisk (on Win XP CD) can be used to carve disk into partitions, so
(eventually*) partition as follows (or better ideas?);
10GB ==> NTFS ==> Win XP and Applications
50GB ==> FAT32 ==> Linux and Windows Data files
59GB ==> ext3 ==> Linux and Applications and Linux-specific
- data files
1GB ==> Linux Swap file
Another option above would be to put a third OS on there ? maybe
another Linux flavour (say where I currently have 59GB currently
allocated for Linux and Apps).
* One of opposing views here regarding partitioning - some say let
the Win XP install make all partitions, others say, just partition
the first NTFS and FAT32 for Win XP and let Linux tools partition
rest of space after XP install. So, make three partitions - one for
NTFS and one for FAT32, leaving rest of (partitionable) space for
Debian installer (Disk druid) or other?
5. Load XP onto first partition.
6. Insert first Debian CD, restart machine, Debian installer shown.
7. Use Disk Druid (or something similar) to partition rest of drive
50MB for boot partition (\boot)
1GB for swap file
58.95GB for Linux OS (\) **
** Advice here would be appreciated (ie. splitting this up into
further partitions to separate everything (although I won't be
running mail server on this box or anything like that - I am a Newbie
but, I will be setting up IPCop on a separate box, which is how I
will dial-up (cough, yes, I know) to the Internet.
8. Continue with set up of Debian as per above.
9. Choose Grub for boot partition. I have read differing views on
placing it in the MBR - some people say yes and others say no. If
putting into MBR it will cause Linux to boot next time from hdd?
10. Make user account, other than root.
11. Remove CD and restart.
12. Return to Bios (Delete key at start up? I have an American
Megatrends 900Mhz mobo) to start from hdd.
13. Grub will appear and give choice of Linux or Dos. Select Linux,
title Windows XP
Save above and exit. Restart and Grub will appear with Win XP under
Linux. Will that work?
Sorry for long post, or if I have repeated anything above.
Look forward to any feedback.
Just a couple of comments.
It's usually said to be preferable to let each application make its own
partitions (one of the possibilities you mentioned there). By the way, I
really don't know whether WinXP uses NTFS or FAT32 - I've always seen it
written that XP uses NTFS, but the (new) PC I repartitioned the other day,
which came with a brand-new out-of-the-shop XP install, had FAT32 on it.
I would actually make two or three spare ext2 partitions of, say, 3GB each,
just for putting future versions of Linux in. And use the remaining large
partition for your data, separate from the operating system. That may sound
a bit superfluous, but you might want to try, say, Knoppix, and if you have a
spare partition you can do an install without endangering your existing
It's also very handy, for example, if you want to upgrade - Debian Woody
(3.0) is pretty old now, Debian Sarge is coming out Real Soon Now, and the
safest way to upgrade (without risking damaging your working system) is to
copy the entire system into a spare partition and upgrade that. Then if it
doesn't work you're no worse off. You can boot them all from GRUB.
And they can all 'see' your data on your large partition without risking
changing some setting in one your other operating systems.
Putting GRUB into the MBR should enable you to boot Linux (but it may not do
so automatically, the way the WinXP loader boots Windows). GRUB isn't a
Linux app, it's its own OS-independent bootloader. You get a menu entry for
each operating system you want it to boot. The Debian installer probably
will make a menu entry for Debian Linux, and it probably will install GRUB
Stage 1 on the MBR, pointing to Stage 1.5 in your Debian Linux partition. I
doubt if it will make a menu entry for DOS, I think you'll have to add the
WinXP menu yourself, as you noted.
I happen to have a small DOS/Windows drive in /hda (that's C: in DOS
terms), so that's where my GRUB lives, in C:\boot\grub. Grub really
doesn't care which system it's in.
Just as a sample, this is what my GRUB menu.lst in /hda1/boot/grub
(aka C:\boot\grub) looks like. Stuff in square brackets is my comments,
not in the actual file
# Grub boot menu
color white/blue yellow/green
title Grub menu on /hda1/boot/grub/
[This line is just so I know which GRUB menu's in use.... since I swap
hard drives around, I have been known to get confused with copies on other
drives, and which one GRUB Stage 1 on the MBR is loading....
The 'lock' asks for a password which it's never going to get - just a trick
to get GRUB to display a 'comment' line on screen, without trying to boot it,
since GRUB doesn't have a 'comment' command]
title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel bf2.4 on /hdc1
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.18-bf2.4 root=/dev/hdc1 hdb=ide-scsi ro
[ hd1,0 is what GRUB calls the first partition on /hdc
GRUB is zero-based so (hd1,0) means second drive, first partition
I've got a 3GB drive in /hda ("hd0" to Grub)
a CD-ROM in /hdb (Grub ignores it)
a 20GB drive in /hdc ("hd1" to Grub)
Hence 'root (hd1,0)' points Grub at /hdc1
The 'root=/dev/hdc1' in the 'kernel' line is a parameter Grub passes to the
Linux kernel so it knows where it is, otherwise Linux will crash with a
'kernel panic' when it can't find itself. Grub doesn't care what the
parameter says, the 'root' means nothing to it.]
title Fedora Core 1 on /hdc5
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hdc5 hdb=ide-scsi ro
title DOS D on /hda2
title Win98 on /hda1
What I would do, before all this installation, is make all the 'boot
floppies' you can - that is, if WinXP offers you the option, make one, and
make a Debian one, and make a GRUB one. That way, you can always boot into
*something*, even if something goes wrong with the MBR.
You can download the necessary files to make a GRUB boot floppy (DOS format)
off the 'net, and you can always reinstall Grub on the MBR using that floppy.
While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to download 'RIP' (Recovery is Possible
- a tiny Linux rescue distro) and make a floppy of it, too. Can't have too
many ways to get back in to the system, and it's very handy for checking
(with fdisk) how your drive is partitioned. ;)
One other thing - the Debian Woody installer is notoriously unfriendly.
I'm referring to 'dselect', the 'package' selector, which always manages to
trip me up. Best method is probably to just let Debian install its own
selection of packages, then do your own fine-tuning afterwards with a nice
graphical front-end like Kpackage (which should be included in the install).
Regards and good luck
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