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One of my first goals with WikiLearn was to document my passage from Windows to Linux. Even though I have not completed that transition, I didn't do a very good job of documenting it. Now I have a second chance, a friend of mine wants to make the transition (or at least partway).

I'm starting this page by copying her second set of questions to this page and then adding my (badly organized answers). Hopefully we will continue to document her progress. (Her first set of questions were oral, and I don't recall them at the moment.)



(First) Refactoring in progress

(Why) Should You Try Linux?

There are a variety of reasons to try Linux, and maybe even some reasons to stick with Linux even if it is not always as convenient as Windows. In the first draft of the following, I may succumb to using excessive hyperbole, but I'd eventually like to make a very fair presentation of the risks / rewards of Linux vs. Windows.

Economic Reasons

  • Linux can be (legally) obtained at no cost. On the other hand, I gradually learned that I needed a whole lot more RAM to obtain performance similar to Windows. <more later / below>

Political Reasons

< very preliminary>

Aside from being able to obtain Linux free (as in no cost), Linux (or GNU/Linux) is founded or solidly based in some other freedoms.

  • The Free Software movement (started by Richard Stallman about 20 years ago) is based strongly on the belief that software should be free (as in speech, not as in beer) — among other things they believe:
    • You should have the right to view and modify the source code any program you use

  • The Open Source movement is very similar, but perhaps founded with the idea of "tempering" some of the views of the Free Software folks.

  • Microsoft has a practical monopoly on desktop computing. A monopoly is rarely a good thing. We've already seen some of the hazards of MIcrosoft as a monopoly.
When a company has a monopoly on something, they can start to raise the price out of all proportion to the cost of creating the product. They can use excess profits from their monopoly business to out-compete others in other (related or different) businesses — if they compete effectively enough, they can get a monopoly in those other businesses. I don't want this page to degenerate into an argument about whether Microsoft is or is not a monopoly, and whether they've taken advantage of their monopoly to unfairly compete, or whether they are starting to raise prices because they are a monopoly — I believe they have, but if you want to debate the issue we should do it on a different page.

  • Linux is the underdog.

  • Linux is the only thing that I can see on the near term horizon that can provide effective competition for Microsoft. If you want to keep the Microsoft monopoly in check, support Linux.

Will Linux Do Everything that Windows Does?

This is another subject that may provoke quite a bit of discussion. I'll give you my view.

Linux is an operating system on a computer. Programs can be written in Linux to do anything that programs written in Windows can do.

In General

  • Have they all been written? No, but with greater or lesser amounts of work, the same tasks can be accomplished._
  • Do those that have been written approach all tasks the same way Windows does? No
  • Are the approaches of Linux programs as easy to use (understand) as those of Windows programs? Not always, but, sometimes they are easier, and sometimes they depend on a different mindset.

Some Specifics

In my last job, I used the following programs extensively in my work. I haven't made an exhaustive search in every case, but so far I am not fully satisfied by the replacements I've found in Linux.

Now, I might be sort of a special case, or might think I am, in that, at least at one time, in one set of programming languages, I could program. So, I have this hope of modifying the programs that come close to meeting my needs to more fully meet them. Do I think their is a realistic chance that I will accomplish this? Maybe not (but maybe so, I haven't given up yet), but even if I don't:

  • I would have almost no chance of modifying a Windows closed / proprietary program to more fully satisfy my own needs, unless either the program is designed to be customized (like Word, Access, and Excel, with their built-in scripting language (VB)), I start my own program from scratch, or I find a group that has a similar desire to develop an open source program (under Windows) to do the same thing.
  • As more and more people join the ranks of Linux users and developers, each eager to scratch their own itch, more and more of my itches will get scratched.

Is Linux As Easy to Use as Windows?

When I started into Linux 3 years ago, I would have said no. Even today, I'll say no, depending on your needs and approach. There are a number of points to consider:

  • Rising tide of Linux users / developers will make everything easier
  • Same rising tide of Linux users will make concepts that are strange today understood by a much wider audience (and, Windows users have to learn similar things as Windows expands into less traditional Windows strongholds (like concepts related to multiple users, permissions, and so forth).
  • If a user who only wants to surf the web, send and receive email, do some word processing, spreadsheets, create and maintain a "knowledge base", make some drawings or sketches, download some files, burn some CDs, and/or view some videos, and has a Linux system with programs to do all of those things pre-installed and available as GUI programs, things can be pretty easy. (But, just like in Windows, exceptions will arise, those things that aren't quite as easy and he needs help with.)
  • The pre-installing thing used to be tough — most Linux distributions were not typically easy to install. This has changed significantly. Today Mandrake and Knoppix (to name two) can be as easy or easier to install than Windows. (And, how many Windows users installed Windows themselves anyway?) There are areas where it can be tough, primarily when a particular piece of hardware doesn't have a driver written for Linux. (Note that there are such things as winmodems and winprinters — modems and printers that, to save money, have more of their hardware functions replaced by software, originally written only for Windows. (Note though, that now, a fair number of winmodems are now also linmodems (because drivers have been written for them under Linux), and, where somebody itches enough, the same thing will happen for winprinters.

What If I Use MacIntosh?

What is it, Max OSX or something?? is Linux. (With some enhancements, IIUC.)

Hi, I stumbled upon your "from windows to Linux" article, and feel it is a fairly well assembled article for someone interested in moving from Windows to Linux. One thing I just wanted to clarify is in the article you state MacOS X is really Linux. That is incorrect; to clarify: MacOS X is Unix-based. Linux and Unix, though similar, are completely different OS's. The kernel used by MacOS X (called Darwin) is based on the FreeBSD kernel. FreeBSD is a Unix (BSD4.4) based OS. Just wanted to clarify, don't mean this to sound like a flame or anything. Thank you for your time! --Aaron Graves, 11 Feb 2005 via email

What are Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian, SuSE, ...?

Only one company has the right to make and sell Windows. Linux is different (for a number of reasons) and the companies (or organizations) listed above are some of those that distribute Linux. Usually each with their only slightly different flavor or focus — the product of any one of these organizations is often referred to as a distribution. A distribution consists not only of the Linux kernel (the heart of the operating system) but also some number of programs to serve different purposes.

If I had to guess, there have been close to 200 different distributions of Linux developed over the years since the Linux kernel was first unleashed, around 1991. (Note though, that Linux was developed to work like Unix, a computer operating system that has been around (in various flavors) since 1972???)

Which Distribution Should You Choose?

For a Linux newbie, I'd stick to one of the major distributions (listed below) and one that doesn't require compiling for either initial installation or for addition of most programs. I list some of the major distributions below, and my impressions of them (why you might want to choose one of them), but your choice may be made on a more pragmatic basis — what are your friends using — what can they install for you or help you install?

Aside: Compiling is not the end of the world, but it is an unnecessary complication and potential source of frustration. (Debunk the myth that the first thing you should do after a successful install is recompile your kernel.)


This is what I used for about 2 1/2 years of the three I've been using Linux, in versions starting at 6.0 and now at 9.1. Nice distro, quite easy to install.
(Aside: The way I chose Mandrake (actually, I started with Caldera), I acquired a nice stack of about 15 different distros (at little or no cost, many from my local LUG (Linux User Group). I attempted to install each one. If I couldn't install it with a few tries, I set it aside and went on to the next. If it installed I played around with it for a day or two. When I finished that exercise, my intial impression was that Caldera 2.2 running KDE is where I'd start. When Caldera 2.4 came out, I tried it, but wasn't real happy, so I tried Mandrake 6.2 (with KDE) — it seemed better, so I stuck with it and upgraded as new versions came out. I eventually set up a web and mail server on my home LAN based on Mandrake 7.2, and it is still at that level. On my workstation, I had some trouble upgrading to 8.0 and 8.1, so I stayed at 7.2 until finally 8.2 came out and I was able to install it. (Add note on install vs. upgrade.))


Red Hat:

Requires compiling.

What is a packaging system?

What are KDE and GNOME?

What is a desktop manager?

What is a window manager?

How Powerful a Computer Do You Need?

How Much Free Disk Space Do You Need?

How Should You Partition Your Hard Disk?

Before Refactoring

Second Set of Questions and Answers

On Saturday 04 October 2003 09:23 am, Val Haring wrote: > You suggested that I can use 5 gigs for the Mandrake version you gave me -
> correct? ( I have free 16 gig on my main desktop computer which has a total
> 40 gig and is not partitioned at all right now.)
> Now just due to the architecture of systems - you can only have 4 primary
> partitions, and to have more than that - you need to make one of them
> extendable - correct?

Correct, and at least one is already set up and used by your windows install.

> So right now I am considering the following configuration -
> /boot - 500mg
> /var - 1 gig
> /temp - 1 gig
> /home - 1 gig
> /usr - 1gig

Here's my recommendation:

/boot: 20 to 25 MB (small, but that's all you need, even for a couple of kernels) -- make it a primary and the first one of your LInux partitions -- I'd make it and ext2 filesystem

/ (you forgot to list this one, and you need it) I'd make it the second Linux partition, and 350 to 500 MB -- it sort of the miscellaneous and main partition, any directories (/boot, /home, /usr, /temp, etc. that you don't provide separate partitions for will be, by default, on / (known as the root partition, but different than /root, which is the home partition / directory for the root user) -- I'd make it (/) an ext2 filesystem.

/usr: 3 GB or more (read about the other partitions before deciding) -- this stores almost all the programs and documentation on your system, it needs the most space for most people) You could consider making this an ext3 or Reiser filesystem (either of which is a journalled filesystem which makes it a little more secure (in the event of power failure) than an ext2 system. (You could make all partitions journalled, except that earlier Linux systems could not boot from anything other than ext2, so I'd want at least / and /boot to be ext2.)

/var: 150 to 200 MB: The system logs will be stored here. Normally (and I'm quite sure Mandrake does this) a program (logrotate??) automatically starts new logs something like every day, and deletes the oldest after some period (a week, a month???) -- the advantage of setting up a separate /var is that if something goes wrong and the logs fill up the entire partition, that occurrence (by itself) does not lock up your system (or whatever) due to filling up your entire /, /usr, /home, etc. I'd probably make this an ext2 filesystem.

/temp: I have never bothered with a separate /temp, I'd leave it as part of the / partition. The files in it should be automatically managed by the system (created and deleted as appropriate). I'd make it (/) an ext2 filesystem.

/home: I'd recommend 500 MB or more, and an ext3 filesystem. In /home, directories are created for every user account (if you set up a user account for yourself as say, vharing, there will be a directory named /home/vharing that will be your home directory. (There are some shortcuts to get to it, IIRC, one is ~vharing, and there is at least one other one.) I would make it an /ext3 filesystem.

Unfortunately, your home directory stores two things: "your" settings for things like kde, gnome, and any other programs you run that need a configuration file. They are stored as hidden files, which in Linux is accomplished by preceding the filename with a "." (period). The other thing that is typically stored in your home directory is your data files (and possibly any programs you create).

For my purposes, I have a home directory of (IIRC) about 200 MB, and then I've created other partitions for projects (like ABiWord, X, and other development projects). My hope is that if I do something (while programming) to mess up any one of those partitions, it won't affect any others.

You can also mount your Windows partitions under Linux and access (and write) stuff on those partitions. (A good thing to do might be to set Linux up to use the Microsoft TrueType fonts, which you can do, and is legal as long as you have a licensed version of Microsoft Windows on the machine. Actually doing this is something we can talk about sometime in the future (or you might find it yourself -- if you look in enough places you will eventually find a place in Mandrake that allows you to install new fonts, if you work your way through that you can tell it to find and use your TrueType fonts.)

> Now I am stuck. I also want to learn Apache - would that go under one of
> the above?

Digression: (If I haven't digressed already ;-), "well behaved" Windows programs often create a directory for themselves and store all or most of their files in that directory. (I can't immediately recite a correct example, but to make one up, if you install Word, it probably puts most of its files in a directory named something like C:\Office\Word.)

Linux does it differently, if there was a Word for Linux, and it was a "well behaved" Linux program, it would install its executable files (word.exe) in a directory like /usr/bin (along with executables for most of the other programs installed on your system). Some sub-digressions:

  1. Executables (and file types in general in Linux) are (usually) not identified by an extension, but instead by setting file attributes (start, perhaps, by seeing man chmod). (We can get into this deeper, later.)
  2. There are other .../bin directories, like /bin (for executables needed to boot or maintain the system, IIRC), /sbin (for system executables), and /usr/sbin. (We can get into this deeper, later.)
  3. Still building on the Word "analogy", if there were Word "configuration" files that apply to all users, they would be stored somewhere in the /etc hierarchy -- if a lot of them there might be a /etc/office/word directory with all the files, if only one (or a few) they'd probably all be under (just) /etc. If there were personal preferences related to word, they would be stored under files in your home directory, again possibly either a few files (like /home/vharing/.word) or an entire subdirectory, like /home/vharing/.office/word (having office hidden makes the directories and files under it also hidden (under most circumstances).
  4. I should tell you about files that end in rc (like potentially .wordrc) and profile (like potentially .wordprofile) but will put that off for now -- in general, though, files ending in rc are something like .bat files in Windows.

So back to Apache:

  • In general, Apache will be installed in the /usr directory, the executables will be stored under /usr/bin (IIRC), the documentation under something like /usr/doc/.../apache (or maybe httpd), the main configuration file under something like /etc/httpd.conf (Linux can use extensions, and often does it for things like conf and program files. (Again, more later.)

  • Also, a user account will be set up specifically for Apache. On some systems, Apache uses an account named "nobody", but that is somewhat of a security risk. On other systems, I've seen names like "www" or similar. I can't immediately recall the user name under Mandrake (but I've had to use it). The index file for the "default" web site is stored under something like /home/www/index.html (again, this is from memory / made up). The "executable" (Perl) files for TWiki are stored, IIRC, somewhere like /home/www/twiki/bin (and the public (HTML) and data (attachment) files are stored in something like /home/www/twiki/pub and /home/www/twiki/data.

If you wanted (most of) twiki to have it's own partition, you could create one and mount it as /home/www/twiki, and then (assuming this partition is mounted at the time you install twiki), the twiki directories ( /home/www/twiki/pub) are installed on that partition. (If the partition is not mounted when twiki is installed, those directories will be installed on, for example the /home partition -- if you later mount a partition as /home/www/twiki/bin, the previously installed partitions like /home/www/twiki/pub are no accessible, as the new partition is mounted "over" them. (So to create and mount that new partition later, you'd want to first create the partition, mount it as something else temporarily (maybe /temp/twiki), copy all the installed twiki stuff from /home/www/twiki to the temporarily mounted partition (/temp/twiki) then umount (no n) the partition and re-mount it as /home/www/twiki. (To clean up after yourself, after doing all that and testing things, you might umount the new partition, delete the old /home/twiki/bin stuff, and then remount the partition.) (This discussion while seemingly off the mark, should tell you a few things (some implied):

  • you can "mount" any partition anywhere in the filesystem tree (a mount point, aka the directory name must exist (or be created with mkdir) before mounting (md doesn't usually work, although you could create an alias (later)).
  • if you mount a partition "over" an existing directory, the stuff in that existing directory is not visible / accessible. (if you unmount it, that stuff is accessible again).

> Linux knows where to install that?

Yes, or perhaps more correctly, the particular distribution knows where to install it -- digressions:

  • Linux distributions are not completely standardized, Mandrake may install apache in one place, other distros may have minor differences. (The various packaging systems (rpm, deb, portage (?) know where things belong in their distro. (Thus, rpms for Mandrake don't necessarily work on Red Hat (or vice versa), or even between versions of Mandrake (or Red Hat). (IIUC, Debian does a much nicer job of dealing with those kinds of issues, which is why I have now (partially) switched to Debian. (Installing Debian is a PITA, I accomplished it by installing Knoppix, which was fairly simple.)
> Should I increase one of the above to accomodate Apache?

No, I've considered that in the sizes I've recommended.

> Is there another directory I should also consider?

Well, maybe. If you think Apache is going to eventually use a GB or more for html pages, you may eventually want a partition dedicated for that. If you have some other hobby that may eventually use all your space in /home, you may want a separate directory for that. Those don't have to be created and mounted up front, you can always do that later without a terrible amount of trouble. They could be on the same disk or a different disk. (An advantage of Linux not using the C: type prefixes.)

The one thing that this reminds me of (but I didn't mention above) is that one of the first four partitions you create must be extended. If you create four primary partitions, you cannot create any extended partitions. (You can delete the fourth and then set it up as an extended partition. Also, there is a difference between Windows and Linux in how these partitions are numbered / considered:

In Linux, If you have three primary partitions and then some extended (actually, I have my LInux terminology wrong here, I'll have to think about it to get it correct), Linux "numbers them" like this: (Assuming they are on the first (IDE) hard disk, the second hard disk would substitute b, then c, etc. -- if they are SCSI (scuzzy) drives, the numbering starts out something like sca1 (or something)):

First primary: hda1 Second primary: hda2 Third primary: hda3 Extended: hda4 First logical: hda5 Second logical: hda6 ...

Oh, ok, now I think I remember the terminology, Linux calls the one partition "extended", then all the partitions in the extended partition are called logical. In Linux, you can't store any data in the extended partition.

I believe that terminology is more accurate in some ways than the Windows partition, IIRC:

  • Windows calls all the partitions starting with the first extended, "extended"
  • Windows seemingly lets you put data on the first extended partition (but I'm sure you really don't, I believe Windows "hides" what Linux calls the extended partitions, so, if you tried to use the Linux partition numbers to designate what Windows calls them, you'd get something like this:

hda1: (1st) primary partition hda2: (2nd) primary partition hda3: (3rd) primary partition hda4: Not "visible" in Windows (but I'm positive it's there -- if you partition a disk using the Windows tools, but then look at the partitions using a Linux tool, you will see this) hda5: (1st) extended partition hda6: (2nd) extended partition ...

> Which partition should I make extendable?

I typically make the 4th partition I create the extended partition (I don't think you have a choice in Windows, you do in Linux), then I'd create the partions in the order listed above:

/boot swap / /usr /var /home

Oops, I also forgot to mention swap. (Aside: Although I advocate Linux, you are in for a little bit of a rough ride, many things just aren't as good as Windows, memory usage being one of them. The rule of thumb that I use for sizing swap is "at least two times the amount of RAM in your system, and if I have the space, I'd go for a minimum of 1 GB -- then, as you see the need, you can increase the RAM up to 512 MB and still have the recommended two times the RAM". (You will find conflicting advice about the amount of swap, go with 1 GB, you'll be glad you did.)

> What and which programs should I use to do the above? I have several
> options - Partition Magic, System Commander, Boot Magic, FIPS, CFDisk, and
> Ghost. The only one I used once was Partition Magic.
I would use Linux's cfdisk. If you start the Mandrake install (boot from the first CD-Rom), you will eventually be given the option to partition the disks (read the options and choose carefully, you don't want to destroy your Windows partitions), IIUC, the tool that Mandrake uses is cfdisk, with a GUI "front end" (i.e., the GUI, where you enter commands etc, with mouse clicks and whatever, translates those commands into cfdisk commands, and passes those commands to cfdisk for execution.

> I don't know which program to use first and what works best with each
> other. I haven't used any of these programs enough to know the differences
> or the best combination.

Given that you have Windows installed and working,always install Windows first -- Linux "works well" (coexists) with Windows, Windows doesn't work well (coexist) with Linux.

Then, just start the install process by booting from the 1st Mandrake CD-Rom.

> My ultimate goal is to be able to extend my abilities to set up web and
> mail servers, to use with web pages and e-commerce sites I design. I even
> thought about designing e-learning sites. When I really do a real server
> setup to the Internet - I will need a lot more resources correct?

I'd recommend that you not host it from your own server at home, several reasons, I'll mention a few below, more later.

> I have
> DSL right now - if I setup web servers - I need to contact the ISP's
> concerning bandwith?

Yes, and their TOS (some (many) ISPs don't want you to run a server from home, and will not allow it from a "basic" broadband account. (There's a good reason for that on cable -- you and (some number) of your neighbors share the bandwidth, if one or more of you is a bandwidth hog, everybody (on that "loop") suffers. (There are probably valid reasons for the restriction on DSL as well -- at some point the ISP has to pay for bandwidth used, having a server uses more bandwidth than not having a server, and they may be compelled by law (I'm not clear here) to deal firmly with anybody sharing illegal stuff (like non-free music files) -- there life can be a lot easier if they disallow servers.)

I just signed up for a web hosting account, and could consider "sharing" some of the bandwidth with you or the church. (Actually, if I do it, I'd like to get paid a proportionate / fair amount.)

> Although I also considered doing three OS's and putting either the NT
> Workstation or the NT Server on my main hard drive - I decided against
> that. I would like to put that on a completely separate computer due to
> the worms out there right now for the NT platforms.

Sounds like a good idea.

> Ok - mentor - before I start playing - what's next?

We need to negotiate my contract and my hourly fee wink Mostly just kidding, but I am taking the liberty of putting your questions and my first cut at answers on WikiLearn. What I'd like to do is have you and I continue to build on that page -- as you have more questions, add them there (or on a "sub" page -- we'll deal with that later), I'll add answers, and so forth.

I think this is a golden opportunity to make some WikiLearn pages that deal with a "real" Windows user trying to make a "real" transition to Linux, and recording the progress (all with the goal of helping the next person). I tried to do that in WikiLearn myself, but by the time I had chosen twiki and found a real website to use, I was no longer a rank Linux newbie, so I've forgotten (and have not recorded) some of the growing pains I went through. Let's capture your growing pains on WikiLearn.

Third Set of Questions

I have read your comments above. I also looked at a screen print of CFDisk. Then I tried to write down on a piece of paper what I would be entering on the screen to partition the disk. My system is IDE dual controllers (FIFO) not a scuzzi drive. I am still confused because only three partitions can be primary. There are more than 4 partitions discussed in the above comments.

> I should have mentioned, Linux doesn't care whether its partitions are primary or secondary. As it happens, my /boot and / are usually primary, but they could as well be secondary.

Trying to reason this out - in line with the screen print, I have now have the following configuration.

> Hmm, is there a windows version of cfdisk, and are you using that? I'm surprised that there is any indication that you can put anything in the extended partition. I might have to start an install just to check this out. (I'll let you know more after I try that.)

hda1 - Boot - Primary - Fat32 - Windows - 28gig

hda2 - Boot - Primary - Linux - /boot swap - 1.5gig (I have 768 ram)

hda3 - (No Flag) - Primary - Linux - / - 500mg

hda4 - (No Flag) - Extended - Linux - /usr - 5 gigs

hda5 - (No Flag) - Logical - Linux - /var - 200mg

hda6 - (No Flag) - Logical - Linux - /home - 1 gig

This has me confused as in your notes you said that data cannot be stored in a logical drive but that is what is in /usr? Or is extended different than logical, just the bridge to add logical partitions? Is the above setup ok to enter in CFDisk?

> Oops, sorry, if I said that I mispoke — you can store data (or anything) in a logical partition, you just can't store anything in the extended partition. The extended partition is just the one primary partition (of four possible) that is used to store the information about the existence and configuration of whatever logical partitions you create.

Also the swap function is part of the /boot?

> No, it should be separate. 1.5 GB is good for swap, 25 MB is fine for /boot.

Do I also make the /boot - a boot flag or does that confuse the system because it doesn't know which boot to use?

> Not necessary, although I've done it in the past out of ignorance. Near the end of the Mandrake installation you will have to set up LILO or (darn) as the boot "controller" (can't think of the right name). You will be given a choice whether to install that in the MBR (Master Boot Record (of the entire disk)) or in the first sector of / (IIRC). I usually install it in the MBR, but it doesn't really matter. LILO decides what partitions are bootable based on information stored in the boot record, it doesn't care whether the partitions are marked bootable or not (AFAICT).

I use the mkfs command to make ext2 and ext3 filesystems how and when?

> You shouldn't have to fool with them manually at all. (Someday you might want to learn how.) But, if you but the 1st Mandrake disk in and boot from it, you will eventually get to the GUI front end for cfdisk (unless it's for fdisk, but it doesn't really matter) and you will do all your partioning and formatting from there.

I am trying to think this out before I start playing with my hard drive. Windows Me is what I have as my OS on the desktop now and that does not do well with the swap file either.

> I'm not sure what you mean. Are you talking about a Windows swap file? (Although there is a way to use the same partition for the Windows and the Linux swap file, I can't immediately recite how to do it, and, as large as your system is, I don't see a desparate need for it.

> Just out of curiosity, did you have to shrink your Windows partition down to 28 GB or did it come that way, or is it still to be done? As long as it's already shrunk, I'd do everything else with the Mandrake install disk.

If I do screw up the hard drive - I still have access thru my laptop but I prefer the least amount of work around problems as possible.

(Actually I haven't done anything yet - this is all coming from the what I envision is suppose to happen. I guess I should try to take the plunge and just do it and then see what kind of problems happen. At the moment my main hard drive is not partion at all. I was just trying to size things up before I start.)

Aside: I'm guessing that the cfdisk you're talking about is a Windows program, which is (maybe) why it shows that you could add data on the extended partition.

More to the point: Shrinking an existing partition is one of the riskiest things to do. (I don't think I've actually ever done it successfully, not even sure I've tried it.) To initially shrink the existing Windows partition, I would use a Windows based program, hopefully it is better able to deal with whatever has to be dealt with. If you can't shrink the partition, it may because there is data stored at the end — you may have to defragment first (you probably should anyway). IIRC, some Windows programs (or Windows itself) tries to put some data at the end of a partition — maybe there's an option in the defragment routine to prevent that, or maybe you have to find a way to find out what is at the end of the partition and delete some of it.

After you've shrunk the Windows partition and have free space on the disk, then I'd put in the Mandrake install disk and carry on from there.


  • () RandyKramer - 04 Oct 2003
  • -- ValHaring - 06 Oct 2003
  • Aaron Graves - 11 Feb 2005 (via email)
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

Revision Comment

  • 11 Feb 2005: Added comment from Aaron Graves clarifying that OS-X is not Linux (but related)
  • 08 Oct 2003: Saved as TWikiGuest, just to force a revision
  • 08 Oct 2003: Response to comment at end of document, planning to start refactoring
  • 07 Oct 2003: Comment at end of document -- ValHaring
  • %DATE% —

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