Dual Booting Linux - Windows
Hello everyone! Im fairly new to Linux and I have purchased a load of new Distros. I will be installing quite a few on friends and families laptops and I just wondered which of the following Distros I have will and will not allow you to install the Linux OS alongside windows automatically (i.e when installing it gives you the option to boot alongside windows)...
I don't want to risk wiping the Windows OS so Im a bit anxious to just go ahead and install them and also I dont want to have to set up partitions and install GRUB etc manually?
Arch Linux Core Dual 19.08.11
Mint 13 Mate
OpenSuse 12.2 KDE
PCLinuxOS Full Monty KDE
My advice is "be careful!"
I know that some of those distros listed gives an option to install Linux side-by-side, but do you dare trust that it always works?
I strongly recommend you to try it out on a test-computer before risking friends and families laptops!
If something goes wrong you'll need knowledge to fix it - or you'll find yourself out of friends...
You don't need a fancy 'puter for testing, a 10 year old is good enough to start with.
Well, that's my advice. But to also answer your question, these are distros I believe have an option to install side-by-side:
Debian 6 (... hmm maybe you need to do the partitioning manually, can't remember.)
Probably PCLinux but never used it.
The rest I don't know.
Last edited by x; 11-28-2012 at 02:11 PM.
In pingvino veritas!
Without knowing anything about the computer hardware or the knowledge level of your friends and family it is difficult to say which distribution would be best. Most distributions have a live CD version where you can at least get a feeling for the OS and if it will suit your needs.
For dual boot you will need to shrink the existing windows partition(s). The major distributions have the capability to automatically create the necessary partitions using unallocated space created from shrinking windows. In some cases windows recovery partitions require you to explicitly create an extended partition in order to install linux. Since some linux installers will automatically create 3 partitions, /boot,/(root) and swap. grub will be automatically configured and installed to the Master Boot Record.
As another option you can also install and run from a USB drive.
I have not installed Qimo before but all the others can be installed without any fear along side with any existing MS Windows.
The best advice I could offer any PC user on dual boot is to create the necessary partitions for the intented operating system and tell the installer to install the OS in a partition "selected" by the user himself/herself.
It is very simple because if a Type 83 partition is created for Linux and a Type 82 partition available for swap MS Windows does not support them and will never touch it. A Linux installer on the other hand will recognise them and will sink its teeth into them. The best way to please a Linux installer is not to confuse it with a hard disk fully used up by a MS Windows and ask a Linux installed inside. Should the installer erase the hard disk to install Linux? or should it shrink the partition to create room for installation? What size of partition should it creates for the installation.
Therefore for any operating system installation the best strategy is to arrange the necessary partition available. For a MS Windows it is Type 7 for the NTFS filing system. For Linux it is always Type 83, formatted to the most popular Ext3 or Ext4 filing system and to be mounted for "/" as the root of the filing system. All Linux installer knows what to do with a swap and seldom asks question for it.
Vista, Win7 and WIn8 has a resizer function built into Disk Management by shrink a partition to obtain unallocated space. For Xp and Win2k use a Linux Live CD like Ubuntu which is equipped with "Gparted" that does the same thing. For best resut always defrag the WIndows partition and disable the page files as they are immovable files inside the partition limiting the size it could be reduced.
Creation of partitions is best done by a Linux Live CD as Linux supports 100+ partition type.
Terminal-based partitioning tools are the best like fdisk, cdisk, sfdisk, parted etc.
One needs to be a root user (equivalent to Administrator in MS Windows). For a terminal off a Live CD this can be claimed by command either "sudo su" (for Ubuntu-based distros) or "su" (for other main stream distros). If the root password is demanded just answer with "root".
It is the installer's obligation to format the partitions and swap does not need to be formatted as it has no filing system.
I would say 15Gb for a Linux distro and 1Gb for swap but 10Gb should fit most distros if hard disk space is at the premium. For a larger partition one can keep more files inside Linux.