XP and Linux

Posted on 2002-03-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
Can I run XP and any Linux  on one hard drive without repartitioning???? (I have RedHat7 uninstalled, but I can't get into the GUI install.)


Question by:StarTrekker4814
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Expert Comment

ID: 6850283

It should be possible using the umsdos filesystem for
Linux, but I would not recommend it because a) your
Windows partition must be FAT or FAT32 (which is a bad
choice), and b) file access will be quite slow under

If you do not want to touch your Windows drive, it might
be a good idea to buy a cheap second hard disk and install
Linux there.

Hope it helps
LVL 15

Accepted Solution

samri earned 450 total points
ID: 6850484
Try using virtual machine.  One that I really like is VMWare (http://www.vmware.com/), There is a trial license availabe (and the price is not that fat).

Given the fact that you had a decent machine (Fast cpu, and big RAM) it should be OK.  I had PII 266, 256MB RAM, and it runs ummmm.... OK.  Not as fast, but compared to my OLD 486DX4 100, running standalone Linux, the VMware runs much faster (on top of Win2K).

Some comment on fremsley: Since WinXP has NTFS as the FStype, I'm not sure you could UMSDOS on NTFS.  I really could not confirm -- it's just a thought.  I had to agree with the slowness though.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 6850497
Another option is resizing your existing partition.  My assumption is that "repartiotion" as you put it would be deleting the existing partition, and recreate two partition (at least) for XP and Linux.

My personal option would be PowerQuest Partition Magic to resize your XP partition, and leave some space for your RH installation.  

Depending on your boot loader (GRUB or LILO), it's worth to look around for information regarding placing Linux (at least the /boot) beyond 1024 cylineder boundry.  I presume those GRUB and LILO that come with RH 7.x should be able to handle this issue already.  Just a reminder.

Resizing the boot partition (especially Primary Boot Partition) could be a bit risky.  If you can afford to backup, do it before performing partition resizing (I used to lose all my C drive).
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Expert Comment

ID: 6852709
Dual booting Redhat 7.2 and Windows XP Version 1.0

(557 total words in this text)
(3513 Reads)  

Contributed by John Oates - jpoates@eos.ncsu.edu
This HOWTO specifically details how to create a dual boot system using Redhat Linux 7.2 and Windows XP with a NTFS file system using the GRUB boot loader.

The Problem: The problem was stumbled upon after I successfully persuaded my Windows XP-using-friend to install Redhat Linux 7.2 onto the empty end of his hard drive. “Sure.” I tell him, “dual booting will be no problem!” A few days later he calls me up frustrated saying that he can no longer access his Windows XP operating system....

The procedure I gave to my friend for the install was one that I had learned from past experience. Knowing how MS Windows XP likes to overwrite the MBR(Master Boot Record), I tell him to:

fdisk the Hard drive and make a partition for Windows XP and leave whatever you want to allocate to Linux unpartitioned.
Install Windows XP onto this partition. (This should be a primary partition!)
Boot to the Linux install CD and partition the remaining unpartitioned part of the HD and install linux. (Install GRUB into the MBR, it should detect both OSes)
Reboot and enjoy your new dual boot system!
Redhat 7.2 uses the new GRUB bootloader. The situation my friend encountered was this. He wanted to dual boot Windows XP and a new install of Redhat 7.2 on the same hard drive. After going through the painless Redhat 7.2 install process and rebooting his machine the GRUB boot loader only detects the linux install. His first instinct of course was to reinstall windows. A typical microsoft approach, but “No” I tell him, “The XP operating system is still on your HD, GRUB simply cannot see it.” Having very little experience with GRUB, since previous distro's use LILO, I was unsure how to fix the problem. I had a good guess it was probably just a simple mod to the /etc/grub.conf similar to how LILO operated. Indeed this is the answer! I scoured the net for quite a long time looking for the few lines of code that would enlighten GRUB to the existence of XP. I found that many others had dealt with the exact same problem. Unfortunately, a proper and simple answer was more than I could hope for! So here is the solution for all to see who might try this very common and simple procedure. Add the following lines to the /etc/grub.conf file:

title Windows XP

        root (hd0,0)


        chainloader +1

As it says in the grub.conf file. You do not have to restart GRUB as you did LILO for the changes to take afffect. Simply save the file and reboot. All should be well. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance but you are using LILO instead, these lines can be added to the /etc/lilo.conf to fix the problem:

other=/dev/hda1 (device XP is installed on)

label=Windows XP


Restart LILO (I believe you can just type lilo at the prompt to do this) and then reboot. I hope this short HOW-TO of my experience with dual booting XP and Linux on the same HD has helped you. My apologies if your system has further issues that this document does not solve. I am no Linux expert, just a hobbyist trying to document my findings.

Author Comment

ID: 6854410
Sorry for the wait, folks! I just want to get some more answers and then I'll find the best one.


Expert Comment

ID: 6855601
samri> Since WinXP has NTFS as the FStype, I'm not sure
samri> you could UMSDOS on NTFS. I really could not confirm

umsdos can only handle FAT and FAT32 file systems, and
AFAIK the NTFS write support in Linux is still
experimential, so it's probably wise not to enable it.

I have seen Windows 2000 boxes using FAT file systems only
and XP can be installed onto FAT partitions, too -- but
as I've mentioned above that is not a good choice for
Windows XP beacuse it does not support access control and
the system is as much likely to be corrupted soon as when
the user logges in as system administrator to do his/her
every day work.


Author Comment

ID: 6857981

FYI, I like the idea of the "virtual machine". However, i want one that's 100% FREE!! (as in not a demo, but freeware.)



Expert Comment

ID: 6858418
The answer to your original question is NO, you will have to change the partition information to install two operating systems on one hard drive. There might be ways to cheat this, but you will end up with two OS's that run crappy and will be prone to problems instead of two great OS's doing their own thing very well.

I gave you the instructions to install Linux along with a dual boot to Windows XP. This will yield the best of both OS's on one machine. Every answer you could want is here, choose one, or delete the question.  However, people tend to get unforgiving when they feel they have given a correct answer, yet not one that was what the user wanted to hear, and got it rejected. When they see your next question, they might think twice about spending their valuable time typing answers for you.

You did leave a question that could have been easily answered with a yes or no answer.

Author Comment

ID: 6862658
Thanks, but what about my previous comment? Please find me a FREE solution. By the way, I already have Windows XP and want to keep it the way I have it now without reinstalling Windows either.

LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 6863497

I'm not sure if there is any free VM software.  I believe I have seen something like "Flex86" before, but now I can seems to find my link anymore.

Btw. $329 is a bit pricey.  But the 30 days evaluation license should be good.  I believe you can re-request the license once it expires.  Or maybe you might want to look for "crack" or "serials" on warez sites.  It's up to you.

Expert Comment

ID: 6864072
Are you changing your question? It would be good for the answer you select for the orginal question to match the question, not the comments. Please modify your question to reflect what you actually want to know.
As for the free part, that is not our problem. You have your answer, to change the focus to finding you free software is not very fair. I interpret your comments to mean that you like the answer that SAMRI gave you, but now you want someone else to find a way for you to get the software for free.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 6869148
I have to agree with Joe massimino.  And I believe I owe everybody an apology for even mentioning the "last" option.  It is still an option, but not an ethical option, an certainly NOT a legal option.

I apologize.

Scott:  It is your call.

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