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Old 08-23-2003, 09:53 AM   #1
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Enabling virtual memory

Hi guys,

I'd like to install mandrake 9.1, and was wondering exactly what do I need to do to have virtual memory. Does it need to be on it's own partition? How big should I make it?(My hard drive is 20G and I have 128MB ram) I've heard people say you can make windows(I use XP Pro) and Linux both use the same partition for virtual memory, is that a good idea, and if so, how do I do it? If there's a user friendly guide with the answers to all of these, please let me know, thanks.
Old 08-23-2003, 10:29 AM   #2
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On Linux, virtual memory is called swap space.

When you install, you'll need to create at least two partitions... One labeled "/" and called root, and one "swap". The old guidelines said you should have a swap one-and-a-half to two times the size of your memory. That was when people had less than 64MB of RAM. Nowadays, I suggest 128MB of swap, unless you run a heavy-load server or are editing huge files. I have desktop computers with 128-512MB of RAM that rarely have to swap anything out.

Since it is it's own partition, and formatted with a special swap filesystem, Windows won't recognize it. So, you can't use the same partition for swap and virt. mem..

Before you install, you will need to free some hard-drive space for Linux. You can either use the utils in XP, or a non-destructive partitioner like Partition Magic. 20GB is a bit small to be dual-booting, but it will work. You just can't have everything installed. Linux should easily fit within 8GB for a good, everyday-usable install. You won't be able to install everything, and won't be able to store lots of big files, but it will be a good start.

You might want to look into making a FAT32 partition to store files you will use in both operating systems. Linux support for NTFS is still sketchy... You can usually read fine, but writing to it could mess-up the whole partition. Since the programmers can't look at the specifications / protocols of NTFS, they have to try reverse-engineering to work with it. Windows can't read/write Linux partitions normally... You can get software to do it, but don't really need to. Linux can read/write FAT partitions without any problems, so it's normally used as a go-between. You can store music and documents and whatnot on a FAT32 partition and access it from both Windows and Linux.

Then, when you install Linux, you should prob'ly "auto allocate" all the free space. Be sure not to choose the whole drive, because that would delete your Windows. It will make a swap bigger than I suggest, but that's OK. It will look at the amount of free space a set-up partitions it needs.

And finally, be sure to back-up anything you can't lose before you start changing partitions. Anytime you change the partition table, there is a chance something could go wrong, and you could loose everything on the drive.
Old 08-23-2003, 11:57 AM   #3
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Ok so I'll use Parition Magic to make one root partition with ext2 or ext3 FS. And then I'll make another partition, about 128MB for the swap, what FS should I make the swap? And also, how do I tell mandrake that I'd like that partition to be the swap? I don't remember mandrake asking me about swap space in the install last time I tried. Also, why do you say you need 8 gigs, even with KDE and a bunch of rpms it only took up a little over a gig last time.
Old 08-23-2003, 01:05 PM   #4
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I don't know about partition magic. With fdisk you set the partition id as 82. Swap isn't a filesystem, really. In /etc/fstab it's just listed as 'swap'. Mandrake comes with it's own NTFS resizer and will set up the swap for you automatically, if you'd like. I'm not sure when it would ask you, either. Somewhere in the install process it will either do it automatically or should certainly ask you. Then it would just be a literal thing - 'make dev/hd[n] my swap'. If all else fails, you can go back after the install and do a 'mkswap' and 'swapon' and edit /etc/fstab directly. Might have to edit an rc.d file as well - I can't remember.

And 8 gigs does seem a bit generous. On the other hand, a gig seems a bit tight. 2-4 gigs for root and however much you want for /home should be plenty.


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