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Multiiple Linux installations


I would just like a little advice on a project I'd like to attempt. This is the scenario I'd like to end up with:

My main desktop PC, with 3 hard drives.

Hard drive #1, 1TB: Grub, Windows 7,Windows backup/restore partition.

Hard drive #2, 500GB: Mint 10, Mint 10 KDE, and a light weight distro of Linux, not yet determined

Hard drive #3, 500GB: File storage that I can access from any OS.

Currently running Windows 7 from HD#1 with backup/restore on HD#2 and Mint 10 on HD#3

Gigabyte cheapy mobo

Intel core duo 3.0mhz

4gb ram

Ati hd4850 Redeon

Seagate hard drives

I have very limited Linux experience but am willing to learn. I played a bit with a redhat distro a few years back and recently with unbuntu 9 a few months ago. I have been slowly working my way towards all open source programs over the past year and am finally ready to make a full time jump to Linux. What I'd like to do is test different Linux versions in "real world" ways, fully loaded and updated with the programs I ill be using and see which one I end up liking the most. I know i could get partial results with live versions but I want more realistic tests. I do a lot of work with Blender and just through my limited testing have seen it perform quite differently across Linux distros. I have had as much as a 10 second difference in render times of a file between Kxstudio and Unbuntu.

I would just like a way to switch between distros and run my own battery of tests as well as get a feel for the different versions available. For example: with Kxstudio, the render times were nice, but everything else seemed really laggy compared to the Mint distro I have played with. Those are the kind of things I'd like to experience now before I decide on one version.

So the advice, I'm looking for is which order to install everything? I have an OEM Windows disk and all my files backed up. If you were doing a "clean" install and wanted to quad boot a system, how would you go about doing it? What would you install first and what would be the easiest way to setup HD#2 to install/uninstall multiple OSs? How can i give Grub its own little partition on HD#1 while making sure Windows has a place to call home? I don't have a ton of experience partitioning hard drives but hey, hows a person to learn if they don't mess things up a bit?

Also any opinions on a light weight distro would be appreciated. After I settle on a main distro, I've got my eye on an old P4 HP that's been sitting around collecting dust that may very well see life again as a home server, but that's another topic for another post.

Thanks in advance for any that took the time to read this and/or offer advice.


  • MikeEnIke
    MikeEnIke Posts: 88
    When it comes to order in which you should install it all, I would install Windows, then your lightweight choice, and then Mint. The final Mint GRUB install is usually pretty good and will most likely pick up all the OSs, if not it's an easy config file edit.

    For the lightweight there are a lot of distros. They will most likely be more technical, and there are some good technical distros which you'll want to manage. Off the top of my head I'd look into Gentoo, Slackware, Arch, or if you want to go really lightweight - Damn Small Linux, or Puppy Linux.
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    The easiest way to test out multiple distros is to install vmplayer or virtual box and install them as virtual machines. This way you do not screw up your current system.
  • oldator
    oldator Posts: 7
    Mint 10 would be an excellent choice. When you start the install, it should pick up your other drives. First drive will be sda, second drive sdb. When the choice come up where to install, choose sdb, and put the bootloader on sda, as grub will include your windows install too. I currently have a system with 2, 500 gig drives. I have XP, win7 on sda, Mint10, peppermint One , and Kubuntu on sdb. Grub contains all of the OS's when I boot up. When installing different versions of windows always install the older version first, and win7 will put in a windows loader with both versions, and grub will point ypu to the loader. Really not that difficult to have multiple OS's on one, or two drives.
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    I would put grub on one of the harddrives that has linux installed. Plus you are limited to for primary partitions to install OSs on. Three can be used the forth has to be a swap partition. Setup an extended partition an you can install as many OSes as you want.

    Try blender on lightweight distros.
  • robrg1836
    This was very informative. Great thread...


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