Windows Server 2003 to Linux

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Enterprise Desktop
Linux
Management
Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft Windows
OS
Security
Servers
SQL Server
Hello Everyone, I currently run a Windows Server 2003 with Exchange Server 2003. The server has two hard drives as follows: (1) 20GB containing the operating system and (2) 60GB containing all of my important data. Both drives are NTFS and there is no RAID. Here's my question. Can I install a distribution of Linux on the 20GB hard drive and be able to access the data from the 60GB hard drive? If yes, can I access that data from my Windows XP clients (assuming everything's configured correctly)? Here are the answers to a few of the questions you may have: (1) I simply want to learn Linux for career advancement purposes. (2) I will be using either CentOS or Fedora Core for the simple fact that I feel semi-comfortable with them. (3) This will eventually be a Samba / Web / E-mail server (which is a different story in itself because I have to figure that piece out later). (4) Yes, it will actually be a production server eventually, however, only for myself not for a corporation. (5) That's it... Any help would be truly appreciated. Thank you.

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Yes you can install Linux on the 20GB and in fact using GRUB or LILO (the two boot loaders available w/ your prefered Linux distributions) you can actually have both Linux and Windows on the drive and “dual-boot” them.

You can read the files on your NTFS volume under Linux however since the NTFS file system driver was developed using reverse engineering and other trickery there’s a risk associated with its use. To access that data from Windows XP clients you’ll need to setup samba and share the folders as you would on a Windows box.

For what it’s worth I’ve found Linux/Samba to be a perfectly good, scalable and safe alternative to a Windows file server. In addition Email/Web products like cyrus and apache make it well suited to those functions as well. If you do it right you can even authenticate the linux services using your Windows user account credentials.

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  • Dcsys99
    Ahh yes... another who is looking to be freed from the clutches of the evil empire. It is correct that you can dual-boot the two OSes. It is also true that you will be able to read the NTFS drives. HOWEVER... You will probably NOT be able to install Linux on the 20GB drive unless there is sufficient free space. You may need to use partition magic or something like that to gain the free space. Good Luck! Dave
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