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Running Multiple Operating Systems
Author: Kyle Maulden       Date: January 17th 1999
Page: 4

There are a number of ways one can go about installing Linux. For this article, we'll once again turn to Partition Magic. The way I have always been taught to install Linux, is to make three partitions. The first is a Linux Native partition, that should be about 600MB or more if you wish to install more of Linux's features, such as X Windows (which you most certainly will want unless you wish to use nothing but a command prompt). The second is another Linux Native partition, that is a mere 16MB about in size. This partition is used for temporary storage during the boot-up process. Lastly, a Linux Swap partition is needed for use as a swap file (similar to Windows, except Windows uses a file instead of another partition).

Start by loading up Partition Magic from Windows. Make sure you have defragged your drive, to avoid losing any data while creating the partition. Click on the 'Create New Partition' button at the main menu. When prompted, select 'Linux Native (ext2)' for the partition type, and make the size around 1GB (although the larger it is the more room you'll have to work with). Now, let the partition create.

If your computer can boot from the CD-ROM drive, then skip this step and go down to the next paragraph. Otherwise, look on your Linux CD, and you should see a file called 'boot.img' (normally in the 'images' directory), and a file called 'rawrite.exe' (normally in the 'dosutils' directory). Copy both of these files onto your hard drive into the same directory. Now, stick a blank floppy in your drive, and go into a DOS prompt. Navigate into the directory that contains the two files, and type: "rawrite -f boot.img -d a", without the quotes of course. Now you have a Linux boot disk.

It's now time to install Linux. If you made the boot disk in the above paragraph, make sure both it, and the Linux CD is in the drive, and reboot. If you didn't make the boot disk, then just make sure the CD is in the drive. When your computer reboots, you should be prompted with a Linux install screen. At the bottom of the screen should be the text "boot: ". Now type in "expert". Don't let expert mode scare you, it's really not that complicated. It simple allows you to further configure partitions.

In the beginning of setup you will be prompted with simple questions, including what language your using, whether your installing from a CD-ROM or hard disk, and whether your doing an Install, or Upgrade (choose Install of course). When prompted to select either Disk Druid, or FDISK, select Disk Druid. Now you will see a screen with your partitions. You should see a FAT32 partition, possible an NTFS partition, and then the Linux Native partition. Highlight the Linux Native partition and select Delete. This will make that free space. 

Now choose Add. Under Mount Position, enter "/boot" without the quotes. For partition type, select Linux Native. Enter 16MB as the size. Next, choose Add again. This time make a Linux Swap partition, that is about 125MB in size. Lastly, Add another partition, using Linux Native, a mount position of "/", and select "Grow to Fill Disk" under the partition size. Now hit OK on Disk Druid, and select Save to partition table. When prompted, tell the installation to format the partitions before installing the files. This insures there's no fragmented data already on them that may cause a potential problem later on.

Next comes the process of choosing what to install. There are a number of packages to install with Linux, and if you made your "/" partition more than 700MB, you may as well select everything, so you know you won't be missing anything later on that you may have wanted. Once you make your selections, the installation begins, that should take 10 - 20 minutes.

Once installation has completed, you should be asked to select your video adapter. Scroll down the list and choose the adapter that most closely matches the card currently in your computer. Next, choose your monitor. If your monitor is not on the list, then choose Custom. The next few steps all depend on your hardware and selections. You may be prompted to choose the refresh rate your monitor supports, or you may be asked questions about your video card. Refer to your manuals for the answers. Next, when prompted, choose Probe. This will probe your video card to find out information automatically instead of you having to enter it manually. The X Server will now start, to confirm video settings are correct. If they are, click Yes. You will now be asked if you wish to have the X Server start up when Linux boots. I recommend you choose yes on this question, as you can always access the command prompt through X anyways. (if you choose No, you can start the X server later on by typing "startx" at the command prompt).

That's it, Linux installation is now over, and your system will be rebooted. When your system reboots, you will notice the text "LILO boot: " appearing. This is where you wish enter which operating system you wish to boot from. You should have defined these choices earlier on in the installation. If you don't remember the command you set to boot into Windows, then press TAB for a list. If you don't enter anything in 5 seconds, the computer will automatically boot into Linux.

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Running Multiple Operating Systems


Added:  Sunday, January 17, 1999
Reviewer:  Kyle Maulden

Page: 4/5

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