help with linux please, from scratch installation..

Not open for further replies.


Solid State Member
Hello, I posted this on the linuxnewbiew forums and got some help but then was told to search the web for info.. I could really use a detailed explanation of what I have to do, start to finish, to install a working linux OS on my machine.. If anyone could help me with that and answer some questions along the way I would really appreciate it, I'm looking forward to getting this OS installed and working with it as much as possible..

Here's what I have and what I want:

WinXP machine
2 Hard Disks
--Disk 1 has the XP install, 16 GB, NTFS format
--Disk 2 has nothing, 6 GB, NTFS format

I would like to install the linux OS onto Disk 2, and if possible, keep it as NTFS so that windows can still recognize the drive.

If someone can tell me how to get my machine to give me an option on bootup of which OS to boot into, that would be nice. I never want to run both at the same time. However, 99% of the time I will be using Windows, so the boot menu can easily be replaced by changing my boot order in the BIOS, correct? So if I want to boot into linux, I can go into my BIOS and tell it to boot from IDE 1 rather than IDE 0.. I don't mind doing this at all, actually its easier than having to choose windows every time I turn on the computer (normally I go do something else while its booting, not wait for an options menu)

Reason I want this is cause I've worked with Linux at school (computer science student) and I love programming / scripting on it, so I would love an installation on my own machine to work with.

It's extremely important to me that Windows can read this drive too. I could go into partitioning but I'd rather not.

the people on linuxnewbies said that linux can't write to NTFS at the moment, but that windows could be made to read "ext2" I don't even know what that is. But I figure I have a few choices. Remember, retaining the use of a large portion of this drive for Windows use is very important.

--switch to FAT32 (probly the worse choice since I'll lose the fun security settings in the files

--make it "ext2" whatever that is, get windows to be able to read that (however that is done) and hope that my windows programs will be able to read it to

--somehow create a partition for just linux, with enough space to play with (I've never partitioned before and don't have any software for it).

Also, can anyone tell me exactly where to download linux? I'm on broadband so size isn't an issue, I can just leave the machine on overnight. I just want a good + free distro.

I know this is a ton to read, so thanks so much to anyone who can help me with this! (am just hoping for some human help on my particular issue, rather than vague websites, or worse, overly specific websites, that confuse me more than help me).
First off, I don't think you can keep the NTFS on the second drive, you have to convert it to FAT for Linux to read it. (Linux doesn't like NTFS)

When you install Linux it will give you the option to install a "Boot Loader" You want to do this to be able to dual boot between windows & Linux. But make sure that when you set it up you also include a Label for windows on hd0. Or else when you boot loader comes up you'll only have the ability to load into linux from it.

You can check out www.linux-mandrake or or just go to and do a search for Linux. That will come up with some downloads..

Good luck

there is software available so that you can switch between the two os's when they are already booted up, but this software isnt available widely so it might not be worth getting your hopes up. but i have tried this software and it kicks ass. it's great but hard to get hold of, sorry not to b much help :lol:
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom