Appendix C: Configuring a Dual-Boot System


Sharing a computer between two operating systems requires dual booting. You can use either operating system on the computer, but not both at once (unless you’re using a virtual machine such as Vmware; see for more information). Each operating system boots from and uses its own hard drives or disk partitions.

This chapter explains how to configure your system to boot into both Red Hat Linux and another operating system. For clarity, we will assume that the other operating system is Microsoft Windows, but the general procedures are similar for other operating systems.


If Red Hat Linux will coexist on your system with OS/2, you must create your disk partitions with the OS/2 partitioning software — otherwise, OS/2 may not recognize the disk partitions. During the installation, do not create any new partitions, but do set the proper partition types for your Linux partitions using fdisk.

If you do not have any operating systems installed on your computer, install Windows first and then install Red Hat Linux.

  • If you are installing Windows 9x or Windows Me, you cannot define partitions during the Windows installation. Install Windows, and then see the “Partioning with FIPS” section later in this chapter for instructions on using FIPS to repartition your hard drive and create free space for Linux.

  • If you are installing Windows NT or Windows 2000, you can create partitions of a specific size for Windows. Leave enough free space (space that is not partitioned or formatted) on the hard drive to install Linux.


    While partitioning your hard drive, keep in mind that the BIOS in some systems cannot access more than the first 1024 cylinders on a hard drive. If this is the case, leave enough room for the /boot Linux partition on the first 1024 cylinders of your hard drive to boot Linux. The other Linux partitions can be after cylinder 1024.

See Chapter 1 to determine how much disk space to leave.

After installing Windows, see the ”Installing Red Hat Linux in a Dual-Boot Environment” section later in this chapter.

If the computer you want to install Red Hat Linux on is currently running Windows (or some other operating system you have installed), you have an important decision to make. Your choices are:

  • Do you want Red Hat Linux to be the only operating system on your computer, despite the fact that you already have Windows on your computer? If your answer is yes, you do not have to configure a dual-boot system. First back up any information that you want to save and then start the installation.

  • During the installation, if you choose to have the installation program automatically partition your system on the Disk Partitioning Setup screen, choose Remove all partitions on this system. If you choose manual partitioning with Disk Druid or fdisk, delete all the existing MS-DOS (Windows) partitions and then create your Linux partitions.

  • Do you want to install Red Hat Linux and then have the option of booting either Red Hat Linux or your other operating system? A Red Hat Linux installation can be performed so that Red Hat Linux is installed on your system, but the other operating system is not affected. Because you already have Windows installed, you need to allocate disk space for Linux. Refer to the next section and then refer to the ”Installing Red Hat Linux in a Dual-Boot Environment” section later in this chapter.

The Red Hat Documentation Team - Official Red Hat Linux User's Guide
The Red Hat Documentation Team - Official Red Hat Linux User's Guide
Year: 2002
Pages: 223 © 2008-2017.
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