[nmglug] Questions About Dual Booting From A USB Drive

William D. Nystrom wdn at lanl.gov
Tue Apr 5 12:42:38 PDT 2005

On Tue, April 5, 2005 1:29 pm, Tim Emerick said:
> The Linux piece sounds pretty easy.  I would suggest just installing a
> Knoppix based distro as that will detect the different hardware settings
> and
> adjust accordingly.

I've heard of Knoppix but am not familiar with it.  One of the things I'm
wanting to accomplish is to get some experience with different distros and
then choose one.  So far, I've always used RedHat except for my very first
system years ago which was Slackware.  I've not installed Linux now in
several years but am wanting to explore different distros and get
comfortable again doing my own installs and upgrades.

> Windows XP is a little more difficult because the key is based on hardware
> installed on the individual machine.  You could need as many as 3 separate
> installations of WinXP (one for each PC)...that's assuming you're doing
> everything legit.

Each machine that I would be booting from would have a licensed version of
Windows XP so everything should be legit.  I would also need different
installations since each machine would have totally different hardware.

> The data partition I would definitely do Fat32.  That will offer the most
> interoperability between the linux os and the windows os.

Thanks.  Actually, I'm not very Windows literate and so am not sure what
NTFS offers over FAT32 for a Windows system.  I had just heard that there
are problems with Linux and NTFS and was not sure if those problems had
gone away yet.

> Good luck!  Sounds like a heck of a project.

Hopefully, I can just take it a step at a time and it won't get too

Dave Nystrom
Phone: 505-667-7913
Fax:   505-665-2227
Email: wdn at lanl.gov
Smail: Mail Stop T085
       Group X-2
       Los Alamos National Laboratory
       Los Alamos, NM 87545

> --- "William D. Nystrom" <wdn at lanl.gov> wrote:
>> I've ordered a 100 GB portable USB drive that I want to set up to dual
>> boot both Windows XP and Linux.  What is perhaps a little different
>> about
>> what I
>> want to do is that I want to be able to dual boot my USB drive from
>> either
>> OS and also from 2-3 different machines.  So, I'm thinking that for
>> Windows, I will have a data partition that contains my personal files,
>> data, etc and that I will then have a separate Windows partition for
>> each
>> machine.  For
>> Linux, I would plan to have a separate data partition as well and then
>> have
>> different partitions for each machine and Linux distro.  Initially, I'm
>> interested in trying Debian, Fedora Core 3 and perhaps Gentoo.  I plan
>> to
>> start by getting this running with just one machine and add a second and
>> possibly third machine sometime later.  So, here are some of my
>> questions:
>> 1.  I'm thinking I will probably need to do alot of partitioning and
>> resizing of partitions.  Is Partition Magic 8.0 the way to go here or
>> are
>> there better alternatives?  I've used Partition Magic in the past but
>> not
>> at all recently.  Reviews complain about poor technical support and
>> possibly
>> about draconian key activation issues.
>> 2.  Would I start by installing Windows XP first or Linux first?  Are
>> there still limitations with Windows regarding the maximum cylinder on
>> the
>> hard drive which would dictate how I might do the partitioning?  For
>> Windows,
>> should I use NTFS or FAT32?
>> 3.  Are there any issues with this plan that I have not thought of?
>> Thanks,
>> --
>> Dave Nystrom
>> LANL X-2
>> Phone: 505-667-7913
>> Fax:   505-665-2227
>> Email: wdn at lanl.gov
>> Smail: Mail Stop T085
>>        Group X-2
>>        Los Alamos National Laboratory
>>        Los Alamos, NM 87545
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