Fedora Core 6 running at work

I just got through installing Fedora Core 6 (x86-64 of course!) at work, and alhamdulillaah, the installation went through without a hitch. However, as my workplace is primarily a Microsoft shop, I couldn’t just hose my old WinXP installation, so I needed to do a dual-boot setup. So, while yumex is running in the background, I’ll explain the steps that got me to where I’m at right now, including cleanup of the WinXP installation, resizing the NTFS partition (using open-source tools!), and finally the dual-boot setup (which was actually trivial).

For starters, here’s a rundown of my hardware setup:

  • Dell Precision 380
  • Dual-“core” Pentium D 3.0GHz CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Dual-monitor capable nVidia graphics
  • 80GB SATA hard drive

Not too bad a system, maa shaa Allaah. However, my one regret was not to ask for more from the drive specs – namely, more storage and a faster drive. While 80GB was more than enough while working in a single-workstation setup (i.e., under Windows XP alone), if I want to have both OSes running on the same system, then it will clearly become a limiting factor. So, with some creative uninstallation, some backing-up of crucial files, and various disk cleanup routines, I was able to get the total space consumed by my WinXP installation, including packages like Office and so on, down to a mere 7GB or so. As my original goal was to get it to fit inside of a 10GB partition, I considered this to be a great victory in the war against software bloat!

Now that I had the size of my Windows XP installation as trimmed as I possibly could get it, I figured I needed to defragment the drive to get the files as compact as possible to make the partitioning process much easier. So, I ran defrag a few times, but somehow the routine used for Windows’ defrag program feels it’s best to leave about 1GB of data hanging on one end of the drive while the bulk is stuck on the front of the drive, with a huge swath of empty space in the middle (conspiracy theorists join me in wondering if this is meant to make it hard to dual-boot in the first place…).

However, after researching a bit, I discovered that System Rescue CD (yes, the very same one mentioned here) has the utility qtparted, which uses the ntfsresize utility, which doesn’t care about such issues! It can safely resize NTFS partitions without destroying the data – a plus in my case. So, booting off the rescue CD, I loaded up qtparted, and within 10 minutes, I had resized an 80GB NTFS partition down to just 10GB, leaving nearly 70GB free for the glory of the ext3 filesystem!

At this point, the installation of Fedora became trivial – boot of the CD, tell the installation to use the free space on the drive, tell it to dual boot (and change “Other” to “Windows XP”), and then just keep clicking until it stops doin’ stuff. And, about an hour later, I’m blogging about the whole experience on HidayahTech!

What’s left, of course, is setting-up the entire working environment to match, at least somewhat closely, my previous one, which means installing Eclipse, the PHP IDE extension, and the Subclipse one too. Also, I have to get Samba working so I can access the Windows’ shares our company holds so dear, and then maybe get that second monitor working as well (Livna, here I come!). All of this will probably occupy the rest of my day.

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