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Old 05-25-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
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Partitioning for Easy Distro Switch -- Also Dual Boot question

Hello--I'm new to this forum, but not to Linux. I presently use Puppy Linux v3.01 (oldie but goodie) and have been Microsoft-free for over 4 years. I've previously been "Weeble" on Groklaw if anybody remembers me from there.

The main reason I'm joining at this time is because I want to expand my horizons. My use of Puppy began as a make-do because of the crumbling reliability of the Win95 system I was using, and I still use it in the simple LiveCD configuration with a small e2fs-based storage file. I want MORE.

I intend to set up a newer computer with a more comprehensive distro of Linux, preferably in a dual-boot mode so I can use SOME Windows software that meets needs I can't readily meet with my known Linux software. I'm presently considering Ubuntu for starters. I'm looking for particular partitioning advice, and hope someone here can help.

A long time ago I remember reading that there was a way to set up Linux partitions so that the core OS, temp files and such would be in one partition, while the home directory, apps installed and other "keepers" would be in another. The idea was to be able to change distros relatively painlessly by wiping the first partition and installing the new distro (say, changing Ubuntu for PCLinuxOS) and being able to go to work right away because the apps, home files and such that had been previously installed were in the other partition.

I want to know 1) which standard Linux directories would fall into the first category, and which into the second? 2) How large should the first partition be to accommodate anything from DSL or Puppy to Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora or any other large distro without wasting a lot of space that would not likely be used? I have a variety of hard drives ranging at least to 160GB (all EIDE), so I'm not looking to really squeeze space--I just want to be judicious. 3) In setting up a dual-boot, I'm considering placing Linux on one HD and Windows on another. Knowing how cantankerous OS's can be (particularly MS Windows), does it matter on which physical HD that Linux or MS Windows is installed? Or will they load smoothly either way (I plan to use GRUB as my boot manager)?
Old 05-25-2011, 04:23 PM   #2
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Apps for one distro on a /home partition, for example, wouldn't necessarily run when you swapped distro's. Linked dynamic libraries...different filesystem setups...

If you want to make it easy, then just have your data on a separate partition.

Keep Windows on it's own drive, install it first on the primary boot drive.

Size, hmm, of partitions, doesn't matter. If you're trying things out, it'll be a bit faster if they're a bit smaller 50-100 G should be fine.

Just my 2c

Last edited by mostlyharmless; 05-25-2011 at 04:25 PM.
Old 05-25-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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This question has been asked and answered many times, including all of the technical considerations. Use the search function to find those other posts.
0 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-25-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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I never bother with it. Just use whatever the distro set's up.
Old 05-25-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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Here's the configuration I prefer:

I use 2 physical drives: sda (320G) and sdb (80G).

sdb1- 80G, ntfs for Windows

sda3- 80G, ext3 for Linux (formerly Ubuntu, currently Puppy 5.2.5)

sda5- 5G, Linux swap

sda1- 235G, ntfs for data

This allows data sharing between Linux and Windows on sda1, as well as re-installing or upgrading Windows without affecting the Linux install or Grub configuration.

Hope this helps


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