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Old 02-11-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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Smile How can I manually partition my 160 GB HDD after installing Ubuntu 9.10 on my PC

I know there are Linux users who cannot agree with or understand the need to set up a number of partitions on a single drive. If that includes you, that's life and you don't have to read any more of this thread. Forgive my attitude, but it comes from too many times of being treated like an idiot or worse just because I'm a newbie. Scorn or outright contempt doesn't win many friends - newbie or not.

As with so many matters, ask ten different people for a solution and you'll likely get ten different answers/solutions. Keeping this in mind, I'll offer some "suggestions" that made sense to me. Please help this newbie by giving feedback, but DON'T leave out the reason(s) for your recommendations. Thanks in advance to all the members who take the time and effort to answer me.

I chose the "Use the entire disc" while installing the Ubuntu distro. This was despite the numerous articles I read (some obviously from some quite experienced Linux users) that dammed this approach as the absolute choice. Of course, other users completely disagreed. Now I am totally confused and don't know what to do or where to go for help.

Here is the most understandable and comprehensive information I could find. Please feel free to comment AND include your logic or reasoning.

Ubuntu adheres to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard for directory and file naming. This standard allows users and software programs to predict the location of files and directories. The root level directory is represented simply by the slash /. At the root level, all Ubuntu systems include these directories:
Directory Content
bin Essential command binaries
boot Static files of the boot loader
dev Device files
etc Host-specific system configuration
home User home directories
lib Essential shared libraries and kernel modules
media Contains mount points for replaceable media
mnt Mount point for mounting a file system temporarily
proc Virtual directory for system information (2.4 and 2.6 kernels)
root Home directory for the root user
sbin Essential system binaries
sys Virtual directory for system information (2.6 kernels)
tmp Temporary files
usr Secondary hierarchy
var Variable data
srv Data for services provided by the system
opt Add-on application software packages

The following is a list of important considerations regarding directories and partitions. Note that disk usage varies widely given system configuration and specific usage patterns. The recommendations here are general guidelines and provide a starting point for partitioning.

* The root partition / must always physically contain /etc, /bin, /sbin, /lib and /dev, otherwise you won't be able to boot. Typically 150–250MB is needed for the root partition.
* /usr: contains all user programs (/usr/bin), libraries (/usr/lib), documentation (/usr/share/doc), etc. This is the part of the file system that generally takes up most space. You should provide at least 500MB of disk space. This amount should be increased depending on the number and type of packages you plan to install. A standard Ubuntu desktop requires a minimum of 1.5GB here. A generous workstation or server installation should allow 4–6GB.
* /var: variable data like news articles, e-mails, web sites, databases, the packaging system cache, etc. will be placed under this directory. The size of this directory depends greatly on the usage of your system, but for most people will be dictated by the package management tool's overhead. If you are going to do a full installation of just about everything Ubuntu has to offer, all in one session, setting aside 2 or 3 GB of space for /var should be sufficient. If you are going to install in pieces (that is to say, install services and utilities, followed by text stuff, then X, ...), you can get away with 300–500 MB. If hard drive space is at a premium and you don't plan on doing major system updates, you can get by with as little as 30 or 40 MB.
* /tmp: temporary data created by programs will most likely go in this directory. 40–100MB should usually be enough. Some applications — including archive manipulators, CD/DVD authoring tools, and multimedia software — may use /tmp to temporarily store image files. If you plan to use such applications, you should adjust the space available in /tmp accordingly.
* /home: every user will put his personal data into a subdirectory of this directory. Its size depends on how many users will be using the system and what files are to be stored in their directories. Depending on your planned usage you should reserve about 100MB for each user, but adapt this value to your needs. Reserve a lot more space if you plan to save a lot of multimedia files (pictures, MP3, movies) in your home directory.

Recommended Partitioning Scheme

For new users, personal Ubuntu boxes, home systems, and other single-user setups, a single / partition (plus swap) is probably the easiest, simplest way to go. However, if your partition is larger than around 6GB, choose ext3 as your partition type. Ext2 partitions need periodic file system integrity checking, and this can cause delays during booting when the partition is large.

For multi-user systems or systems with lots of disk space, it's best to put /usr, /var, /tmp, and /home each on their own partitions separate from the / partition.

You might need a separate /usr/local partition if you plan to install many programs that are not part of the Ubuntu distribution. If your machine will be a mail server, you might need to make /var/mail a separate partition. Often, putting /tmp on its own partition, for instance 20–50MB, is a good idea. If you are setting up a server with lots of user accounts, it's generally good to have a separate, large /home partition. In general, the partitioning situation varies from computer to computer depending on its uses.

For very complex systems, you should see the Multi Disk HOWTO. This contains in-depth information, mostly of interest to ISPs and people setting up servers.

With respect to the issue of swap partition size, there are many views. One rule of thumb which works well is to use as much swap as you have system memory. It also shouldn't be smaller than 16MB, in most cases. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules. If you are trying to solve 10000 simultaneous equations on a machine with 256MB of memory, you may need a gigabyte (or more) of swap.

On 32-bit architectures (i386, m68k, 32-bit SPARC, and PowerPC), the maximum size of a swap partition is 2GB. That should be enough for nearly any installation. However, if your swap requirements are this high, you should probably try to spread the swap across different disks (also called “spindles”) and, if possible, different SCSI or IDE channels. The kernel will balance swap usage between multiple swap partitions, giving better performance.

As an example, an older home machine might have 32MB of RAM and a 1.7GB IDE drive on /dev/hda. There might be a 500MB partition for another operating system on /dev/hda1, a 32MB swap partition on /dev/hda3 and about 1.2GB on /dev/hda2 as the Linux partition.

End of story - awaiting some answers, I hope.

Old 02-11-2010, 08:48 PM   #2
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Not trying to be a smart aleck, but what is the question? Or do you just want to know which scheme you should use?
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-11-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Well when it comes to Ubuntu and partitions Gparted is what you are going to use 9 out of 10 times. So it's under
partition editor
(or at least that's how it is on my Ubuntu boxes running 9.0.4)

From there you can see how Ubuntu partitioned your disk and make the changes you want.

I find that the simplest way to partition a RECOVERABLE system is to have a seperate /home partition. The beauty of that is even if your install gets slammed somehow, so long as your /home partition is intact you can safely format and reinstall to / and have all of your user data and settings intact. Like you said there are as many ways to partition a disk as there are disks in the world, but I find this setup has served me well for years through a number of crashes.
Old 02-11-2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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I chose the "Use the entire disc" while installing the Ubuntu distro. This was despite the numerous articles I read (some obviously from some quite experienced Linux users) that dammed this approach as the absolute choice. Of course, other users completely disagreed. Now I am totally confused and don't know what to do or where to go for help.
Can we interpret this to mean that you want to switch to some other partitioning scheme without reinstalling Linux? In that case, are you asking us to suggest which partitioning scheme and what program to use?

Given what I think I maybe understand of what you might want, I'd suggest you use gparted to reduce the size of "/" to about 20GB and make a new partition out of the rest. After that, either move "/home" to the new partition, or do as I do and create a "/data" on it. But, if you use "/data" be sure you actually keep your day-to-day data there, and do periodic backups of what will hopefully be a relatively small "/home".

Last edited by Quakeboy02; 02-11-2010 at 10:13 PM.
Old 02-11-2010, 10:47 PM   #5
Registered: Nov 2005
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In general, this isn't the place where you will find any scorn or outright contempt. Almost everyone goes out of their way to be friendly and helpful (or at a minimum, civil), newbie or not. And many people show an endless amount of patience in an effort to help.

That said,...

Your question is one that is hard to answer objectively. Everyone has their personal preferences based on experience. What's the best religion? Or is no religion better? So you may not get a lot of supporting science behind anyone's suggestion. Or maybe you might.

My experience, pre-LVM, was that multiple partitions really never bought me much on a home hobbyist system. I would do a 100MB 'boot' partition; a more than adequate 'root' partition (maybe 10GB); and a large 'save' partition that would contain everything that I wanted to save across a system rebuild. No science behind this at all, just superstition and what worked best for me.

In work, pre-LVM, we have had dozens of standards for how to set up multiple partitions. As time went on and requirements and harddrive sizes changed, how we partitioned the systems changed.

On non-Ubuntu systems at home, I use LVM and have multiple logical volumes and can resize them as necessary. Same for work.

On my Ubuntu Netbook Remix HP Mini (with no LVM), I'm back to a 'boot' and 'root'. Not really worth the effort to install the LVM package.

Sorry I can't be more help, but I think in this case this is truly one where you'll get a "your mileage may vary" answer.
Old 02-11-2010, 10:47 PM   #6
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"Use the entire disc"
means you want the current installation to wipe out all other OSes it can find and take over the entire disk (or entire machine for multi-disk systems).
It doesn't mean it won't create multiple partitions.
Its typical for RHEL derived systems to default to 2: a)root (inc /boot) b) everything else (usually on an lvm).

fdisk -l

(lower L) will show what you've actually got. You'll need to run it as root (sudo ... for Ubuntu)

df -h

is also good.


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