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Old 12-03-2009, 04:21 AM   #1
Andriy
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Question Partitioning a Hard Drive with a /boot on it.


Hi! I am a returning user of Slackware. This time, I am going to install the 64-bit version of Slack 13. I have been using Ubuntu for the past two years but now I am back to my first love.

Something has been bothering me however, and that is the fact that I forgot why I put a /boot partition on my old desktop before.

I know that the minimal requirement in partitioning only requires a / and a swap partition but I did it by the book and divided it into /, /home, /usr/local and swap..but I also added a /boot partition to it.

The current hard drive already has an OS installed on it, a Windows XP and an Ubuntu Karmic Koala. I am planning to ditch the Ubuntu in favour of the Slack.

The question is, should the /boot partition be strictly located on the first few cylinders of the drive which currently has Windows XP on it? Or would it still be perfectly possible to put the /boot partition anywhere on the hard drive. I don't want to remove this OS since it's required at work.

I seriously can't remember what advantages or disadvantages a /boot partition would have apart from the kernels residing on it.

I hope someone could spare from the dilemma.

Thanks!
 
Old 12-03-2009, 06:15 AM   #2
onebuck
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Hi,

Welcome back!

I suggest that you do a 'fdisk -l' while you still have your GNU/Linux OS. Looking at your profile it states you use 'Slax'. If you have it then boot the CD and perform the 'fdisk -l';

Code:
sample fdisk -l;                                       

Disk /dev/hda: 100.2 GB, 100256292864 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 12188 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xe275e275                     

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1        1868    15004678+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda2            1869        1931      506047+  82  Linux swap
/dev/hda3            1932        2181     2008125   83  Linux     
/dev/hda4            2182       12188    80381227+   5  Extended  
/dev/hda5            2182        2680     4008186   83  Linux     
/dev/hda6            2681        3057     3028221   83  Linux     
/dev/hda7            3058        3088      248976   83  Linux     
/dev/hda8            3089        3213     1004031   83  Linux     
/dev/hda9            3214        5704    20008926   83  Linux
/dev/hda10           5705        8195    20008926   83  Linux
/dev/hda11           8196       10686    20008926   83  Linux
/dev/hda12          10687       11437     6032376   83  Linux
/dev/hda13          11438       12188     6032376   83  Linux
Notice the '/dev/hda1' partition. It is a M$ Windows install.
M$ doesn't play well unless you install it first therefore the position of the partition. Sure, you can do things to fool M$ but not done by the average user. The M$ bootloader is installed initially and can be used to boot a GNU/Linux install but most use 'lilo' or 'grub' to control the dual boot systems.

As for the separate '/boot' partition for an install. Some bootloaders don't play well with some filesystems. So a '/boot' that is configured as 'ext2' to utilize 'grub2' with 'ext4' could be used. I believe you are confusing the '/boot' partition with the 'bootloader' that is used to initialize. The 'MBR' system has the boot of the Initial Program Loader (IPL) on the first sectors to launch the Secondary Program Loader (SPL) which is utilized to init the OS.

 
Old 12-03-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
svinoba
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I had this dilemma too. But I was advised that a seperate /boot partition is not compulsory and that it is required if we are using LVM/RAID. I'm happy with just 'swap' and '/' partitions.
 
Old 12-03-2009, 06:36 AM   #4
hitest
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For me on my Slackware boxen I use a /, swap, and /home partition. That meets my needs.
 
Old 12-03-2009, 06:50 AM   #5
Andriy
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Yes. I think I have that confusion. But all of these stemmed since in my old system I have the Linux partition installed before I installed the Win OS and not the other way around.

So, you mean it would be fine if I put the /boot partition anywhere on the hard drive huh?
 
Old 12-03-2009, 06:54 AM   #6
syg00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andriy View Post
Something has been bothering me however, and that is the fact that I forgot why I put a /boot partition on my old desktop before.
Because it was old.
The limitation was the BIOS - basically any code required by the loader had to reside within the first 1024 "cylinders". Say the first 8 Gig. Any BIOS from the last 5-7 years should do away with that - both grub and lilo now check if the BIOS can handle the extended calls.
Personally I still use a /boot so I can delete distros with impunity, and not lose the ability to boot or update the boot menu.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-03-2009, 07:30 AM   #7
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andriy View Post
Yes. I think I have that confusion. But all of these stemmed since in my old system I have the Linux partition installed before I installed the Win OS and not the other way around.

So, you mean it would be fine if I put the /boot partition anywhere on the hard drive huh?
Indeed the '/boot' should reside under the 1024 but with modern system BIOS there is no need for that restriction. In your old system you still had the 'MBR' style boot process. Your install depended on that boot technique.

You could place your '/boot' in a separate partition. As stated by others the advantage would be if you hop a lot or re-install and wish to save the '/boot'.
 
Old 12-03-2009, 07:40 AM   #8
Andriy
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I see your point syg00. The last system I had with slack on it was very old indeed compared to the new ones.

@onebuck

Could you please tell me which one of those are primary and which one are extended? does it have a /boot partition on it?
 
Old 12-03-2009, 08:23 AM   #9
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andriy View Post
I see your point syg00. The last system I had with slack on it was very old indeed compared to the new ones.

@onebuck

Could you please tell me which one of those are primary and which one are extended? does it have a /boot partition on it?
In the example I gave there are 3 primary partitions '/dev/hda1,2,3' with the extended partition '/dev/hda4'. Within the extended partition there are 9 logical partitions. The '/' is on '/dev/hda3' which has the '/boot'. I don't need a separate partition for '/boot'.

GNU/Linux allows 4 primary partitions. You can allocate one of those as a extended to contain logical partitions. You can hide partitions but that is beyond the scope of a typical user. You can search here on LQ as partitioning has been covered many times.

BTW, partition schemes are personal thus very debatable. Typical Desktop systems work fine with a '/' and swap partitions.


Last edited by onebuck; 12-04-2009 at 06:48 AM. Reason: typo
 
Old 12-03-2009, 08:39 AM   #10
Andriy
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Thanks everyone, I finally got the gist of this.

@onebuck

Thanks. It happened to me that I should explore more on these things.
 
Old 12-07-2009, 04:40 AM   #11
Quercus ruber
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Hi
I have vista and various distros on my hard disk, mostly I use slack though. I have a separate /home so I can delete/reinstall distros as and when. To facilitate this I've created a separate GRUB partition, using this page http://www.troubleshooters.com/linux...bpartition.htm as a guide. I used gparted from a live cd to slide my existing partitions around before I created it.

fdisk -l gives me this:

Code:
  Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1        1530    12288000   27  Unknown
/dev/sda2            1531        7308    46409737    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            7309       19457    97586842+   5  Extended
/dev/sda4            7308        7308        2048   83  Linux  <-- my grub partition
/dev/sda5            7309        8881    12635091   83  Linux
/dev/sda6            8882        9390     4088511   82  Linux swap
/dev/sda7            9391       10760    11004493+  83  Linux
/dev/sda8           10761       12990    17912443+  83  Linux
/dev/sda9           12991       16505    28234206   83  Linux
/dev/sda10          16506       17771    10169113+  83  Linux
/dev/sda11          17772       18267     3984088+  83  Linux
/dev/sda12          18268       19457     9558643+   b  W95 FAT32

Partition table entries are not in disk order
Now I can fiddle about with distros and the rest of the family hardly notices. Works for me. Just my 2 cents.

ros
 
Old 12-07-2009, 08:19 AM   #12
Andriy
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Thanks for the thought Ros. I had the link noted.
 
  


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