[lug] laptop partioning, boot loaders

D. Stimits stimits at comcast.net
Sat Jun 10 12:09:01 MDT 2006

I'm about to attempt converting a laptop to dual boot xp and linux (not 
decided on the flavor yet). It boots great under several live cd's, 
including the ubuntu from the meeting, knoppix, kororaa, and FC5 rescue 
or installer. Eventually, I'd like to have xp run under vmware to do web 
development testing from (if not for this I'd probably just erase 
windows, but it has to be available with networking). Vmware is for 
later, I can just dual boot for now.

But...this is a dell, and it has some sort of VFAT support partition as 
the first partition. I think this would be a "good thing" to keep as is. 
The laptop has an option from in windows to do a certain amount of 
restore, which is probably based on what is in this partition. I don't 
know if the partition itself is being pointed at by the boot loader or 
not...or whether the windows programs simply access it during dell 
utility operations. Can anyone tell me if changing the boot loader will 
alter whether this partition does what it should? And if I do alter the 
windows partition itself, does anyone know if the dell restore utilities 
(which I have not actually used) will muck with partitions and break any 
custom schemes with linux?

Are there any opinions if in the long run I can boot with grub and get 
rid of the windows boot loader? I've heard this can cause antivirus 
software to complain. I also don't know if it would break any windows 
rescue options. If I do you grub, I'd have to completely move windows, 
because the first partition is the VFAT dell partition, and the second 
NTFS partition would extend beyond the 1024th cylinder. Thus any /boot 
would have to go between the VFAT dell support partition, and the XP 
NTFS partition...which can't be done with a simple resize (advice welcome).

FYI, the ability of the ubuntu live cd and knoppix to run properly 
without any problems or warnings (but I did not test networking) was 
impressive. It's looking like a number of distros are doing quite well 
with new hardware compatibility these days.

D. Stimits, stimits AT comcast DOT net

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