Install Windows XP and RedHat 9 - On new, clean hard drive. How?

oleg27 used Ask the Experts™
I have a new 80 gb hard drive and I would like to run both Windows XP and RedHat 9 on it.  

Which OS do you install first?

How do you partition the drive?

I am installing the XP with the NTFS file system.
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Try read this mayby it will help you:)))),24331,3397094,00.html 

good luck

Normally, lots of info recomment to install windows 1st then linux. and you have to consider which boot manager to handle your boot sequenece, lilo or Grub, or the new type of boot manager bootit_ng, someone will use the partition magic option (which is not free), or even usng the nt bootloader to maintain   <--- For using lilo  <--- For using GRUB                                <--- bootit_ng     <--- NT boot loader (it for winnt4 work on win2k, not sure abt XP)

About how to partition your harddisk, there is/are many issue, normally XP in NTFS and linux have swap, /(root), /boot.

For my personal suggestion, I will use 5-10 GB for XP in NTFS

10 - 20 GB for linux OS, which will be swap (at lease 2 x your RAM size, max 2GB), /boot (250MB), /(root) (the remaining of the 10-20GB)  <-- basic recommendation
I personal would like to make 2-3 more partitions, /var (2-3GB this partition for maintain your system/application log files, mail spool or even the ftp), /usr (3-4GB this is for mainitaining the application/programs, so that if you have more space will be much more easier for furture development), /home (if only personal use, no need to create this one, if for share will someone, depend on how many people going to use but I think max 2GB good enough)

So now you used up around 30 GB, the remaining 50GB I will make it as VFAT so that your XP and linux can share files in between so that the files you create in XP can also read in linux, and linux created files can read in XP.

The above partition method is only personal suggestion, how to partiton is very personal :)

For additional info on how to read NTFS data, have a check here

Hope those info can help :)


u will have to install windows xp first and only then should you install linux because if u do it the other way xp won't let you work on linux.

installing xp won't be of any problem. after installing xp i suggest u use use diskdruid to partition your harddisk. linux gives you an option to partition your harddisk. disk druid can cause some problems for beginners. in which case i suggest you install partion magic in the xp environment and partition your hdd. partition magic has wizards which are very easy to follow. i recomend strongly you backup all your data before using partition magic.
you will need 2 partitions for linux ( one for the os and the other as swap space) red hat linux 9.0 takes (full installation) 5Gb
swap space should be 2 times the RAM on ur system i.e. if you have 256Mb RAM your swap space should be atleast 512Mb.

once you have finished partitioning your hdd using partition magic you can install linux ( the best os ) peacefully . :)))

if you have ne further queries post them.

all the best
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You don't mention whether you have had experience with Linux before?  I'll assume you haven't and talk you through what I would do from the beginning.  At the end of this, I will show you how my system is currently setup.  I have an 80GB hard drive well as a secondary 40GB hard drive, but for now we'll go with your system spec.  (By the way, if you used Mandrake instead of RedHat, it would automatically pick up your NTFS partitions and allow you to mount can't write to them, but you can read them as can setup RedHat to do this also, but Mandrake does it during installation as well as configuring FAT32 partitons to be mounted automatically).

Starting with a clean slate (no operating system on the machine), install Windows XP.
The Windows XP cd rom is bootable, so ensure you have enabled the cd rom boot option in your BIOS, and startup the machine with the windows xp cdrom in your drive.

If the hard drive is unformatted, the setup process will ask you how you want to format your drive.  I'd say give Windows XP 20GB of the hard drive and use the NTFS file system.  If the hardd drive already has partitions set up on it, you will be given the options to install to an existing partition, and whether you want to change the file system used.  You can also delete partitions and create news ones during setup also.

Once the windows setup has added the partition and formatted it, the setup process will continue as normal.

When the windows xp install is complete, install any drivers you need, any updates you have to hand, and then get hold of a copy of Partition Magic.  Install that, and you are now ready to start setting up your hard drive properly.

Start Partition Magic and it will display all the partitions you have on the hard drive.  Delete any partitions that exist other than your windows XP partition.  If there is only one parttion taking up the whole  drive (which will be the partition with windows on), you can choose to resize it.  As I mentioned before, you want the Windows XP partition to be 20GB, so if it is'nt already, resize it.

By this point you should just have one primary partition with windows xp on it, at 20GB.

Now create three more primary partitions (FAT32) at 20GB to fill up the rest of your drive.  Once this is done, DELETE the FAT32 partition you just created after the Windows XP partition.  You should then have one windows xp NTFS partition, an unformatted partition, and two fat 32 partitions in that order.

The unformatted partition will be where your Linux will live.  The two fat 32 drives cam be used for whatever you want...both will be accessible through RedHat and Windows XP.

Now, shutdown Windows, and boot up with your RedHat installation cd.  RedHat will pick up on the unformatted partition space, and ask if you want to install it there, so do so.  Stick with all the default options and packages and you should be fine.  Once RedHat has finished installing, it will reboot.  Remove any CDs and floppies from your computer and restart.  You should now have a menu asking if you want to boot to RedHat, or Windows.

I have a dual boot Windows XP/Mandrake 9.1 system.  Here's how mine is setup:

80gb hard drive: (rough estimates)

512MB ext2 partition (linux /boot partition) *PRIMARY
512MB ntfs partition (windows partition for the windows swap file 1 of 2) *PRIMARY
30gb ntfs partitioin (windows xp main partition) *PRIMARY
Extended partition:-
24gb fat32 partition (storage partiton 1) *LOGICAL
24gb fat32 partition (storage partition 2) *LOGICAL

40gb hard drive (secondary):

512mb ext2 partition (linux swap partition) *PRIMARY
512mb ntfs partiton (windows partition for the windows swap file 2 of 2) *PRIMARY
Extended partition:-
5gb ext2 partition (linux / partition) *LOGICAL
512mb ext2 partition (linux /tmp partition) *LOGICAL
5gb ext2 partition (linux /home partition) *LOGICAL
1gb ext2 partition (linux /var partition) *LOGICAL
5gb ext2 partition (linux /usr partition) *LOGICAL
10gb spare fat32 partition *LOGICAL
10gb unformatted partition (for another os...haven't decided yet)

I have yet to investigate how much space Mandrake actually uses on its partitions...once I've installed everything I use, I'll check the size of each partition out and resize them.  The reclaimed space can go for more storage or unsed space for later use.  The /usr partition is where most linux proggies are installed, the /home partition is where user settings are generally stored, and the / partition is for everything else.

The reason I have my two partitions for use by the windows xp swap file is simple.  It keeps the swap file from becoming fragmented, and is easier for maintenance purposes.
Having it across two partitions makes access to it faster too.  I have 1gb of ddr memory, so i set the maximum size for the swap file on each to equal my system memory, and the minimum to be 256mb on each swap partition, giving me a minimum swap file size in total of 512mb.  More than enough.

Theres lots of resources on the web on how to partition your hard drive optimally, and loads of resources on how best to configure your swap file, so have a good nose around.
The same goes for installing can during installation decide how best you want to setup your linux partitions, but unless you now what you are doing, stick with the defaults as I advised earlier.

The EXTENDED, LOGICAL and PRIMARY refers to the type of partition I've used.  You may or may not know that you can only have 4 Primary partitions per hard drive.

One or more of your partitions however can be what is called an EXTENDED partition.  This is in effect a container for other partitions, known as LOGICAL partitions.  You can have 15 or so logical partitions per extended partition.  Bear in mind however most operating systems tend to like being installed on a primary partition (apart from Linux/Unix which doesn't seem to mind) and won't boot if you install them on anything else (Windows most noticeably).

I apologise if I've gone too fast, or put too much in here...feel free to ask for clarification on anything and I will help you as best I can.  Hope something in here is useful to you!


Sorry for the delay folks.  I'm having a bit of motherboard blow up problems.  These seem like excellent answers and i'll reward the points as soon as i'm able to get my computer rolling again. :>  And no I haven't had much experience with Linux, in fact almost none.
I will recomment some good site for you to understand more abt linux as below   which is a newbie instruction for admin your linux distro   which have a lots of HOW-TO so that you can search for a hints and try to setup/config your network, samba, bla bla bla...

Got any queries/problems after study/learn from the internet/books, post here, lots of EE will help

enjoy the linux after you get your motherboard problem :)
Oh BTW, if you have another PC and wanna to have a taste of linux before your problem fix, try to get a linux on a CD or a floppy and try around, no need to install anything on the harddisk just use the CD or floppy to boot up will do.

Have a look here or :)
Hi oleg

The best thing is to install win xp first and then install linux on it. If you system is a new one without an OS installed.
Follow this procedure.

1. Create partitions using Fdisk. (one Primary and all other logical drives)
2. Format all the Partitions.
3. Install windows in the Primary Partition.
4. Boot you system from Linux CD. You need to change the Boot sequence in BIOS. The installation will automatically start.
              i.  Configure your System step by step by selecting all the options required.
              ii. Select fdisk or diskdruid to choose partition or which ever you are used to when asked and select the last logical drive.  you also need to setup a swap partition by creating a logical drive and change the partition id to swap.
              iii From the packages (kernel)  select bigmem kernel if you are allocating more that 4 G.B for linux partition.
             iv  Select the  Boot loader and edit the default os to boot which ever u want. also create a bootable disk when asked.
             v. Thats it select all the required options when needed and the installation is up.
This the best link I could give you




Okay I have finally got my computer up and running.  I will hopefully be able to award the points in the next few days.


Thanks folks

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