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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have just partitioned my hard drive that has my Windows XP on and I am going to install Linux, I have never dual booted a PC before but I vaguely remember someone saying that I needed to install a piece of software so that I will get an option to load either OS, I just need some clarification on this and also recommendations for this needed software.

Also let me know if there are any specific problems I should be weary of when dual booting my PC.

Thanks
 

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Hi, what distribution of Linux are you planning on installing? Pretty much all modern, user-friendly distributions will automatically install either GRUB or Lilo bootloaders. The bootloader is what you're talking about, when you are booting your computer the bootloader allows you to select which operating system to start.
When you install your Linux, it will normally ask you if you want to keep any other operating systems. Some, like PCLinuxOS or Linux Mint to name a few, won't even ask if you want to dual boot, you just specify which partition you want Linux installed on and they automatically detect any other OS's & configure the dual-boot for you.
Also, you need two partitions for Linux, one for / (root, or main) and one for swap, which is virtual memory. A rule of thumb for swap partition size is twice the amount of RAM that you have, for instance if you have 256 mb RAM, you'd want a 512MB swap partition. It's not necessary to make the swap partition over 1.5 or 2GB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, I am probably going to put on Mandriva at least for now, I may change later on as I have been running different distributions virtually, I have already created a root and swap partition, my swap is 2GB (twice my RAM), does Mandriva automatically install a boot loader? also could you point me to a site where I can download a boot loader for if I need one in the future.

The other distributions I am considering are suse and ubuntu although I haven't used these much at the moment.

Thanks a lot for the help
 

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All those distributions will install a bootloader for you. I don't think that any distro you try will not install a bootloader. The only thing you'll ever possibly need is Super GRUB disk http://supergrub.forjamari.linex.org/
It can help you boot to Linux if GRUB ever gets damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks a lot for all the help, with any luck I should have Linux up and running by the end of the day.
 
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