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Run Linux alongside an allready installed windows xp?

Discussion in 'Software' started by goodiesguy, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Private E-2

    My laptop is currently running XP home edition SP3 32-bit.

    Am i able to run, linux (ubuntu etc.. or whatever) along side XP without having to format the drive?

    My Laptop is a Compaq Presario V2000. 1.8ghz cpu, ATI 128mb graphics, 512mb ram (am going to upgrade ram eventually).

    I've heard good things about Linux and i really want to use it, along side my already installed XP home.

    Also, what happens if i find that i don't like linux? how would i remove it without damaging XP and if i got rid of linux, would it restore all the disk space to XP?
  2. BILLMCC66

    BILLMCC66 Bionic Belgian

    Depending on how large your HDD is you can create a partition and load Linux onto that then at boot you will be offered which system you want to run.
  3. hawklord

    hawklord Master Sergeant

    one of the hardest things about linux is learning new programs,
    most of the programs you need will be in the respective repository and accessible through the software manager,

    help can be found here at MG's

    as with all partition editing (which you would need to do) there is some risk,

    if you feel you no longer want linux then do not just delete the linux partitions, this will make your lappy unbootable as the boot files are on the linux partition,

    so research and questions need to be made, a complete backup/image of your system as it is now would be very handy,
    an original xp cd would be handy as well as this has the recovery console to 'fix' your mbr (linux uses the grub bootloader which overrights the windows bootloader - ntldr - in your mbr)

    there is also a bootable iso of the recovery console only, available from here


    and a microsoft kb here


    you only need to use fixboot and fixmbr

    after you have removed linux and are booting xp without any problems you will now have a portion of unallocated space that can be formatted to ntfs and used as storage,
  4. Hedon James

    Hedon James Sergeant

    Hawk's advice is excellent, but IMO, us MG-dwellers have skipped a step?!

    You are a perfect candidate for a LiveCD, which will allow you to "test" Linux on your hardware and "try before you buy". Since Linux is free, perhaps I should say "try before you permanently install."

    And since you're a new Linux user, while you're trying Ubuntu, I would also recommend you consider Mint, which is basically Ubuntu with some "tweaks" and non-free codecs to make it more user-friendly to newbies. Also, IMO, Mint strongly resembles WinXP in layout, making it easier to learn a new system. Both have LiveCDs to test on your system.

    To try a LiveCD, go to the Ubuntu (or Mint) website and look for a version to suit your machine (32 vs. 64 bit); the filename will end with *.iso extension. Download to your machine and "burn as image" using cd/dvd software of your choice. After burning, place in cd/dvd tray and reboot machine. Upon reboot sequence, tap <F12> (or possibly <F8>, depending on your machine) to enter BIOS and select "boot from cd".

    Your LiveCD will boot and load into RAM without making a single change to your system. You will be able to experiment with Linux all you like until you reboot. Even then, you can choose to boot into Windows, as usual, or boot the LiveCD as often as you wish. Just recognize that any changes you might make to the Linux system will be lost when you reboot the system, as it is not persistent storage; it is running in RAM.

    If you decide you like the Linux system and want to dual boot (an excellent idea, BTW!), then you can install Linux side-by-side with your existing Windows OS. To do this, simply boot the LiveCD and choose the "install" icon from the desktop. Both Ubuntu and Mint have automated procedures that detect existing systems and offer to install over existing systems (overwrite); install side-by-side with existing systems (this is what you want!); or manual partition (what hawk describes above).

    While Hawk has provided technically sound and accurate advice and has been a tremendous source of knowledge to me, I believe the LiveCD is a better option for you at this time. However, should you choose to install a LiveCD, recognize that the automated installation process that occurs "under the hood" is exactly what Hawk describes in a manual fashion.

    Lastly, if Hawk disagrees with anything I've said here, I'd go with his advice, as he certainly knows more than I do. What do you think Hawk? Have I missed anything with the LiveCD description? I sure don't want to mess up his system with bad advice/missing info and have to help troubleshoot the fix!!!

    Good luck!
  5. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Extraordinaire

    Hedon James, solid advice on the "try before you buy". I always recommend that to someone who wants to see what linux is about.
    Laptops can be tricky getting wireless to work. Some distros require you to jump through too many hoops because of the hardware to get wireless working. Try a few live CDs and see which one likes your hardware - that's the one you install.

    Live CD download choices here:

    Click on the name of the distro and you will be taken to a page for a download.
  6. hawklord

    hawklord Master Sergeant

    HJ - you are too kind and my head is swelling :-D:-D

    on the subject of similarities with the user interface, you can't get much more xp than this,

    its called YLMF, based on ubuntu 10.04,
    it has a live cd and all the gubbins that ubuntu has - including the refusal to run on my machine :confused

    i have ran it on another machine and it even has my network places, my computer and my documents - and the recycle bin

    free to download and use as per most distro's


    the piccy is v1 based on ubuntu 9.04 (which will run), all i've done is moved a few icons so the contents of the start button can be seen without masking icons

    Attached Files:

  7. Hedon James

    Hedon James Sergeant

    Wow...good call on the YLMF distro...they've even aped the Windows icons...is that legal?!

    While I've never heard of YLMF, I have heard of a Chinese Linux distro that imitates MS Win so well that MS has filed suit, but can't touch 'em cuz they're in China. Is YLMF that distro?

    Another really good imitator is Pinguy OS. Haven't used it, but screenshots are real similar to WinXP.

    While the Win imitation may be important to some, I prefer a large user base from which to consult for troubleshooting issues. You guys at MG have been real helpful to me, but sometimes you need a guy who had the EXACT same problem with the EXACT same distro on the EXACT same hardware; while that COULD be found here on MG, it's more likely to be found on the userbase community homepage. JMHO, for whatever that is worth...
  8. hawklord

    hawklord Master Sergeant

    yes, thats the distro that people think has an issue with microsoft,
    but its a no go, microsoft don't seem to be all that bothered


    in fact, i don't think they can do much,
    its not hacked or pirated - its linux, linux is free to do what you want with,

    they may have an issue with icons, but whats the point ? would it be worth it ?

    ah, the link, didn't realise the first 3 letters were 'dodgy' (just checked and maybe its not the first 3 letters),
    there is another link on this page

  9. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Private E-2

    That XP lookalike one sounds nice.

    But i really like the look the ubuntu, and have heard good things about it.
  10. hawklord

    hawklord Master Sergeant

    one of the problems about linux,

    so many to choose from but not enough machines :-D:-D
  11. ichase

    ichase Corporal

    Greetings all. Have been away awhile but hopefully my life is getting back to some normalcy.
    The advice you have received thus far goodiesguy is great and will help you immensly. I too always recommend the "LIVE CD" route because as it has been said before, it's the best of both words. Try out a distro, in most cases they recognize most of your hardware. By the way, I am running the exact same lappy as you are except I upgraded to 2 gigs of Ram.
    James mentioned Pinguy which I have installed and is based on Ubuntu 10.10. A really good distro. Mint Julia as also mentioned is a great choice.

    Now if you decide to install Linux on your current machine. 10 to 1 you have an 80 gig HDD. I actually have XP, Mandriva 2010.2 and just installed Arch Linux. So I am running 3 OSs on the same lappy you have.

    I know it has been said my one of my mentors Hawk but make a back up of your current XP partition prior to doing anything. I use Clonezilla which is a live CD to clone all of my partitions and it works great. Kind of intimidating at first but we can provide very easy guidance on how to use it. :)

    Also mentioned was getting the wireless to work. If you install linux and need help with that, let me know. I have got wireless working on all distros and I can explain in such a way that you will have your wireless up in no time. :) ( A LOT of trial and error on my part. Mostly error at first :-D )

    Welcome to the Linux side. :-D

    All the best,


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