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Old 02-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #1
kpfuser
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Drive partitioning in preparation to installing linux


I have an asus laptop with a 500 gb hd. The hd is partitioned into 10 partitions and runs the native Windows 7, linux mint, and bodhi linux. Some of the partitions have nothing in them and some that are utilized can be overwritten without loss. My objective is to install the latest bodhi linux in some partition(s) on this hd.

To begin with, I recall reading that for easier updates to future versions of any linux distro, it is better to put /home in a separate partition. Thus one partition will be needed for /home, one for /, and one more to be used as swap. Moreover the bodhi installer asks where to place grub. Should grub be placed in a partition of its own? If yes, what name should I give to it? If not, where should I install grub?

I propose to carry out the above by using gparted live to select or create two partitions, (re)format them as a suitable linux filesystem (which one?), and select / and /home as their mount points. Next select or create one more partition and (re)format it as swap. After this I will run the Bodhi installer. If all goes well, the installer should detect the created partitions and mount points and carry out the installation as planned. If not, I can reformat using the respective tool from within the installer, try again, and see what happens.

All I want to ask at this point is whether what I propose to do is corect. If not, how should I go about doing it? Finally, what about the "where to install grub" question?
 
Old 02-23-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
yancek
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Quote:
Should grub be placed in a partition of its own?
You can create a separate boot partition on which to put your boot and grub files. You don't need to. You don't mention which bootloader you are using to boot your systems, that will make a difference. What is your primary system? Are you going to use Mint more than Bodhi or vice versa? Do you have the Mint Grub bootloader in the master boot record?

You can install Grub from Bodhi in the master boot record and it should detect your other operating systems and create an entry in the boot menu for each.

You can install Grub for Bodhi onto its filesystem partition and then you will have to update the other bootloader you are using so that it will be aware of the new installation.

If you already have a swap partition, it is pointless to create another one.

Where you install Grub then depends upon which bootloader you want to use. Windows??, Mint? the old Bodhi?, the new Bodhi?
 
Old 02-23-2014, 04:48 PM   #3
kpfuser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
You can create a separate boot partition on which to put your boot and grub files. You don't need to. You don't mention which bootloader you are using to boot your systems, that will make a difference. What is your primary system? Are you going to use Mint more than Bodhi or vice versa?
If I use a different partition for boot and grub files, should I call it /boot? If not, then what?

Currently the Bodhi bootloader comes up at startup.

I am going to use Bodhi more than Mint.

Quote:
Do you have the Mint Grub bootloader in the master boot record?
I cannot answer this question. I do not recall any installer in the past informing me whether it places the bootloader it installs in the master boot record. In fact, I would like to opt for not installing yet one more Grub version when there is a perfectly functioning one in my system already but I have never been given the chance to opt for this. Thus I end up with as many versions of Grub lurking in my system as the number of installed linux distros. The one installed last will come up at startup and the others will be banished forever or at least till the next installation of the respective distro.

Quote:
You can install Grub from Bodhi in the master boot record and it should detect your other operating systems and create an entry in the boot menu for each.
This is somewhat confusing. For sure Bodhi's Grub version detects every OS perfectly, but it was not a conscious decision on my part to place it in the master boot record. If it is there, it is because the Bodhi installer placed it there whether I wanted it or not. Btw, if I elect to put Grub in its own partition (/boot or whatever), what will this imply about which distro's Grub is in the master boot record? Also how can I specify that any linux distro's Grub must be installed in the master boot record?

Quote:
You can install Grub for Bodhi onto its filesystem partition and then you will have to update the other bootloader you are using so that it will be aware of the new installation.
A bit more confusion here I am afraid. Does this mean that if I install the Bhodi Grub into a separate partition (/boot or other), the bootloader that was in the system prior to installing Bhodi will continue to appear during booting, in which case this older bootloader must be updated so as to detect Bodhi? In this case, why install the Bodhi Grub at all? Wouldn't it be simpler to install Bodhi but not its Grub version, if this is possible? On the other hand, if I did not quite grasp what you are trying to say here, what exactly do you mean by saying "install Grub for Bodhi onto its filesystem partition?"

Quote:
If you already have a swap partition, it is pointless to create another one.
Well, this is what I thought too. However, when I try to run the Bodhi installer, the existing swap partition is not detected and this means not just its filesystem but its very existence as well. So I thought I'd better run gparted live prior to installing Bodhi and set up a swap partition all over again. Then, if during Bodhi installation the newly created swap partition remains invisible, I can create it once more through the Bodhi installer. Anything wrong with doing so?

Quote:
Where you install Grub then depends upon which bootloader you want to use. Windows??, Mint? the old Bodhi?, the new Bodhi?
I would like to use the new Bodhi bootloader. What should I do
1. now or
2. later in case I want to install another linux distro but I want to continue using the new Bodhi bootloader.
 
Old 02-23-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
yancek
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I haven't installed Bodhi recently but most Ubuntu derivatives like Bodhi and Mint have an option during the install of "Device for Bootloader Installation". The default is /dev/sda which will install it to the master boot record. If you don't make any change to the default then each time you install a new system it installs its bootloader to the master boot record. Also, on Ubuntu and Mint, you will generally have several options to install such as install alongside other OS, erase disk and install and Something Else which used to be the Manual or Expert mode. This last option is what I always use as I can then see what is happening and have more control.

If you see the Bodhi boot menu when you boot your machine then its Grub is in the mbr.

Quote:
I would like to opt for not installing yet one more Grub version when there is a perfectly functioning one in my system already but I have never been given the chance to opt for this.
You have been given the chance but probably didn't notice it or you used the install alongside option which may not show it. I've never used that method so don't really know. Grub files don't take up much space. I have Ubuntu 12.04 installed on a partition and its Grub files total 4MB so unless you had a tiny hard drive it should not really matter. Also, if you have the Bodhi Grub installed to the mbr it still has the vast majority (probably over 90%) of the necessary Grub files on the Bodhi partition.

Quote:
If I use a different partition for boot and grub files, should I call it /boot?
That would be best and would simplify things.

Quote:
Does this mean that if I install the Bhodi Grub into a separate partition (/boot or other), the bootloader that was in the system prior to installing Bhodi will continue to appear during booting, in which case this older bootloader must be updated so as to detect Bodhi?
Yes to both.

Quote:
why install the Bodhi Grub at all? Wouldn't it be simpler to install Bodhi but not its Grub version, if this is possible? On the other hand, if I did not quite grasp what you are trying to say here, what exactly do you mean by saying "install Grub for Bodhi onto its filesystem partition?"
As indicated above, Grub files don't take up much space and if you don't install it on your new Bodhi, you are counting on your old bootloader to be able to detect it. If you plan to use the new version of Bodhi more than your other systems, you would be best off installing its Grub to the mbr and using it to boot all systems. Installing Grub for the new Bodhi would mean you would have to update grub on the system which currently resides in the mbr. From the info you have posted, that is the older version of Bodhi so it would make sense to install the newer Bodhi to the mbr.

With regard to the swap partition, you may not even need it. Depends upon how much RAM you have. I've also had some installs that would not complete unless a swap was created so you may need to. You can always create it during or after installation. If you create a new swap it may change the uuid and that might affect it on Mint and your old Bodhi but it's not a big problem.

Quote:
I would like to use the new Bodhi bootloader. What should I do
I would select the Manual, Expert or Something Else option during the install, whichever you have in Bodhi and select to install its Grub bootloader to the mbr. In most Ubuntu derivatives I have installed, you should see the option "Device for Bootloader Installation" and the default is "/dev/sda", which is what you want. For future installs of Linux on other partitions, select to install the Grub files to the partition on which you install the new Linux version. After you complete the new installation, you would then need to reboot into Bodhi and run sudo update-grub so its Grub detects the new system. You should then be able to reboot to the new system.
 
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:32 AM   #5
kpfuser
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Wink

yancek,

Thank you for your your time and your informative answers. Thinks have fallen largely into place but there is always room for some further elaboration. So here we go.

Quote:
I haven't installed Bodhi recently but most Ubuntu derivatives like Bodhi and Mint have an option during the install of "Device for Bootloader Installation". The default is /dev/sda which will install it to the master boot record.
This is exactly the case with Bodhi.

Quote:
Also, on Ubuntu and Mint, you will generally have several options to install such as install alongside other OS, erase disk and install and Something Else which used to be the Manual or Expert mode. This last option is what I always use as I can then see what is happening and have more control.
This is exactly so for Bodhi as well. In addition, I also prefer to use the "Something Else" mode because I usually install more than one linux distros and I want to control what goes where.

Quote:
You have been given the chance but probably didn't notice it or you used the install alongside option which may not show it.
Well, how so? I used the "Something Else" mode and all I saw regarding Grub was the option "Device for Bootloader Installation" with /dev/sda as the default and a drop-down list which displays almost all of the partitions on my hd, save for a couple that are mysteriously absent, with first among them my swap partition. What do I need to do to express the message "I don't want another Grub?"

Quote:
As indicated above, Grub files don't take up much space and if you don't install it on your new Bodhi, you are counting on your old bootloader to be able to detect it. If you plan to use the new version of Bodhi more than your other systems, you would be best off installing its Grub to the mbr and using it to boot all systems. Installing Grub for the new Bodhi would mean you would have to update grub on the system which currently resides in the mbr. From the info you have posted, that is the older version of Bodhi so it would make sense to install the newer Bodhi to the mbr.
I understand these and fully agree. The important issue here is not a new Bodhi Grub vs an old Bodhi Grub selection. Once the new Bodhi is installed and runs well, the old Bodhi will have to go, after retrieving whatever useful files may be there. So for sure the new Bodhi Grub must and will be installed in the mbr (and I know just how to do it now). However, if in the future I decide to install some other flavor of linux to give it a try, I want to be able to opt out of installing one more Grub. Well, as things stand now, I should be able to at least keep the Grub I want in the mbr and banish potential intruders into some other partition from where they cannot interfere.

Quote:
With regard to the swap partition, you may not even need it. Depends upon how much RAM you have. I've also had some installs that would not complete unless a swap was created so you may need to. You can always create it during or after installation. If you create a new swap it may change the uuid and that might affect it on Mint and your old Bodhi but it's not a big problem.
I have 6 GB of RAM. Would this be enough to avoid creating a swap partition altogether? In any event, I would not create an entirely new swap partition. If my swap partition remains invisible to the Bodhi installer, I will recreate it at the same location and give it the same size as the one that became invisible, hoping to avoid any problems with the older installations in this manner.

Last but not least, when some distro's Grub is installed in the mbr, does it overwrite any Grub pre-existing in the mbr from some previous installation? I would bet it does, but just the same, I'd rather hear it from higher authority.
 
Old 02-24-2014, 03:27 PM   #6
yancek
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Quote:
You have been given the chance but probably didn't notice it or you used the install alongside option which may not show it.
What I was referring to was what you mention in your last post, using the 'Something Else' option you get the different partitions for options as to where to install. Sometimes, there is a blank line which when selected would mean not installing Grub. I don't know if that option is available. I'm not sure why some of your partitions do not show in the bootloader selection. Swap won't be shown for sure. Also, I can recall some distributions giving me the option to "not install Grub" but don't know if that is available with Bodhi/Ubuntu, etc.

Quote:
I have 6 GB of RAM. Would this be enough to avoid creating a swap partition altogether?
Probably unless you are doing something that is very RAM intensive. An option would be to create a small (1GB) swap if you get warnings when not creating one. I've seen this on some systems.

Quote:
Last but not least, when some distro's Grub is installed in the mbr, does it overwrite any Grub pre-existing in the mbr from some previous installation? I would bet it does, but just the same, I'd rather hear it from higher authority
Absolutely. Windows has always done this automatically without asking or informing the user unless something has changed with windows 8/8.1, which I doubt. All Linux systems I have used have this as the default but I've never installed any that didn't give the option.

You don't 'need' Grub installs on secondary systems if your original Grub menu file has an entry pointing directly to the kernel/initrd files. If you don't have a Grub install on a secondary system that would eliminate the possibility of a chainload entry working. I generally leave Grub on multiple partitions simply because the files take up so little space. You could test this from Bodhi since you are using its Grub bootloader. Move the grub directory from the /boot directory of Mint to some other location (check permissions first so you can set them back later if necessary). After doing this, try booting Mint from the Bodhi Grub. If you Mint entry in Bodhi Grub points to the kernel, it should boot.

Conversely, if you had an entry such as the one below in the Bodhi grub.cfg file to boot another system also using grub2, it would not boot unless you had Grub installed on that partition.

Quote:
menuentry 'CHAINLOAD' {
insmod ext2
set root=(hd0,12)
chainloader +1
}
 
Old 02-25-2014, 07:49 AM   #7
kpfuser
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yancek,

Thank you for your valuable info. I do have a much better understanding of pre-installation partitioning issues as a result and it is now time to test what I have learned in practice. I hope all goes well. Btw, the Bodhi installer does not offer the blank line option for Grub installation, but it is good to have this option in mind to use it if or when it is offered. As for the test involving the Linux Mint Grub, I cannot run it now because I deleted the respective partition. It was taking too much space in my hd and repeated efforts to shrink it using GParted failed producing the same non-informative error message.
 
Old 02-25-2014, 08:52 AM   #8
yancek
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Quote:
As for the test involving the Linux Mint Grub, I cannot run it now because I deleted the respective partition.
I know I'd done this before but after posting yesterday, I tested to verify. I have Ubuntu 12.03 on one partition with an entry for Mint which is on a separate partition. I 'moved' the Grub directory from the Mint /boot directory to the /home directory on Mint, rebooted and from the Ubuntu Grub screen, selected Mint and it booted with no problem. After booting Mint, I checked the /boot directory and there was a Grub directory created but it just had the grub.env file. Not sure why that happens. As I indicated in my previous post, this would not be expected to work with a chainload type entry. The entry for Mint from the Ubuntu grub.cfg file (below) points directly to the kernel and initrd files:

Quote:
menuentry "Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon 32-bit, 3.2.0-23-generic (/dev/sda10) (on /dev/sda10)" --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='(hd0,msdos10)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a7106fc9-7984-4849-bb5d-b34fb465278d
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-23-generic root=UUID=a7106fc9-7984-4849-bb5d-b34fb465278d ro quiet splash $vt_handoff
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-23-generic
}
Quote:
repeated efforts to shrink it using GParted failed producing the same non-informative error message.
In the future, it would probably be a good idea to make a note of the 'non-informative' message. What doesn't mean anything to you or I will probably be easily explained by some other more knowledgeable member here.

Good luck with it all.
 
Old 02-25-2014, 12:08 PM   #9
RockDoctor
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On my desktop PC, I installed grub into the MBR; it points to a small boot partition, /dev/sda2. Originally, /dev/sda2 was mounted at /boot of a distro installed in /dev/sda5. I unmounted /dev/sda2 at /boot, remounted it at /mnt/Boot, copied the contents of /mnt/Boot to /boot, then installed grub on /dev/sda5.

I hand-edited the grub.cfg file on /dev/sda2 to just chainload grub on each distro-containing partition. When I install a new Linux distro, the bootloader goes on the same partition as the distro, and grub.cfg on /dev/sda2 gets an edit (so I know what distro is in which partition).
 
  


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