My next challenge was to configure Windows 7 to share the drive with Linux and dual boot. I normally add a second drive but seeing as I have a 1 TB drive I chose to partition.
Windows 7 has added a a nice partitioning tool. In the past I had used the installer to do the partitioning. I was more nervous this time. I did some checking and some people said to let Windows do this. In the end I decieded that the worst thing would be that I would have no Windows on my hard drive.
This cheered me up and I clicked give me the spare space available on the drive, I was shocked because it reported about 450GB available. That did not seem right. So I did some checking and found that you need to go through a whole process of finding all the unmovable blocks. Partially due to the restore points automatically made on installation first use. So I turned off my restore points and then did a cleanup of unused files several iterations of this later I was at approx 800GB available.
I gave approx 130GB to the Windows partition and the rest I made blank.
I started to install OpenSuse 11.3 it started asking me all the questions then it gave a warning that the there could be an issue because I was starting the partition above 127GB into the disk. I did some checking and it appears this is a bios issue on older hardware and that is why it was only a warning.
Taking the safe road I repartitioned to give Windows 100GB.
The install went smooth after that my computer now dual boots both Windows 7 and for now Linux Mint 9.
This is What I learned from all this
1) Linux on a 2nd hard drive especially on an older computer is usually easier.
2) If your computer has 1 TB (or so) drive that was configured RAID from the vendor and will not boot a Linux disk then check the AHCI setting
3) When changing to AHCI from Raid. Backup all your data first because it will clean install Windows once it figures out you messed things up.
4) You have unmovable files because of the way Windows works and it sticks them in the middle of your disk.
I have installed Linux to dual boot on many computers but mostly on a separte hard drive from Windows.
Seeing as I have 1 TB hard drive I am not going to run out and add a second hard drive for Linux
especially as there is no way that I could ever fill up that much space with files for Windows.
My issue came up when I wanted to boot up a live Linux DVD. I found that linux mint would not boot up. Then I started
looking through all my Linux Format magazine disks to see if it was just my disk or my drive. Phew Ubuntu netbook remix that worked Okay so it must be my disk…. Download again check that it is not corrupt. Ha it works! Darn it is the 32bit version and I previously had the 64 bit version. No problem I’ll download again.
Hmm does not boot. OK so I will try that Opensuse 11.3 disk I downloaded recently. Intrestingly all it does is reboot back to the installation window.
I started thinking that perhaps the DVD drive is faulty.
So then I thought maybe the BIOS is not set to boot from CD/DVD.
I noticed something as the screen was rebooting that said RAID controller or mode. So I started poking around in the BIOS.
I could not find anything that said hey you cannot boot from the DVD drive, so all was working there.
I checked the mode and yes it was in Raid mode other choices were AHCI and IDE. I did some research and chose to change it to AHCI ignoring the important notice saying. You can really screw things up by changing settings on this page.
I rebooted and Windows started booting up, wow this is going to work I thought, then came the mesage that Windows had encounted an issue and needed to recover. After two restarts and waiting for what seemed like hours I finally ended up with a clean reinstall of Windows. Not the end of the world but now I was back where I started having to remove the shovel ware.
I tried to boot a live Linux disk and sure enough it booted. OK now to retest Windows. Success!
This gives an interesting twist is the way my computer came configured specifically so that Linux will not be an easy option to try. Usually Linux is very easy to try. Grab a disk and stick it in the CD or DVD drive. The installer usually takes care of all the partitioning. I think this is going to be a big roadblock to the general user switching or trying Linux.
I did some more searches for linux and raid. I think I am just too leading edge at the moment to see other people reporting the issue of a Live linux CD not booting when the controller is set to Raid when there is only one disk.