[kwlug-disc] Natty Release & Linux / WinXP coexist

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Sat Apr 23 00:46:52 EDT 2011

John Johnson wrote, On 04/22/2011 11:10 PM:
> My apologies for going over ground that has been covered before but .....

Actually ... I can't remember the last time this has ever come up on 
the list. Astonishing. Give how primal the question is.

> I have acquired a PC (desktop) w/a decent CPU, a decent HDD, 512 mB RAM 
> and w/licensed WinXP (that I want to keep available).

If people didn't know, this is John's first opportunity to get a Linux 
machine going. And, 'decent' is a relative term. The hardware is what 
the hardware is.

> I also want Linux (Ubuntu 11.04 sounds good).

It is arguable that you want Kubuntu, not Ubuntu, coming from a 
Windows world. The menuing is much closer to what you are used to. 
I'll summarize it this way: KDE (Kubuntu) shows you what all you can 
do; Gnome (Ubuntu) shows you what all you have told it you will ever 
want to do. To me, Gnome menuing is goofy - but many (most?) disagree.

It is also arguable that you want an LTS release (10.04) not the 
latest and greatest / moving target.

As always, people can debate endlessly about the above - it is not 
wrong, but it may not be right for you.

No trolling or flamewars intended here.

> Here is the trick: I want a Linux partition to coexist w/the WinXP 
> partitions but I do not want to reformat / fdisk / restore.

Easy. Well solved in the Linux world, so you're following a well 
trodden, well proven path.

I've done this many times. More than I like to think about, actually.

Now, to be fair, especially to yourself - bring your machine to a 
meeting. Things will go much faster and with more certainty.

Things don't take all that long. Once you have a successful boot in 
linux, you're off to the races (on your own). It's only this 
repartitioning and initial installation that's a little nerve racking, 
the first few times.

> IIRC There are tools that will allow an in-situ repartition that will do 
> the following:
> a) add a boot partition that will allow one to choose which OS to boot into
> b) add a Linux partition
> c) resize the existing WindowsXP partitions - 1 for user image and 1 for 
> backup/install image
> d) access of WinXP partition from Linux (or vice versa) nice-to-have but 
> not necessary

Boot live cd.  console, aptitude install gparted. Squish.
- er, having installed gparted, run it, and squish.

Not that the other suggestions made aren't equally effective. I can, 
however, appreciate the one step at a time, be certain all is well, 
before proceeding to the next potential shoot oneself in the foot step.

I'll point out a couple of observations:
- by this day and age, recovery partitions on XP are pointless. 
[Largely because of age of OS, you're going to recover from backup, 
original CD, not recovery partition so much.]
- a 2nd install (cloned from first, usually), and left unmounted, is 
useful. XP anyways. My conclusion on 7 is, not necessary (but would 
keep the recovery partition with 7.)
   - cloning tools, YMMV. I still prefer ghost - it just feels more 
certain. Although I have used Clonezilla. (Especially good for taking 
images off, via the net.) Never had to restore with clonezilla, so 
can't speak to it. [I don't remember for certain, gparted may let you 
copy, not just move, a partition.]
- a popular thought is let the native OS do its own partitioning. 
Thus, having squished Windows, let the install process do its own 
thing with the remaining space, as part of install.
- you can run linux within a vm on Windows, using raw disks, if you 
REALLY want to, but the reverse is not easily true (due to hardware 
profiles). But you don't have the memory to do this.
- I concur - installing linux on a windows system, linux just finds 
the windows partition, installs grub2 with appropriate boot 
candidates, and just works. Just make sure you DON'T choose the 'use 
entire disk' option.
- although wubi is a viable option (it just works), I gave up on it - 
it's just too slow. I would recommend against it.


- being able to google on another machine while doing this is most 
helpful, as is this list, while you're going through this.

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