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Re: debain on windows 2k

Subramaniam Aiyer (CTS) wrote:

     i am trying to install debian linux on my office computer which has
only one hard disk i.e no partitions
can i go ahead with the insatllation or should i downgrade to windowsNT.
     one of my friend who was installing red hat had to first downgrade to
NT. Also, the sysadmin gave some reason of file systems. can anybody please
explain further?

You'll need to repartition your disk so that you have one for W2K (or NT, your choice, it doesn't matter), and at least two for Linux (/ and swap space). There are valid reasons for having more than two partitions for Linux, but for now, to keep things simple, two should be adequate.

NT uses either FAT16 or NTFS as a disk format; W2K uses either FAT32 or NTFS. Another kink is that somewhere around Service Pack 4, NTFS changed, so that a drive formatted NTFS prior to SP4 is different than an NTFS on NT, SP4+ and W2K.

Linux can read and write to FAT16 and FAT32, but can only read (at least with the standard stuff) NTFS. I'm not sure what relevance the new NTFS format has. It may be that your sysadmin knows that the new NTFS isn't compatible with Linux, but I suspect that Linux can handle both the new and the old NTFS formats (but don't quote me on that).

If your current W2K is on FAT32, you can use the free fips tool to repartition it. You'll have to defrag the W2K system and maybe delete file and temporarily turn off the virtual memory, etc, in order to get all the W2K stuff to the front of the disk before fips can help you, because it looks for empty space at the end of the drive in which to create the new partition. fips is scary to use the first time around, but if you're technically minded, you can muddle through. Still, you should always back up your system before playing with major stuff like partitioning.

If you have NTFS on your W2K system, you'll either have to use a commercial tool like Partition Magic, or you'll have to backup your system, wipe the drive and repartition, and then restore your system (a major pain).

Other than the slim possibility mentioned above, and that would only apply if you're trying to read files from the W2K side while in Linux, I don't know of any reason why you'd need to downgrade from W2K to NT. In fact, just last week I put Debian on a W2K laptop. It was FAT32 formatted, so I used fips to free up about 1.5GB on the tail end of the drive, and then installed Debian on that free space. Dual-booting works great on it; it's not my laptop, so I don't have it in front of me to play with, and I don't think I tested to see if I could read the W2K partition from Linux, but I'm 99.2% sure that it would work.

Hope this helps,


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