Want to dual boot XP & Linux - Getting new PC - Will it work with Linux?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Alan, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Guys,

    I am looking at getting a new PC - a Dell Dimension 4700:


    It will have WinXP Home installed which my wife requires, but I also
    want to try Linux (probably thinking Mandriva based on the tool that
    PAM posted to 'Choose Your Linux').

    Is there any reason why that won't work for me?

    I would quite like an easy painless intro to Linux!

    Thanks for any comments,

    Alan, Jul 18, 2005
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  2. Alan

    thing2 Guest

    You have an old spare PC?

    What is the spec of it?

    If it is halfway decent you could run a thin desktop client on XP, to it.

    If you want painless look at cdrom based linux distros. They will be a
    bit slow but OK due to "disk" access but OK to have a look at. This will
    not change your new pc in anyway.

    Otherwise check with Dell I would suggest, though Dell is a joke when it
    comes to Linux support, I have had a bitter year trying to get them to
    support what we bought off them.....

    So I would suggest dont buy a Dell if you want Linux.

    Also check what you get in the way of OS cds, some OEMs only provide
    limited restore capabilites and not full XP cd sets.

    DSE do some more "mainstream" PCs ie not bodged cut down hardware like
    Dell. These might be better value and run XP & Linux better and you are
    more likely to get support.

    Other options are a Mac mini, have you looked at a Mac?

    We run OSx 10.4 with Office for mac 2004.


    thing2, Jul 19, 2005
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  3. For a dell, I would recommend using Redhat/Fedora Core, simply because
    Redhat work with Dell on getting it working on their machines... you may
    have trouble getting your modem to work though, it's a bit of a pain as
    most manufacturers seem to be going the way of the software
    modem(~winmodem) that only officially works with Windows.
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Jul 19, 2005
  4. Alan

    PAM. Guest

    It should work for you. If you have your drives partitioned. Mandriva would
    guide you though doing this (at least Mandrake 9.? did).

    Painless? Try Linspire of Xandros, however you'll get into the cost of
    yearly membership (US$50pa - Linspire) to get any software if you want that
    software to install painlessly too.
    Linspire will either install on a partition or install on the whole drive.
    You have to have the partition already set up. It will wipe anything on the
    partition or on the whole drive based on what you selected.

    I would suggest you download say 5 different LIVE CD distros and see what
    fits your PC best and then go with that version.
    Linspire were (not sure if still are) giving away a full working copy of
    Linspire 5.0 to Lycoris users as Mandriva bought Lycoris. However, it could
    be anyone that downloded this. You'd have to go to their forums
    (http://forum.linspire.com/index.php) and find out exactly where this free
    version was and get the coupon code.

    I use Linpsire so I can tell you a little more about that than the others.

    PAM., Jul 19, 2005
  5. Alan

    ufo Guest

    If you're wanting to run two complete OSs on one system and ensure no
    conflict of files or want to protect data files of one while running a
    different OS. I have a suggestion which might be better than using a "dual
    boot" system.

    Invest in a couple of (or more) harddrives and removable harddrive trays.
    Then configure each harddrive in it's own tray, and simply install the tray
    with the OS you want to use at the time. Harddrives and removable trays are
    reasonably low cost investment.

    By doing this I can run different OSs and system setups for different uses
    Work configuration WinXP.
    Games machine Win2K.
    Kids configuration
    Video editing configuation.
    I also have a linux / open source setup - but hardly use it.

    But if you want to want to share files between the OS, then simply have one
    drive permanently in the machine for the shared files.
    ufo, Jul 19, 2005
  6. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi ufo,

    I had assumed a fairly simple setup along the lines of the following:

    Single NTFS partition for XP
    Two (EXT2?) partitions for Linux (main and swap)
    Single FAT32 partition for Data

    I have no particular security needs, but if I do need to I could
    resize the Data partition, add another partition in there (whatever
    filesystem is appropriate) and if necessary hide that partition using
    a boot manager (I have always liked SBM that runs off a diskette).

    It is possible that I would also run Win98SE on the machine at some
    point - the kids have some games that may not run well under WinXP.

    Does that sound okay?


    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  7. Alan

    ufo Guest

    Thats no problem, thats fine - will work, but by using removable drives,
    you're not having to worry about partitioning. I have partition problems on
    a machine before and that point all OSs out of operation until I managed to
    restore partition info (thanks you partition magic rescue discs).

    Security wasn't the reason for me using the removable drive options, but
    ensure kids didn't touch "my" stuff and I could run specific setups with
    minimal resource allocation ie games machine and video editing where I want
    minimal background processes running.

    The linux drive is there when I have spare time to learn to reduce my
    dependancy on MS :)

    ufo, Jul 19, 2005
  8. Alan

    Alan Guest

    I have an old Dell Latitude Notebook that currently runs Win98SE fine.

    It is about 500MHz (PII) with 256 Mb RAM and a 6Gb HDD.

    I was planning on letting the kids have that to install their games
    I have tried the CD-ROM based distros in the past, but I haven't
    actually bought the new computer yet, so I cannot test them to see if
    they work before I get it.
    I understand from another post here that Red Hat work with Dell to
    make sure their software / machines run together well.

    Perhaps I should go for RH rather than Mandriva?
    I get a retore CD - not a full WinXP Home install CD.

    I guess that means that I can only use the restore CD on the machine I
    get (it will be a specific driver set etc) but that I could use a full
    install CD if I had one (whether or not I can get drivers is another
    issue of course).
    No. I need to have a PC and Windows for my wife and everything else
    is just to experiment with and is very much secondary.

    I realise that a Mac can do anything a PC can do, but she isn't going
    to want to learn to drive a new system, and I have to be honest, I
    want to be able to support her on Windows when I need to.

    Thanks for the suggestion though - under different circumstances it
    could have been an option!


    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  9. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Good point - I currently use Whoosh and I am very happy with them so

    Would that be an issue with any or all of RedHat / FC / Mandriva since
    I use the USB cable connection?


    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  10. Alan

    Alan Guest

    I am quite happy partitioning manually using something like PartEd
    (which is a Linux app but actually runs off a boot diskette so it is
    not relevant whether you have Linux installed or not).
    I'm cheap I have to say!

    I'd rather do this with no cash costs at all.
    Thanks PAM.

    I am edging towards getting Mandriva and Fedora Core at the moment.

    I also found this online discussion that mentioned success with a
    Dimension 4700 and FC4:


    That sounds like a good sign!

    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  11. yes... I believe that you can get a custome network cable for them for
    ~$30 from woosh, which would make it a standard network connection.
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Jul 19, 2005
  12. Alan

    Chris Hope Guest

    I never managed to get my laptop working with Woosh with either RedHat
    or SUSE, despite following a couple of useful references online. Other
    people have had success with it though apparantly. I have one of those
    custom network cables that I'd be willing to sell (no use for it here,
    and I don't use Woosh anymore anyway).
    Chris Hope, Jul 19, 2005
  13. Alan

    Alan Guest

    I saw this one on DSE today:


    That price is about the same as the Dell Dimension 4700 that I could

    However, 'Samurai' is not a brand that I have ever heard of and also
    uses a 'recovery CD' approach.

    Is thatthe kind of thing you meant?


    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  14. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for that - I will get back to you!

    Alan, Jul 19, 2005
  15. Alan

    Mackin Guest

    If you decide to try Mandriva (my personal favourite) then I reccommend
    buying the DVD pack from LSL.com.au. It's the 6 x CD version and has all
    the stuff like Java, Real Media, Adobe Acrobat, Flash etc pre-configured.
    It also includes drivers for Nvidia & ATI cards (however there may be later
    ones released since).


    You can also get a DVD of all the updates since Mandriva LE2005 was released


    Mackin, Jul 19, 2005
  16. Alan

    PAM. Guest

    Sounds good. Many people seem to be suggesting Ubuntu/Kubuntu as it's FREE
    and seems relatively painless for set up. I've successfully installed
    Mandrake and Red Hat, albeit ages ago but when it came to installing other
    software, it started off easy with an RPM here and an RPM there but then on
    required the existance of another which required an upgrade of QT or the
    like which could have affected many other areas on the PC. So I gave up on
    those ones and went with piss easy Linspire.
    I also have a lifetime membership so I don't have to pay US$50 a year. I too
    anm cheap

    PAM., Jul 19, 2005
  17. Alan

    thing2 Guest

    You could run the cd distro off that. It would be a good spec for a
    linux box, my laptop is an old tecra p2-233 with 160meg of ram....it
    does OK.
    How does bollocks sound.


    Dell AP cant get its act together over supporting Linux, we bought 30
    RHAS licences only to find Dell cant support us and RH tell us to go see
    Dell as we bought via Dell and Dell therefore support us.

    Dell AP then told us we then had to buy a Gold support contract to get
    RH support, we did, on the next call Dell said we now had to buy a
    "special glue contract" to attach the RH contract to the Gold contract,
    so we said OK. They then said, sorry we cannot sell you it as we dont
    have a support team ready.

    So Dell took our money for RH support, then Gold support and when we
    were going to pay even more (its that critical to us) they said they
    couldnt do it anyway.

    This went on for 10 months.......

    So we now buy RH support directly off RH in OZ.

    So screw Dell, they are dishonest IMHO.

    So simialar that it makes no odds.
    The restore CD restores an image to your HD, you loose the RH partitions
    (unless things have changed).


    thing2, Jul 19, 2005
  18. Alan

    Tony Guest

    From what is posted here many times, if you have Lunix you do not need XP..
    Tony, Jul 19, 2005
  19. Alan

    thing2 Guest

    The AMD3000-64 is a nice CPU.

    It uses a gigabyte motherboard which is a well known vendor, so that is

    It is light on Ram at 256Meg, so look at adding at least another 512DDR,
    about $110 I think.

    It has a dvd re-writer, digital media reader.....some nice addons....

    Let down is the on-board graphics....but I think the Dell box is as
    well. Not a worry unless you do games.

    The point of concern is the modem......it may or may not work under Linux.

    heh....this "end-of-line" box is considerably better than my best one



    thing2, Jul 19, 2005
  20. Alan

    Dumbkiwi Guest

    God you got some crap answers.

    You should have no difficulty doing what you propose (at least in terms of
    a winxp/linux dual boot). Throwing win98 in there too could be a bit more
    complex. You will need to do some reading to do that - but get the
    winxp/linux dual boot working first and get comfortable with it.

    I would suggest Mandrake/Mandriva as a good starting distro. It has a
    good installer, and the partitioning tool is nice, and will reliably
    resize NTFS partitions. You can also create FAT partitions with it.

    I would suggest that you use ext3 or reiserfs as your linux file system,
    as they are journalled, and will be more reliable. I'd also suggest that
    you have a separate home partition. This will allow you to upgrade your
    distro without destroying your personal data.

    Mandrake is a great beginners distro. But make sure you're familiar with
    urpmi - which is the package manager they use. google for "easyurpmi"

    Good luck

    Dumbkiwi, Jul 19, 2005
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