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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

By Robin 'Roblimo' Miller on July 21, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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The Gnome Partition Editor Live CD is a simple tool that will shrink a (usually "the") Windows partition on your hard drive, then make Linux partitions almost automatically. These four videos step you through the process of downloading GPartEd (the program's nickname) from SourceForge.net, defragmenting Windows, shrinking your Windows partition, and installing the three most commonly-used Linux partitions. As a free bonus, a fifth video will show you how to uninstall Linux and stretch your shrunk-down Windows partitition until it once again takes up your whole hard drive.

All popular Linux distributions now have some sort of simple (usually GUI) disk partitioning utility included. If you're going to devote an entire hard drive to Linux, you might as well go with your chosen distribution's default partition setup. But if you want to boot Windows and Linux on the same computer, you may be better off making your partitions with a specialized partitioning tool. Norton Commander is a pretty good one, although it is neither free of cost nor free in the free software sense. There are plenty of other proprietary partitioners out there, too, but free GPartEd is all we need to handle simple partition resizing.

A couple of notes before we begin:

I talk about Windows hard drive defragmentation. This is something you should do periodically even if you never move to Linux -- although if you do switch to Linux, you'll find that the equivalent Linux utility is much faster than the Windows defragmentation routine.

You can use GPartEd to make multiple Windows (NTFS or FAT) partitions on a hard drive. Or to make partitions for almost any popular operating system that runs on standard X86 PCs, not just Linux. It's a great tool to have around, Linux or no Linux.

I advocate using the ext3 file format. It's a proven journaling file system, compatible with all popular Linux distributions. Indeed, it's the default file system for most of them. Other file systems may be slightly faster or offer other advantages, but Ext3 does its job well enough on desktop PCs that you don't need to think about it at all or even learn how it works. Just use it and be happy.

Downloading from SourceForge.net is another good habit. SourceForge.net (owned by the same company that owns Linux.com) is chock-full of free, open source software for Linux, Windows, and other operating systems. Today's first video will show you how the SourceForge.net download process works, which is great to know even if you decide not to make Linux your primary operating system at this point in your life.

Video #1: Download and burn a GPartEd bootable CD

Your first Linux experiment.



Video #2: Defragmenting Windows -- a necessary step before you resize your Windows partition

Video 2
Click to play Video 2


Video #3: Resizing your NTFS (or FAT) Windows partition

Video 3
Click to play Video 3


Video #4: Making your Linux partitions

Video 4
Click to play Video 4


Bonus Video: Uninstalling Linux -- just in case. A good thing to know. You can use the same process to remove Windows from a hard drive and make it 100% Linux, too.

Video 5
Click to play Video 5


Previous Linux.com training videos:

Your first Linux experiment - This group of three short videos shows you how to download GNU/Linux, make a bootable Linux CD, and how to boot Linux on your computer without going through a tedious installation routine. We used Ubuntu for this demonstration, but the steps shown apply to all live CD Linux distributions.

Installing Ubuntu - Two short videos show you how to install Ubuntu GNU/Linux on your hard drive.

Updating and installing software in Ubuntu - The first video in this pair shows you how to update all the software in your Ubuntu GNU/Linux installation in a single, big gulp. The second video shows you how easy it is to install and remove software with the Synaptic Package Manager.

About the videos: They're in AVI format, encoded with the free XviD codec, compatible with media players for almost all popular desktop PC operating systems. If your computer does not have the XviD codec installed, you can get it here or through your favorite free operating system's software respository. Windows and Mac users can find easy-to-install XviD binaries here.

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on Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

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Re:Norton Commander is 1988 DOS product

Posted by: roblimo on July 22, 2006 09:17 AM
Actually, I still have a copy of NCW - Norton Commander for Windows. That's the last version (1989, I think), and it handles NTFS partitions.

Yes, nowadays most people would probably get Partition Magic.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

- Robin

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Re:What about the boot loader?

Posted by: roblimo on July 22, 2006 09:46 AM
From the Novell/SUSE admin guide:

Restoring the MBR of Windows XP

Boot from the Windows XP CD and press R during the setup to start the recovery console. Select your Windows XP installation from the list and enter the administrator password. At the input prompt, enter the command FIXMBR and confirm with y when asked to do so. Then reboot the computer with exit.


I'll test this and make a new video as soon as I complete some projects already in progress and can free up my test computer.

I personally see no harm in leaving grub there, with Windows as the only option, but what the hey. Won't be a big deal to do once I get time.

Thanks for the idea,

- Robin

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Re:What about the boot loader?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 23, 2006 04:21 AM
See, if you remove the Linux partition, grub will no longer boot anymore, since it stores it's files on the linux partition, including it's configuration file, so if you remove that partition, it won't be able to find it's configuration file, and the PC will not boot up.

That's one of the reasons why people historically have created seperate<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/boot partitions.

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Re:on-board raid? so sorry, no workee.

Posted by: roblimo on July 22, 2006 09:49 AM
The method in these videos is super-simple, not really meant for sophisticated users like you, with comparatively sophisticated setups.

Google for Disk Druid. This is a Linux parition utility you can use to set up RAID. You can do this *after* you install Linux, BTW. Or you can do it via command line. Lots of tutorials out there to help you.

- Robin

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Re:A couple of things...

Posted by: roblimo on July 22, 2006 10:17 AM
I do the "from bootup" captures with a VGA - USB adaptor from Epiphan - www.epiphan.com. It's a $300 item, but none of the less-expensive ones I tried gave a clear enough image.

Fades and cuts are standard in almost any competent video editing program.

As far as the partition utility on the Ubuntu Live CD: It was great and easy when putting Ubuntu on the entire CD (as it is on the computer I'm using to type this), but I found it puzzling enough when I attempted to shrink a Windows partition and add Linux partitions that I didn't want to inflict it on people who are likely trying Linux for the first time. The MEPIS Live CD has regular QPartEd, but I wanted to be distro-neutral.

Now I'm playing with the SUSE partitioner, and it's also kind of screwy. Does anyone really need an 8 GB root partition? And should you really be forced to shrink your Windows partition to 13 GB on a 40 GB drive? I tried to alter these defaults in the "expert" setting and got errors, also errors on an NTFS partition resize. Geh. Might be my test computer's crummy CD/DVD drive not reading something right. Getting a new one soon, hopefully tomorrow.

I'll gradually build a "library" of videos for most popular GNU/Linux distros and software that runs on them. And who knows? Maybe someone else will start makiing Linux/FOSS instructional videos for us to publish. I see no reason we wouldn't pay for them at rates similar to what we pay for equivalent text articles.

- Robin


 

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What about the boot loader?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 21, 2006 10:14 PM
You remove the Linux data, but if they installed a boot loader, how about a video to demonstrate what steps they should follow to clean that up? Thanks!

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Re:What about the boot loader?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 22, 2006 06:17 AM
I was going to leave a bootloader comment, and realised it may as well be in reply here.
I have no idea why, but I have found a few times that having GRUB chainload Windows results in a Windows boot time of around a second, much faster than without GRUB. I don't understand what may cause this, and it is not always the case (it varies per installation, if it works then it will always work, if it doesn't then it never will, it doesn't vary on a per-startup basis), but having a minimal<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/boot left over to store a menu.lst and some stageX files, along with a hidden menu and a 0 second countdown, and I find people prefer GRUB (I gave up Windows years ago, so this is on other computers I have set up to dual-boot)
[Should still show how to remove bootloader though, since removing "Linux" is deleting a kernel, pretty useless, whilst removing "a Linux system" involves all of the software, if OpenOffice goes then GRUB should go too]

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Very Good

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 22, 2006 12:52 AM
I just installed Ubuntu GNU/Linux on my computer yesterday and I saw that I needed to repartition my hard drives eventually. This is because I have 2 hard drives and it wanted the 2nd one to be the swap, I just said ok because if worse comes to worse I can just reinstall.

I also heard its a good idea to have your personal, like say email, on a partition of its own so you can have it so no executiables can occur on it. This would make email a lot safer.

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on-board raid? so sorry, no workee.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 22, 2006 01:17 AM
how do I get this to work with an an onboard SATA raid controller? the bootable iso picked up my SATA drives fine, but not the intel RAID controller on the motherboard. I'm no computer genius, but it seems to me that this software should be treating my two SATA drives as one logical volume, the same way Windows does, and not as two separate devices, right?

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Re:on-board raid? so sorry, no workee.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on August 31, 2006 11:07 PM
SATA drives are special kind of disk drives. They are improved disk drives especially when using them with raid controllers. So when installing them on a server computer with raid controller, first check to see if your controller card is compatible with the system board or the drives. Secondly, see if the raid card is detected be the bios: this are early steps in installations. Thirdly, every raid controller card is shipped with configuration cd,s for installing them on their respective servers. If you choose to install linux or any other operating system,i will advise you to configure with RAID 5 OR 3. Raid 5 supports data stripping, in other words, stripes the data unto the other hard disk drive. Raid three will lead you to mirroring the drives which always reserve a copy of your data on the other. So configure your controller card that way and you will certainly get it working. Without that Ubuntu will see both drives as a single partition. Thanks.

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A couple of things...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 22, 2006 05:08 AM
One of course great work. I enjoyed seeing this and you keep it entertaining. Two, how are you making these? It's one thing to have screencap utilities running while in your desktop, but from a live cd? It doesn't look like a cam but I could be wrong. Also curious what you are using for the fades/transitions.

Now, one thing I'm concerned with is why you didn't use the ubuntu livecd to accomplish the partitoning? You made some comment in your other tutorial about not liking the partitioner but yet your using the same tool here. Is it something with the version supplied with the ubuntu live cd?

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partition order

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 22, 2006 07:19 PM
Currently have my system dual booted XP/Ubuntu (new to Linux) but need to reinstall XP on account of issues so have been giving some thought to partition schemes. Is there any performance to be gained in which partitions are created first? I know it's always best to install windows before linux BUT is it more important to say have your linux swap file before your windows program partitions etc. or does it not matter? At the moment am considering a RAID 1 of two 160GB this way:

XP – NTFS, 20GB
XP Programs – NTFS, 40GB
Linux Swap, 2GB
Ubuntu – EXT3, 20GB
Linux Programs – EXT3, 20GB
Shared – FAT32, 58GB

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Re:partition order

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on August 31, 2006 11:25 PM
do not bother yourself repartitioning the disk drives. It will only result in data loss or waste of time. Simple, if you have already installed your Ubuntu and xp and need to reinstall xp for perculiar reasons: this is how
Just try to get an xp bootable cd and insert it into your drive to boot after the post operation. After the booting process from the cd, leave all current partitions intact; do not make any changes. keep pressing 'enter' till you get to the option where you are asked to install windows in the listed folder below. When installing windowsxp the previous time you specified a particular folder you wanted your installation to reside in. If that is the folder displayed in the option, just press 'enter' to begin the reinstallation of windowsxp. Follow on-screen instruction for succesful install, then bingo! you have your dual operating systems working again. Thanks.

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Re:Installing ubuntu on newly made partitions

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 29, 2006 06:48 AM
I don't believe it matters which order you install what, other than windows will over write your boot loader if you install Linux first and windows second. Which isn't really a problem, other than windows won't give you an option to add other operating systems to the bootloader, and linux will handle it automaticly.

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How to install Unbuntu to the new Linux partitions

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on August 10, 2006 04:30 PM
Thank you Robin for these excellent videos.

One quick question - how do you install Unbuntu after to the three new Linux partitions created in this video? It seems that Unbuntu installation will ask to partition the harddrive again (from your other video on installing Unbuntu to a harddrive).

Thank you very much

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Great Videos

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 01, 2007 09:16 AM
Hey these videos are great.

Could you tell me what you used to create them?

Thanks

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Norton Commander is 1988 DOS product

Posted by: Administrator on July 22, 2006 07:44 AM
Their "Partition Magic" is what I believe was meant in the article.

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Installing ubuntu on newly made partitions

Posted by: Administrator on July 22, 2006 04:41 PM
I followed the steps to create the three partions and then watched the video on installing ubuntu. The video on installing ubuntu doesn't shoe how to install to these new partitions. I am affraid of erasing data. How can I get unbuntu installed in the newly made partitions from this tutorial?

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Re:Installing ubuntu on newly made partitions

Posted by: Administrator on August 12, 2006 03:54 AM
I too would like to have seen information on this. I am going to just try it tonight and see what happens with manually trying the partitions.

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data

Posted by: Administrator on July 27, 2006 12:32 AM
a boot loader would work too and very informative videos, thanks

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unistalling ubuntu 6.10/"fixmbr"

Posted by: Administrator on March 06, 2007 03:20 AM
Dual boot with windows xp and ubuntu 6.10, set up using ubuntu's live cd partitioner. For uninstalling ubuntu (or other distros), I thought that after deleting the linux partitions, the xp install disc must be run to "repair" and then "fixmbr". I have tried this and been successful in returning to a windows boot normally. Is this extra "fixmbr" step necessary? Or, without doing this extra "fixmbr" step, could the linux live cd (whether ubuntu, pclinuxos, etc.) then be used to install linux? Thanks for your helpful videos - great for a newbie like myself.

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Partition using GPartEd

Posted by: Administrator on May 11, 2007 10:06 AM
According to Video #4, you right click then left click on new to make a new partition. New is not functioning. The computer was originally partitioned. What to do?

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Video One

Posted by: Administrator on May 30, 2007 07:18 AM
Thanks to the author for the excellent article!

I viewed Videos Two through Four, but could not find a link to Video One.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Cliff

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Dual-booting Windows and Ubuntu from seperate HDD

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.194.53.143] on August 08, 2007 08:40 AM
Is this possible? if so how best to approach it?

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Re: Dual-booting Windows and Ubuntu from seperate HDD

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.62.165.3] on August 15, 2007 06:17 PM
It's been a few days since you've posted this but I found this link to dual boot Ubuntu and WIndows from seperate HDD's... I haven't tried it yet myself, but this is the route I am going to take because it sounds fairly easy and effective. I hope it helps:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=179902

-nick

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.168.70.252] on September 05, 2007 04:32 AM
When my Windows side of my hard drive isn't working properly and I need to format it, will the linux side be safe from the formating?

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.72.233.200] on October 29, 2007 06:57 PM
¿Donde encuentro esta documentación en español? Agradecería cualquier información a este respecto.

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 189.132.209.93] on November 14, 2007 03:33 PM
estan chidos lo videos

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Need to partition drive if have two hard drives?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.142.130.34] on November 19, 2007 07:41 PM
Do I need to partition my C drive if I have two hard drives? Can I just install Linux on the other drive?

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.187.154.235] on December 09, 2007 06:33 PM
HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS VIDEOS TO WORK?(SEE THEM) I HAVE DOWLOADED A FEW PLUGINS AND NO LUCK...GOT XP IN MI COMP.....TX

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.147.76.242] on January 28, 2008 03:04 PM
I installed Ubuntu to my hard drive but I must have missed a step, because now I can't boot to Windows XP. I have a backup, of course, but is there a way to install a dual-boot MBR program through Linux to avoid the complete re-do?

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Dual-booting Windows and Linux the easy way (Linux.com videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.118.114.193] on February 05, 2008 03:21 PM
Thanks a lot for your tutorial and video about partitioning HD . It all went perfectly (it even rebooted AND ejected the CD)
I have a perfect dual boot between WinXP and Kubuntu. Thanks again

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