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Old 12-04-2003, 03:45 PM   #1
avarweth
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Partitions, Optimized


I'm going to be getting a new hard drive for Christmas, and I'm planning out my partitions in advance. I wanted to run this by some of you, and see if I'm doing this in the best way possible. This is just a personal machine, by the way.

The new drive will be the master drive - 80GB, 7200 RPM.

1. boot partition - how big should this be?
2. windows partition - 15G - I'll be running a couple of rather large games and Photoshop. I think Windows prefers either to be first or second partition, doesn't it? Or does it even need to come before a boot partition?
3. the bulk of Linux - everything except /home.

The second drive is 40GB, and probably 5400 RPM. The Hewlett Packard specs don't say, and I'm not certain how to tell without taking the drive out and looking at it, and I figure I can do that later - but it's certainly the slower, smaller drive.

1. swap partition - I have 256Mb RAM, and may upgrade to 512. I should probably make this 1GB now, to allow growth with the new RAM. Isn't it better to have this on a separate drive the the main OS, and the slower drive as well?
2. home partition - the rest of the drive.

I think this covers everything. I don't really need separate partitions for various Linux directories like /bin and /var and /dev, do I? Not on a personal machine.

What if I wanted to have another OS on there, too? Another flavor of Linux? Could I have two Linux partitions on the first drive, and share the swap and home directories with both of them?

Also - install order. Once I've set up the partitions with fdisk, my best bet would be to install Windows, and then Linux, right? That way I don't have to go fiddle with my boot partition afterward. Windows always writes over the boot sector with it's own information, I think.

I'm probably over-analyzing this. But once I get these partitions set up the way they should be, I don't want to change them. Format, sure. Blow away partitions and start from scratch? Not if I can help it.

I appreciate your reading this rather long missive, and appreciate any advice or suggestions!

Last edited by avarweth; 12-04-2003 at 10:32 PM.
 
Old 12-04-2003, 04:32 PM   #2
Mara
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My proposal:
80GB disk
1) Windows partition
2) /boot
3) /
4) swap (?)
40GB disk
/home

I recomend to keep swap on faster drive (then it has faster access). And don't make it bigger than 512MB (256MB should be enough if you don't run heavey graphics works). If you have 512MB RAM you probably don't use swap at all (I have 512MB and swap off, no problems).

Windows profers to be first aprtition, so allow it to do it. /boot (not more than 100MB, 50MB should be OK) can be anywhere on the drive.

You don't need more separate Linux partition if you don't feel so. Separate /home is a must-have. All others are optional.

You can use the same /home and swap for 2 different distros. Swap makes no problems. When sharing /home make sure they both use similar software versions (if both are recent, you have no problem, but mix of KDE 2 and 3 won't work too well, for example).

You're 100% corrent with the instal order. Windows goes first.
 
Old 12-04-2003, 04:54 PM   #3
BrianNJ
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i'm SO glad i made a seperate partition for /home. for various reasons, i'm on my fourth distro in about the same number of months. keeping /home seperate has been a godsend!

in addition to keeping the swap on a faster drive, it will help a teensy bit to have it as close to the 'begining' of the hard drive as posible (lower sector). this makes seek times a teesy bit better, but not so much you'd notice.
 
Old 12-04-2003, 05:11 PM   #4
Mara
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Yeah, but before thinking how to make swap faster I'd run 'free' and see if it's used at all
 
Old 12-04-2003, 10:14 PM   #5
avarweth
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How do I check with my current configuration to see if my swap is being used? I assume that free, by itself, is not the command I'm looking for...
 
Old 12-06-2003, 06:08 PM   #6
Mara
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Yes, it is. Run 'free' from time to time and if swap has 0s all the time, it's not used.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 12:42 AM   #7
naijin
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I've got a question... How much memory does one assign to /home? For example I've got quite a lot of mp3s and I don't want to loose them if I decide to install a new distro. Therefore, right now my /home dir is like 30Gb (used to be a Win partition ) , while everything else takes about 10Gb. Will this cause any problems later?
 
Old 12-07-2003, 12:45 AM   #8
avarweth
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I don't see why it should. If you were planning to "start over" the way I'm looking at, you could do a separate partition for home and another one, say /mp3 for your music, just for the sake of organization, if you wanted - but there's no reason that you can't have one bit partition for all your personal files, I don't believe.
 
Old 12-07-2003, 06:09 PM   #9
eddie986
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A question about partitions. I have read the other replies in this post but would just like to clarify for my peace of mind.
I am very new to Linux and would like some help with partition types and sizes ie: minimum & maximum. My box is only gonna be a workstation and not a server. I currently have a 60gb hdd 30gb of which is assigned to M$. The other 30gb i want to assign to Mandrake, Suse, and one other linux os.
Btw I have a second drive which is gonna be purely for Linux's use for storing movies, audio, docs etc, so presumably this will be my /home partition.
I aren't sure what all these partition types, var, usr etc are actually for. And which if any will I actually need.
Because I want to run more than one linux I believe I need only one /tmp & /swap. Do I need seperate /root partitions for each of the distro's, if so how do I name each one so I can install to them. What will be the biggest size I need for /boot. I have searched the net but can't find any answers to my specific questions. Please don't flame me for asking what, to most of you, are very basic questions, but I would appreciate as much insight into partition sizes and types as you could give me. Thank you in advance.
 
Old 12-08-2003, 03:52 PM   #10
BrianNJ
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Quote:
Originally posted by eddie986

Because I want to run more than one linux I believe I need only one /tmp & /swap. Do I need seperate /root partitions for each of the distro's, if so how do I name each one so I can install to them. What will be the biggest size I need for /boot. I have searched the net but can't find any answers to my specific questions. Please don't flame me for asking what, to most of you, are very basic questions, but I would appreciate as much insight into partition sizes and types as you could give me. Thank you in advance.
There's more than one way to do what you want to do. There will be some who disagree with my suggestion.

let's assume:

hda1- windows partition
hda2- swap
hda3, hda4, hda5, hda6, hdb1 are linux partitions (i'm glossing over logical/extended partitions, that's a whole other can of wax that you should grasp before setting it up)

you can share the same swap (hda2), /boot (hda3) and /home (hdb1). you can more or less recycle the same etc/fstab entries between distros.

you will mount a different / for each distro. hda4 can be SuSE's root, hda5 can be Mandrake's root, and hda6 for the other distro.

whatever distro that isn't used can be ignored by not putting it in the /etc/fstab of that distro.

my boot partition is 64 MB, and my root partition is set to 7 GB, fwiw.
 
Old 12-09-2003, 05:20 AM   #11
Mara
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Quote:
Originally posted by eddie986

I aren't sure what all these partition types, var, usr etc are actually for. And which if any will I actually need.
/var is for logs (separate is good for a server, to always have space for logs), in /usr are all you rpograms (nearly all). For a desktop machine, / and /usr can be one (you don't need separate /usr).
[B
Quote:
]Because I want to run more than one linux I believe I need only one /tmp & /swap. [/B]
You don't need separate /tmp. it can be on /.
Quote:
Do I need seperate /root partitions for each of the distro's, if so how do I name each one so I can install to them.
Do you mean / or /root? / is the root partition, /root is root's home dir. You need separate / for all distros. /root can be shared, but it makes things more compilacted, so keep it on /.
Quote:
What will be the biggest size I need for /boot. I have searched the net but can't find any answers to my specific questions.
/boot is for kernels. Average kernel coming with a distro is 1.5MB (vmlinuz)+0.5MB (system map)+0.25MB (initrd). It's approx 2.25MB in total. Let's say 2.5MB. You'll have 2 or three distros, what makes the sum of kernels less than 10MB. But just in case (for your own kernels), give /boot 50MB.
 
Old 12-09-2003, 09:14 AM   #12
elluva
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Do I have to prepare anything if I want my /boot shared between several distro's? I had Mdk installed and when I installed Slack with the /boot shared, I suddenly had massive problems booting mdk. It looked like something had been overwritten...

I ran the mdk installer and managed to repare my mdk that way, but I'd like to now how I have to set things up if I do another Slackware setup so I don't f*ck things up anymore...

tnx,
elluva
 
Old 12-09-2003, 10:46 AM   #13
eddie986
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Thanx very much BrianNJ and Mara. Your info is a great help, I think I have a better grasp of things. I just didn't want to make my partitions too large therefore not optimized. Mara, I thought / & /root were one and the same, now I've been put straight on that one.
 
  


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