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Dual booting windows xp and redhat 9 - no of partitions.


If this has been asked earlier, I m sorry for repeating it here, but after looking on the net and googling around for a while, I still have my doubts.

I intend to have a dual boot setup with windows xp and red hat 9 on a toshiba satellite laptop. I have a 40 GB disk, with windows taking up 29 GB right now (NTFS) and the rest being unused. I will probably use lilo to have it dual boot and install it in the MBR

First of all, is it necessary to have a separate /boot partition while installing red hat ? I have tried debian earlier, and I could install it and get it to work, without making a separate /boot. Can I just have /root and swap  with red hat ?

When I tried to install redhat 9 and was using disk druid for partitioning, after I chose to create a /boot , it gave me a wrning message saying something to the effect 'this may not be supported by my architecture' (Im afraid I dont recollect the exact terms) I stopped the installation and started to look for explainations and Im completely lost now ! If a /boot partition is required, is 32 MB enough (as I read somewhere) or is 50 MB the minimum that is required (again , as I read somewhere ) ?

Finally, I would like to make a FAT32 partition, abt 3-4 GB in size, which can be accessed by both OS and I would have some data in it. In that case, I would need 5 partitions in all !!, the windows ntfs, fat32, linux native, swap and boot ? What partitioning scheme should I be having, if I need a Fat 32 partition  ? (this is ofcourse assuming that a /boot partition is also requried)

Please advise. convincing answers will be generously rewarded. :). Really need to get this sorted urgently !
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2 Solutions
>>First of all, is it necessary to have a separate /boot partition while installing red hat ?
Separate volume is absolutely necessary since redhat uses ext file system.

>> Can I just have /root and swap  with red hat ?
No you need a native linux partition and these two(I mean root and swap).

>> If a /boot partition is required, is 32 MB enough (as I read somewhere) or is 50 MB the minimum that is required (again , as I read somewhere ) ?

32MB>>Where did you read?Can you post the source or link? Atleast a minimum of  600 mb is required for minimal installation of redhat without GUI.
Read these guides which are of great help for beginners:

Introduction to disk partitioning:
I would also suggest you to use acronis partition manager which is very ez to install and use.It does everything for you. You dont have to worry about anything.
You need only two partitions /boot(atleast 100MB) and swap(32MB).
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asamantAuthor Commented:
Thanks vishwajit...that was quick. Though I want confirm a few points before I dig in.

I am not sure whether you mean, I need 2 or 3 partitions ? / , /boot and swap  OR as one of your replies says, only /boot and swap.  ? I would assume at a bare minimum, I would  need the / (native linux partition, that contains /boot as a subdirectory) and the swap partition.

Also, could anybody explain why do I need to have separate /boot partition ? Is it anything to do with the "BIOS can only access 1024 cylinders" rule ? Again, to cite some reference, I checked one of the questions posted on this site, on the same topic, and the discussion there seemed to suggest that the it was only required of older red hat versions to have a separate /boot partition. RH9 can do without this. I will try to find the exact source and link it here.

Also, just to reclarify, I already have one ntfs partition with xp (29 GB) and I am not going to change it.

Also, as vishwajeet says, if i need to have the /boot partition (along with the / and swap) and my ntfs partition, how can I make room for fat32 partition that I need for some common data. I can make this logical, but which of the above 4 can I also make logical and put in the extended partition ?

>>I am not sure whether you mean, I need 2 or 3 partitions ?
I am sorry for the confusion.You just need two /boot and swap.Thatz all.
>>Also, could anybody explain why do I need to have separate /boot partition ?

It is because linux uses a different file system.

For rest of the questions my answer is www.powerquest.com. Use partition manager. I see that as the best solution if you dont have enough experience with partitioning hdds.Hope this helps.
Well how to partition your harddisk very depend on your own

Many linux distro recommend to have 3 partitions, as you said /(root), /boot, swap.

I always suggest to have 2 - 3 more is /usr, /var and /data.

I will do in this way

swap                     RAM size x 2 (eg. 128MB RAM 256MB swap space)
/(root)                   500MB
/Boot                     250MB
/var                       2GB    (most of the system logs and the mail spool keep in here, so more space is better)
/usr                       2-3 GB (most of the system application/program installed in here, also you may need more space for future application install)
/data                     remaining space. this you can make it for FAT32 or FAT16 for share with your M$ windoz.

the above only my personal suggest not a must.
http://www.yolinux.com/TUTORIALS/LinuxTutorialRedHatInstallation.html and www.tldp.org has lot of how to, so that you can config your linux box more easy.

some more info you may interest have a look


for how to dual boot with your XP have a check here http://www.geocities.com/epark/linux/grub-w2k-HOWTO.html
for make room for your linux or FAT16/FAT32, you can also try the FLIP/PARTED which is free have a check here http://www.europe.redhat.com/documentation/HOWTO/PLIP-Install-HOWTO-11.php3, partition manager and partition magic is also good but not free.
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