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Linux and WinNT

Posted on 2000-03-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-06


I am a newbie to Linux and want to install Red Hat Linux on my machine which already has NT. I have 2 partions C:(2 Gig) and E:(10Gig).I would like to partion the E: so that i could install linux.I would like to know the way of doing this without losing the data on E: ?

thanx in advance,
Question by:brijeshnambiar
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Expert Comment

ID: 2648475
Your e: partition is probably NTFS. I never heard of a program that can resize NTFS file systems.

Anyway, I recommend not to use such a large partition. If you split it into four or five smaller ones, you'll have more freedom in choosing file systems. E.g. the only file system both Linux and NT can read and write is FAT16.

Here's my suggestion for the disk layout

- 2GB NTFS (c: NT system and applications)
- 256MB Linux swap (you can share this with NT, but that is a bit tricky)
- 2GB ext2fs (Linux system, and applications)
- 2GB ext2fs (Linux /home)
- 2GB NTFS (NT 'home')

The remaining space should contain one FAT16 partition large enough for data exchange; the rest can be dedicated to NT or Linux, when you actually need some more space.

Hope this was not too off-topic

Expert Comment

ID: 2650778
     I'm mklp and can probably help. Because your drive is already in place with data on it the standard options are limited. If it contained free space with no data fdisk from DOS or Linux would allow you to define an extended partition with drives within it. You could then let linux (on install) format one logical drive within the extended with Ext2 and another as a swap. Please be aware (that to my knowledge), Linux will only support up to a 128MB swap partition and it needs to be formatted as a linux Swap. It can "see" a fat16 partition but as for USING a fat as a common swap I would do further research. Linux will reside fine on logical drives within the extended partition while other OS's (NT, 98) etc. normally require a primary.
    Thus the real answer to the problem is a very good investment for those like you (and me) who wish to use multiple OS's. Buy Partition Magic (by PowerQuest corp.) at your local Best Buy etc. or your favorite WEB site. It will end partitioning problems forever with a great deal of flexibility, allow multiple booting (via the boot manager Boot Magic that comes with it) and do it all without ever compromising data or OS integrity. It doesn't even care about existing file systems (NTFS, HPFS, FAT32 etc.) You can resize, define, format, delete etc. your drives and their partitions at will and as your situation changes. It should cost about 50 bucks or so but it is the best (by being proven for a long time) short and long term solution I am aware of.
Hope this helps, let me know if you need more info on linux install.
PS (There are other partitioning utilities available out there but none as well rounded and supported as PM that I am aware of. Oh, BTW I don't work for them either :)   )


Expert Comment

ID: 2651628
Hello Brijeshnambiar,

I have also installed linux (red hat version 5.2) because I wanted to kick it around a bit and see what it had to offer.  

I have an 8 gig hard drive that I partitioned into multiple logical drives.  As far as your question goes, I am not a big fan of changing partition sizes if I have data on them that I want to keep.  When ever you do you always run the risk of data loss, Or absolute data loss, unless you have the data backed up some how.  So basically what I am saying is, before you go changing anything on your system I would recomend you would have a back up of important data.

I have never used Partition Magic so I am obviously not qualified to say yes or no to it.  (But a back up of data can't hurt)

Second, Read, read and then read the installation guide that came with your red hat linux!  All of the requirements are spelled out in the guide.  It is an easy install if you go for the workstation setup, but no one knows your needs and system better than you.  Atleast at the moment.  Skim through the guide at least once and you will be amazed at how clear things become.  (I did not read it cover to cover, all I wanted to do was install it and when I had time I would kick it around and configure the system.  Keep in mind the system will still have to be configured after it is installed.)

As for booting the system, I chose to go with a boot disk for my Linux set up.   I found that Lilo wrote over the boot for Windows NT.  I learned you can go back to the old boot record through a command listed in the Install guide that came with Red Hat linux.  I can't remeber the name of the boot program Linux uses, I think it is LILO.  

The lilo change is an easy fix and I have not gotten much farther with the system since.  Life keeps getting in the way of my computer conquests.

Does this help at all?

Kind regards


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Accepted Solution

matt_hook earned 150 total points
ID: 2652135
I'm not really trying to sell you this product but I used it once and it was utterly brillant for when I needed to install BeOS.  See about getting yourself a copy of "Partition Magic".

You'll be able to repartition your drive without data loss so you'll be able to make room for linux.  The great thing about it is that it will allow you to resize those nasty NTFS partitions. Also it will allow resizing of linux partitions if you feel the need after you've installed it.

Yes, this is the "best" way if you're prepared to spend a little money.
Otherwise, backup, reformat and repartition and restore your data and go.


Author Comment

ID: 2674440

Hi matt,

Thanks for the answer.But I guess there were many other issues before I was able to completely install Linux on my machine.

I guess other comments and answers also helped me in getting a understanding of the issue.

If any body faces any problems with installation of Linux on a EXISTING machine with Win NT on it..send me a mail and I can share some of the problems you could face.

Thanks everybody for all the help.

Brijesh Nambiar

Author Comment

ID: 2674451

I am sorry mklp I think you have answered my question before matt.But I not sure If i could grant u the points back from matt.

Sorry for the confusion.


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