Partitions and booting

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Caution: there are much more complete guides to partitioning and bootloading out there: Google "partition guide" for more detail.

In general, there are two platforms for handling boot manipulation: the Linux platform and the Windows boot disk platform. Both will do the same job on x86 machines, though there are some slight differences which could be problematic. For the straightforward usage, these can be overlooked. Basic tasks are:

  1. Partitioning simply means changing the partition table on your hard disk to show a different map of the disk. The map defines which sectors of the disk should be considered as part of one "drive", and which should belong to another. This means you can completely erase and format one part of the disk, without affecting the data on another part of the same disk.
  1. Bootloading simply refers to the use of a small startup utility which allows you to select between different partitions, and the specific Operating Systems on those partitions.
Mac OsX
fdisk --help
Linux

The Linux option simply means downloading a Live CD: something like Knoppix or Mepis are recommended, but most can handle the basic partitioning process. (See Distrowatch for a list). Download the free Linux LiveCD .iso (whatever flavour it is), and burn it. Restart and Linux should boot from the CD drive. Both of the above have both command line and gui partitioning tools: fdisk, sfdisk, cfdisk (graphical) and QTparted (gui). Cfdisk and QTparted are recommended for their ease of use.

XP

If you already have some partition setup on a large drive, users of Windows XP can use the Disk Management utility to make smaller virtual partitions, or to reform existing partitions other than the system drive. (Does 8X6 require primary partitions? If so, make sure youre loading to a primary).

Partition without formatting your hd

The Windows option requires you purchase software like Partition Magic. Partition Magic allows you to repartition your hard disk without losing data.

[edit] Recommened partitioning tools

These tools are all freeware. They work well but may not be for newbies. Please check the forum and read the top for more information on partition.

Gparted Live CD (30MB)


This page was last modified on 23 August 2009, at 21:26.
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