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Article Index

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Resources & Links

(Editor's Note: Subsequent to publishing this article, we have removed our recommendations of PartitionMagic and BootMagic. Please see Warning! PartitionMagic and/or BootMagic Might Not Mix with Linux for the details. January 20, 2001.)

Running both Linux and Windows on the same computer is any easy way to have the best of both operating system worlds. Perhaps the easiest and safest way to do that is to use PowerQuest's Boot Magic and Partition Magic products for boot and partition management.

Boot management allows you to choose one of several boot scenarios when you start your computer. For example, if you have Linux, Windows 98, and Windows 2000 all installed on your computer, a boot manager let's you select which one of those operating systems will be the one that is booted when you start your computer.

When you start, or restart, your PC, the BIOS (basic input/output system) performs some essential system and resource checking. Then it looks for OS (operating system) boot information so it can turn the boot process over to the OS. However, if you have Boot Magic or another boot manager installed and enabled, the boot manager sneaks in here and takes over the boot process.

If you are using Boot Magic, you see the Boot Magic OS selection menu screen when it takes over the booting process. It lists the OS choices you have and lets you select which OS you want to use for the session. What OSs you see listed in the menu and just how Boot Magic manages the booting of those OSs depends on how you have configured Boot Magic.

PowerQuest's Boot Magic has an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) configuration menu. The Boot Magic GUI configuration menu lets you add or delete OSs from the boot selection menu by simply pointing and clicking with your mouse. It also lets you set other boot selection properties simply by pointing and shooting with your mouse. Please see Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1. Boot Magic main configuration window.

Figure 1. Boot Magic add and delete OSs configuration window.

Partition management let's you create, format, delete, modify, resize, move, and copy hard drive partitions. Perhaps the safest and easiest way to run a multiple boot computer is to use a different primary hard drive partition for each OS that you will install. That's where Partition Magic comes in.

The latest version, Partition Magic 6.0, lets you create, delete, move, convert, copy, and resize an assortment of Linux and Windows file systems partitions -- including FAT, FAT32, NTFS, Linux, and so forth partitions. Partition Magic does all that without destroying data. And as with Boot Magic, you can do all this within an easy-to-use GUI. Please see Figure 3 (on next page).

For more information about file systems, please see Comparison of FAT16 and FAT32 File Systems -- a link is in the Resources section at the end of this article.

In setting up a Linux and Windows dual boot configuration, you can use Partition Magic to create a primary Windows-formatted partition and a primary Linux-formatted partition. Then you can use Partition Magic to create an extended partition for additional Windows-formatted logical drives, Linux-formatted logical drives, and a Linux swap file.

Figure 3 (next page) shows just such a partition management schema.

In an Intel-architecture-based computer system, there is a limit of four partitions -- either four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition. That limits you to a maximum of three different OSs using the partition and boot management approach taken here in which each OS has its own primary partition. However, that is of no concern when, as here, the goal is merely a dual-boot system.

Copyright 2000, 2001 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved

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