Page 1 of 1

Dual Boot - XP and Centos 5

Posted: 2007/09/18 17:24:08
by marsom
My apologies if this has been asked before, but the state of my health severely restricts my available computer time so I can't go through older posts and other forums without exceeding my physical limits!

I have a (very nice, and VERY quiet) workstation in my home office. It is currently configured to boot to either Windows98 or C or Windows XP on D. Since my use of 98 is becoming increasingly rare, it had occurred to me it would be an excellent machine for a dual boot, with CentOS on C and the existing XP installation remaining on D.

Is there a way that this can be done smoothly and easily without having to reinstall XP after CentOS? If so, what about file systems? Because of the current dual-boot I'm using Fat32 on XP (so I can access the drive when I boot into 98). Can CentOS use Fat32 as its file system? Or, if not that, are there at least Fat32 drivers that will let me access the D drive if I boot to CentOS?

The alternative is simply to install CentOS 5 on a spare computer, but that means crawling around the floor and disconnecting and reconnecting each time I want to change OS's. I don't have the physical space to add a complete workstation to the office. Oh, and before some of you suggest just nuking XP altogether, I must say that I do work for clients who are bound to XP, and I have no choice but to conform to their wishes. CentOS is for after-hours fun!

Martin Somers

Dual Boot - XP and Centos 5

Posted: 2007/09/18 18:58:25
by Lenard
[quote]
Is there a way that this can be done smoothly and easily without having to reinstall XP after CentOS?
[/quote]

Yes, one option here is to reformat the old Windows 98 C:\drive making it fairly small say around 10-MB or so and install DOS on this partition. Here is a link to a boot floppy you can use for this if you are in need of one;

http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm ;get the Windows 98 Custom, No Ramdrive floppy disk, the downloaded file creates the floppy disk from either Windows 98 or XP, a blank formatted 3.5 inch floppy is required.

Leave the rest of the space as unformatted free space to install Linux to a bit later on, after you restore Windows XP booting.

When done you will need to re-install the Windows XP bootloader files by using the fixboot and fixmbr commands from the Windows recovery console;

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307654

Now you are ready to install Linux, please select your installation options carefully. You have the option to install Linux using the unformatted freespace during the installation process make sure that you choose this advanced option.

A walkthrough; http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/06/18/partitioning-to-dual-boot-linux-and-windows-walkthrough/

One can use the SystemRescueCD instead of PartitionMagic for the reconfigurtion of the "C:\" drive;

http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page

[quote]
If so, what about file systems? Because of the current dual-boot I'm using Fat32 on XP (so I can access the drive when I boot into 98). Can CentOS use Fat32 as its file system? Or, if not that, are there at least Fat32 drivers that will let me access the D drive if I boot to CentOS?
[/quote]

Linux reads/writes FAT32 partitions without issue. Welcome to Linux!!!