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A couple of Linux questions

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A couple of Linux questions

Over the weekend I downloaded a copy of Knoppix live CD and ran it on my wifes Windows machine, and was very impressed with how efficient it was at setting itself up including the aspect that concerned me the most: the internet connection but I need not have worried as it "found" the ethernet connection, and all I needed to do was enter the email account information.Although it was all on CD the wife was impressed with the speed (I explained that if Linux was intalled onto the hard drive it would be even faster), and she generally liked the look of it, and she is starting to complain how long it takes for Outlook Express for example to open on her Windows XP machine so have thought about putting Linux onto it.But a couple of things I would like to clear up in my mind first.

1) Does Linux get any of it's set up information from the copy of Windows that is already installed.In other words if I remove Windows via a disc reformat would Linux still install ok?

2) If things go radically wrong, or she cannot get along with Linux would I after a reformat be able to re-install Windows XP from the computer manufacturers restoration disc?

Sorry about the rather basic questions but I do not want to atempt to do something that I possably cannot undo, and as it is a laptop with not a very large HD I would prefer to steer clear of a dual boot option.
11 REPLIES
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Re: A couple of Linux questions

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1) Does Linux get any of it's set up information from the copy of Windows that is already installed.In other words if I remove Windows via a disc reformat would Linux still install ok?


Nope - Linux is an entirely different OS, which will be installed from scratch on your hard drive. Do bear in mind that if you're formatting you need to backup any data. Also bear in mind that you can't just install Windows programs (though there are sometimes ways around this, it's generally not the ideal solution) on Linux, in much the same way as you couldn't on a Mac. This may sound obvious but I've dealt with a lot with a lot of people who didn't realise either of these things, and spent hours weeping into their pint afterwards Smiley

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2) If things go radically wrong, or she cannot get along with Linux would I after a reformat be able to re-install Windows XP from the computer manufacturers restoration disc?


That depends - what make is the PC? A lot of OEM pc builders use a hidden partition on the hard drive that is activated by the restore disk - if you wipe this out in the partitioning for linux it's gone.
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Re: A couple of Linux questions

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That depends - what make is the PC? A lot of OEM pc builders use a hidden partition on the hard drive that is activated by the restore disk - if you wipe this out in the partitioning for linux it's gone.


Hi

Thanks for the reply:The machine in question is a Hewlett Packard laptop.Probably a dumb question (else it would not be a called a hidden partition) but is there any way to check for a hidden partition.? If things got really messed up and desperate would I be able to install a full as opposed to an OEM version of Windows.

As for the Windows software...... if "Knoppix live CD" is anything to go by a Linux installation comes with more than enough software included for her needs :-)
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

A couple of Linux questions

I would recommend buying a second hard disk and installing on that to get a feel for things. You can either set this up as a dual boot, or use caddies.

Also try a few versions of Linux before settling on one. Do a search on these forums and you will get loads of recommendations.

Remember that your choice of distribution is a personal thing, don’t be put off by others preaching that certain distributions are the only one you should look at.

Check out support for your hardware, modems, scanners, digital camera and printers, can cause problems if drivers are not available. As for broadband connection go for a router, you will lose a lot less hair.

Good luck and enjoy.

Chilly
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A couple of Linux questions

I'm not too sure of the deal with HP lappies of late re. recovery media. Easiest thing to do is boot from a boot floppy and run fdisk, check the partition info. note - ONLY view the info - don't go playing with things just yet! Post what it says for the partition info up here and we should be able to help more. Alternatively if you could post the laptop model I'll try to do some more research.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

A couple of Linux questions

Doh! Shockedops:

I did not read that you are putting it on a laptop, the second HD is still an option, but more expenses and harder to change.

Can I ask the which model of HP laptop?

Chilly
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A couple of Linux questions

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the second HD is still an option, but more expenses and harder to change.


Actually that probably is not a bad idea...... just wondering and will do some "Googling" later about the possibilities of an external HD but would one of those be as fast as the internal one and best method of connection to the laptop: but am sure "Google" will answer those questions for me

The model is "HP Pavilion ze4300"

It looks like what I wish to try and do is a potential mine field, and am glad I did not rush out and buy a set of Linux installation discs :-) I just had these niggling doubts in the back of my mind so thought I would ask....... glad I did.

As for the expense she wants an operating system similar to mine and another hard drive is going to be a lot cheaper than buying her a "Mac"
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A couple of Linux questions

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Easiest thing to do is boot from a boot floppy and run fdisk, check the partition info.


This is terrible have only been away from the Windows OS for 2 years and I made a boot floppy booted from it got the little a:> prompt and cannot for the life of me remember what to type to get into the C drive to run fdisk on it.

<hangs head in shame>
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A couple of Linux questions

download a bootfloppy image from www.bootdisk.com, run the file to create the bootdisk, boot from it then when it drops to a c: prompt type FDISK [enter]
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A couple of Linux questions

A Google quickly returned this article about Linux on your exact laptop. Probably worth a read.

The HDD is 30GB, yes? That's plenty big enough for a dual boot if you really wanted. Unless you're a gamer and you haven't already filled your hard disk, it should be fine. Don't forget that Linux can 'see' and use your Windows partition for storage of extra documents, so the only space you would need to set aside for Linux would be what you want for application software.

If you then decided to be rid of Windows you could format its partition into a Linux filesystem and mount it somewhere inside your home directory. Easy.

My advice for beginners is to think of the three primary colours: red (for Red Hat - i.e. Fedora), green (for SuSE/Novell) or blue (for Mandriva or MEPIS).

Oh, and if you couldn't get that fdisk to work, try the Linux fdisk, which is probably included on KNOPPIX. Launch a terminal (xterm, Eterm or something) and type 'fdisk -l' and press enter. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please).
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A couple of Linux questions

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The HDD is 30GB, yes? That's plenty big enough for a dual boot.


If I made a dual boot drive and my wife booted into Linux (or can this be automated on start up?) would it act as a pure Linux machine (speed wise) or would the fact that Windows XP was stiil on the hard drive slow it down?
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A couple of Linux questions

Dual boot machines aren't slower than single boot ones.

When you boot the computer you get a list called a bootloader that gives you the option of booting Linux or Windows. Usually there's a timeout after which it boots the default OS, which is usually Linux. Obviously the settings can be changed.

Did you see that article?