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Old 09-29-2014, 07:47 AM   #1
vitamin1
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Question Good universal partition scheme for desktop PC ?


I haven't decided on any particular distro yet and most likely I will be trying out couple of them in the near future. So I would appreciate it very much if somebody could recommend me a good way to partition my hdd?

Right now I'm using Windows XP and my Samsung HD502HJ (500GB) has 3 partitions:
1. Primary: 20GB
2. Extended: 2 logical partitions ~230GB each.

For Linux I would like to use almost all disk space - leaving out only the last logical partition as a backup.

What would be best way to set up partitions for me? BTW, I'll use Linux as a full replacement for Windows XP so it will be a standard desktop PC for browsing Internet, multimedia, and a bit of gaming in WINE.
 
Old 09-29-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
DavidMcCann
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I'd say
1. Primary with Windows
2. Extended, containing the logical partitions
-- 5. the one you want to keep
-- 6. Linux root partition
-- 7. Linux /home
-- 8. Linux swap
 
Old 09-29-2014, 12:36 PM   #3
JeremyBoden
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There is no universal partition scheme!

You wouldn't normally use part of a disk as a backup of that self same disk.
Best to put backups on a secondary disk.

Since you will be wanting to have multiple distros loaded you need a single shared /home partition
plus a single partition for each distro of maybe 10-20GB for /.

You should install GRUB for each distro into the MBR.

Since it's presently got XP, its probably lacking in memory - so you need one shared swap partition of the same size as your main memory.

Once you decide on final choice of distro, I would reinstall into a / of maybe 30GB, same size swap and reload /home with any data you want kept.
Switching distros a lot can put a lot of unnecessary files into /home
 
Old 09-29-2014, 01:08 PM   #4
vitamin1
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This beckup partition is only temporary as I need to burn some data onto dvds. And I won't have multiple distros installed. I will install only one, and if I won't like it I will remove it, and install another one.

As for my RAM, I got 2GB now and it's more than enough for me. Not sure if I need swap on Linux?

Some additional questions:
1. Should I go with GPT or MBR? My current mobo is BIOS based but I'll be buying UEFI one sooner or later. Also I read the GPT keeps a duplicate partition table for recovery which is always a good thing I guess.
2. Separate partitions for /boot and /var - make sense for desktop use?
3. What file system to use?


p.s.
@DavidMcCann - I'm not keeping my XP. It's a closed chapter in my book
 
Old 09-29-2014, 03:02 PM   #5
yancek
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Quote:
2. Separate partitions for /boot and /var - make sense for desktop use?
If you can't think of a reason to use it, there probably isn't any need. The problem many people have with a separate /boot partition is frequent updates and new kernels and filling up the partition because they don't make it large enough or don't properly remove old kernels. this results in an unbootable machine. /var on a separate partition mostly if you have a server running as that is the default location with most systems.
 
Old 09-29-2014, 03:43 PM   #6
vitamin1
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So in my case /var won't be necessary but I think I'll make a separate partition for /boot - just in case I decide to encrypt root partition.

Last edited by vitamin1; 09-29-2014 at 03:51 PM. Reason: update
 
Old 09-29-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
yancek
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If you make a separate /boot partition, I would suggest you make it larger than 200MB and also look into how to safely remove kernels in whatever distribution you select as I have seen a number of posts in which users have done updates of kernels and filled their boot partition which can lead to an unbootable system. Some systems seem to automatically remove older kernels while others do not.
 
Old 09-29-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
notKlaatu
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It probably doesn't really need to be said, because I know you were planning on doing this anyway, but let me take this opportunity to remind you to BACK UP before re-partitioning and installing Linux willy-nilly. Seriously, at SOME point in your exploration, you WILL hit the wrong button or make the wrong choice, and your Windows partition will be over-written (unless it isn't). Do yourself a favour now, and back up!

Also, have fun and welcome to Linux!
 
Old 09-30-2014, 07:03 AM   #9
JeremyBoden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitamin1 View Post
This beckup partition is only temporary as I need to burn some data onto dvds. And I won't have multiple distros installed. I will install only one, and if I won't like it I will remove it, and install another one.

As for my RAM, I got 2GB now and it's more than enough for me. Not sure if I need swap on Linux?

Some additional questions:
1. Should I go with GPT or MBR? My current mobo is BIOS based but I'll be buying UEFI one sooner or later. Also I read the GPT keeps a duplicate partition table for recovery which is always a good thing I guess.
2. Separate partitions for /boot and /var - make sense for desktop use?
3. What file system to use?


p.s.
@DavidMcCann - I'm not keeping my XP. It's a closed chapter in my book
Go for MBR on the grounds of simplicity and because your machine isn't UEFI anyway.
You can make a record of your partition layout with a single Linux command and email it to yourself.
My PC is also 2GB and whilst I do have swap, it is virtually never used unless I load a number of huge programs concurrently.

Definitely use ext4 for all your file systems.

Use a separate /boot (I'd suggest you give it 1GB) only if your biggest disk exceeds several TB.
 
Old 09-30-2014, 11:02 AM   #10
DavidMcCann
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Swap is really only used on a large computer if you want to hibernate, although there are a couple of distros (I can't remember which) with installers which insist on it.

I assumed you'd keep Windows because you've paid for it and you never know when it might come in useful; but then I'm a hoarder!

I've never seen a reason for /boot, unless you use something tiresome like LVM. Encrypt /home by all means but why root?
 
Old 09-30-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
Captain Pinkeye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
I'd say
1. Primary with Windows
2. Extended, containing the logical partitions
-- 5. the one you want to keep
-- 6. Linux root partition
-- 7. Linux /home
-- 8. Linux swap
And i would agree. As Yancek said, if you don't see the reason for extra partitions, you probably shouldn't do extra partitions.

My scheme is always:
256-512MB for /boot (and you don't need that)
2GB for swap (i have 2GB of RAM and plenty of HDD space, so no harm in having it)
16-20GB for root ( / )
the rest for /home.

But you could do well with just root and /home.

You can play with /var, /var/log, /tmp, /usr and other ones, or you could leave it to server experts. I wonder if anybody bothers with that on desktop/laptop machines, anyway (it HAS some benefits, they say).

ext4 filesystem is an overall good choice.
 
Old 10-01-2014, 10:50 AM   #12
DavidMcCann
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As far as fancy extra partitions are concerned,

/var was recommended for servers because it handles things like print spooling, incoming mail, and data bases; it could get overwhelmed if the system was out-growing the hardware.

I've never seen a good reason for /usr. Debian's documentation suggested /usr/local on a separate partition if you plan to use a lot of programs that aren't in Debian, so that you can re-install without loosing them. But that assumes that the programs would be re-locatable there and not insist on going in with everything else. There was a time some years back where both Fedora and Red Hat had a bug that caused trouble if you had a /usr partition — evidently no-one there bothered with it!
 
Old 10-01-2014, 04:42 PM   #13
vitamin1
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Thanks everyone for your input. I decided to buy another hard drive for Linux (250GB SATA2) and most likely will go with MBR and four partitions: boot, root, home, and swap (just in case). As for file system, I'm not sure but I'm thinking about something like this: /boot - ext2, root - ext4, and /home - xfs. Now I only need to decide on which distro to try first. But it's a different matter.
 
Old 10-01-2014, 06:03 PM   #14
littlejoe5
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I really like Mint. Mint 17 seems to be a really well finished distro. I always use only one partition (about 10GB or a little less) for root "/", and one for home. If you haven't already destroyed your Windows partition, id' do it by steps: defrag the Windows partition to get it organized into the tightest space possible. Then use "Gparted" from the live boot disk, to make the windows partition as small as you can without destroying it. While you are in gparted set yourself a partition for "/" (10Gb is more than enough) and "home" (The rest of the disk). Also while your setting up the hard disk, set the windows partition to be used, but take care not to set it to format. I know you said you are done with it, but does it still have on it photos or documents you might want? If so, you don't want to destroy it just yet.

Then Install your distro (Mint 17?). And once you have it installed you'll want to run the "Update manager". Then you will need "ntfs-3g" to read the windows disk if it is using ntfs, so bring up a terminal and run "sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g".


Now you can run your new installation, and if you want to go back to your old system to pick up photos or documents, you can do that. If and when you get everything off of that disk that you might want, you can use gparted to change it. It will probably about 20GB in size, if you have made it as small as possible. So you can probably divide it in half so as to install two more distros.

Why would you want to do that? well, because someday you are going to want to try out a new one or two, and if your disk is bigger than 40gb you can do that and still have room, and it's easier to prepare for it now than change it later.
 
Old 10-01-2014, 06:20 PM   #15
JeremyBoden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitamin1 View Post
Thanks everyone for your input. I decided to buy another hard drive for Linux (250GB SATA2) and most likely will go with MBR and four partitions: boot, root, home, and swap (just in case). As for file system, I'm not sure but I'm thinking about something like this: /boot - ext2, root - ext4, and /home - xfs. Now I only need to decide on which distro to try first. But it's a different matter.
I'd suggest that you use ext4 for /home as the ext2,3,4 tools are remarkedly similar.
 
  


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