Dual-Boot System

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Contents

Introduction

If you have been using the Live CD and decide to install a safe and stable operating system on your computer, the first thing to do is to back up all of your valuable data on the drive that you will be installing to to a different location. While the Linux install process is, in most cases, totally safe, there is always a chance that something could go wrong. So, BACKUP to be better safe than sorry.

We assume that, at least initially, you will want to set up a dual boot system on your computer. That simply means you will still be able to use both MEPIS and Windows. This is what most people new to MEPIS usually choose to do. It gives you the ability to fall back on something that you are already comfortable with, and being able to fallback to tools with which you are familiar (when you need them) will definitely ease the migration.

In Windows

1. Make sure you don't have anything on the disk that you might regret losing. Back up all important data! Most people back up their applications' data, which means, making copies of all their data in their user-directory sub-tree. At a minimum, this would mean all files in their account, at and below their directory named 'My Documents'. Typically, one would periodically COPY those files to a CDROM or a USB-memory-drive or other external drive.

2. Prepare your hard disk for defragmenting. Follow the 2 hints below to get the best results

3. Delete all superfluous temporary files and empty your recycle bin. We suggest installing and running the freeware utility ccleaner. It's especially useful to choose most of the the advanced cleaning options, plus the option to delete all files less than 48 hours old to remove more files than you could possibly imagine, but without damaging your installed system. Most systems gain about 1-3 Gb of space

4. Disable system restore if your system is in good running condition, then re-enable it after a few minutes. This step can reclaim as much as 2Gb (in XP) worth of hard disk space and up to 10Gb for Vista. [In Win-XP, this is under MyComputer->Properties->SystemRestore(tab).]

5. Defragment the disk, especially if you need to resize the disk (i.e. 'shrink' the existing partition containing the Windows OS). Details of HOW to resize the disk are given in the partitioning step [#8] below.

Installing MEPIS

  1. Plug in and turn on all the hardware that you plan to use with MEPIS.
  2. Put the MEPIS CD into the CD tray and restart the computer
  3. If MEPIS does not automatically start change the boot order .
  4. Screen resolution should be autodetected; if you have problems or you want a specific resolution select the desired resolution and kernel from the very first (GRUB) menu. Example: Press F3 to choose resolution 1280x1024.
  5. When you get the log in dialog use "root" for user name and "root" for password.
  6. Click on "INSTALL" icon on the desktop.
  7. Select Install MEPIS on Hard Drive and click "Next".
    1. If you have an empty disk or you want to remove everything you have on that disk, choose "auto install using the entire disk". If you choose this option, jump to the GRUB installation step below.
    2. If you want to use only part of the disk, choose: "custom partitioning".
  8. If you already have a partition free for MEPIS go to the next step, otherwise you need to first repartition your hard drive so there is a free partition. (For MEPIS 8.5 and 11, see KDE Partition Manager)
  9. Click "Next" and select the partition for / (root) (if you created only one partition it should be already selected).
  10. Choose the filesystem type (Ext3 is the recommended choice) and click "Next". Respond "Yes" to format the partition.
  11. .... get a coffee and relax.... the installation should take 5-20 minutes, depending on your hardware and the size of the partition.
  12. When that installation step is over you will be prompted with a dialog to install GRUB (Linux boot loader). Choose to install GRUB on MBR (master boot record) of the system boot disk. (Alternative boot methods).
  13. Choose the localized defaults. Example: Keyboard "us", Locale: "en_US". Click "Next". Confirm the GRUB installation.
  14. Choose the username and password and the root password. Click "Next".
  15. Choose computer name, domain, and workgroup. If you plan to network your MEPIS computer, its domain and workgroup have to match your Windows machines, otherwise it is not important what name you choose (cannot be left blank). Computer name should be unique on the network. Unselect "Samba server for MS networking" if you don't plan to network your computer with Windows computers. Click "Next".
  16. Choose the services you need to start each time you bootup MEPIS. It's a good idea to leave the Guarddog firewall service on. Click "Next".
  17. Select additional language support that you need. Click "Next".
  18. That's it! Congratulations!
  19. When you boot into MEPIS, you will be able to access the Windows drive by clicking on the Kwikdisk icon on the right side of Kicker (taskbar).

visual guide to dual-boot installation

visual guide to custom partitioning.

Windows booting issues

  • If Vista is not detected, add an entry like this in /boot/grub/menu.lst (Edit it as root)
title Vista
root (hd0,0)
makeactive
chainloader +1

On some systems (Acer Aspire One netbooks, for instance) that might have to read

title YourSystemName
root (hd0,1)
makeactive
chainloader +1

Otherwise, proprietary repair software in the first partition is engaged and it will want (repeatedly) to restore factory defaults.

  • If Windows is on a different disk/partition than the first one, you may need to 'map' the drives to fool Windows into thinking it is. Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst file as root. Change what you need to to fit your configuration; normal syntax is:
title Windows XP at hdb1
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

Uninstalling

Follow these directions.

Links

See also Customizing GRUB

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