Long time ago, I tried Linux LiveCD. Then I liked it. So, from then on, I tried to run Linux on VirtualBox. However, running Linux on VirtualBox requires a lot of memory, and it is not a real OS, the feeling is so bad. Until one day, I came to Wubi Installer, this is really great, computer with a dual boot without losing Windows. Wubi is for Ubuntu, and mint4win is for Linux Mint.
April is coming, Ubuntu 11.04 is also coming. Then I found that, upgrading Ubuntu is almost impossible in Wubi (or mint4win). So, what can I do? I like Linux, especially in software development. The only solution is to partition the hard drive. But I have bad experience of partitioning.
My favourite partition tool is Parted Magic, using GParted. However, partitioning on Windows 7 (or Vista) will make Windows unbootable. Since it is genuine Windows 7 on my computer, I am afraid of losing it. So, I look for an alternative partition software, then I come to Easeus Partition Master Home Edition. It is free. I think Windows 7 partition software should be more compatible than GParted.
Preparing the partition, I need to backup all my precious data. This is the most important step, backup everything precious to you. When I am using Easeus Partition Master, it prompts me to use Easeus Todo Backup Home to backup the data. Since it is also free, I tried it. It is really great, it can be used to backup the whole hard drive including the partitions. And remember to create a bootable CD from Easeus Todo Backup, so that the CD can be used to restore the data to the computer.
Before partitioning, remember to backup all the data, and also prepare all the recovery discs you need, especially Windows 7 System Recovery Disc. Once finish, you will not afraid of partitioning, since all the precious data is backed up. Remember UNIX philosophy: Data dominates.
When partitioning, remember that, a hard drive can have 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary partitions with 1 extended partition. The extended partition can contain multiple logical partitions. Besides that OS such as Windows or FreeBSD must be installed on primary partition, while Linux can be installed on logical partitions.
In Linux, the first hard drive is normally “sda”, and second hard drive is “sdb”, and so on. “sda1” is the first partition of the first hard drive, “sda2” is the second partition, and so on. “sda5” is normally the first logical partition. These are important knowledge so that one can understand how to create partition when installing Linux.
So, I spent several days to prepare and do my backup. Finally, I managed to resize C: drive and make a 20G free space for Linux. Though it is possible to use Windows built-in Disk Manager to resize the hard drive, I choose Easeus Partition Master because my computer has a D: drive at the end. I want to move the D: drive to the end of C: drive so that the 20G free space will be placed at the end. Easeus Partition Master allows to move a partition.
After resize partition, booting Windows 7 does not cause any problem. Great. Then I come to Linux Mint installation. Unlike mint4win previously, now I need to create new partition. At the 20G free space, I created 3 partitions: 8G for “/” mount, 2G for swap, and all the others for “/home” mount. I create a partition for “/home” so that I can just install other OS without destroying “/home” partition.
Finally, my computer can run a real Linux. This is better than Wubi or mint4win, because I can install any other distro in future because of the current partitions. 😀