Saturday, April 11, 2009

Installing Windows

The installation of Windows is relatively easy. Push the button on the front of the PC, put theCD-ROM in your optical drive, and follow the on-screen instructions. Partitioning the harddisk(s) is different if you are dual-booting or going with just XP. If you are doing a plainWindows-only install, just allocate all of the hard drive to XP.If you are dual-booting, some extra considerations must be taken. NTFS, which is the defaultFilesystem that Windows uses, is not very well supported outside of Windows. GNU/Linuxsupport is up to the point where we can read, but not write, an NTFS filesystem. However, itdoes have some advantages over FAT32, in that a 4GB file size limit no longer exists.Likewise, Windows has no support for any of the standard GNU Filesystems. If you are goingto be switching between the two frequently, then it might be in your best interest to create a37FAT32 for both operating systems to use.When it comes the time to partition the hard disk(s), remember to leave space for GNU (ifyou're installing it - a good amount is somewhere in the order of a third of your total hard diskspace). You may want to have a spare FAT32 partition (of around 1 third of your disk space),on which to share documents between Windows and GNU/Linux, as Linux's support for NTFSdisks is good, but not perfect. You should also modify the table as necessary - you may notneed as much space for Windows or you may need more in your FAT32 transfer area. But youmust ensure that you leave at least 3GB for your Windows installation, since the standardinstallation of Windows takes up about 2 GB of hard drive space, and it is always wise to leavea bit extra on, to allow for any changes that may occur.Some people find that it's useful to create separate partitions for the operating system and data.This means that if something goes wrong with the operating system, the partition can beformatted and the operating system can be reinstalled without possibily losing data.If you are installing Windows on a RAID drive, or a SATA drive in most cases you are goingto have to provide the Windows installer drivers to access the hard drive on the raid controller.To do this while Windows install is at the blue screen, at the bottom it will read "Press F6 toinstall any third party SCSI or RAID drivers." Later during the install it will come up with ascreen says "Setup could not determine the type of one or more mass storage devices installedin your system, or you have chosen to manually specify an adapter." At this screen you aregoing to want to hit 'S' to "Specify Additional Device," another screen will pop up asking youto insert the floppy disk containing the drivers, followed by a screen asking you to choose theappropriate driver out of the set contained on the disk (most disks will have a for each of themajor Windows operating systems).

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