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I was gonna put this "How Too" question in the Linux forum

by itsdigger / August 24, 2013 9:31 AM PDT

but it encompasses more than Linux. I installed a new 1TB HDD and used my Win7 system image disc's to install the os. Now that gave me a 294GB partition for Win 7, a 4GB healthy Partition and a 633 GB unallocated partition. I like having a dual boot system with a Linux os on it also.I don't like running Linux in a Virtual Box because I don't get the full benefit of it that way. It just seems clunky. I always end up installing it on the HDD but when I want to try another distro I have to format the HDD because if I just delete the partition I can't restart Windows because the Grub menu is messed up. Is there a way to create partitions on the 633 unallocated partition for Linux that I can remove without affecting my Windows partition?

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by itsdigger

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by James Denison / August 24, 2013 2:17 PM PDT

create a devoted /boot partition which will serve as chainloader. That way you can remove Linux partitions as you wish and not lose the ability to boot windows or any remaining linux installations. You use GParted to create a /boot partition of about 200-300 MB (not GB). The first linux distro you install will see it and put it's boot loader there. You then run grub update after each extra linux distribution you install. As long as that /boot partition is left (and give it a LABEL too, also "flag" it") it will not become the problem to loading windows.

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Hi James, Thanks for the assist
by itsdigger / August 24, 2013 6:08 PM PDT
In reply to: yes

My first attempt was a FLOP! I'm reloading Windows again LOL. Man! I'm a pro at that now. I have to figure out that devoted boot partition, Thought I had it right this time Shocked . I'm looking for a tutorial on Youtube for this, sometimes a pictures worth a thousand words

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maybe some examples will help
by James Denison / August 24, 2013 10:11 PM PDT

first partition is a windows version. The second partition is Grub2 a bootloader that comes in Linux. The third partition is the Linux system and home folders. The fourth is the swap area (like swapfile or pagefile in windows).


A triple boot setup on a drive. First partition is windows. Second is the boot partition. Third is Kubuntu Linux system. Fourth partition defines the extended area in which the other partitions are placed. Fifth is a separate HOME partition for Kubuntu and Mint to share. sda7 is the next partition where the Mint Linux operating system is placed. The last partition sda6 is the swap area, shared by both Kubuntu and Mint, only used by one at a time.

To do this you need to choose the install option that is usually called "Something Else" when loading Linux. You then create the partitions you need making one /boot, another just / for the root partition to hold the system, and set a partition that is equal to your RAM at the least to be swap. Three partitions are enough but some like to create a /home partition which will keep it separate from the system on root. 200 MB is enough for /boot usually and probably could get by with just 100MB. 10 GB is enough for Linux system usually, but as you add programs it grows, I'd give it at least 30 GB on a hard drive. You can always leave unallocated space on the hard drive to expand into later as needed, or for later use with other distros added.
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Alrighty Than
by itsdigger / August 25, 2013 1:28 AM PDT

We'll try this again ! Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile lol Mischief

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Ok, Round 3 coming down
by itsdigger / August 25, 2013 5:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Alrighty Than
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by James Denison / August 25, 2013 1:55 PM PDT

that first partition is solely for use with windows, to share files between it and linux. sdc2 is /boot, sdc3 is /, and sdc4 is swap. The reason it shows as mounted in media is because it's on a flash drive instead of a hard drive, but the installation method is the same.

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I'm still working on this
by itsdigger / September 1, 2013 8:00 AM PDT
In reply to: sdc3

I did exactly as you noted and when I label sdc2 as boot and flag it as boot , the computer boots up and I get a notification that the operating system is missing, so I reloaded the Gparted cd and made Windows /boot and flagged it as boot and both OS's booted just fine. Than I deleted the Linux OS and restarted the computer and than the Grub loader said Grub is missing or No Grub so now I'm reloading Windows again.... Any Opinions anyone?

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by itsdigger / September 1, 2013 8:02 AM PDT

when I label sdc2 as /boot

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mixed up
by James Denison / September 1, 2013 2:50 PM PDT

I showed you how I loaded it onto flashdrive as example of how linux system could be loaded. You shouldn't have any sdc2. You are trying to do this on a single hard drive. That would be sda and the partitions would be numbered. For that you would load windows first. You then boot to the CD or DVD and install Linux. Since you have Windows on there too, to avoid problems on changing distros, create the sda2 partition as /boot, and NEVER remove it. Usually 200 MB in size is more than enough for that partition. You can separate Linux system from your own files by creating both a root / and a /home partition. You then need a swap partition that is same or larger size than your installed RAM. A swap file is not necessary always, but if you want hibernation and sleep to work, then it is.

None of this applies exactly to windows 8 with UEFI and GPT partitions, but to older windows using MBR (master boot record).

Here's what the drive would look like

sda1 = Windows XP perhaps. When you add the Linux system, GRUB will take over boot process for Windows too. If you lose GRUB, then in XP you can run it's Setup CD and choose Repair/Recover and go to a command prompt and run FIXMBR and FIXBOOT and be right back to default windows boot process. In Vista and later you would use DISKPART to accomplish that.

sda2= /boot
this will become a boot chainloader, for windows, for linux single or multiple distros.

sda3 = /
That's root. That's the mount point. It will have a /boot folder on it also that is just for that linux installation. Each linux distro added would have it's own /boot folder in the root. If you were only to have one linux distro installed, you could let it serve for the entire boot process and not create the /boot partition like in sda2, but it also means when you removed linux, even if you left windows, the grub would break and you'd have to recover a boot process for windows. That considered, a small 200MB partiton for /boot which can remain forever if desired, even after linux or windows is gone is a small price in space to pay.

sda4 = /home
Not necessary partition, the /home folder could just be in the root with all the system folders, but it makes convenient to backup data only. It's like My Documents in Windows.

sda5 = swap
It's an unformatted partition assigned as swap. Should be large enough to allow hibernation and sleep, which means at least 1GB or more according to RAM installed. The system will write data to that area when it goes sleep followed by suspend, or hibernate.


/boot = 200 MB

/ = 10-30 GB

/home = large as you need or wish. I'd start it about 20GB since you can expand it later with no problems, IF you put swap partition at the very end of the drive.

swap = 1GB at the least up to twice installed RAM

If you set it up with encryption, either whole system or just for Home partition, then you complicate it further.

This should have been in the Linux forum.

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re: mixed up
by itsdigger / September 1, 2013 3:10 PM PDT
In reply to: mixed up

Hi James, I Got It ! I had to make flag Windows partition boot but still create a dedicated boot loader and label it /boot. It really got deep lol but I followed the instructions here-> . Scroll down to Partition Design. Well it was rough goin' but with your help we got'er done. Thank you so much for your patients .Maybe we can get someone to move this to the Linux Forum and make a sticky out of it . I think there's a lot of people that want to do this but don't know how. Thanks a bunch....Digger

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by itsdigger / September 1, 2013 3:13 PM PDT
In reply to: re: mixed up

had to flag Windows partition as boot

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by James Denison / September 2, 2013 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: re: mixed up

The wiki link was using GRUB legacy. Most current Linux use GRUB2, just called GRUB by most. Some differences between them. Now you can just run grub update and not have to do the double grub install, nor manually add grub to each new distro, the latter is done now on most installs and then the grub update points the chainloader (/boot) to the boot folder on the added distro.

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G'morniin again James
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 4:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Note

do I use the terminal (sudo apt-get) or synaptic package manager? I can't find grub update in synaptic..

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(NT) Synaptics shows I have Grub2 common installed
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 4:15 AM PDT
In reply to: G'morniin again James
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grub update
by James Denison / September 2, 2013 4:19 AM PDT
In reply to: G'morniin again James

It's part of the GRUB 2 package. It's a command to run in terminal. If you want to read about it run this in terminal

info update-grub

to actually update the grub, which just adds any new boot partition to the grub.cfg file put this in terminal and run it.


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information about grub
by James Denison / September 2, 2013 4:42 AM PDT
In reply to: G'morniin again James

use these in terminal. Paste into terminal and then press enter.

man -k grub

this gives you the grub commands.

info grub

about 200+ pages concerning grub. Use page up and down keys. Have fun.

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re: information about grub
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 4:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Note

Thanks James, That's a lot of info there. I'll be reading that for a week. you're definitely making sure this newbie gets trained . Been up all night reading and getting this thing right , so these tired eyes deserve a break for the rest of today Happy .....Digger

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what you need
by James Denison / August 25, 2013 1:59 PM PDT

create 3 partitions. Make one /boot. Make another just / as the mount point. The third you label and flag as swap. The install program will then know what to place where as you continue, because it will see those partitions properly setup and put in what needs to be in each one.

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I think I figured it out
by itsdigger / August 25, 2013 10:38 PM PDT
In reply to: what you need

I'm doing everything right except with the boot partition you have "/boot" and I've been using just"boot", Could that be it?.... Lol I'll try it again in a couple of days, I need a break . I have this beauty of a distro called Solyd K installed for now and really diggin it. I'll give it a go maybe tomorrow .

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by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 2:06 AM PDT

Let me know if you've tried and been successful getting the screen saver to do other than blank the screen. No luck here. Also, those goofy animations during application launch have gotta' go. No luck with that either. I'm too old to fight anymore. Happy

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G'mornin Steve
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 2:19 AM PDT
In reply to: SolydK

Yes ! I've had Great success just reinstalled it this morning after going through a learning curve James helped me to overcome. Are you talking about when after the splash screen it goes blank? If that's so when it's the pae kernels . When the grub menu boots up, scroll to 3.2.0-4 686 and enter. I'm using an old Dell with the Pentium Duel Core processors and the newer pae kernels won't work even though it's being recognized as multi core.......Digger

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Thanks...I may have it
by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 3:13 AM PDT
In reply to: G'mornin Steve

I was speaking of idle time. I'd set the screen saver to launch after so many minutes but require re-logon if I exceeded that time by more than 5 minutes (300 seconds). I just changed the default view for the monitor settings and found power saving settings which I hadn't seen before. These were set to dim/blank or whatever. I thought I'd been there but maybe not. That's fine for laptops but mine's an old PC I resurrected from a school I help out. It may work now. Maybe I can get rid of those bouncy animations if I waste just a little more time.

BTW, I've got 4 distributions running on this rig now. My purpose is really to play with these and possibly evaluate them as candidates for axillary use in the school where my wife works as technology coordinator. One of her responsibilities other than teaching technology is the acquisition and setup of hardware. I'm the (untrained) IT guy who basically fumbles his way around to get things installed and running.This past year all of the teacher desk XP machines were replace with Win 7 machines. We've kept the old boxes for "as needed" use. The school buys volume licenses for operating systems and other software so Windows based PCs are limited by the number of licenses purchased. I've put Linux machines in for occasional use when all the licenses are taken. We've run into some problems with this with users who are comfy with Windows and encounter a Linux based machine. I need to tailor it for simplicity and ease of use for teachers. Mostly they just need to be able to get on line but sometimes need to use certain document formats that the plugins in Linux versions of Firefox don't have equivalents for. There are also various printers that need to be setup to work. I'm still a Linux newby but I get help from my son who has messed around with it for over a decade. Anyway, after many partitioning disasters I've got 4 distributions running on a 120 GB drive with room for one more. SolydK is one that seems to have promise. It's the first one I've tried that didn't make me got out and fetch a driver for the wireless card. Ubuntu is fairly easy too. I've not had a good relationship with either Mageia or Fedora 19. Those and Mint give me printer driver troubles.

It might seem dumb to worry about a blank screen versus screen saver but it's not me I'm concerned with. It's people who think the PC is turned off and start pushing buttons. Happy

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Not dumb at all
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks...I may have it

I'm pretty much in the same situation, with being the untrained IT guy , that's why I'm always here picking peoples brains( I'm a real PITA) but everyone here have always bent over backwards to get things through this thick skull of mine. I've been using SolydK for a couple of months now, I have to say to date this is the best distro yet. I am partial to Debian for some reason. Since you have room for another distro, check out PCLinuxOS. You talk about not having to find drivers and having EVERYTHING in place ,PCLinux is the one, It even loaded my laser printer drivers,I didn't have to install anything, everything was smooth. Check it out......Digger

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Ha, ha. So we're sort of in the same boat.
by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Not dumb at all

Not only am I untrained in IT, but I'm unpaid for my crummy work. It's all volunteer but I love it. I can also set my own hours as long as they're on weekends and holidays and during Summer break. You can't beat the job security either. Happy

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Found out how to shut off that bouncing stuff
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 3:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks...I may have it

click on the start menu and in the search box type " launch feedback" , the KDE control module comes up , and Bingo! There's the Bouncing Cursor controls Cool have fun with it...Digger

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by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 4:29 AM PDT

"No busy cursor". You found it that fast. The screensaver settings are working too. Things are looking up. I should stick to pulling ethernet and punching down wire in patch panels Happy

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by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 4:50 AM PDT

I see you also have boot loader/grub questions. I can't help with that but I also have issues to address in that regard. With multiple distributions, I'm wanting to clean up the long list that builds with each new distribution and also find a logical naming scheme. My four distributions must have 20 lines to read through with so many duplicates of the same one. It's probably because I didn't create a dedicated boot partition. If you've time to waste, you might try something called Grub Customizer. It allows you to rename, sort, change fonts and sizes and more. You might call it a grub shell of some kind. Anyway, here's how to get it:

If it trashes your hard work, I'll deny having sent this.

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Groovy Steve
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 4:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks...I may have it

glad we can all help each other out. Great buncha people here....Digger

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Hey Steve I forgot to tell you about the Screen Locker
by itsdigger / September 2, 2013 9:53 AM PDT
In reply to: SolydK

go into the menu , in the search, type in screen locker , I disabled it . It's like a screensaver except when it times out , you have to log back in.....Digger

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I think I had that almost figured out
by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2013 10:25 AM PDT

One of the biggest hurdle I've found is adjusting to Linux language and terminology. Sometimes what applies in Windows means something different in the various Linux distributions. It can be like trying to drive a car in which the steering wheel is designed to turn in the opposite direction of what I've grown to expect. But just like it's good to exercise seldom used muscles in our bodies it's probably also good to do the same with our brains.

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