Following on from a post i did a while ago Linux Mint Basics where i was talking about how to install linux mint. If you are wanting to setup your hdd to multiboot. Windows and linux. First you will want to boot A linux live cd or usb and partition the hdd using gparted. If gparted is not installed you will need to install it first by opening package manager typing in gparted and then installing it. Another good tool to have is to download and make a cd of parted magic http://partedmagic.com/doku.php parted magic is a small os with gparted installed. it is a great tool to have for setting up a clean hdd. note. we are using a 500gb hdd in this setup.
Gparted basics. For a more detailed overview on how to use gparted see http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html
- make one partition of ntfs being around 20-40gb in size. This will be for your windows operating system.
- Next you will need to make an extended partition with the rest of the hdd. This will be used to put all the other partitions in.
- you will need to make a swap partition. It needs to be at minimumm2gb for general useand twice the size of the ram if you intend to use hibernate function. Swap http://www.linux.com/news/software/applications/8208-all-about-linux-swap-space
- you will need to make partitions for linux operating systems. Again make them around 20gb ext4. Most linux os will now use ext4. But if you have one that cant you can just repartition the one partition later without destroying the rest. I would make between 4-8 partitions so you have enough incase you want to install other linux to hdd.
- then use the rest of the hdd for your shared data sing ntfs again. Shared data is the partition you put all your files, music, photos, videos etc that you want to access in all operating systems.
Most linux os will need to be configured to have write access to an ntfs partition but that is not to hard to do.
Operating System Set Up.
When it comes to installing the operating systems
- first install windows. To the windows partition you have created. This is needed so linux setups will detect windows properly. Also in windows create a shortcut to the data partition so you can access all your shared files.
- Next install mint to the first linux partition. This will setup the linux grub bootloader and automatically detect the windows os for you.
- Make sure you select grub to be installed to the mbr if prompted when installing. not to the sepcific partition
- in mint you will need to setup file permissions to access the data partition.
- then you will need to create shortcuts to the data partition.
- when things are setup you are good to go.
Adding Other Linux OS.
- to instal another linux os all you need to do is install it to the next free linux os partition you have. And create the file permissions and links for the data partition.
- note if you install the other linux os the grub boot loader from the new linux os will now be used. you can choose not to install grub. And the mint one will be used, but you will have to boot back into mint and update grub to detect the new installed os. And you can also easily install the mint grub again if you dont like the other os grub. for a more expert setup when installing another os, you can install grub to the parition, then you can chainload the new grub to the main grub in mint, the advantage of chainloading is that it keeps track of any kernel changes
Iso download and setup: remember when you are wanting to install and test a linux os
- download the iso
- run md5sum check and verify with the md5sum on the website where you got iso. They should match if not re-download the iso and check again.
- burn the iso file to cd/dvd at slowest speed possible or use an app such as unetbootin to install to usb flash drive.
- make sure the bios on the computer is set to boot from usb or cd. I generally have my bios setup to 1st cd 2nd usb 3rd hdd.
- boot the linux os and begin the install.
Graphics Drivers: In Linux you should be aware that different graphics cards can either be easy or hard to setup. Graphics drivers are good if you need 3d support in linux such as for playing certain linux games. It is recommended to try and get drivers for your graphics but if you cant find them for an obscure or unsupported card and the default works you will have to stick without 3d support.
- nvidia: get the best overall support.
- Intel: also has great support in linux, but their devices dont offer the same performance.
- Radeon and others: these dont get as much support. But there are drivers available, if you want to try setting them up.
Applications. For multiboot operating systems I tend to install and use all the same cross-platform apps in each os
- browser: firefox, chrome, opera
- email: Thiunderbird
- messaging / chat: Pidgin, skype
- music: vlc
- Video playback: vlc
- word processing: libreoffice
- photo manager: picasa
I hope you find this information useful in helping you set up a simple hdd from scratch.