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F9 Pre-Installation Tasks Dual Boot Options

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Assistant Professor Gregory R. Kriehn
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F9 Dual Boot Options

Many Linux users these days enjoy the freedom of being able to have multiple operating systems installed on their computer. This is certainly true of myself, and is true even for my Linux server. Somewhere out there, I can hear someone saying, "Wait. Isn't that a potentially large security hole?" Perhaps. But I am behind a University and College firewall (besides my own), and I enjoy using PartitionMagic 8.0.1 to resize my partitions, if necessary. So I am, perhaps, not at risk as much as I might otherwise be. But, "Traitor!" says you. Indeed. I am not particularly fond of Microsoft (as my wife, friends, and students will constantly tell you), but I am not exactly a Linux Zealot either. And a useful tool is still a useful tool. As a result, I use PartitionMagic to resize the Windows partition to about 13 GB, move it so that it no longer is at the beginning of the hard drive (nor let it remain as the first partition), and use the rest of the hard drive for Linux. If you need background information about Linux partition sizes, particularly for Fedora 9, see the Partition Sizes page.

"Back in the my day", PartitionMagic was pretty much the only way to readily create, delete, re-size, and move Windows, DOS, and Linux partitions
— on the fly. This is not entirely true anymore, as gparted and qtparted have been developed for Linux, but gparted and qtparted still cannot resize anything but a Windows partition, and they cannot move any type of partition once it has been created. Now, it is also true that PartitionMagic cannot move Linux ext3 partitions anymore either, and I am annoyed to no end that development of PartitionMagic is dead since it was bought out by Microsoft-owned Symantec (surprise, surprise), but hey. Just call me an old fart stuck in his ways. And don't even talk to me about fdisk, which I find useful only if something catastrophic has happened. Maybe if gparted and qtparted ever get to the point that they can move and resize existing partitions, while still preserving data, I'll jump over and make the switch. In the mean time, I still enjoy PartitionMagic, and like to have a backup Windows partition on my Linux server, just in case something very, very bad happens and I need access to things like the internet, my network printers, my e-mail, etc. immediately. You know. Just in case.

But isn't that what Knoppix and their Live CD for Linux is for? Yes
— if I need to go into a recovery stage. But if I need to do something fast, Windows is all set up and ready to go. And the once a year I do go into Windows for my Linux server to resize my partitions when installing the latest version of Fedora (if need be), the firewall is up, along with the University and College firewalls. The latest security patches are also installed, and I am sure to check for potential problems using programs such as Ad-Aware and Spybot. Ideal? Perhaps not. But again, I enjoy having options.

Regardless of whatever should or should not be true for my Linux server, there is still my laptop, which also has a Windows partition on it. And for the laptop, there are certain programs that I use when teaching that are just not available on anything but Windows. With the emergence of OpenOffice, this is certainly not true for programs like Word or Excel, but it is true for some of the simulation tools I use. Maybe one day I'll be able to free myself 100% from Microsoft Windows, but in a University environment, it's awfully hard. I'm up to about 99% free, and that's good enough for me. All day-to-day work is done on Linux, with the exception of certain programs that are used in class. And even then, I still use Samba to store the data files on a Linux filesystem on this server.

Simply stated, I find the ability to dual boot a computer system useful. Very. And with grub (the GRand Unified Bootloader used by most Linux distributions these days), life under dual boot is spectacular
— unlike the old RedHat days when lilo (the LInux LOader) was required. If you set things up incorrectly there, bye bye Windows partition. Bye bye Linux partitions. Bye bye being able to boot into anything. Fun times. Now, it's just install Windows, install Linux, and you're good to go. See the Fedora 9 Installation page for details.