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Old 12-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
Alonso_
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Newb needs help with partitions


I'm installing Ubuntu 13.10 on an external 1TB hard drive, and hoping to dual boot it alongside my main drive which is an SSD running windows 8. I'm about to install but a bit confused about all these partitions such as /boot, /home etc.

The drive will be half NTFS for shared backup files with windows, and the other half linux stuff. I know to make a primary ext4 partition with a "/" mount point, and a swap space for hibernate, but beyond that I'm not sure. Any tips would be appreciated.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #2
TobiSGD
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Other partitions than / are not needed to run a Linux system, not even swap, though it is recommended to have one (and necessary for hibernation).
However, there are some benefits and/or even necessities for other partitions. For example, if you want to encrypt the /-partition you will need a separate /boot. If you want to keep your system and your data separated a /home-partition comes in handy. Keep in mind that with Linux none of these partitions, not even the /-partition, have to be primary, all these can be logical partitions.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
lleb
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to continue on with tobiSGD's great post, here is what i do with all of my linux workstations/laptops:

full disk encryption for all laptops, partition encryption for desktops.

/ thats the root system
/swap think page file system in MS world, depending on RAM i tend to keep this no larger then 2G, that is unless the system has less then 3G physical RAM, in that case i will either double or 1.5x RAM for /swap
/home always encrypted

i dont bother with other partitions, but that is just me.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 04:49 PM   #4
smallpond
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The big reason to have separate partitions is that most Linux distros work better with clean installs. This means put /home on a separate data partition that you don't have to destroy when you upgrade. There's no reason for having /boot on a separate partition with a modern BIOS. So my recommendation for your case would be to have a couple of 20 GB OS partitions for Linux distros (current and test, or current, backup and test), a 10 GB swap partition, and the rest in two partitions for your Linux and Windows data.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 04:53 PM   #5
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallpond View Post
There's no reason for having /boot on a separate partition with a modern BIOS.
As mentioned above, there are legitimate reasons for having a separate /boot, for example encrypted /-partitions (no BIOS/bootloader, regardless how modern, can boot from that) or using LVM for your partitions with a bootloader that does not work with LVM.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 06:32 PM   #6
nd7rmn8
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Keep in mind that if the external hard drive has no vents in it, it does have the potential to overheat with extended constant use. You should be fine though. Just remember, if after a couple hours or days of constant use, it locks up, that may be the cause.

/home - is the default location for documents, user data, movies, music, user config settings. Nice to have as a seperate partition in case you decide to reinstall the OS, if you don't format that partition on reinstall, and remount it as /home, it will boot back up with all those files right where you left them.

/ - contains everything, unless you create seperate partitions for the folders within it

/swap - acts as RAM for when your machine runs out of RAM. Old standby is to double your total RAM to figure out how big to make it... Alternatively, you can create a swap file in its place, with a possible miniscule performance hit.

/boot - holds stuff required for booting up. You need to have this seperate if you want to encrypt your root partition ( / ). Otherwise, I wouldnt worry about making it seperate. You do not need to have this seperate if all you want to do is encrypt your home partition.

For typical desktop use, in my opinion, there is no real purpose in doing anything else as seperate partitions, unless you have special plans.
 
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:52 PM   #7
Alonso_
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Thanks for the replies guys, incredibly helpful. Great community here

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd7rmn8 View Post
Keep in mind that if the external hard drive has no vents in it, it does have the potential to overheat with extended constant use. You should be fine though. Just remember, if after a couple hours or days of constant use, it locks up, that may be the cause.
Hmm my main SSD is 180 gb and has some space to spare, would it be recommended I put root, /boot, and /swap on there instead? Or would it not really matter?

Last edited by Alonso_; 12-17-2013 at 07:15 PM.
 
Old 12-17-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
nd7rmn8
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Its up to you, If all you are doing is trying out ubuntu for the first time and just want to experiment a little, install it to a flash drive or an external hard drive. If you like it, then install it to the internal hard drive.

If you install it on the same hard drive as Windows, likely you will have to resize your windows partition, which I believe the Ubuntu installer is capable of (maybe). If not, there are other Linux livecd's that are capable of such things. Personally, I would set aside atleast 20GB for linux, you can run far less, but I have a way of always filling it up real quick.

HOWEVER; resizing partitions can cause data loss. It doesn't happen often, but it is possible. So back up everything you could possibly want off of your windows partition, to include all your CD-keys and such, just in case you lose everything and have to reinstall windows.
 
  


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