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Beginners Guides: Linux Part 2: Installing a PC

Beginners Guides: Linux Part 2: Installing a PC - PCSTATS
Abstract: We'll look at SUSE Personal 9.1 and explore the process of installing Linux onto your hard drive as a full operating system.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 18 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS Beginners

Viewing and modifying partition information

One of the main reasons that SUSE 9.1 was chosen for this article was its friendliness during the partitioning process. SUSE will automatically detect existing windows partitions and accommodate them into the SUSE installation without destroying any data or operating systems on them. In effect, SUSE will automatically create a dual-boot environment on your computer, where you can boot to either Linux or Windows and access your Windows data in Linux. Most major Linux distributions will also do this, but we liked the simplicity with which the YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) graphical installation program that SUSE uses accomplishes this feat.

It's still a good idea to take a look at what the SUSE installer is planning on doing with your hard drives though, if only to understand the process better.

Click on the 'partitioning' heading to see a little more information on the way SUSE will configure your hard drives. Listed in bullet form at the top of the page will be all the proposed changes.

Our test system for this article contained 512MB of memory and a pair of 20GB disks, one which was blank (for Linux) and the other containing a pair of NTFS partitions and a Windows XP Professional installation. The YaST installer detected this configuration, and decided to create a swap partition of 1GB and a root partition (containing all the SUSE files) of 18GB, on '/dev/hdb1' and '/dev/hdb2' meaning the first two partitions on the second physical hard disk. 'hda' is the first physical drive on our system and contains both windows partitions.

The YaST installer informs us here that it will 'mount' (the process of making the files on a partition accessible through the Linux virtual file system) /dev/hda1 and /dev/hda2 (our Windows c: and d: partitions) in '/windows/c' and /windows/d' directories respectively. This means that once SUSE is installed, we will have access to all our Windows files through these two directories. Very neat.

As a basic reference:

hda= First physical disk in computer
hdb= Second physical disk in computer
hda1= First partition on first physical disk, hdb2 would be the second partition on second disk, etc.

If YaST says a partition will be 'created', the installer will format that partition before creating a new one

If YaST says that a 'mount point' will be set, it will create a directory at which you can access the information from the partition in question. The partition itself will not be formatted and no data will be changed during installation.

If you'd like even more detail about this process, or you want to customize the way partitions are set up, click the 'base partition setup on this proposal' radio button and then hit 'next.'

More on partitioning

The expert partitioner screen allows you to configure each of your partitions exactly to your specifications. It also allows you to reassure yourself that SUSE is not going to format your precious MP3 collection on your Windows drive. To do this, highlight one of your Windows partitions and click the 'edit' button.

You can feel reassured by the clearly stated 'do not format' label here. All your Windows partitions will be mounted as directories in your Linux file system, and you will be able to choose between Windows and Linux each time you boot your system.

We're not going to make any other changes here for now. Click 'next' to return to the main installation window.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS Beginners
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Linux Part 2: Installing a PC
 Pg 2.  Booting and Partitioning
 Pg 3.  — Viewing and modifying partition information
 Pg 4.  Customizing software packages
 Pg 5.  Network Configuration
 Pg 6.  Downloading and Patching
 Pg 7.  Creating User Accounts
 Pg 8.  Part 2: Getting your Linux 'legs'
 Pg 9.  System administration with root password
 Pg 10.  Configuring the Desktop and Internet
 Pg 11.  Shared files and folders over a network
 Pg 12.  Customizing SUSE: Locating your options
 Pg 13.  Open Office and other Applications

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