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    Installing linux for the first time


    I am going to be formatting my home PC this weekend - basically switching over from windows to linux. The PC is approximately 4 years old and was top-of-the-line when first purchased. However, over the past 6 months it has seemed to slow bigtime. After running several virus checks, defrag jobs, and debuggers, I have decided it is finally time to wipe the slate clean and make this my backup server/PC with a new system.

    So my question is this, while I have familularity with both operating systems, I have never formatted a hard drive and installed an operating system before. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations/tips/sites with tutorials that they know of that can help. I am trying to read up as much as possible on this, so any help you guys could provide would be greatly appreciated.
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    Don't need a HOWTO for such a simple task.

    Just load a Linux Live CD, any one will do, and use its "cfdisk" program in terminal mode. No need to re-format. Just delete the Windows partition and recreate two new partitions of 10Gb and 1Gb for Linux and Swap. You can make both as primary partitions or both logical partitions or any combination as Linux can be booted from anywhere in a CD.

    Using a Live CD and cfdisk program the partition will be automatically Type 83 suitable for native Linux. You need to impose Type 82 for the swap partition. Click "Write" to write the partition, no need to format, exit and just do a re-boot and the partition will become permanent.

    Load the Linux of your choice and tell its installer to install itself in the 10Gb partition created by you. This usually involves highlighting the partition, select "edit", choose "/" for mounting the root of the Linux, select the filing system Ext3 (or Reiserfs) and click OK. No need to bother the swap as every installer will know what to do.
    ---------------------------------------
    As separate issue there is absolutely no necessity to remove Windows to install a Linux. The two can co-exist in a single disk. In fact you can fill the hard disk with any number of PC systems and Linux will boot them all.

    So if you want to keep the WIndows just resize the hard disk to get the space needed for the two partitions mentioned above. Everything else is the same. During a Linux installation its boot loader will overwrite Windows MBR and provide a dual boot for you automatically. If it doesn't just let us know as it is very easy to fix.

    Linux will be able to read all your Windows data too so providing a direct comparsion.
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    That's hugely overcomplicated IMO. Most Linux installers will give an option to use the entire hard drive when installing (ones I've used recently that definitely do are Ubuntu and Debian). You shouldn't have to mess with cfdisk at all.

    Comments on this post

    • compmodder26 agrees : I was thinking the exact same thing.
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    Agree with ish. Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, Mandrake, CentOS, SuSE all allow you to do what he said.

    If you're not using a distro that does (for a first time user, why not?), then I'd follow the advice I gave in the FAQ thread.
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    Smile


    You do not need to be messing about with livecds/partitions. Just pop in your favourite distro, it will ask whether you want to install on the whole partition or the free partition.

    Get a book from your library/join a LUG (Linux Users Group) and learn things step by step.

    Hope that helps.
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    I favour having the partition done before installing a distro. From experience 90% of the problem for necomers is they don't know where Linux has been installer, location of the boot loader, any empty hard disk space left, how many partitions are being used....

    Yes let the installer do everything is always the simplest and the easiest, just let the installer use the whole of a 200Gb hard disk to install Linux. Why not?.

    Able to use a LiveCD isn't a bad thing either. It is the standard tool for rescuing any unbottable Linux.
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    Sorry but I'm having real trouble understanding your english.

    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.

    What I think you're saying is they need the experience of partitioning so they get a better idea of how linux works? I think that's something you can learn later, to be honest.

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    • ishnid agrees
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    Originally Posted by LinuxPenguin
    I think that's something you can learn later, to be honest.
    I agree with that statement. In the past, it was certainly important to know about partitioning in order to install Linux. I don't believe it's crucial anymore. It does depend on what the OP hopes to achieve by installing Linux. If you want to learn all about it then by all means start at the beginning with partitioning. However in this case, the OP just wants an OS that works well on a non-new machine. In that case, I'd concentrate more on learning how to use the applications you'll need rather than messing with partition tables and bootloaders. Most distros install with sensible defaults in those areas these days anyway.
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    Originally Posted by ishnid
    I agree with that statement. In the past, it was certainly important to know about partitioning in order to install Linux. I don't believe it's crucial anymore. It does depend on what the OP hopes to achieve by installing Linux. If you want to learn all about it then by all means start at the beginning with partitioning. However in this case, the OP just wants an OS that works well on a non-new machine. In that case, I'd concentrate more on learning how to use the applications you'll need rather than messing with partition tables and bootloaders. Most distros install with sensible defaults in those areas these days anyway.
    My only problem is that they create a seperate partition for /boot, something I personally don't like, but that's my personal taste and they do it for backwards compatibility.

    What they do just works, and there's no problem with that.
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    While I have no particular preference for /boot, I do agree that the partitioning schemes aren't the best possible (I prefer a separate /home so that I can reinstall the OS without touching my own files/settings). But it does indeed Just Work (TM) and for a first-timer that's what you need.

    Comments on this post

    • kicken agrees : I like the separate /home aswell.
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    That's what I plan to do next time. Putting together my own binary distro out of boredom, intended to be net-secure out of the box (with optional TOR/privoxy usage)

    It's more of a proof of concept so that other distro makers can see how it can be done and try themselves.

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