Windows and Linux multiboot options


I currently have two separate 160GB and 80GB Hard drives on my machine. One has Windows installed while the other is still empty(new). I would like to install Linux and was wondering what is the better option:

  1. Should I install it in the same drive with Windows or should I install it in this other empty drive?


I have XP on one drive and openSUSE on a separate drive.
That way you don’t have to worry about stuffing up your Windows install while learning about partitioning and Linux.

Just make sure if you decide to try to resize your Windows partition to defrag it first.

There’s lots to say for and against various options. What david71 says is not complete. Even if you leave Windows on the one disk, and put openSUSE on the other, the bootloadercode might still be on the Windows-disk.
Make sure you backup what’s important to you, install on the second disk, make sure /home gets it’s own partition.

Good luck and enjoy

My preference is to have both Linux and Windows on the same drive, and use the second drive for data.

I had a similar setup on one of my PCs a few years back. Now I am a big Linux user, and I am not much of an MS-Windows user, but since I paid for MS-Windows, and since my wife uses MS-Windows, removing it was not an option that I wanted.

The approach I took was to :
a. defragged MS-Windows on the c: drive
b. installed openSUSE such that the openSUSE installer reduced MS-Windows to 80GB (called hda1); and it put a 20 GB / (Linux root) on the c: drive (called hda2 in Linux) and put a 2 GB swap on the c: drive (called hda3 in Linux) and put a 55 GB /home on the c: drive (also called hda5 in Linux, in an extended partition on the c: hda drive).
c. formated the d: drive (called hdb1 in Linux) in a linux file format, and mounted as a /home/oldcpu/data drive.

But if one is a BIG MS-Windows user, then rather than format the d: for Linux, one could leave it formatted for Windows as ntfs.

Basically, my preference is to have both Linux and Windows on the same drive, and use the second drive for data.

However there is a lot of choice here, and everyone has their own views - and to a large extent Linux is about freedom and choice.

Now in terms of performance which configuration is better? I can say I am an expert in Windows and an intermediate in Linux but would really like to be Linux expert. I am still learning a lot daily and furthermore few guys use Linux here and the few who are there have no expert to assist- that a job opportunity for me as we are many as far as windows are concerned:|

I don’t think performance is a criteria, unless you can point to one drive (say hda) and say that drive is 10x faster than the other drive (say hdb).

If performance is very important, then < me ducks the flames > you should be looking at a very light weight distribution such as elive or someother light weight distribution, and not openSUSE, nor Ubuntu, nor Fedora, nor Mandriva, nor most other distributions. For sheer performance in software, then IMHO light weight is what is important.

Rather when choosing what goes on hda and what goes on hdb, I look at risk of installation, and ease of maintenance (keeping future updates in mind).

If one has both OS on hda, where hdb is only /home/username/data, and if one wishes to replace hdb with a faster/newer drive, then it is relatively easy. One edits the config file (/etc/fstab) to comment out the old specific hdb entry, one inserts the new drive, one boots openSUSE and using the appropriate tool format it to ext3 (soon to be ext4 in openSUSE-11.2) and then one edits the /etc/fstab file (this can be done via a tool called YaST) so the new drive is identified.

If one has openSUSE on hdb, this is more difficult, as when hdb is removed, one loses openSUSE.

If one has grub boot manager problems, I find having both MS-Windows and openSUSE on hda easier to manage with workarounds. But thats just me and my limited grub knowledge.

Some users like the idea of separating openSUSE and Windows on separate drives, as they believe it reduces the risk of their losing MS-Windows during the openSUSE install. I don’t share that view, although I understand their sentiment. One does have to be careful during the openSUSE install to ensure it does NOT over-write one’s MS-Windows, or that it does not take too much space away from one’s MS-Windows.

But again, these are not performance issues, but are rather installation and maintenance issues.

If you want to learn linux inside and out and want real performance try lfs or clfs

My preference, as mentioned by OldCPU, would be to keep them both on seperate drives and install the bootloader on the linux drive. That way if (or when ;)) you mess up linux during your experimenting you will still be able to use your windows xp by just switching the hard disc priority in your BIOS. The only difference is the Grub setup.

I don’t remeber how Grub was setup day one but I think the OpenSUSE installer did it all automatically. My grub entry for windows is as follows with a Linux HD (sda1) and a Windows HD (sdb1). If I were to remove that disc or select my Windows disc as my primary disc Windows starts without a problem.

title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader (hd1)+1

Just my 2ct.

Well, well, well. This is tricky. Am trying to look at it from the point where I don’t want to mess up with my Windows installation and since am in trial with Linux am going for separate installation on different drives. Am enjoying this and I have a whole system for these trials. I will again try mounting them all in one drive and see and see the performance, space usage, memory usage, bla, bla, bla :stuck_out_tongue:

Be certain to defrag your MS-Windows partition first.

And don’t forget to consult with our installation stickie prior to installing: NEWBIES - Suse-11.1 Pre-installation – PLEASE READ - openSUSE Forums

Hi techfan80,
My experience may be of help. As a very new Linux user I got a variety of info and was really uncomfortable. but eventually it worked out quite well. Here is what I also posted somewhere else:

"My older machine had 4 partitions (that’s the max) - C with XP, D with some files , and 2 from Dell(incl the reinstallation partition).

In Windows, I deleted D (yes deleted) and made it an extended partition. Than I ran Suse from the CD - it found the extended partition right a way and suggested a subdivision in 3 partitions. I accepted this and installation went with no problems. So I still have the max of 4 partitions but one has 3 sub-partitions (or whatever it is called). And now I have a dual boot machine - XP and Suse "

Hope it helps

I will install linux in the empty second drive. Boot/use it everyday and just let the windows sleep there till you really needed it for something that linux can’t be of use. This way you become probably a linux guru.
When the second drive with linux start to become full , insert another drive and let linux use it for whatever purpose you may want it to be.

Just my two cents.

That a lot.Let me read my sector space (Newbie)rotfl! Got alot to do.