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Thread: Poor man's install, with extra storage, on NTFS/Win7

  1. #1
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    Poor man's install, with extra storage, on NTFS/Win7

    Here is a short account of my (rather trivial) procedure for running Knoppix off an unmodified NTFS partition, with extra storage.

    In case partitions can't be shrinked or deleted, this is a non-invasive way of adapting the PC to Linux. I have just used it on a new Toshiba Satellite R830, w/640GB disk.

    1. Boot from USB. (In this case, external SSD-disk on USB3, very fast)
    2. Copy KNOPPIX over to main NTFS partition.
    3. Setup a new, large image file on the NTFS partition with ext4, mount it as /store.
    4. Copy over /store from backup to the new "partition".

    Here's what I did run:

    Code:
    # fdisk -l
    
      Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *           1         192     1536000   27  Unknown
    /dev/sda2             192       76169   610284544    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda3           76169       77826    13309952   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS
    
    # mount /media/sda2
    # rsync -ax /mnt-system/KNOPPIX /media/sda2 &
    # dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/sda2/store.img bs=1M count=60000 &
    60000+0 records in
    60000+0 records out
    62914560000 bytes (63 GB) copied, 682.558 s, 92.2 MB/s
    # losetup /dev/loop6 /media/sda2/store.img
    # mkfs.ext4 /dev/loop6
    # losetup -d /dev/loop6
    # mkdir /store
    # mount -o loop=/dev/loop6 /media/sda2/store.img /store
    # mount /media/sdb2
    # rsync -ax /media/sdb2/local/ /store &
    All the indirection is of course not optimal, but with a Sandy Bridge I5-2410, I think I can live with it. Here's a snapshot of top while copying the files

    Code:
    PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND           
      5071 root      20   0  2668 1184  664 S   22  0.0  14:26.44 mount.ntfs         
    21056 root      20   0  7668 4704  840 R   19  0.1   2:20.18 rsync              
    21058 root      20   0 19144 1916  620 R   19  0.0   2:21.09 rsync
    After starting from HD, I can manually mount this new image file, or I can add the commands to rc.local.

    This /store can be used also for remastering, but to be as failsafe as possible, I would recommend repeating the procedure for another similar image for that purpose. Maybe I'll come back with a detailed exposition of remastering on "foreign land" like NTFS.

    Normally, it should be enough just to enter knoppix{64} and the usual boot options to run from NTFS - that image should be found first and used. But, of course, using the fromhd=/dev/sda2 makes it even more foolproof.

  2. #2
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    Quick update: I'm writing this from Firefox under WinXP Pro, running under VMware workstation in a virtual machine located in that second persistent image I created, mounted on /store. It is of course not for really heavy work but it works quite well, though., So, everything works right out of the box in this procedure.

    To reduce the services overhead, I only start VMware server when I need it, so the init is done manually.
    Code:
    # su
    # mkdir /store
    # mount -o loop=/dev/loop6 /mnt-system/store.img /store
    # /etc/init.d/vmware start
    The two lines creating and mounting /store can be added to /etc.rc.local to have this automatically carried out. Beware that this system feature is special for this install, so, ulike basic installs, the setup cant be simply copied using the ordinary Knoppix tools.

    Also, there was a Windows Boot directory, so I chose not to create the Knoppix /boot directory on NTFS.

  3. #3
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    @ Capricorny

    Having Windows Professional and VMWare as part of your arsenal,
    you don't represent a lot of us poor souls with mere basic Windows
    setups.

    Windows 7 Home premium will make nice Virtual Hard Drives
    but it wont boot them; you need Win 7 Professional or Ultimate for
    that. VMWare and Win7 Professional are both in the $200 upgrade
    category. I'd like to see what's possible with more meager software
    tools to begin with.

    My impression of VirtualBox is that it offers some rudimentary
    Virtual capability, but is not a very satisfactory environment
    to work around in for very long. The price is right, however.

  4. #4
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    Side note on Windows 7 efficiency

    After temporary removal of the Knoppix-related files, and defragmenting twice, the main NTFS volume's minimal size is 308 GB - that is, 31 GB used and 277 GB free.

    Impossible to shrink it more, according to Windows.

    I was able to free up 282 GB, so there is not that much hassle to run Linux several ways on this computer now. BUT: Imagine I had wanted to use the disk for, say, NTFS databases, or video footage, but keep them apart from the program installs. In that case, my dear friends, Windows 7 wastes away half the whole disk, by insisting on the principle that a 10% filled disk volume cannot be shrunk.

    So, effectively, I would have had to wipe it all clean and reinstall Win7, drivers and all..

    Think I'm going to create that store.img image file 2-3 times as big, so that I can at least use that real estate for something useful...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    @ Capricorny

    Having Windows Professional and VMWare as part of your arsenal,
    you don't represent a lot of us poor souls with mere basic Windows
    setups.
    This is no professional stuff, it's Win7 Home Premium right out of the box on a Toshiba R830 - middle class no-nonsense 13.3" I5-2410/4GB laptop. VMware workstation is ca $200 full price, but you don't need it to run virtual machines, you can download that running software from VMware for free. And, as you must have noted: I used it merely for illustrative purposes here: To show that running off vm in a loop-mounted ext4 image residing in a NTFS file works quite well. You can do just the same with other virtualization programs. And virtualization support is getting real strong in Linux now. Only reason I'm running VMware, is that I'm a long-time user, and it's hassle-free for my needs.

    My main point in this exercise is to provide a recipe for you and others who feel stuck with Windows-occupied hardware: That is no reason for not running full versions of Linux, and you can even do virtualization on top of it. With no system changes to the M$ infestations.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    My impression of VirtualBox is that it offers some rudimentary
    Virtual capability, but is not a very satisfactory environment
    to work around in for very long. The price is right, however.
    May I suggest that your impression of VirtualBox may be somewhat influenced by you "insisting" on running it off a Windows host, with all M$ antics in effect, rather than on a host built on a more empowering philosphy? Perform the described poor man's install, add the storage, boot Knoppix natively, and then you can experiment with Knoppix Virtualbox.
    I may come back with some notes on that - but virtualization in itself isn't that interesting to me. And I have never understood the people running Linux guests on Wondows hosts instead of the other way around, when they have a choice. And as I just have shown, with Knoppix you always have a choice .

  7. #7
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    Virtualbox trouble on 6.4.4

    Quote Originally Posted by Capricorny View Post
    Perform the described poor man's install, add the storage, boot Knoppix natively, and then you can experiment with Knoppix Virtualbox.
    Sad state of affairs on my machine- Pre-installed Virtualbox won't run, and apt-get:

    Code:
    # apt-get install virtualbox
    ......
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
     virtualbox : Depends: libqtcore4 (>= 4:4.7.0~beta1) but 4:4.6.3-4+squeeze1 is to be installed
                  Depends: libstdc++6 (>= 4.6) but 4.4.5-8 is to be installed
                  Recommends: virtualbox-qt (= 4.0.10-dfsg-1) but it is not going to be installed
    E: Broken packages
    So, it seems virtualbox is going to be extremely virtual for a while.

  8. #8
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    @ Capricorny

    I can report that VMWare Player solves all my complaints about VirtualBox.
    Thanks for that.

    I don't understand your comments regarding my 'insistence', since I'm not aware of any choice;
    don't I have to choose the host as the object with all the resources I want to use?
    Last edited by utu; 07-12-2011 at 07:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    @ Capricorny
    I don't understand your comments regarding my 'insistence', since I'm not aware of any choice;
    don't I have to choose the host as the object with all the resources I want to use?
    Well - why just don't you try out a poor man's install, then? I can't really see any aspect where that would not be optimal in your use situation. But I may have gotten it terribly wrong.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capricorny View Post
    Code:
    # apt-get install virtualbox
    ......
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
     virtualbox : Depends: libqtcore4 (>= 4:4.7.0~beta1) but 4:4.6.3-4+squeeze1 is to be installed
                  Depends: libstdc++6 (>= 4.6) but 4.4.5-8 is to be installed
                  Recommends: virtualbox-qt (= 4.0.10-dfsg-1) but it is not going to be installed
    E: Broken packages
    So, it seems virtualbox is going to be extremely virtual for a while.
    As you can see from here, virtualbox has many packages built with many different dependencies :-

    http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads

    I always use the last entry, ie All distribution i386. Using this one, it is able to avoid the file dependency problem.

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