Installing Fedora 10 to Dual Boot with Windows XP

fedora-bootIn this post I am going to walk you, briefly, through the steps I followed to install Fedora 10 on my Thinkpad T43 which already has Windows XP professional running. I have installed Linux before for someone else, but never on a computer that had another OS on it, so I was quite nervous because this is my primary laptop on which I do most of my school and work stuff.

The goal of installing Fedora is to start myself towards incorporating open source and free tools in my everyday work and life, and supporting the open source movement.

I don’t have screenshots of my install process to share but you can find some excellent screenshots on the links at the bottom of this post.

Pre Install Information

I will start  by sharing my basic Laptop info: It’s a Thinkpad T43P

Intel(R) Pentium(R) M
Processor: 2.00GHz
1.00GB of RAM
80GB hard drive
Currently running  Windows XP Pro, SP2


Of course, as always, I started by backing everything up to an external hard drive and testing the backups on my desktop computer to make sure there were no corrupted files.After backing up all my files, I took out the trash (using CC cleaner), and then defragged the drive – that took time.

Step 2: Partitioning the Hard Drive (if needed)

The next thing was to create a partition for Fedora to sit in, separate from my Windows install. There are several ways to do this. I used Acronis Disk Director to partition my primary drive because I happen to have it installed. You can use Gparted live CD, but I hadn’t thought ahead and didn’t have one. You can also resize and let the Fedora install disk do all that for you, but what can I say, I’m a control freak. I was also paranoid because I didn’t want any chance of messing with my WinXP install, so I decided to create my own partition first. I allowed 15GB. From everything I’ve read you only need 10GB really, but I’m not sure what I might want to do, and I have the space to spare.

If you want to partition in Windows, some free disk partitioning tools that you can use include Partition Logic, and Easus Partition Master Home Edition.

Step 3: The Installation

linux_penguinSo now with my disk defragmented and partitioned, I inserted the Fedora 10 disk and rebooted.  (If you boot back into Windows, it means your computer is not configured to boot to the CD drive first.  You can change that, this page has some excellent instructions.)  I went through the process, selected my new F drive, resized it to leave about 200MB free, and then selected “New” to create a swap drive. I selected that the F drive, which was now labelled /dev/sda3, should be formatted as ext3 and should be “/” (which means root).  If you don’t do this the installation will throw an error because it needs a root to install Linux in.  I selected that the new 200MB partition should be formatted as a swap drive. And then I let the Fedora disk do it’s thing. I selected to install Web Server so I would have Apache from the get go, but no other additional stuff. I figured I’d add all the rest later as part of learning this new animal.

After screens, things scrolling down and blinks and such… success! I selected to have WinXP boot first (it’s referred to as “Other” which I find really funny). I set my root password (choose something secure!!) and then let it finish and reboot. I had to remember to watch the booting session so I could tell it to boot to Fedora, it only gives you 5 seconds to boot by default, but you can change this if you want.

Step 4: Create User Account, Login, and Enjoy

Once it rebooted into Fedora, I then created an account which I will use to logon. Fedora will not let you login as root, for security purposes, but the account you create at this time can switch to root from the Terminal when needed, but you have to remember your root password for that.

Voila! My laptop now has WinXP and Fedora 10 running companionably together. You do have to restart to switch from one to the other, which is fine for me. As soon as I logged into Fedora my wireless connection was detected immediately and I was online just like that! Pretty sweet.

Installed by default was the Open Office Suite, photo and audio tools, games, and more. Really excellent.

So at the moment I’m rocking on with  my dual set up system.  I have access to both Windows and Fedora and that makes me supremely happy.

So what next?

I need to set up the Fedora side of the my world in such a way that I can work almost, if not completely exclusively using Fedora. My grand plan is to migrate myself into Open Source.  I want to see if I can live and work independently of Windows and expensive proprietary softwares.  Considering that my work and school world revolve around my laptop, this is going to be a big task, but it’s worth a try.  I am not married to Fedora and could probably have installed another Distro, but I picked Fedora 10 because I bought the current issue of Linux Format and it was on the DVD… pragmatics and all that.


So the main thing I use my laptop for is school and some of the work I do.  I’m okay for typing papers and working with spreadsheets and such with the Open Office Suite.  For the other aspects of my schoolwork  and for my work I have to make sure I can find all the programs I need in Linux, or their equivalents, especially conversion and scientific tools. The other thing I use my laptop for is web design and coding. I know I can code in all my languages of choice on Linux, except ofcourse, the .NET programs. For web development, I ofcourse need a code editor as well as PHP, MySQL and phpmyadmin.  I use Notepad++ and Aptana as my main editors on Windows. I just need to figure out how to get a similar setup on the Fedora side.

Finally, I need to make sure all my peripherals will work – my scanner, printer, external drives, etc.  It’s going to be fun!  Hang around and follow me as I attempt to make my world as open source as I can.

If you know of any useful Linux software feel free to share it here in the comments section. Also any Linux tips and tools.  I will be sharing what I find as I go.

Some Final Thoughts- Why Fedora?

fedora_hatsWell, why not Fedora?  Really, it was purely a choice of using what was right in front of me. I just recently bought the current issue of Linux Format, and it had Fedora 10 on the DVD, so hey, why not? I don’t have to download anything or burn disks.  I may switch to another distro in the future as I learn Linux more and more and as my needs change and grow (or maybe not), but for now, Fedora works just great!

Some Useful Installing Linux links: – with screenshots! – The Official Install Guide – here you can download a pdf with installation instructions

A search in Google is bound to bring up many more, but I found these useful, particularly the first two.

7 thoughts on “Installing Fedora 10 to Dual Boot with Windows XP”

  1. Very useful post. I am preparing for dual boot with win and Fedora this month and was searching for some info. Do you find any good editor for php ? I am thinking of trying Eclipse, NetBeans and few other small programs. I have installed EeditPlus and NotePad++ using wine on a fedora 10, but not worked on that much.

    1. Yujin

      Glad you found the post useful. I haven’t really found a code editor I like yet.

      Right now I’m using Bluefish Editor which seems to be the best as far as I can tell. It ran right on install and hasn’t given me any problems. I’m not too fond of it though, probably because I’m not used to it yet, I usually use Notepad++ and Komodo Edit on the Windows side.

      I tried Komodo Edit and Aptana but haven’t quite gotten them to work the way I want them to. I generally prefer Komodo Edit and use it on Windows, so I’m hoping I can get it to work for me on Fedora 10.

      I will write a post if I find other options or get these ones to work. In the meantime, give Bluefish a try and see what you think of it


  2. I recently had to abandon Vista after a few weeks with it on a new laptop.
    For some reason I could not get XP to load from CD, so I installed Fedora 10, bought Win4Lin and am running XP on a virtual machine. Using some open source stuff, then some Windows stuff that won’t work under WINE.
    So far, so good.
    Glad it’s gone well for you. It’s a little time consuming, but it seems that the Linux community is eager to share their knowledge. That helps.

    1. JLS

      Yeah, it’s working great so far. I have Vista on my desktop PC and it’s definitely driving me a little crazy too, so I’m trying to get a version of Linux on that machine also. It’s a 64-bit PC so I tried Ubuntu 64 bit but I couldn’t get online wirelessly and I also couldn’t get sound. I abandoned that and installed Fedora. Sound works fine but I’m still trying to get the wireless to work. Definitely moving away from proprietary software as much as possible and getting into more open source stuff. I love it 🙂

      thanks for stopping by!


  3. Another open source option is to run Sun Microsystem’s virtualization software called VirtualBox. It allows for running other OSes on other OSes from Windows XP, Sun’s Solaris, Linux and on Macs. Of course, Apple won’t like it if you run MacOS X on anything other than a Mac and I’ll leave that up to you.

    I’ve used it to run Windows 7 on my MacBook and it gives my $80 Parallels 3 virtual software some heavy competition. Parallels 4 allows Windows 7 to run on an Intel Mac.

    Here it is

    I don’t work for anybody who would pay me to put this on any website.


    1. Kirk

      Thanks, this looks interesting. I finally outgrew my Thinkpad that had Fedora on it and now I’m using it to test Windows 7RC. I have a new Thinkpad with Vista Business installed and it runs ok. I will install virtualbox on my old Thinkpad and try a few OSs on it to see how it runs. Thanks much for the link!


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