[lug] laptop partioning, boot loaders

Collins Richey crichey at gmail.com
Sat Jun 10 13:31:51 MDT 2006

On 6/10/06, D. Stimits <stimits at comcast.net> wrote:
> I'm about to attempt converting a laptop to dual boot xp and linux (not
> decided on the flavor yet).

Works like a champ with almost any distro. I'll vote for Kubuntu 6.06.
That's what I have on my dual boot laptop. The only drawback with
Linux laptops is wireless. It's usually a real bitch to get that
working, since most laptops don't have a Linux-supported wireless

> 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?

I don't have a clue about the support partition. My guess it's only
used by the BIOS or some special software. In any case, if you use
Ubuntu (or most modern distros) to shrink the size of the NTFS (XP)
partition, this partition would not be touched. There is no problem
booting XP from the grub boot loader.

> 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).

Don't know about the virus detection software, but WinXP is not going
to be aware of your Linux partition. It's not of a type recognized by
WinXP, so it will just be ignored. I didn't encounter any problems
with virus checkers on my laptop.

I'm not aware of any Linux distros these days that have any problem
booting past cylinder 1024. That's a rather ancient restriction. Just
let the distro resize the NTFS partition leaving space for Linux at
the high end. Note, the software that resizes NTFS marks the NTFS
partition as requiring a disk check (that's intentional), so your
first WinXP boot will take a while. Also, before doing this, defrag
the Windows disk thoroughly.

As regards the Windows rescue options, my guess would be that the
rescue involves a full system image restore at the origincl disk size,
so you would need to backup your Linux partition(s) and be able to
repeat the resizing operation and restore after the Windows rescue. In
many cases WinXP puts unmoveable files at the center of the disk, so
you may only be able to free up half of the disk space for use by

I've run a dual boot HP laptop for some time, and all of my dektops
have been dual boot. Zero problems encountered.

Collins Richey
     If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries
     of tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.

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