Done: Installing MEPIS 7.0February 29, 2008
I finally did it, and did it successfully, much to my own surprise. No, I did not get any new distros installed on a flash drive. I had been working on that for quite some time, but seemed to always run in to some niggling problem. For instance, Pendrivelinux looked to be easier to install than any other OS. Just download it and unzip it on to a thumbdrive. Simple, right? But the thing would never extract all the way. Ever. And I tried with several downloads, machines over several networks and flash drives.
I reinstalled PCLinuxOS Minime 2008 and it did work but it wouldn’t let me install any packages due to lack of space….on an 8G flash! That made no sense and was just frustrating.
I tried Puppy Linux, but it could not find my ethernet connection on my home machine. That was disappointing. However I did play around with the Puppy a bit and looked at the Gparted utility and made a startling discovery.
A couple years ago, I maxed out my 40 G hard drive and bought a 200 G hard drive to add on to the system. When I installed it, I did something or failed to do something so it only installed 127 G and I had no idea what happened to the other 73 G’s. At the time, I didn’t worry that much about it, because I figured that 127 G should be enough to last forever. And then I learned the joys of video editing which quickly filled that space. So I’ve been backing up things and deleting and generally working on making use of the limited space.
But when playing with Gparted, I found the 73 G’s of unallocated space. So I allocated a 40 G partition and formatted it with FAT32 (while the rest is NTFS) and then considered my next move.
I had avoided trying a dual boot, largely because I had screwed things up on another machine before, and was a bit reluctant to go through that again. But I was intrigued. Plus malware threats were getting so annoying and alarming that my wife was even asking about trying our Linux, which she always mispronounces making it sound like Linus from Peanuts fame. Which makes sense considering the source of Linux.
Anyway, I was staring at that empty partition and decided to go for it. I decided that Mepis 7.0 was the distro that had worked best with my hardware, detecting my Ethernet easiest and I knew it the best. So I installed it on that partition. It took about 30 minutes to get it installed and then it was not without a lot of trepidation that I gave the bootloader the okay to load on the MBR. And it worked.
I’ll update more about how this arrangement is working later, but it is working.