Shrinking Windows

If you want to keep Windows on the computer, the best option available is to use a partition resizing program to shrink the Windows partition to make room for Linux. Several such programs are available, including

• FIPS The First Nondestructive Interactive Partition Sizing (FIPS) program is a simple DOS utility that can break a FAT partition into two partitions. To use it, you must boot your computer into DOS mode. FIPS is useful, but limited in many ways. Its user interface is crude, and it can only split one primary partition into two parts. You can't use FIPS to increase the size of a partition or to work on non-FAT partitions, as might be required if your new computer comes with Windows 2000. Most Linux distributions come with FIPS, which is an open source program.

• PartitionMagic The PartitionMagic program, shown in Figure 21.3, is a very flexible partition resizer. You can use it to shrink, grow, move, copy, create, and delete FAT, NTFS, HPFS, and ext2fs partitions. Version 5.0 can handle Windows 2000's NTFS 5, but earlier versions can only work with previous versions of NTFS, used by Windows NT 4.0 and earlier. If you want to maintain a multi-OS computer, PartitionMagic is well worth having. It's commercial software, available from PowerQuest (http://www.

Part V

Figure 21.3

PartitionMagic provides an easy-to-use interface on advanced partition manipulation tools.

Figure 21.3

PartitionMagic provides an easy-to-use interface on advanced partition manipulation tools.

• System Commander 2000 V Communications ( offers two products that compete with PartitionMagic: System Commander 2000 and Partition Commander. The former is more complete; it can resize FAT, NTFS, and ext2fs partitions, whereas Partition Commander can only resize FAT partitions. Neither product can handle OS/2's HPFS partitions. System Commander 2000 includes a very capable boot loader, so you can select between many OSs installed on a single computer. Like PartitionMagic, these are commercial products.

• Ranish Partition Manager This program, available from http://www.users., is a shareware partition manager that's roughly comparable to Partition Commander in its capabilities. It can resize FAT partitions, but it can't move them, and it can't handle Linux ext2fs partitions.

• Linux installation utilities Linux Mandrake 7.0 includes partition resizing capabilities in its installation routine. You can resize FAT or Linux ext2fs partitions during installation, which can greatly simplify the installation procedure.

Some distributions, such as Corel Linux 1.0 ( and SuSE Linux 6.3 (, insist on creating their own Linux partitions. Others, such as Linux Mandrake 7.0 (, are happy to install in existing Linux partitions, such as those you might create in PartitionMagic. If you're uncertain about what your distribution requires, you should leave blank space for Linux, rather than creating partitions.

Chapter 21


I strongly advise you to completely back up your Windows installationbefore shrink- so§

ing its partition. Although partition-shrinking programs are typically reliable, prob- S-N-E

lems do occasionally occur. Of course, if you've just received the computer, you might g-jO

be able and willing to recover the system from an emergency recovery CD. Be sure " XH

you've got a recovery CD before proceeding, though. Some PC manufacturers omit H

this CD in order to save manufacturing costs.

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