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Old 11-05-2006, 06:08 AM   #1
thedi
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What should I consider in deciding partition share for upcoming dual-boot?


Hi, I am about to receive a new laptop and I have decided I would like to partition the hard drive to dual boot Windows XP and Ubuntu 6.10 (with XGL/Compriz) because Ubuntu looks really good. My laptop will come with 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM and 120Gb hard disk space.

I am unsure, in percentage terms, how I should divide my hard disk space between XP, Ubuntu, Linux swap and FAT32 (Shared). My RAM is 2Gb so I should have 4Gb for Linux Swap? I will probably predominantly use XP (at least initially!) and most of my programs I guess will be windows not linux compatible so I though maybe 75% XP, 15-20% Ubuntu and the rest for the rest?

I would like to be able to share my videos, mp3s, documents etc between the two platforms but store them on the XP side, is this possible? I primarily use my laptop for Office applications, web surfing/internet, downloading and watching films and listening to mp3s etc.

Thanks in advance.
 
Old 11-05-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
matthewg42
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It's really up to you based on what you know about what you want to do. Ubuntu itself won't need more than a 10 GiB, max, but you may or may not have a lot of data in your /home directory. The mention of video files makes me think this is true. Consider putting /home in it's own partition.

Since you have such a large drive, I'd recommend leaving some space unused. This is useful if you want to try out another distro at some point without having to un-install Ubuntu. It's also useful if you run out of space at some point - you can format and mount that new partition and use it while you clean up the original.

With 2 GiB of RAM, you probably won't need any swap at all unless you're doing something which is memory heavy. Add a 2 GiB swap partition, but consider trying to run without it (you can comment it out in the /etc/fstab file after installation).

This means you'll need to have more than 4 partitions in total, so you'll have to put some of them inside a logical partition. AFAIK Ubuntu (and most Linuxes) are happy to work inside logical partitions, but some other OSes demand a primary partition. Thus, I'd leave the first primary partition as windows, leave the second primary partition as the unused one, and then create a logical container on the rest of the disk and create you Ubuntu /, /home and swap partitions in there.

Experiment - have fun!

Remember - if it aint broke, fix it till it is.
 
Old 11-05-2006, 10:35 AM   #3
JimBass
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I agree that leaving some free space (non-partitioned) on the drive is a good practice for whatever the future brings. I would split it into 3 parts, one for win, one ofr share, and the 3rd for linux. I'd use 100 Gb of space for those, and leave the remainder free. I think if you still plan on doing mostly windows, that I'd leave 60 Gb for that. Put 20 Gb in shared space, formated as Fat32 and not NTFS. Linux has still experimental write ability to NTFS partitions, so for saftey of the data in both OSes, you're better off with Fat32. Leave the last 20 Gb for Ubuntu.

Then within the linux 20 Gb, I'd make a 10 Gb root partition, 9 Gb as /home, and leave 1 Gb for swap. The old idea of having double your ram for swap just isn't necessary anymore. With 1 Gb of ram in desktop machines, I never touch my swap. I would be suprised if you could even get to your swap space on the laptop, unless you simultaneously edit videos, encode mp3s, edit large graphics, run firefox with 100 tabs all opened to flash sites, etc.

So in windows terms, thats:

1) c:\ 60 Gb (NTFS - primary)
2) d:\ 20 Gb (Fat32 - primary)
3) linux / 10 Gb (primary) (ext3, reiserfs, your choice)
/home 9 Gb (logical)
/swap 1 Gb (logical)

If you decide you want a seperate boot partition, then take the space from the root and make boot.

To do the install, I'd first use a live CD to free disk space, as the whole drive will come formatted with NTFS. Shrink it from 120 Gb to 60, then create the 20 Gb Fat32 partition. I'd leave the rest as free space, and let Ubuntu format it as you install. Then install Ubuntu, and let grub be put int he MBR, it will give you the choice of booting windows or Ubuntu. You'll want to defragment the drive in windows before you shrink it, to avoid problems.

Peace,
JimBass
 
Old 11-05-2006, 10:42 AM   #4
pixellany
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KISS

Many people make more partitions than they need.

Windows NTFS: 10GB+ (depends on how much SW is intalled)
Linux EXT3: 10GB+ (ditto)
Linux SWAP: 1GB
FAT32 for shared data: ~40GB (This can be mounted to both Windows and Linux==so you see your files from each)

Leave the rest empty and add more partitions as you need them
 
Old 11-05-2006, 01:10 PM   #5
thedi
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Thanks for the information guys. Could you clear up one thing? I've had a look around the web and there are also suggestions that the hard drive should be divided with a majority shared data partition with two much smaller Linux and Windows partitions either side.

What am I gaining/losing by having a larger/smaller "Windows" partition relative to the "Shared" partition from a Windows point of view? What HAS to be in the Windows section? Presumably only the Operating System. So what stops me from making the Windows partition as big as the Operating System and no bigger, doing the same with Ubuntu and having a large shared section. Am I losing functionality in any way?

Hope you can understand this! I'm trying to get my head around need for/effects of partitions.

Thanks,
theDi
 
Old 11-05-2006, 01:43 PM   #6
JimBass
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There is no problem with having just OS sized partitions, and massive space for data. Of course, much of what the windows box needs won't have any place in linux, and vice versa. Take office for example. You only would use the data flies, the saved .xls, .doc etcetera. All the files that operate the office programs on windows are of no use in linux.

Still, you can set it up however you want. Small OSes and a large share are fine, or large OSes and little share is fine. There won't be an effect on performance in any case.

Peace,
JimBass
 
Old 11-05-2006, 02:16 PM   #7
thedi
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Thanks, three quick follow ups then i'll leave you alone.

1) Does software installed in windows have to be saved in the "windows" partition or can it too be stored in the "shared" partition? This will affect how much space i should allocate.

2) Would I be protecting my files from the possibilty of being wiped if I had to re-install windows by having them saved to a separate partition anyway instead of the Windows one?

3) Do windows-based viruses affect the windows partition only or will they affect all partitions at once (is it a virus protection to have files stored on a separate partition from windows)?

Thanks for your help so far. Very much appreciated.

TheDi
 
Old 11-05-2006, 03:06 PM   #8
matthewg42
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1) If you have a shared FAT32 partition, I think you can install windows software on that (It'll be your D: drive or something). Software installed in your Ubuntu installation using Ubuntu's own package management won't be able to use the shared partition for installations because it gets installed across multiple directories. There is also some complication because FAT32 has restrictions on files - names and permissions, which might affect Linux software. It should be OK for stuff like your music, pictures and video though.

2) It depends on how you re-install windows. I recently bought a Toshiba laptop which came with a win XP "restore CD". I found out that putting it in the computer and rebooting wiped all partitions on the drive without even prompting me! Be careful!

I think a proper windows installation CD will at least ask you, and I think the XP installer will even let you choose which partition you want to install into.

3) I would imagine they will tend not to affect your Ubuntu partitions (which will probably be formatted with the ext3 partition), but theoretically they can do anything they want to your machine. They will certainly be able to affect software installed on your shared partition. When it comes to viruses and other malware, assume they can do anything at all to your machine. If you get one, the only sure way to know your clean is to nuke the whole drive and start again. That might sound harsh, but it just goes to show how serious the problem is. And right now, it's almost all windows. Once you're up and running with Linux, you might find you sleep easier after you nuke that windows partition.
 
Old 11-05-2006, 04:23 PM   #9
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedi
1) Does software installed in windows have to be saved in the "windows" partition or can it too be stored in the "shared" partition?
Some Windows software does not give you a choice about where to install it. So it "has" to be installed on the OS partition (because it gives you no choice!). Other Windows software lets you choose, and the majority of it will install where you tell it, but some of it still installs on the OS partition. Other Windows software is well behaved - it asks you where you want it, and it obeys your wishes.

Quote:
2) Would I be protecting my files from the possibilty of being wiped if I had to re-install windows by having them saved to a separate partition anyway instead of the Windows one?
Yes, your data files that is. An application would most likely need to be reinstalled if Windows is reinstalled. Not necessarily because it was wiped out or not, but because if you reinstalled Windows the registry entries required by the app would be missing. Not all apps would require reinstall, but the majority probably do.

Quote:
3) Do windows-based viruses affect the windows partition only or will they affect all partitions at once (is it a virus protection to have files stored on a separate partition from windows)?
You have zero additional virus protection by putting your files on a different partition. Viruses are pretty sophisticated these days. I doubt you'll fool one by putting something on D: instead of C:. Having stuff on different partitions may make backup and recovery easier for you, but it won't prevent virus infection in the first place. This is from a Windows perspective, where all these partitions are automatically mounted read-write. Under Linux the situation may be different as you can mount things read-only, noexec, etc. However, Linux advantages of different partitions are not applicable to the Windows OS.
 
  


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