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Many Linux users have several operating systems installed, often necessitated by hardware setup systems that run under other operating systems, typically DOS or some flavour of Windows. A small section on how best to deal with this is therefore included here.
Leaving aside the debate on weather or not DOS qualifies as an operating system one can in general say that it has little sophistication with respect to disk operations. The more important result of this is that there can be severe difficulties in running various versions of DOS on large drives, and you are therefore strongly recommended in reading the Large Drives mini-HOWTO. One effect is that you are often better off placing DOS on low track numbers.
Having been designed for small drives it has a rather unsophisticated
file system (
One solution to this is to use a defragmentation program regularly but
it is strongly recommended to back up data and verify the disk before
defragmenting. All versions of DOS have
As always there are snags, and this particular snake in our drive paradise is called hidden files. Some vendors started to use these for copy protection schemes and would not take kindly to being moved to a different place on the drive, even if it remained in the same place in the directory structure. The result of this was that newer defragmentation programs will not touch any hidden file, which in turn reduces the effect of defragmentation.
Being a single tasking, single threading and single most other things operating system there is very little gains in using multiple drives unless you use a drive controller with built in RAID support of some kind.
There are a few utilities called
In the end there is very little you can do, but not all hope is lost.
Many programs need fast, temporary storage, and the better behaved
ones will look for environment variables called
SET TMPDIR=E:/TMP SET TEMPDIR=E:/TEMP
Not only will this possibly gain you some speed but also it can reduce fragmentation.
There have been reports about difficulties in removing multiple primary
partitions using the
Don't forget there are other alternatives to DOS, the most well known being DR-DOS from Caldera. This is a direct descendant from DR-DOS from Digital Research. It offers many features not found in the more common DOS, such as multi tasking and long filenames.
Another alternative which also is free is Free DOS which is a project under development. A number of free utilities are also available.
Most of the above points are valid for Windows too, with the exception of Windows95 which apparently has better disk handling, which will get better performance out of SCSI drives.
A useful thing is the introduction of long filenames, to read these from
Linux you will need the
Disk fragmentation is still a problem. Some of this can be avoided by doing a defragmentation immediately before and immediately after installing large programs or systems. I use this scheme at work and have found it to work quite well. Purging unused files and emptying the waste basket first can improve defragmentation further.
Windows also use swap drives, redirecting this to another drive can give you some performance gains. There are several mini-HOWTOs telling you how best to share swap space between various operating systems.
The trick of setting
Much of the temporary files are located in the
Setting the swap file to a separate partition is a better idea and much less risky. Keep in mind that this partition cannot be used for anything else, even if there should appear to be space left there.
The only special note here is that you can get a file system driver for
OS/2 that can read an
This is a more serious system featuring most buzzwords known to marketing. It is well worth noting that it features software striping and other more sophisticated setups. Check out the drive manager in the control panel. I do not have easy access to NT, more details on this can take a bit of time.
One important snag was recently reported by acahalan at cs.uml.edu : (reformatted from a Usenet News posting)
NT DiskManager has a serious bug that can corrupt your disk when you have several (more than one?) extended partitions. Microsoft provides an emergency fix program at their web site. See the knowledge base for more. (This affects Linux users, because Linux users have extra partitions)
You can now read
There is a little bit of confusion in this area between Sun OS vs. Solaris.
Strictly speaking Solaris is just Sun OS 5.x packaged with Openwindows and
a few other things. If you run Solaris, just type
Sun OS 4
This is quite familiar to most Linux users.
The last release is 4.1.4 plus various patches.
Note however that the file system
structure is quite different and does not conform to FSSTND so any planning
must be based on the traditional structure. You can get some information by
the man page on this:
Sun OS 5 (aka Solaris)
This comes with a snazzy installation system that runs under Openwindows, it will help you in partitioning and formatting the drives before installing the system from CD-ROM. It will also fail if your drive setup is too far out, and as it takes a complete installation run from a full CD-ROM in a 1x only drive this failure will dawn on you after too long time. That is the experience we had where I used to work. Instead we installed everything onto one drive and then moved directories across.
The default settings are sensible for most things, yet there remains a little oddity: swap drives. Even though the official manual recommends multiple swap drives (which are used in a similar fashion as on Linux) the default is to use only a single drive. It is recommended to change this as soon as possible.
Sun OS 5 offers also a file system especially designed for temporary files,
The only comment so far is: beware! Under Solaris 2.0 it seem that
creating too big files in
Also see the notes on tmpfs.
Trivia: There is a movie also called Solaris, a science fiction movie that is very, very long, slow and incomprehensible. This was often pointed out at the time Solaris (the OS) appeared...
This operating system is one of the more recent one to arrive and it features a file system that has some database like features.
There is a BFS file system driver being developed for Linux and is available in alpha stage. For more information check the Linux BFS page where patches also are available.
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