View Full Version : Some questions before I do it

07-10-2004, 03:10 AM
Hi there, I just want to make sure I know what I'm doing before I start. As you might have guessed, I've not done this before :P.

When I run knoppix-install, this will sort out partitioning for me, right? I mean, I don't need to do this in qtparted beforehand, do I?

Secondly, if knoppix-install will do the partitioning, will it do it in such a way that if I already have a Windows XP partition, I'll be able to keep that, or will it format the whole drive or something?

Basically what I'm asking is: When I run knoppix-install, am I going to accidentally lose everything on my hard drive? 8). Let me explain in a little more detail what I currently have and what I want to achieve.

I have a 150GB drive, which currently has a Windows XP partition taking up the entire drive. I imagine I probably need to resize this in qtparted before running knoppix-install (or can this be done within knoppix-install?). I then want to make a 40GB or so partition for Linux.

What should I do with qtparted before running knoppix-install?

Also, would I be correct when I say that since I have 1024MB RAM, I will not need a swap partition?

Hope I didn't ask too many silly questions in this post, but I'm quite eager not to screw up and lose my XP partition. I've got lots of it all backed up but it would be a major pain in the arse to make a mess of this :P

Thanks for any help - it will be much appreciated I assure you :)

07-10-2004, 04:04 AM
First disclaimer - I haven't used knoppix-installer before. I have done a dual boot with WinXP and Mandrake, though.

Second disclaimer - it did not go precisely as planned, and I wound up doing something that I specifically was trying to avoid.

Third disclaimer - Some bad things happened a few weeks afterwards. I don't think they were related, and the manufacturer assured me that it was a bad motherboard, but I still had to reinstall everything - not because of the installation, but because the manufacturer reset all programs and settings to factory defaults by reimaging the hard drive.

That having been said, please do not regard me as an expert on this. However, I do not regret the experience. In fact, it was because of Knoppix that I was able to rescue anything at all. Windows would not boot. I am almost ready to reinstall using Knoppix, but not yet. This computer is shared with people who only use Windows, so hosing Windows is not an option for me. The Mandrake installer was very simple, in fact the mistake happened because it was too simple, and it accepted a default that I did not want (installing LILO to the MBR - ordinarily the correct thing to do, but I was trying to avoid that with a two-HD installation).

From what I have read, the installer (knx2hd on ver. 3.4) allows you to set things up and double-check them before actually writing anything permanently. It should not disturb your Windows partition. Qtparted is a disk partitioner on the Knoppix disk, which is very easy to use, and will help you partition as you see fit. I think I've read that the installer will do some of this also.

From my own experience and what I've read, the more likely experience is for your Windows to be inaccessible, but not erased. It will be recoverable, but you may feel helpless if you are waiting for help. Knoppix can rescue it if you know how, but you have to ask yourself whether you know how.

If you're are lucky, there's a mod on this forum who goes by Cuddles who did a hd install just last weekend. Maybe she will offer her wisdom to you.

If you aren't ready yet, make sure you familiarize yourself with the other options you have. You can do a lot with just setting up a persistent home and a shared configuration. You can also copy the installation to your HD to speed it up, without actually installing (sometimes called a "poor man's install"). That's what I just did, and a lot of people do some very impressive work with that setup. But, if you're ready, go for it. No matter what happens, I don't think you'll regret it. But please do back up everything first. :roll:


07-10-2004, 05:09 AM
No, the knoppix-installer script will not do the partitioning for you. And you should make sure that you have backups of anything important before you repartition just because something could go wrong...but probably won't. You'll have to use a program such as qtparted to resize your ntfs partition freeing some space that you can set up for linux. When you have your partitions set up you then run knoppix-installer and you'll choose which partition to install to. So you need to make sure you know which one has your windows install on it and don't choose that one.

There's lots of great info on this forum about partitioning, resizing an NTFS drive and such...just enter the right words in the search knoppix.net box above. It's the kind of thing you should make sure you understand and read up on before you do it. There are alot of things to consider, like whether you want to have an extra FAT32 partition to share files through and such. Also, I think according to some things I've read, it's a good idea to have a swap partition even when you have plenty of physical memory.

07-10-2004, 12:15 PM
Thanks for the replies.

So tell me if this is correct. I should boot into Knoppix on CD, then use qtparted to resize the XP partition. Then I should use qtparted to create a linux boot partition and perhaps a swap partition, and maybe even a FAT32 partition.

Then, knoppix-install will ask me to specify which partitions I'd like to use for boot and swap, and I'll give it the ones I just made.

Is that how it goes? I was to be ultra certain I know what to expect when I run the installer.

Also, you mentioned knx2hd. Should I use this instead of knoppix-installer? I was under the impression that knoppix-installer was the installer I should be using. Most of the documentation I've read has said to use this over some older installer, but knx2hd was not actually mentioned.

And the installer will put LILO on the MBR for me, right? Will this require any additional configuration before things will boot properly?

Lastly, if I end up in the situation where I can't boot into Windows anymore, what do I do? :? I was reading something which mentioned using something called fixmbr, or something. I think that was on the Windows XP CD... But I'm not entirely sure on that. Anybody care to explain that for me?

Thanks a lot for the help so far :)

07-10-2004, 07:07 PM
Jez, knx2hd appears to be the newest command for invoking the same as knoppix-installer. It doesn't at this time seem to matter which command you choose.

As to the qtparted and things like the XP mbr fix you can do some searching here on the forums, there is a lot of information about it and plenty of folks here dual booting with XP to advise you. Here is a great place to start:
IMHO XP does differ from the much simpler dual boot with 98 that I use and I would caution you again like everyone here would, BACK UP your important data just in case. As long as you don't actually write over XP partition or try to go writing to ntfs with linux without the proper tools it is unlikely you can do much that can't be fixed. BUT if there is important stuff on there, you want to back it up.

07-10-2004, 08:12 PM
It sounds like you have the right idea. Actually you'll only have to choose the partition to install as your root system though...it will detect your swap partition. And it'll ask you whether you want to install LILO into the MBR or the root partition. And like nish says, knx2hd is just a link to knoppix-installer. In the Windows section of this forum I noticed a thread about resizing ntfs and doing a dual boot with WinXP...those would probably be of help too.

07-10-2004, 08:43 PM
Thanks again for the replies. I've just had my first shot at the installation having read your posts and done more research. I was fairly confident I was doing things right, but then... Problem.

I ran knoppix-installer, and all went well at first. I configured it all - and it was surprisingly easy to configure too. The only parition it gave me as an option to install on was the one I wanted, so there was no chance of me accidentally installing on my XP partition :P.

However, when I went to 'start installation', or whatever, I got an error immediately :(

"Error: Formatting of failed. Some messages from mkfs.ext3: Usage: mkfs.ext3 [-cl -tl -l filename] [-b block-size] [-f fragment-size] [-i bytes-per-inode] [-j] [-J journal-options] [-N number-of-inodes] [-m reserved-blocks-percentage] [-o creator-os] [-g"

(I guess the error was too long or something, since it appears to have been cut off. I doubt there was anything else after the usage instructions though, right?)

So it looks as though the installer tried to call mkfs.ext3 with the wrong arguments or something. And since there is a blank space in the error message where you would expect the partition name to be ("Formatting of failed"), would it be safe to assume that the problem was something to do with the partition name being passed improperly?

I'll be honest and say I'm not 100% sure what mkfs.ext3 even is, though judging by the output I just got I can tell it's something to do with formatting. Would I be correct to guess it stands for 'make filesystem'? Anyway...

Where do I go from here? I'm completely clueless :cry:.

EDIT: Bugger... could it be as simple as needing to reboot? If it is I'll feel stupid now. Well, off I go :D.

07-10-2004, 09:05 PM
mkfs.ext3 make file system ext3 type 83, I think. Was this an error that occurred when trying to format it? qtparted would do the formatting (I use cfdisk myself). But I believe after you use qtparted to setup the partition(s), you then actually write them. And then the install script resumes. Perhaps you tried to go on with the install before the partition was formatted?

07-10-2004, 09:29 PM
Never mind that one. The problem was too stupid for words. I'd somehow failed to notice that I had forgotten to hit space to select the partition. Since it was the only partition in the list, it was highlighted. I had failed to remember that the highlighting didn't mean it was selected. I needed to press space to put the dot between the brackets beside it. Stupid me :)

New problem though! Woohoo! :D

I turn on the computer and I'm presented with the LILO screen. I can choose Linux, Linux 2.4 or Linux 2.6. Because of my hard drive being SATA, I'm forced to use Linux 2.6. The others don't recognise the drive it seems.

So I select Linux 2.6, and the boot sequence looks good for a bit, with everything being detected... But then suddenly it stops. If I hit keys then they sometimes seem to work, but I keep getting 'Unknown key released' errors, periodically.

Can I assume this isn't meant to happen? What am I doing wrong, and how can I solve this little problem?

(I'm making progress anyway. Thanks for all the support so far ;))

07-10-2004, 11:47 PM
Yet more progress. This is getting quite exciting now :) By coincidence I found that everything worked fine once I had unplugged my Belkin USB bluetooth adapter. This is good news.

I'm very thankful for the help, guys. You all rock! 8)

Now I just need to build up my Linux skills to the stage where I can get my various devices working :)

07-11-2004, 04:23 AM
that's the spirit, Jez :) nothing like getting your hands dirty to learn, learn, learn. Linux it seems is like medicine, you can never stop learning so you might as well get used to it early on. Besides the headaches, though, and sleepless nights I do believe I sent my old eyes over the edge with reading reading reading :o

Google here, google there. Do plenty of searches in forums, this and linuxquestions.org is another good one. Soon you will be a veteran noob like me :wink:

07-11-2004, 04:40 AM
ooh and you might want to check out and get or update bluez-utils:
"tools and system daemons for using Bluetooth devices. . BlueZ is the official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack. It is an Open Source project distributed under GNU General Public License (GPL). . More information is available at http://bluez.sourceforge.net/" :o

07-11-2004, 12:57 PM
Thanks for the link, I'll check that out :)

At the moment I think my main problem is going to be getting internet access in Linux. Thing is, I'm using one of ASUS' wifi adapters that has it's own special slot on the motherboard, rather than a PCI slot, and I have no idea how to set it up in Linux, if it's even possible. I've been searching frantically for info, but most of what I'm finding is other people asking the same question as me, and not getting anywhere. I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to get it working in Linux... Since I get my internet connection through the network, I can't get internet in Linux right now :( Time to buy a new wifi card perhaps :P.