by March 15, 2002 0 comments

If you’ve gone through the preceding articles and feel confident that you are ready to install Linux on your own, then this is your first stop to that destination. Before you install Linux, you need to get your hard disk ready to take Linux, and if necessary, co-exist with Windows.

Most likely your need will fit in one of the following scenarios. For simplicity we are not considering the option of installing Linux on a second hard disk.

Scenario 1 
You have a new system with a new hard disk with no partitions and want to use the entire hard-disk space for Linux. Remember that you’ll need at least 2 GB for installing Linux and our prescribed packages (see Installing PCQ Linux 7.1 page 60).

Scenario 2
You have two partitions. In one of the partitions (primary partition) you have installed Windows. Now you want to use the second logical partition on the extended partition for PCQLinux. For this, first boot into full DOS mode if you have Win 95 or 98, else boot from a bootable floppy in case of Win ME or 2000. This bootable floppy can be created through the Add/Remove program applet in the Control Panel in win 98/ME. If you are creating a boot floppy manually as

sys a:

then make sure to copy fdisk.exe on the floppy. Boot from the floppy and run fdisk. Select the third option to delete a partition. Delete the logical partition. This will give you unpartitioned free space for Linux.

Scenario 3
You have a single Windows (FAT) partition with Windows installed on it, but you have enough free space in it. In this case, it is possible to create a new partition from that free space using a utility called fips. Fips works only with FAT partitions. Fips is available on the PCQLinux CD in the directory dosutils\tools. Copy the directory fips20 to the hard disk (say in c:/ ). Next, using Disk Defragmenter in Windows defrag you hard disk. Boot into full DOS mode. If you are using Win Me or 2000, boot into MS DOS mode using a bootable floppy. Change to the fips20 directory (cd c:\fips20) and then type


and press Enter. Press any key to continue. You’ll be shown the low-level information (start cylinder, end cylinder, sector etc) of your hard disk. Then you will be prompted to preserve your root and boot partition in a floppy. You may like to go for it if something goes wrong and you want to restore your old partition. Next we come to the most important step. You are presented with three columns: Old partition, Cylinder, New Partition. Pressing the right arrow key on the keyboard increases the size of the old partition and decreases the size of the new partition, and pressing the left arrow key does the reverse. Don’t allocate all the free space to the new partition, as you will need free space for Windows apps and data too. So keep pressing the right arrow key until you have enough free space for Windows as well as for PCQLinux. Assign about 2 GB for Linux. Press c to continue and then finally allow fips to write the new partition table. The computer gets rebooted automatically. A second unformatted primary partition is created (the first partition holds Windows). Again boot into DOS and run fdisk from the windows\command directory in case of Win 9x or from the boot floppy. Select the third option to delete a partition and then select the first option to delete a primary partition. From the presented partitions carefully delete the second partition whose System (filesystem) is not known since it is unformatted.

We have still not created partitions for Linux. We have only freed disk space for it. The partitions for Linux is created as a part of the Linux installation using a utility called Disk Druid. 

Shekhar Govindarajan

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