Install Linux on Win98 machine

Hi, I want to switch to Linux, but I don't want to install everything over again. Is there is possibility to install Linux on my portable, and to run windows in a box, and without reinstalling every program like office and stuff like that, running for instance word? Please also advise on proceeding with this if its possible (not just a yes/no answer :-))
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I would suggest you do the following ( as the windows emulators that are currently available for Linux, won't do waht I think you expect from them)
Create a dual boot system between 98 and Linux. On the Redhat cd ( I presume you'll go with Redhat 6.1) there is a /dosutils directory. Inside you'll find fips.exe. Use it to create a new partition out of the free space on your existing windows partition.
Once you have created the new partition, begin linux install ( best is to boot from cd, otherwise, boot to dos with cd-rom support, cd dosutils, and run autoboot.exe) and install Linux on the new partition. I don't know if you have done this before, but just for incase and because it can get a bit involved, i will just highlight a couple of points regarding installation.
Linux (RH6.1) will require you to create a /boot , / , and a swap partition. These partitions should be created during the installation so don't even think of using dos' fdisk. First create a swap partition of roughly the size of your RAM, then create a /boot partition of type Linux native, the size must be +/- 16MB
then create the / partition also of type linux Native with the size (to be safe) 1MB LESS than what is reported to be free.
this will get you going in the right direction. Remember, before you start creating and deleting partitions, when you get to the point in installation where you must aloocate the partitions, there will already be at least 2 partitions listed. if you have only one hard drive, then the first partition will be something like hda1 , this will be your windows fat32/16 partition created when you first installed windows on your mobile. The second partition will be hda2, this should be the partition that you created with fips. You can now delete that partition, for you need to re-assign the space of that partition for the 3 linux partitions you need to create. To bee 100% sure you don't delete the wrong partition, make a note of the size of your windows partition(s) after you used fips.
Hope this works.
If you plan on using RedHat 6.0 or mandrake, visit my website ( not yet finished, but the installation section is :)) --> then follow the First time user link
Hope this helps.
regarding the possibility of running windows and it's applications in Linux, the best approximation I've seen thus far is a program called virtual machine from vm ware. It will cost you though and it may/may not work. Games for one, won't work, but most other apps will. Once again here, I would suggest getting software specifically written for linux. You can download StarOffice from, it's a great office suite, it's free and it even opens and saves office documents (word + excel), it has it's own Web editor and data base.If you really make an effort to look for the software, you will find it out there, mostly free, and mostly better than the competition. There are even talk that Corel will soon port photopaint 9 to linux. Wordperfect is also available for free from as is corel-linux, their own version of Linux.
Good luck.
PS, if you go the dual boot option, let me know, then i will post the procedure for making the files on your windows partition accessible from within linux ( opposite unfortunately won't work as windows cannot see the ext2 filesystem)
You can use one of the partition managers, like Partition Magic, to move  and resize the existing windows partition(s) to make room for Linux. It's then not difficult to install Linux and set things up for dual-booting. Since all that's happening is that the existing data is moving aound on disk, you don't have to re-install windows.

Dual-booting is a bit of a pain, and the can be eliminated with VMware. It's a set of software for Linux and a couple of special drivers for windows that allows windows to run under the Linux OS. It's not a software emulator for windows programs (those exist also), instead it emulates the hardware environment. One can, arrainge it to run windows installed on its own partition, or (what I like better) is to install windows to a Linux file. The later can be backed up, moved around, copied to a different VMware equipped system, etc, and windows will still run. It's not free and you lose a bit of performance in windows, but I think it's well worth the price (see

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If you already have windows installed and don't want to mess around with partitioning, try

If you're a Windows user and plan on continue the work you've been doing you can't "switch to Linux". That's because Windows and Linux aren't similar concurrent OSes. They're in fact very distinct products designed for completely different uses.

 If you've been able to do your job right with Windows, keep yourself with it. Linux is intended for students and computer professionals, not for the regular home / office user.
What I would do, I would install slackware, on a umsdos partion. This will allow you to install linux to your windows partion, and then you could boot it with loadlin. You won't have to reinstall anything on your windows partion, and you won't have to repartion your hard disk. To do this, just buy a copy of slackware, and then make your root disk umsdos. I will help you more if you need it. Just post it here.


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Regarding seeing ex2fs from with windows... it is possible.  Cant remember the URL at the moment, but an inet search should reveal the app which allows this. (some features still in devolpment)
Ok, but who'd be crazy enough to use it?
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