Tag: dual

By Mario Pesce


When a few years ago I decided to move from Windows to Linux (I created on my machine separate partitions for Linux and booted from Lilo or Grub either into Windows or into Linux, according to job requirements.

I normally used my laptop PC during the day in a company that had a Windows based LAN and therefore I normally had to boot in Windows during the day whereas I would boot into either Windows or Linux at home. This approach has a few disadvantages as follows:

  • My work e-mails were in Microsoft Outlook and I had to boot under Windows to access them.
    I used KMail (and later Mozilla Thundirbird) for my personal e-mails and I had to boot under Linux to access them.
  • I could access Window folders from Linux and copy data, but I could not access any of the Linux folders from Windows.

I concluded that there should have been a better way to use my PC and I looked for a solution to access both Linux and Windows applications without rebooting.

I investigated some of the available products. I found that the wine or CodeWeavers Crossover supported most common Microsoft Windows applications, but some other ones would not work. VMWare looked interesting, but finally I decided to buy Win4Lin (originally developed by Netraverse to support only Windows 95, 98 or ME, even if it allowed to install and use many more recent applications such as Office 2000 or other ones developed for XP without a glitch.

Some good advantages that I found in Win4Lin are the following:

  • Win4Lin has a very small overhead and pretty good performance. I discovered, after the installation, that sometimes applications run faster under Win4Lin than in the original Windows environment. The performance is due to the fact that Win4Lin is not really an emulator; it creates an environment where Windows applications run in native mode. This is done by providing modules that allow Windows to run as a Linux process.
  • The installation of Win4Lin is pretty straightforward.

Recently I had to install Linux on a new machine and I decided to install both a new OpenSUSE 11.0 distribution and the new version of Win4LinPro that now supports Windows 2000 and XP (according to the company Vista should also be supported in future).

The objective of this report is to give you an overview of the new Win4LinPro application and of the approach that I followed to migrate my dual boot machine to a single boot system.

Installing Win4LinPro

Win4LinPro is now distributed and supported by Virtual Bridges. You can easily order it online at the Win4Lin.com site and download either an ISO version or one of the Debian or RPM packages. Virtual Bridges confirms the order with an e-mail which includes also the licence code that must be entered during the installation.

Since I had an RPM based Linux distribution (OpenSuSE 11.0), I downloaded the RPM package. I checked the instructions of the UserManual which require to pre-install also the gcc and the kernel-source packages and then I could install the RPM without any problems.

The installation procedure of the original Win4Lin was more complex because it required to download a special Netraverse-enabled kernel according to each distribution. The new installer does not require this step because it automatically compiles and installs the kernel modules needed to support Win4LinPro.

The Windows installation has also become simpler. The original product required to copy files from your Windows 95, 98 or ME CD to disk and eventually install Windows. In the new version you can use the win4console command to request a Windows session installation and to define how it should be performed (installation directory, installation media etc.) You can specify that you want to install from the XP CD and the installation is performed as if it were a normal XP installation. The win4console allows also to install multiple copies of Windows and the system allows to run two of them concurrently (this could be useful if you want to have a Windows XP and a Windows 2000 session).

After the installation is complete, if you have used the defaults, you will find a Windows icon on your desktop and you can use it to start or shut-down your Windows session terminal. Alternatively you can use the win4 shell command.

You can install new applications in Windows in the same way as you would do with a normal Windows system. I installed various applications such as Microsoft Office, Acrobat Reader, Eudora, HotMetal PRO and a new version of Internet Explorer without any problem.

I had some problems with the original installation to use a COM device for a dial up connection. The new version allows Windows to connect to almost any type of Ethernet network from regular Internet access to Active Directory authentication, and anything in between.

Using Win4LinPro

Win4LinPro creates an interesting Windows environment which is pretty well integrated with Linux.

The personal Windows environment is normally created by win4LinPro in the home directory of the user who performs the installation. When the installation is complete, you will find two image files with the .IMG suffix which are used by Windows as the C: drive (used to store Windows programs and data) and the D: drive (used to store user settings).

By default Win4LinPro automatically configures shared folders so that Windows can access Linux files and Linux can access Windows files. Your Linux home directory is accessible from the Windows HOSTHOME path. You can also use the shared documents directory from Windows by double clicking on the Windows My Documents icon and accessing the path HOSTDocuments.

The Win4LinPro environment is surely much better integrated with Linux than a native Windows installation and you will have at your disposal the power of Linux and Windows applications without any need to reboot.

Moreover Win4LinPro offers greater virus protection than a stand-alone Windows installation. You can easily save your Windows directory as a tar archive and many viruses will not have any effect as explained below:

  • Boot sector or other boot time viruses. There is no Windows boot sector and therefore they are ineffective.
  • FAT32, VFAT or NTFS related viruses. Win4Lin installs Windows files in subdirectories of the Linux filesystem and therefore these viruses are ineffective.
  • Executable files viruses. These can still attack, but will not affect the Linux system.
  • Macro viruses. These can still attack Windows macros, but you can use Linux permissions to make them write protected.

Another protection is given by the snapshot running mode which insures that data in the C: virtual drive cannot be changed

Win4Lin Limitations and Peculiarities. Following main points should be considered:

    • Win4Lin offers different networking options that you can choose during installation and modify later (if needed). The basic TCP/IP and UDP/IP networking is the most secure and provides the best use of resources. If you need more advanced networking options you can use the NAT neworking or the Bridged networking options well explained in the UserManual.
    • Win4LIN does not support direct Windows access to USB devices. However, if they are configured in Linux, they can be accessed indirectly (You can use the My Host Computer function from the start menu to access devices mounted automatically by Linux)


Removing the original Window partition

One negative point of having both an original Windows partition and the Win4Lin installation is the waste of space (for instance I had MS Office applications installed on both partitions). This setup could offer better security, in case of problems to either the Windows or Linux installation, but, at some point, I decided that I could use better the disk space and work without double booting with Linux and Windows under Win4LinPro.

To avoid loosing useful data, I performed following activities:

  • I identified the Outlook mail boxes by using the Windows Find option with “*.pst” and copied them to the Win4LinPro environment.
  • I identified the Outlook Express maild boxes by using the Windows Find option with “*.dbx” and copied them to the Win4LinPro environment.
  • I identified my Eudora mail boxes (used for my personal mail) by using the Windows Find option with “*.mbx” and copied them to the Win4LinPro environment.
  • I found the ‘Favorites’ folders used by Internet Explorer and I copied it and its sub-folders to the Win4LinPro environment.
  • I copied the ‘My Documents’ folder and all other folders that I used in my Windows environment

Making the above copies in the Win4LinPro environment is relatively easy, because Win4LinPro can access mnt directly. You can mount the original Windows partition in the Linux /mnt directory by using a command such as:

$sudo mount /dev/sdb3 /media/windows -t vfat -o umask=000

Once the partition is mounted, you can access it in the Win4LinPro Windows session in the mnt Windows folder.

Once I was satisfied that all important data existed in the Win4LinPro environment, I decided to reformat the Windows partition and copy my Linux /home directory, that was included in the main root hierarchy, to a separate partition. This activity is described in detail below.

Using the freed partition for Linux

A good description of how to move /home to a different partition can be found in a good tutorial by Daniel Robbins at IBM DeveloperWorks. The main steps are as following:

  • Create a filesystem in the new partition by using a command such as mkfs /dev/???
  • Mount the new filesystem in /mnt with a command such as mount /dev/??? /mnt/newhome
  • Drop to single user mode (init 1)
  • Change to the current home directory and enter a copy command such as cp -ax * /mnt/newhome. The ax option causes cp to copy in recursive mode by preserving all file attributes.
  • Rename the old /home to /home.old by using the command mv /home /home.old and mount the new one with mount /dev/??? /home.

When you are sure that everything works correctly, you can remove the /home.old directory.


I believe that the approach described above allows an optimal use of both Linux and Windows resources.

It is often difficult to use only Linux, because one normally has to work in Windows based LANs, interact with other Windows or Linux users or just because one is too lazy to learn new applications instead of those normally used in a Windows environment.

A double boot system is a inconvenient to use. The solution proposed above allows a much better usage of the computer resources and time.

Mario Pesce – Computer consultant

email: mario@datamission.co.uk

blog: http://mariopesceuk.blogspot.com/

Tags: , , , ,

Linux Training – Installing Linux on a Windows System
By Clyde E. Boom

The best way to get Linux training and Linux administration experience is to start by getting, installing and running Linux on a system. This allows you to actually work with Linux to run programs and learn Linux commands.

If you don’t want to buy a computer just for the purpose of running Linux, you can install Linux on your Windows system. You do this to create what is called a “dual boot” (Linux and Windows) system.

After you install Linux and boot your system, a menu appears allowing you to boot into Windows or boot into Linux!

7 Steps to Install Linux on Windows and Create a Dual Boot System

1. Back up your Windows programs and data

If you make a mistake when you install Linux on Windows you can loose all your Windows programs and data! Also, if you install Linux and then remove it later, you may not be able to boot into Windows.

Some people have run dual boot Linux systems without losing programs and data, but it’s good to know this downside. It’s extra incentive to do a backup.

Doing a backup is like buying insurance. If you don’t need it, fine. But if you do, you’ll be very glad you took this extra step.

2. Get Linux on CD or DVD

Select a Linux distribution (a.k.a. distro) and either download it and burn it to disk or buy it and have it delivered.

Linux Tip: To get Linux delivered, just do an Internet search for “linux cd” and you can have it mailed to you anywhere in the world for a very small fee.

3. Create empty unpartitioned disk space for Linux

Make sure your system has enough empty unpartitioned disk space for Linux. This isn’t just free disk space, as seen from within Windows. This is empty disk space that isn’t seen from within Windows.

4. Document your Linux installation settings

During the Linux installation, you need to specify some system settings. These include the Linux software programs and desktop(s) you want installed, networking settings, and disk partition sizes.

5. Start the Linux installation routine

To start installing Linux, you need to shut down your system and boot it with Linux CD / DVD number 1.

Some systems are set up to automatically boot from a CD / DVD if there’s one in the drive, and some need to have a system setting made. On other systems, you may simply need to hold down a key, like the letter “c” to boot Linux from CD / DVD.

6. Follow the prompts to specify settings and create a user

Linux systems have users and these users have names. You log in with a user name and password to work on a Linux system.

You work as the user named “root” to do Linux system administration. The root user is always created automatically during the installation. However, for security reasons, you should never log in to a Linux desktop as the root user.

As the installation routine runs, you will be asked if you want to create users. Always create at least one “regular” (non- root) user and give this user a password.

7. Have fun!

The Linux operating system is an incredible phenomenon. By getting it, installing it, and running it, you can get tons of experience working with it. Get a mitt and get in the game!

And now I would like to offer you free access to my Linux Commands Training Mini-Course, a 7 Lesson, Daily Mini-Course, including the free Linux Commands ebook and Linux audio podcasts – showing you how to get started learning how to use Linux commands.

You can get your instant access at: http://www.LinuxCommandsTrainingCourse.com

From Clyde Boom – The Easy Linux Training Guy – Easy, self-paced Linux training – In Plain English!

Tags: , , ,

Installing Linux Dual Boot With Windows OS
By Jaspreet Sandhu

Dual booting Linux becomes as simple as it can be if you understand your hard drive and its partitions and the way different OS looks and recognizes and displays it for you to view. It’s very simple to look at the partition table on a Windows machine all you need to do is just double click on the My computer icon. Also you can check the partition table by right clicking on My computer and then click on Manage and then select Disk Management.

Well how Linux identifies and names your partition will be important

For IDE drives Linux recognizes the drives with the name


For SCSI drives Linux recognizes the drives with the name


Where x letter differentiates multiple hard drives for example if you have two IDE hard drives on your computer Linux will detect the first as hda and the second as hdb. Similarly if you have three SCSI disks on your system it will be detected as sda, sdb and sdc.

Now that’s how Physical hard drives either SCSI or IDE are detected on Linux, lets also understand the way the partitions are detected by Linux say if you have three Partitions on a your first hard drive it will be detected as


and if you have four partitions on your second hard drive they will be detected as


That is as simple as it is. This understanding is important and also you will come to know about this once we understand dual boot installation.

Now let’s take an example and then start our Linux installation to work as Dual Boot. I will be taking the example of my computer but will not get into the complexity of Quad Boot as on my computer and that may confuse some.

Points to Remember before starting a Dual Boot Installation:

1) You should have an empty partition at least 10 GB if you want to install a GUI based Linux and other necessary software. If you have more there is nothing like that.
2) You should never use Auto Partitioning when installing Linux on a Dual boot installation.
3) Make a rough note of the total partition on your hard drive. Like if you have C: D: and E: make a note like below
C: 10 GB
D: 20 GB
E: 10 GB
4) Make sure to install the GRUB on the Master Boot Record or else you may have to make a bootable drive say a floppy drive each time you want to logon to your Linux and I don’t recommend doing that.
5) Install Linux on the last empty partition
6) Let’s get started.

2455513753_282aa586b7So our assumption is that you have three partitions (if you have two partitions even then you can install Linux on the second partition provided you are ready to loose anything stored on that second partition) your computer and the partition no three i.e. E: is empty so we will install our Linux on the last partition empty.

Boot machine from CD-ROM.
Press Enter to install Red Hat in graphical mode.
Click Next.
Language Selection –> English (English)
Click Next.
Select Keyboard –> U.S. English.
Click Next.
Disk Partitioning Setup:
Choose manually partition with Disk Druid.
Click Next.

Here you will notice the hard drive names I referred to in the start of this page.
So per our assumptions you will see:

/dev/hda1 Windows Fat 10237 (that’s for 10GB)
/dev/hda2 Windows Fat 20480 (that’s for 20GB)
/dev/hda3 Windows Fat 10237 (that’s for 10GB)

You have to delete the third partition /dev/hda3 and start deciding on the following : -

Amount of SWAP for the system?

The total amount of SWAP partition to be give to the system is always double the available RAM. Say if you have 256mb of RAM the SWAP partition will be 512mb and if you have 1GB RAM your SWAP will be 2GB.

Note: SWAP space is used by the Operating system when main (RAM) memory fills up. The OS just swaps and puts the processes that are inactive but still using RAM in the SWAP memory so that main memory is freed up for the system to use for the current running process.

Do you want further partitioning of the drive?

Here I would like to take you to a view of the type of partitions available

/boot this should be not more than 100mb so that’s enough.

/home depends on how many users will be using the system if you are the only user then 1GB will be more than enough this is like My documents in Windows.

/ If you don’t want further partitions just assign all the available space to this partition.

However I would suggest you to make only one partition initially and once you understand more on Linux installation by your experience then start further partitioning.
So also only SWAP space and / partition will start the next steps of your installation

Highlight the /dev/hda3.
Click on Delete
Highlight the /dev/hda
Click on New.
Fill in the following information
File System Type: SWAP
Allowable Drives: hda (Make sure hda is checked)
Size (MB) 512 (Leave as is)
Choose Fixed Size
Click OK
Click on New.
Fill in the following information:
Mount Point: /
File System Type: ext3
Allowable Drives: hda (Make sure hda is checked)
Size (MB) (Leave as is)
Choose Fill to maximum allowable size.
Click OK

So now our partition table looks some what like this

dev/hda1 Windows Fat 10237 (that’s for 10GB)
dev/hda2 Windows Fat 20480 (that’s for 20GB)
dev/hda3 / ext3 9725
dev/hda4 swap 512

So here we are ready with our partitioning.

Click Next to continue install. Select the boot loader and let it be selected to load the boot loader on the Master Boot Record.

And continue with the installation as the main part is done you may not face any further difficulties installing the unit from here. Also as we have selected the installation to be on a system on a partition with more than 10GB of space there should be no problems

Even if you decide to install all the packages under the option Package Defaults available for installation you will not find any difficulties but always you can check and Choose Customize the set of packages to be installed as this may install the system faster.

That’s all for the lessons for Linux installation for DUAL boot. If you are successful with this installing Linux on standalone will be like a evening walk. So that’s all for now will continue with more stuff as Linux is fun to learn.

Jaspreet Sandhu

Setmynet Computer, Web Services to Home users and Small Businesses Operating from Slough

Tags: , ,

Multi boot or Multi booting (usually dual booting, but many OSes can be booted from the same computer) is the act of installing multiple operating systems on a computer, and being able to choose which one to boot when switching on the computer power. The program which makes multi booting possible is called a boot loader.grub_with_ubuntu_and_windows_vista1

Multi booting is useful in many situations, such as those where several pieces of software require different operating systems and cannot be run on a single system. A multi boot configuration will allow a user to use all of this software on one computer. Another reason for setting up a multi boot system can be that one wants to investigate or test a new operating system without switching completely. Multi booting allows one to get to know the new system, configure all applications needed and migrate data before making the final step and removing the old operating system. This is often accomplished by using a boot loader that can boot more than one operating system, such as NTLDR, LILO, or GRUB.

Multi booting can also aid software developers where multiple operating systems are required for development or testing purposes. Having these systems on one machine can greatly reduce hardware costs. (However hardware costs are counterbalanced by system management costs, and the costs of the unavailability of the software that cannot be run at any given moment. Another solution to these problems is to use virtual machine software to emulate another computer from within the operating system of choice.)

A popular multi-boot configuration is a mixed-OS system in which Linux is one of the secondary (or primary) installations. In terms of business strategy, Windows does not facilitate or support multi-boot systems, other than allowing for partition-specific installations, and no choice of boot loader is offered. To deal with such installs requires consultation with Linux afficionados and techs, who are typically well-versed in the concept.

The basic concept involves partitioning a disk, to accommodate each planned installation, including separate partitions for data storage or backups. The partitions should be done with a Windows partitioning tool (diskpart, Disk Management), rather than a Linux tool (parted, QTparted), for the simple reason that Windows is more particular (cf. “picky”) about how the partition table is written and will occasionally complain or even show errors if its installed to a Linux-created (or sometimes modified) partition table. Linux tools are powerful, (ie. shrinking an NTFS drive) but Windows has particularities which must be considered. (See master boot record and extended boot record).

Windows should be installed to the first primary drive. Though Windows can be installed to another drive, certain particularities (drive letter assignments, expected system partition number) can make such installations problematic, while Linux installations on primary or logical drives have no such problems whatsoever.

The boot manager/loader should be installed by the Linux distribution. All Windows installations will be easily found by Linux, but Windows boot managers do not find Linux installations (nor does Windows deal natively with Linux file systems).

Get Linux Today!

Excellent resources below:

How to dual boot Windows XP and Linux (XP installed first) — the step-by-step guide with screenshots

Illustrated Dual Boot Site – Awesome site with all things Linux!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Back to top