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Partition a Hard drive so you can

Install more than one Operating System

Some people want to install Tiny Core and other operating systems on a computer.

Key Points

When partitioning a hard drive, all files will be lost. Save a copy of all files you don't want to lose before beginning.

Set up all partitions before installing any operating system.

If you install Windows, install it first.

If you install other Linux distributions, install them before Tiny Core (and after Windows).

It can be done other ways, but this is easiest for new users.

USB drives can also be partitioned.

Primary, Extended and Logical Partitions

One hard drive can have a maximum of four primary partitions.

If you want more than four partitions, you can create an extended partition in the place of one of the primary partitions, and create logical partitions within it. For example, if you want eight partitions on one hard drive, you can have three primary partitions, and (one extended partition, containing) five logical partitions.

Linux Partitions

Two partitions are needed for one version of Linux, a root partition and a swap partition (A swap partition is recommended. However, some people choose not to have a swap partition in a computer with a large amount of RAM).

The root partition is where the files go, and takes up all of the space on the hard drive not used by swap. It has mount point / (written as forward slash and called root). Any partition, primary or logical, can be used for a Linux partition. Linux root partitions are normally formatted using the Ext3 or Ext4 filesystem. If you plan to use Grub legacy, use Ext3. If you plan to use Grub 2, use Ext4. Solid state memory, such as USB drives are usually formatted with the Ext2 filesystem, which is a non-journalling filesystem, to minimize writing, and lengthen the life of the memory.

A swap partition, which may be called swap area or Linux swap, enables part of the hard drive to be used like extra RAM. A suggested size, is double the RAM. Any partition, primary or logical, can be used for swap. However, it is common practice to use the first logical partition.

To install more than one version of Linux on a computer, a root partition is needed for each version, and only one swap partition which can be used by all.

Linux can be set up with different directories in different partitions, but this is not necessary. For example, you can have the home directory, where personal files are saved, in a different partition.

Windows Partitions

One partition is needed for one version of Windows. Windows creates a swap file inside the partition.

More than one version of Windows can be installed on one hard drive. A partition is needed for each.

Windows can only be installed in a primary partition, not a logical partition.

Recent versions of Windows use NTFS. Older versions such as Windows 98 and Windows ME use FAT32.

Partition the Hard Drive

There are many different partitioning programs.

GParted can be installed in Tiny Core, and used for partitioning.

A useful one is Parted Magic, which can be run from a CD or USB drive.

Most Linux distributions have partitioning programs which are run during installation.

Whichever partitioning program you use, create appropriate partitions for the operating systems you want to install.

Parted Magic

If you plan to use the Parted Magic CD, download the .iso file of the latest version of Parted Magic, and write it to a CD. It may be downloaded from http://www.digitalincursion.net/partedmagic/

Another option is to use UNetbootin to install Parted Magic on a USB drive, and run it from the USB drive. UNetbootin may be downloaded from http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ Be Aware: Older computers may not be able to boot an operating system from a USB drive.

Install Windows

Install Windows first, and it should work normally.

Install Other Linux Distributions

Install other Linux distributions after Windows.

When installing some Linux distributions, they will automatically detect Windows, and automatically include an entry in the Grub Menu.

If you install one which does not include an entry for Windows, add the following to menu.lst in Grub.

title	Windows
root	(hd0,0)
chainloader	+1

Change (hd0,0) to whatever partition Windows is in.

Install Tiny Core Last

If you have installed another Linux distribution, you can just add the Tiny Core start commands to menu.lst in Grub.

If you have only installed Windows and Tiny Core, install Grub, and include the commands above for Windows.