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Am I headed in the right direction? [solved]


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I am absolutely new to the linux world but have been wanting to try a distro out for a long time. I am a dial up user and havnt been able to aquire a copy intill recentely. So i decided to go with mandriva because its a well established version and seems pretty logical for a windows user to comprehend.


So I have a pretty good knowledge of windows xp so far and understand the logic pretty well but linux is a little different. Like the system storage and media sda1 for flash and everything, im not familiar with any of this so far but it seems to be the equivalent to C:/local for windows i believe. Also with the live cd it boots in KDE and i understand konqueror is like my windows explorer. So with that said so far im taking my approach from what i know about computers and comparing the two, im not sure if this is the way to do it but i gota start somewhere.


So the first time i tryed installing mandriva live 2008 went like this:

I booted from the cd clicked on install live, it took me to a window saying choose partitions, i selected use existing space from windows it gave me a bar to select what i wanted to leave with windows i moved it back about 1/4 way giving windows 3/4 of the operating system or so i believe and clicked continue. it gave me the run through with chkdisk and backup but i didnt do any of that and proceeded.


It loaded a bar and i assumed it was installing it, after it done alot of loading and never told me what it was doing it only showed i had 1 partition which i actually have 2 and when it finished it just went away and didnt give any further instruction, so from that i took that i should restart, well on shutdown it said something about disk unmountable disk is busy please remove medium and try again, i removed the disk and hit enter or ctrl J as it requested and it said drive busy system halted and turned off.


So i absolutely got no were with that little trial run. I booted back up and windows loaded without any hesitation, both partitions were there linux didnt copy any files or seem to have even existed on either partition.



So what im left to do, since i am native to windows i have given it some thought and please give advice on what to do but this is my plan


i have one 80 gb drive which is partitioned as so C (fat32) = 71 gb with 16gb free, D (ntfs) = 3 gb with 2.63 free


The cleanest way i see to do it is leave the majority with windows since most data is on C and partition as follows

format d clean

add 3 more partitions because as i understand it 4 primary is max

4gb for root /

4gb for /home

/swap twice the ram size

in this case only



im kinda confused on partitions using linux, i dont understand what the slider bar represents so would it be ok to do the partitions in windows and then boot linux and install? and i can take empty space from C and add it to another partition right, and does it matter what the partitions are named. This confuses me beacuse i dont have alot of experience in doing this so any help with this is definately appreciatted.



also this isnt as important right now but my modem is unrecongized and in windows shows the location to be PCI Slot 2 (PCI bus 0, device 4, function 0) and whne i used linux to try to get online i tryed all the com ports and dev/modem which is probably for dsl modems but still it was unable to query modem it said unable to open device i believe, if theres a easy way of fixing this please post it with the reply but if not i just wanna get the OS installed and dual booting with win xp sp2 and i will work out the bugs later on because ive still got a really long way to go in my linux knowledge as it seems but this definately isnt the end of the road.


BTW mandriva is amazing, a os thats free and boots from a cd, i had absolutely no problems running the os from the cd on my friends new comp it ran like a charm and was online with no user configuration , im definately interested in getting this going and learning more and thanks to all the people who made this possible.


A few more questions and ill stop running so many thoughts together, if i used the existing space on windows when it ask me partition options whats the safest way to go about doing that. And when installing linux whats the difference between kde and gnome, my understanding is kde or gnome is the kernel so which is better, i havnt gotten a chance to even use gnome, and KDE using Compiz Fuzion seemed nice graphically, metisse didnt seem to have any effects but did have more desktop controls 1-9 i believe.


Thanks for all the help guys.

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First, do not partition with windows. Linux uses a different systems, and windows cannot use Linux nor can Linux use windows. Also, you do not need to have any more than 1 partition for Linux. There will be an area called swap, but that can be very small, say 512K.


What I need to know is your drive layout. As you have discovered, the windows nomenclature tells nothing about the drive. Linux uses a nomenclature that describes the drive location and the partition number on that drive. So, sda1 is the first partition on your first sata hard drive. Generally, windows must be installed on the first partition of the primary boot drive, or it won't work. But Linux can be located anywhere. When you chose "existing space," it actually tried to use windows space. Select "unused space on the windows drive." The 16G free on your "C" drive should be fine for an installation. Allow the installer to auto-allocate that space.

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Well im really confused now, but mostly tired. I've done all I have time to do for now.


When i put the live cd in and booted up i checked the drives, i now have 4 different ones, i have 363M media (336mb 4%used) and another one thats new called 387M media (357mb 100% used) and i also have my two normal windows partitions (C and D).


I also checked sysguard and i had 80 process's running, with about exstimate 336,000 kb used and around 4000-7000kb free and it also said no available swap.

If i remember correctly, because i havnt found out how to save a file from linux and open it with windows, i tryed saving a txt but that didnt work.

One of the new partitions said hda5 mounted on hd2 i believe.



I checked the bootloader and it said no configuration setup and that it was going to create a new one, i clicked next and it said grub hd1 something. I ended up canceling that before i screwed up.


But im about to fall asleep at the keyboard so any help is appreciated and i will view the board and follow up. If it helps again i will give some system specs


80 gb hd

2 win partitions

2 not sure about 363M media and 387M media

320mb ram

win xp sp2


Thanks for the help guys.

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You need to install the bootloader in order to choose which system to boot. It should be installed to your primary boot partition, which would be either hda1 or sda1, depending if you have an IDE or SATA buss.

Some terminology is useful. You have one "drive" with several partitions. A partition is a division on a drive. Windows is rather misleading in that they lable partitions and drives with the same lettering scheme. That is why one cannot tell in a windows file manager what is in the computer. In windows, you have to right-click on My Computer, choose properties, and then select the hardware manager to actuall see what is on a drive. While in the My Computer file manager, you can right-click on C, choose properties, and it should take you to the hard drive gui where you can see the different partitions, rather than confusing letters.

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I'm not going to be up for long before going back to bed, but yes i already knew how to do that in windows, but what is the numbers like 336M media and the other one, does that mean that linux is installed or do i need to installed it.


Since linux is booting from a ISO image it might be the cd mounted is what the numbers represent, but ill check back tommorow. plz provide any information. Thanks

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I have no idea what your system looks like, so I can only guess at what you see. But if you did not install a boot loader, you will not be able to access an installed system.

Better yet, please boot with the live disk, and tell me what disk drake sees on your hard drive. Please use Linux labels, not windows.

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Ok heres the update, i checked windows and it shows that i have 5 partitions, 2 labeled and 3 unlabeled, i booted from linux and installed grub and it said linux and windows hda1 is the short of it. anyway i saved that and rebooted. nothing happened it loaded windows.


I dont know what disk drake is but if ur talking about storage devices on the desktop of linux it only shows 4 partitions 2 windows and 2 Mmedias and no cd drives or anything.


Im not for sure i even have linux installed, it might just be booting from the cd and showing the cd as a mounted iso image like a cd drive.


Im still confused, the 3 partitions showing in windows that dont have labels might be for linux, or one might be a sys backup. still unsure, but i do appreciate the help and if we could get this worked out that would be most appreciated. Just explain what info you need and ill definately post asap.


In the mean time im going to try to find out what disk drake is and post that info. Thanks.

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Before i log off windows, since i wont be able to get online with linux, i went to disk properties, hardware highlighted the disk and clicked properties its showing under volumes that i have 3 no names the first is 369 mb second is 74mb third is 347 mb and the other two are C and D. Im gonna look for diskdrake now. Btw the hd is IDE not sata, its 1 HD 5 partitions, IDE.

Edited by thawoodking
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Ok so i am limited to a few minutes tinkering around with it in between time today intill about 5 hrs from this post, but i checked in linux on the hardrives.


It shows my C drive as Hda1 my D drive as Hda6 it also has 3 partitions listed but only shows 2, im unsure about this, the third partition not shown anywere is a 74mb partition that i have no idea even existed. I clicked on live install once more and clicked use existing partitions, it showed the two Mmedia ones, and had a list for me to choose from, it already selected the second one to be /home.


But my girlfriend is here so i need to spend some time with her, if someone woudl just give me instructions on how to just start over that would be nice. This probably isnt that difficult to do, but since i dont have a winxp cd and cant lose my winxp partition i am making this more difficult than it actually is.


Thanks for all the help so far and i look forward to being a linux user, and maybe one day this can turn around and I actually help someone with linux, ha. LOL anyways thanks and intill next time.

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Your problem is that you do not have enough free space to install Mandriva. (An 80G drive has actually only about 74.5 G of partitionable space.) This is compounded by the fact that you have no means of re-installing Windows.


The ideal solution is to install a second hard drive and install Mandriva on it.


If that option is not available, I recommend the following:


1. In Windows, move all of the contents of drive D: to drive C:, so that Windows no longer needs drive D:


2. Use Windows XP Disk Manager (Administrative Tools/Computer Management/Disk Management) to delete drive D: and the three unknown partitions. Disk Manager should now show that you have about 3.5 G of unused space.


3. Now go ahead and install Mandriva as you did before, but, when it asks, select the "Use free space" option. It will create the necessary partitions and format them automatically. (In the 3.5G of unused space.)


I would strongly advise against making any attempt to re-size your Windows system partition (Drive C:). Re-sizing usually works, but things can go wrong and you could end up with an unusable system.




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Ok i checked the drives in linux and this is what it shows

Device type size

hda 5 Journalised FS:ext3 369Mb 0% used

hda7 Linux Swap 73MB

hda8 Journalised FS:ext3 346Mb

hda1 msdos win fat32 71MB about 16GB free

hda6 msdos win Ntfs 2.76gb 3% used


So i tryed seeing if i could get things worked out just to see.

This is the steps i took, i booted the live cd, selected install live, i had a choice now to choose existing partitions.

I selected that option, then it said hda8 for /home and gave me a choice to put which one for hda5 i selected /boot.


I clicked next and kde installer crashed, it said no root user and the next line said, CHECK_HDA_ROOT_&_BOOT.


I went back through and instead this time i selected / to be on hda5, it went to a screen saying it was formating the drives.

After that finished it went to a screen showing the mandriva products one, powerpack, and usb. It had a loading bar at the bottom like it was installing something, after that finished (aprox 30mins) it just went away.


I assumed that to be the finish of installation, i configured the boot record under grub, i selected hda and the drive name. It created a boot log but it had options to choose hda1 or hda5 ect. I didnt change the option and created it like it was set up. After that i rebooted, it loaded windows.


I tryed the using the Lilo boot screen with text and it didnt work.


Im still confused, and i already tryed what you said jim, thanks for the information but thats how i got in this situation was through those steps.



"3. Now go ahead and install Mandriva as you did before, but, when it asks, select the "Use free space" option. It will create the necessary partitions and format them automatically."


Then i had the 3 partitions, i have enough space on my hardrive to do this, with everything deleted and put back on C i have about 20GB, should be more than enough. I also have another computer just sitting with winxp and a free hardrive, the hardrive is slower but i could take that hardrive out and erase it and install linux on that. But then like i said it would be much slower so i dont want to do that.


Anyways im still working on it, if you have any ideas or resolutions, plz post and thanks for any replys and ixthusdans patience lol.

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The unknown partitions are the linux formatted partitions. Windows cannot read anything but FAT or NTFS. There are more format schemes than I care to list in Linux, but I recommend using ext3 or xfs. Mandriva may have chosen to use ext3.


I agree that you must force Windows to surrender more of the drive. Generally, Windows will attempt to take all of any drive unless you intercede during installation. So I agree that you should get rid of your Windows "D" drive. The resulting empty space will be good for Mandriva. I think I would do this from windows, formatting the new partition to FAT. It really doesn't matter since Mandriva will reformat it during the installation. But, you will then know to leave hda1 alone and tell Mandriva to use hda2, which should be the designation that you'll see. After telling Mandriva to use that space, allow it to auto-setup, and you should be fine. Remember to install the boot loader to hda1.


You were posting while I was...

Make a single Windows partition from all the space, but not your first partition. ("C") you will have to format it because Windows will make you format it into something. Then use that empty partition for Linux. The available space does not seem to add up to 80G, however. Do you have any unpartitioned space available?

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i have enough space on my hardrive to do this, with everything deleted and put back on C i have about 20GB,


You don't have 20G for Mandriva, only about 3.5G, unless you re-size your Windows C: drive, which is risky, especially since you said that you don't have any means of re-installing Windows. You can either do as Ixthusdan suggests and format the 3.5G as FAT32, or do as I suggested and leave it as unpartitioned and unused. (I think my way is easier. ) The bootloader should be installed to the MBR of hda. (This is usually the default).



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The available space does not seem to add up to 80G, however.


I think that 80G will be the manufacturer's description. It's the perennial problem of the difference between gigabytes and gigibytes. In normal use it doesn't really matter that much - until you get down to the last few Gigs on a drive, as we have here.



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