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Old 05-26-2004, 03:26 AM   #1
Elbaron
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Registered: May 2004
Posts: 3

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Partition Layout advice with dual-booting


I have been thinking about installing Linux for some time and having just bought a new hard drive, I was thinking now would be a good time. I was thinking of using Red Hat 9 as I am on dial-up and have a copy of it. Dual-booting with Windows XP (which I need to reinstall) is necessary as I am not the only user. I am fairly sure I can install it properly. So I am mainly looking for critique and suggestions of the partition layout I am working on, and anything else you want to advise me on. It is a year or so old P4 2.53 GHz with 512MB of RAM.

Drive Layout:
Drive 1 – 120GB
d. MBR
e. /boot – Next 50MB?
f. Windows XP – NTFS
g. /swap – Linux? – 1024MB
Drive 2 – 250GB
h. Red Hat 9 – Ext3
i. Swap – Windows XP? – 1024MB
j. Back-up space for stuff on Drive 1 (from Windows XP)

Goals:
-Mirror or copy crucial files on both drives – not really thought out yet
-Windows XP installed
-Linux installed
-Easy installation of new distributions of Linux

1. Will the swap files being on the opposite drive give a performance boost? Worth it? Are the sizes good?
2. How much space should I allow for Red Hat 9?
3. Will I be able to install new distributions fairly easily with this?
4. What is a good partition format to share files between the different operating systems? FAT32? Any good software to let Windows read and write ext3 or something similar?
5. Any thoughts on how to separate the Red Hat partition up? For example: /home, /usr, /etc, /root, and such, or any resources on it that I could read?

I would appreciate any feedback or links to information I could read about this. If anymore info (computer specifications or otherwise) is wanted, just ask. Thanks.
 
Old 05-26-2004, 05:45 AM   #2
Demonbane
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
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1. Not really, if your system is starting to access the swap then there will be a huge performance hit anyhow. If you care about performance get more RAM, how much you need will depend on your usage.

2. If you're not planning to store a lot of personal files then 8-9gig will be more than enough.

3. If you're planning to add more distros it'll be a lot easier if you create partitions for them now.

4. yeah FAT32 is good, there's a program called Explore2fs which you can use to access ext3 partitions in Windows.

5. IMO keep it simple, sure there are advantages having different partitions on different mount points, but I prefer simplicity on my own box, especially when trying to install multiple distros. All you need is one for root and one for swap, that's it.

Last edited by Demonbane; 05-26-2004 at 05:48 AM.
 
Old 05-26-2004, 05:54 AM   #3
drowstar
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Germany
Distribution: Slackware, Gentoo, Fedora
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Re: Partition Layout advice with dual-booting

Hi Elbaron,
let me share some thoughts on your plan. Hopefully this will be of help to you.

Drive Layout:
Drive 1 - 120GB
d. MBR

You know, you dont need to set this up, right?
e. /boot - Next 50MB?
50MB is overkill. If you can spare it, better too much than not enough.
f. Windows XP - NTFS
g. /swap – Linux? – 1024MB

I seem to recall that on modern hard drives, putting swap at the outermost part of the drive would be the best option. 1024MB is more than I would have used.
Drive 2 – 250GB
h. Red Hat 9 – Ext3
i. Swap - Windows XP? - 1024MB

There ain't no such thing as SWAP for windows, right (I wouldnt know)? Better put swap there instead of the other drive. The computer can access it better this way. It's worth the effort.
j. Back-up space for stuff on Drive 1 (from Windows XP)

Goals:
-Mirror or copy crucial files on both drives - not really thought out yet
-Windows XP installed
-Linux installed
-Easy installation of new distributions of Linux

How do you mean? You want to have a hard drive setup that can easily be adapted to house an additional copy of linux? or would you just wipe redhat off the drive?

1. Will the swap files being on the opposite drive give a performance boost? Worth it? Are the sizes good?
They would. It is worth it. The size seem like a lot, but it doesnt hurt.
2. How much space should I allow for Red Hat 9?
10 Gigs? depends on what you want to install / do with it.
3. Will I be able to install new distributions fairly easily with this?
Depends. You have not put aside any empty disk space only for an installation of another distro. You would probably have to wipe redhat off the drive to install another linux.
Here's what I do, since I experiment with new distros a lot:
Code:
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hdc1   *           1        1185     9518481   83  Linux
/dev/hdc2            1186        2370     9518512+  83  Linux
/dev/hdc3            2371        7233    39062047+  83  Linux
/dev/hdc4            7234        7301      546210   82  Linux swap
As you can see, there are two partitions that are suitable for an installation of linux. The third is there so I have space to store my files on. This space is never deleted, when I install a new distro. Maybe this setup would be something you would want to consider? (in case you are wondering, yes, there is a hda also. It's old and slow and has a messed up installation of slackware on it. I hardly use it anymore.)
4. What is a good partition format to share files between the different operating systems? FAT32? Any good software to let Windows read and write ext3 or something similar?
yes fat32 would be the way to go. I dont know of any software to let windows write to ext3. And if there is, I wouldnt use (read: trust) it. Maybe thats just paranoia.You can always boot into linux and get the files off your windows partition. Also, if you want to get rid of windows some day, dont install this kind of software. It will make you want to use windows for tasks that linux can do and make the transition harder.
5. Any thoughts on how to separate the Red Hat partition up? For example: /home, /usr, /etc, /root, and such, or any resources on it that I could read?
What do you mean? You want to split the red hat partition into several others? I cant think of any resources on this off the top of my head. I usually dont split my partitions at all (aside from swap space). Call me crazy. (It doesnt seem to make sense to me. When you run out of space on only one of these parititions, you need to go through a lot of effort. This way, all that can happen is that the whole thing is full. In this case, you have some serious cleaning to do anyways.) You may want to take a look at this (Disclaimer: No, I havent read the whole thing.)

I would appreciate any feedback or links to information I could read about this. If anymore info (computer specifications or otherwise) is wanted, just ask. Thanks.
I am sorry that I wasn't able to provide you with links to additional information. Your case seems to specific to be pointed at general resources.

Hopefully this helps you, lots of luck,
- drowstar
 
Old 05-26-2004, 09:02 AM   #4
bruno buys
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
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There is a swap in win, but it΄s a file, not a partition. 98 calls it win386.swp, I guess. win2k calls it pagefile.sys.
Anyway, you don΄t have to worry about it, win will create it just fine. If you wanna tweak win and give it a boost, tell win to store pagefile.sys in a separate partition (more or less the way we do on linux, with a dedicated swap partition just for paging requests). This way you can benefit from having 1024MB partition separated. Also, you avoid fragmentation, as pagefile.sys is always the most fragmented file in every defrag report.
 
Old 05-31-2004, 04:55 AM   #5
Elbaron
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: May 2004
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Sorry I took so long to reply. And thanks for all the quick feedback.
First, answers to questions.
Quote:
d. MBR
You know, you dont need to set this up, right?
Yeah, I know I do not need to set it up, but it is on the drive so I thought I would include it.
Quote:
How do you mean? You want to have a hard drive setup that can easily be adapted to house an additional copy of linux? or would you just wipe redhat off the drive?
Mainly to house additional copies of Linux or other operating systems to use.
Quote:
What do you mean? You want to split the red hat partition into several others?
I think this came from something half-remembered about Linux from a few years ago, someone splitting their drive up into a bunch of things like in my question. But I think I was looking for something like the layout that was shown, the two partitions for distributions and then the one for user files.

All right, I modified my layout with the feedback in mind.
Drive 1: 120GB
a. MBR
b. /boot - 50MB
c. Windows XP - NTFS - Remainder
d. /swap - Linux - 1024MB or 768MB or 512MB

Drive 2: 250GB
a. Red Hat 9 - Ext3 - 10GB
b. Space for another distribution - Ext3 - 10GB
c. Room for another distribution - Ext3 - 10GB
d. Linux file space (so I can wipe distributions with semi-impunity) - Ext3 - 40GB?
e. Shared space and back-up (for Drive 1) - Fat32 - 179GB (Remainder)
f. Swap - Windows XP swap file - 1024MB

I would have kept simplicity in mind a little more, but I do have the time to mess around with my system, so it wasn’t as a large a factor as it might have been. The swap was mentioned as being a little large, so I am thinking of lowering it, what size was being thought of? I know about the performance hit on accessing swap, I am just trying to minimize it. Does this look fairly good then?

Last edited by Elbaron; 06-01-2004 at 12:18 AM.
 
  


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