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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 05-29-2017, 08:09 AM   #1
x432hz
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Question [Linux-Newbie] Help with New-Install/Proper Partitioning/General Setup


-Hi everyone-

I am new to Linux, I have messed around with Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but all of my "know-how" is based around Windows XP. When it comes to doing new-installs, I know my way around partitioning and installing Windows XP very well, but that's where it stops.

I recently got a Laptop, it's a Dell Latitude E6500, with a 250 GB Hard Drive. Since I am in the process of a slow-switch-over to Linux permanently, I still have a need to use Windows XP Pro, and that's that for now.

[MY QUESTIONS]

On the Laptop, on the 250 GB Hard Drive, I made a 60 GB NTFS partition which Windows XP Pro is installed on. I want to make a fresh-install of Linux Mint after that, as a dual-boot machine.

When I had installed Linux Mint on this Laptop before, without Windows XP, I just let it use the entire drive and allowed the automatic format/setup/install via USB from the Live/ISO Mint distro I downloaded. So everything as far as setting it up was all automatic, I had to do nothing.

My problem is I am not familiar with manually making the partitions that are needed when setting up and installing Linux. I have read all over the web on how to do it, but I seem to get confused when it comes to doing it myself.

So I need to install Linux Mint after the Windows XP Pro install that currently exists, so I need to have it explained to me how I should partition the rest of my hard drive for Linux Mint, in easy-to-understand terms, for a linux-newb like me, step by step for each partition I need to make, what formats for each partition, sizes, all that stuff.

I know once I start the Live CD install (via USB install) with Linux Mint, it will come to that part where it asks me where/how to install it, and then the options of creating the partitions for it and all that stuff.

I don't care for Ubuntu, I like Linux Mint better. So I would like to install Mint after XP as a dual-boot environment, and once Mint is installed, it would be great if I could make Mint's desktop look and act just like Kali Linux, I just really like Kali's desktop. But I know that's for later, for now I need to get this Mint setup first.

So, I need your help. Please.

Thanks.
 
Old 05-29-2017, 08:46 AM   #2
hydrurga
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Hi x432hz.

If you were to do things as simply as possible, you could just use the rest of the disk for Linux root/swap as part of the Mint installation.

However, and in the hope that it doesn't make things too complicated for you, I would create the following, in this order after the XP partition:

. 20GB partition for / (root) using ext4 filesystem (when asked by the Mint installer)

. xGB partition for swap (replace x by the amount of RAM you have + 1GB - this assumes that you might want to hibernate your laptop)

. 40GB for /home using ext4 filesystem

. Leave the rest of the disk unpartitioned for the moment

We could make it more complex than that by adding an ext4 data partition and a shared NTFS data partition but let's not. You can always make your setup more advanced once you have been going for a while and have more of an idea of your needs. In the meantime 40GB for home will allow you to store a large number of personal videos, photos, documents etc.

Personally, I would create all these partitions beforehand by downloading GParted Live (http://gparted.org/livecd.php), burning it to a CD/DVD and booting off that. Once that is done, you can install Mint and direct it at the partitions you want.
 
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:16 AM   #3
BW-userx
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if you are going to rid Windows someday that one in particular, and would like to try and to forgo having to redo everyhing to let Linux take over.

look at the drive as if you are in Gparted. going left to right.
|WIN xp pro | linux /home | swap | / root |

this way if you get rid of Windows all you'll have to do is delete it then merge it into your home partition. Instead of this.

|win | / (root) | /home| swap

then when you delete windows and you want to recover the area easily. That way you now have to let root recover that new space then move it over to your home to get that 60GB. the first way saves you a step and some time.

Just an Idea.
 
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:36 PM   #4
DVOM
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hydrurga and BW-userx, why do you not use a data partition? Especially in a dual/multi-boot setup? Seems to me that using a data partition would eliminate the need for a separate home partition.

And why doesn't anyone image their OSs? I've got 5 OSs on this machine, each gets imaged right after installation, then imaged again when I've got everything I want installed. I don't ever have to "re-install" or "fix" anything. I can restore the image in 8-10 minutes including reinstalling grub. And this is possible because I've got all my data on a separate partition.
 
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:58 PM   #5
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVOM View Post
hydrurga and BW-userx, why do you not use a data partition? Especially in a dual/multi-boot setup? Seems to me that using a data partition would eliminate the need for a separate home partition.

And why doesn't anyone image their OSs? I've got 5 OSs on this machine, each gets imaged right after installation, then imaged again when I've got everything I want installed. I don't ever have to "re-install" or "fix" anything. I can restore the image in 8-10 minutes including reinstalling grub. And this is possible because I've got all my data on a separate partition.
On my half, to keep things simple for a new user. If you feel that your approach is better then outline to OP how the partitions will look and how to achieve that. Remember of course that the data partition will be best with a NTFS filesystem to allow sharing between the two operating systems and, as such, will need a manual entry set up in the fstab to mount it with the best options.

No-one has mentioned imaging and it wasn't part of the remit so I'm not sure why you're bringing it up. I do it. I'm sure BW does it. It's a separate issue though and will complicate the OP's path. Let's get their system set up first and then, after that's done, you can propose it to them and show how it is done. Of course, if you have complicated non-trivial Linux setups, then it's a great idea to keep separate root, home (i.e. personal configs) and data partitions, so that you can have a nuanced approach to restoring partitions.

But of course just the fact I've replied to you with all this has meant that we have gone off-topic for the OP's immediate requirements, and will probably confuse them unnecessarily, for which I apologise.
 
Old 05-29-2017, 03:00 PM   #6
BW-userx
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me personally hardware deficiency is why. I got one laptop - two drives. my data is on the secondary drive. win/Linux/Linux/shared home on first drive. (swap is on my 16GB SD Card.)

OP only needs to get to know how to first then can go advance as he or she wants after that. I was just showing an idea of setting up the partitions to alleviate any complete re-install of a system if Windows gets wiped.

trying to alleviate any concerns on sharing a home with two Linux distros is not on the menu.

Last edited by BW-userx; 05-29-2017 at 03:06 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2017, 03:18 PM   #7
jefro
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Start with a ntbackup with system state if you want to recover from any mistakes maybe. Make a BartsPE or UBCD4Win at least or have a slipstreamed XP disk to start.

The mainstream distro's are pretty good at installing if you follow the default installer. The problem may be in two parts. One is reading what it is saying. Two is some laptops that old may have a problem if you try to put things too high on drive.


Don't make crazy wild partitions. You'll run into problems later. Let installer use default or for starters, just use one partition for /. Don't use wild formats. Use default or stay with ext4.

Last edited by jefro; 06-01-2017 at 02:22 PM.
 
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:54 AM   #8
aragorn2101
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Hey there,

The most important thing is to plan your partitions carefully first. Forget about making the partitions for one moment. It is very easy to make them. It's just click and go. The planning part is crucial so that you don't regret it later.

Since you are going to use XP for a while, make sure you have enough space for it. Then for the Linux system, for a beginner, it is better to stick to two partitions: the root filesystem and swap. I also strongly recommend that you plan one or more partitions for holding your data. It is bad to keep data on same partition as OS, especially when it is Windows.

So, for example, you can have such a configuration:

1. Windows XP : 75 GiB
2. Data : 100 GiB
3. Swap : 8 GiB
4. Linux : 50 GiB

I have put this in GiB since Gparted uses this unit. You will see that your 250GB will be about 233 GiB.

Now, we figure out how we proceed. First you'll instal XP. After XP is installed, just check if it is occupying the space it should, just in case. If it takes up more space than planned, just shrink it to the appropriate value using Windows' internal disk manager.

Then, boot your Mint live CD/DVD/USB. Don't go to install directly. Try the Mint live. Let the desktop start and get into Gparted. Gparted is extremely easy to use. It will have scanned your system and it will display your first disk (/dev/sda) as default.

You'll see the Windows XP partition as /dev/sda1 formatted as NTFS. sda1 means 1st partition on 1st drive. Then, you can add more partitions.

I recommend you add an extended partition taking up the rest of the disk. You can have many smaller logical partitions in this one later. When you apply the change you just made you'll see you have a second partition: /dev/sda2, which is of type "extended".

Now, add a logical partition of 100 GiB at the start of this extended partition and change its type to NTFS or HPFS/NTFS/exFAT. I think you can even tell Gparted to format it to NTFS for you. I think this will be /dev/sda5 since it is the first logical partition after the primaries. MBR disks can have only 4 primary partitions (sda1-4).

Next, you add another logical partition for the swap. Don't forget to change the partition type to Linux swap. Note how the partitions are being labelled as you are adding them.

Finally, you make the partition for your Mint root filesystem. Use the whole of the space available at the end of the disk and put the type as Linux, and format it to ext4.

There you have it! Partitions done. Just note down the labels for swap and Linux filesystem carefully (the /dev/sda...). You'll need these values when installing Mint.

Now you just have to install Mint. Just remember to choose "something else" when it asks you about how to use hard disk space. When you have done your partitions yourself, make sure to do the install as manually as possible.

All the best. :-)
 
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