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How-to Dual Boot Windows XP and Fedora or Red Hat Linux




I was sitting here today thinking about all the times I've been asked to help someone setup a dual boot system with Windows XP and surprisingly, Red Hat or Fedora Linux. I say surprisingly, because in my opinion Red Hat and Fedora has always been the easiest Linux distros to install on a dual boot setup. Apparently it's not, as there are still quite a few people who ask me for help.

I'm far from a Linux expert, but I have managed to learn enough about it to be dangerous, and maybe even helpful on occasion. So I thought I'd put together a little "how-to" on installing Red Hat/Fedora on a system that already has Windows XP on it.

My suggestion to anyone wanting to dual boot Windows and Linux is to use two separate hard drives; one drive for Linux, and one drive for Windows. This just makes things easier, though it's really not any harder on system with one drive and multiple partitions.

Like I said, this guide is going with the assumption that you already have Windows installed, and that it resides on a separate hard drive than what you will be using for Linux.


Pre-Install Notes
**Note #1: It is highly recommended that you read through this entire guide at least once prior to using it as a reference while installing Fedora.

**Note #2: You can click on any image in this document to get a larger image (600x450 in most cases).

**Note #3: Red Hat has their own guide on how to configure a dual boot system, it can be found here. Red Hat's guide is more technical and less graphical than this guide is intended to be.

**Note #4: It is highly recomended that you back up any and all data before attempting to install Red Hat or Fedora Core 1.

**Note #5: This guide uses Fedora Core 1 for examples and screenshots. There is little differance in the install of Fedora Core 1 and Red Hat Linux 9.0.


Obtaining Fedora/RedHat
The first thing we want to do is download the Red Hat or Fedora Linux Operating System, you can follow this guide using Red Hat 9 or the Fedora Core 1. You can download Red Hat 9 directly from Red Hat, or get it off of one of the mirrors, and likewise you can download Fedora Core 1 from the Fedora Project or via one of the many mirrors.

Getting Fedora Core 1
The CDs for Fedora should be located in /pub/fedora/linux/core/1/i386/iso/ on any of the FTPs you visit. You'll probably see several different files once in that directory, looks for these three files:

yarrow-i386-disc1.iso (md5sum: 76ef22495d186580e47efd8d7a65fe6b)
yarrow-i386-disc2.iso (md5sum: fd23fe32fafe7557f5d1fa1d31100580)
yarrow-i386-disc3.iso (md5sum: 6a26b34069639d0c31465d4079a8e1b2)

Yarrow is just the "code name" for Fedora Core 1, much the same way Microsoft has used "code names" for the Operating systems (i.e. Janus, Chicago, Memphis, Cairo, Odyssey, Whistler, Longhorn, etc.).

Getting Red Hat 9
The CDs for Red Hat 9 should be located in /pub/redhat/linux/9/en/iso/i386/ on any of the FTPs you visit. You'll probably see several different files once in that directory, looks for these three files:

shrike-i386-disc1.iso (md5sum: 34048ce4cd069b624f6e021ba63ecde5)
shrike-i386-disc2.iso (md5sum: 6b8ba42f56b397d536826c78c9679c0a)
shrike-i386-disc3.iso (md5sum: af38ac4316ba20df2dec5f990913396d)

Just as Yarrow was the "code name" for Fedora Core 1, Shrike is the code name for Red Hat 9. Each version will have a different code name, you'll get use to it in time. ;)

The other files found in the FTP directories are the SRPMS or source code. If you are just starting out, you won't need to mess with those for a while. ;) Once you have finished downloading the CDs, you'll obviously need to burn them to disk. The files are in an iso CD image, so you can burn them using Nero, EZ CD Creator, or whatever CD burning program you like.

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