Wish to install Linux Mint 13, Mepis and Solus OS. Help!

hi everyone,

I have a core 2 duo PC with ASUS motherboard with 2 GB ram and ATI graphic card. I already have Windows XP installed on the PC. I also wish to install 32 bit 1- Linux Mint 13, 2- Mepis and 3- Solus OS while keeping Windows XP default. Kindly inform me how to do that? Also how much space should I give to each distro and which distro should I install first and which should I install last?

Following is my current hard disk partition set up:

C: 62.1 GB (Has Windows XP)

D: 62.1 GB (Has Windows Data)

E: 62.1 GB (Free)

F: 74.5 GB (Another hard drive - Free)

Kindly guide me how to do that since I am not an expert I need your help. Best regards. :slight_smile:

Hi saad1gamer, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

OK, first let me say “I’m always uncomfortable answering this kind of question”, as you’re asking someone to decide on your future usage patterns.

The order of Linux installation is pretty irrelevant, as unless you are going to select the second HDD from the BIOS at bootup … there’s only going to be one active /boot directory and stage 1 of the GRUB bootloader is going to be on the first HDD’s master boot record.

Also, keeping Windows as the “Default” OS to boot to is highly likely (more like definitely) to get changed when you install GRUB, but is pretty easy to change back once everything is installed and working.

Partition layout and size is a personal thing, and depends on what you are liable to do in the future (are you likely to chop and change), are you going to want to allow the Linux OS’s to write to the D: (Windows data) partition, do you want a separate /boot partition, which distro is going to be used most, whether you want say a shared “Documents” directory, is the machine likely to have a specialist use (eg. webserver), is the second HDD ever likely to get moved to another PC, etc.

Sorry if it seems like I’m being cagey and cryptic, but this is a hard question for someone else to answer … if you have any further questions, or can be slightly more specific about your likely usage patterns, well be more than happy to try answer them.

Thanks Mark Greaves for your kind reply. Actually I am looking for a worthy alternative OS to Windows. Thats not to say that I dislike Windows but there should be some alternative to it. About four years ago I tried Linux Mint but I found it to be very buggy and unstable. While Windows is stable and bug free. I wish to have another OS which is stable, bug free and has a good number of applications. After research I think Ubuntu qualifies for this. But as my earlier experience with Mint which is based on Ubuntu showed it was buggy and unstable. However since the release of Ubuntu 12.04 I have read everywhere, every review says its very stable and bug free and also I have read Mint’s reviews which say the same I am willing to test it again. I have also read a lot about Debian and that its stable version which at present is squeeze 6, is very stable. I wish to try Debian myself but I have read how its installed and its beyond my abilities at present. So I wish to try Debian stable based distros and after searched I found Mepis and Solus OS reviewed as good distros. So I also wish to try them. So that makes three distros I wish to try and ultimately I would select one from them which I would dual boot with Windows XP. For Linux I would reserve my E and F partitions. I would like to install each distro separately. The machine is only intended to be used as a desktop and also the second hard drive would remain in this machine. I look forward to your guidance. With my best regards. :slight_smile:

That isn’t quite true. You see, Windows has more bugs, more flaws, and more security issues than a Linux distro. I don’t mean to beat on you, but I find that statement to be quite false.

Could I ask when you last tested Linux Mint? (Which year?)

You see, since around Ubuntu 10.10 things have been pretty solid and stable. Ubuntu 11.04 was the big change when Unity was introduced, but since Ubuntu 12.04 it has matured a lot, in just little under a year.

Ubuntu has some AMAZING things going on, Steam For Linux is coming, Lightworks is coming, Ubuntu is being sold on OEM computers, Dell, ASUS, etc, so as you can see, Ubuntu is no slacker.

A little history lesson, Ubuntu is based on Debian however, Ubuntu now has “more” newer technologies than Debian, which is why Debian is rock solid. Debian of course are trying to get those newer technologies into the upstream repository, which is where programs, libraries, etc, are.

Linux isn’t an OS, it’s a kernel. The distributions, or “distros” are the OS’s. Android, is a Linux distribution.

Linux distro’s for the PC however are usually split into two categories.

Debian/Ubuntu based = .deb files


Redhat/Fedora based = .rpm files

Both have different package managers, which is how they handle applications, BUT, ALL applications WILL work on any distro. You may just have a little more work on another distro because of some packages you may have to install and the like.

I personally use Ubuntu & SolusOS. SolusOS is very stable, it’ll be hard to try break it, however, it isn’t as up-to-date with Ubuntu. You’ll be able to tell this from the Gnome 2 desktop environment. Where as Ubuntu, it uses the new Gnome 3 libraries and if you want, the Gnome 3 desktop environment now named “Gnome-Shell.”

Installation is pretty straight forward.

You burn the ISO to a CD/DVD or a USB. These are either called a LiveCD or a LiveUSB. The reason for this you’ll find out in the next point.

Boot from your selected device, and then select either “Try [Linux distro name]” or “Install [Linux distro name].” This is the reason the CD/USB has “Live” infront of it’s name. As you can test the distro of choice before you even think about installing it. So if it isn’t for you, you just shut down like normal, and the CD/USB will be ejected.

If you like the distro, you can click the “install” icon on the test desktop environment, and it’ll walk you through the installation and whilst it’s doing that, you can browse the internet whilst you wait. Now OS X or Windows don’t give you that! The installer will ask you if you want to dual-boot, wipe Windows completely, or do something different. If you want to install to a second drive, then select do something different, this will give you the control to install where you like.

For example -

Say my first HDD has 3 partitions, all full, and the HDD is named “sda” and my second HDD has 2 partitions, not being used, is named “sdb”, but I’m also booting from a LiveUSB which is name “sdc”.

So; Harddrive 1 = sda
Harddrive 2 = sdb
LiveUSB Stick = sdc

So I would ensure I select drive “/dev/sdb” and then I could set up the partitions as I like.

Say, 50GB for an Ubuntu install and 150GB for a SolusOS install.

But then you need to think about a “/home” partition. Having a “/home” partition means, you’ve got one centralized “home” folder on it’s own partition, this is where configuration files are, personal files, etc. So this has it’s advantages, it gives you one place you can use between any given number of Linux distro’s, however, the downside is, there could be some collisions with config files between the same/similar programs on different distros.

You’ll also need a “swap” if your under 8GB of RAM. The swap acts like extra RAM, but also makes switching/dumping files the computer has to use, faster, speeding up read/write times, making Linux distro’s faster. Rule of the thumb with a swap is to make it double your RAM, so if you have 256mb of RAM, you’ll have a 512mb swap, if you have a 3GB of RAM, you’ll have a 6GB swap, and so on.

You’ll also need to install the “/boot” partition on the FIRST harddrive, so that when you install GRUB, it can load ALL the OS’s over the two harddrives. So for instance your GRUB layout may look like this;

Ubuntu 12.04 Linux_86-3.2.0-36
Ubuntu 12.04 Linux_86-3.2.0-36 (Recovery mode)
SolusOS 1.1 Linux_86-2.6.38-51
SolusOS 1.1 Linux_86-2.6.38-51 (Recovery mode)
Linux Mint 3 Maya Linux_86-3.0.0-28
Linux Mint 3 Maya Linux_86-3.0.0-28 (Recovery mode)
Windows XP
Windows XP bootloader

As you can see, you have a lot of options, but it’s clear which you can pick at start up.

I hope this helps.

You’ll find the ISO files for the distro’s your looking for below:

Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” 32-bit

SolusOS 1.1 “Eveline” 32-bit

Linux Mint 13 “Maya” 32-bit [Mint comes in two flavours, with MATE desktop environment or with Cinnamon desktop environment.]

You can install any Linux distribution using pendrivelinux on Windows, which you can find below.

Pendrivelinux Universal USB installer

The steps are simple, you pick the location of where you downloaded your .iso file.
Select the distro of choice.
pendrivelinux does the rest of the work.

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is based on Debian. SolusOS is also based on Debian. So they’ll all use similar package managers.

Good luck!

OK, if this is for testing purposes, I’m going to suggest you leave the primary hard drive “as is” … and install all 3 Linux distro’s to the second hard drive.

I’m also going to suggest that you have a boot loader on each hard drive (at least for the time being), and use your BIOS (or boot device selection screen) to decide which drive to boot … this will make 100% sure Windows is unaffected by the Linux installations … we can always change where stage 1 of the bootloader is later if you wish.

So what I’m suggesting is you physically disconnect the primary (Windows hard drive) whilst you install the 3 Linux distros.

So turn off your PC … unplug the Windows hard drive (so only the second HDD is connected) … turn on your PC, and boot from the Linux Mint LiveCD … install Mint, but only allow it to use 25GB of the hard drive … then do the same with the others … you can allow them to share the swap partition if you like, but keep everything else (including /home) separate.

If you’re after a complete walkthrough of the installation … that’s a seriously complex set of instructions, so would probably be easiest if done in stages … Work out how to install Mint to ONLY 25GB of the second hard drive first, then come back and we’ll go from there.

Remember … as you’ve disconnected the primary hard drive, you CANNOT damage Windows, so you can experiment to your hearts content … but at any stage, you can reconnect the Windows drive, make sure it’s still marked as the primary drive in the BIOS, and the PC will boot into Windows.

If you’re unsure what I’m saying, or have any questions … feel free to ask :slight_smile: