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Hard Drive partitioning


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#1
Paul Bennett

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Hey guys.

Im a linux novice, and I just obtained a new version Ubuntu version 5.10 for my PC. I want to dual boot both windows and linux, so that I can run either, and wont be loosing any of my files, ect. I want to keep the windows install "as is" and add Ubuntu too.

I understand I will need to partition my hard drive to make this work? I have a few questions.

1) What program (free please) would you recommend for partitioning the drive?

2) Are some programs better than others?

3) Is there much "risk" of me screwing my computer up?


How much space should I add for the new OS? I have a 40GB HD, (but for some reason is only 33.5GB :tazz: )

4) How much space is needed for the actual install?

5) How much would you recommend for saving files, etc?

6) I also read something about needing a part for swap files or something?

Thanks so much for the help.

-Paul
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#2
Kemasa

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Most, if not all, Linux distributions come with partitioning programs, such as fdisk (same name as old windoze program), sfdisk, qtparted, etc. So, I would use what comes with what you are using, although qtparted allows you to change the partition size, but first backup the data and defrag the disk.

Some programs operate in a different manner, so you could say that they are better, If you need to change the size of a partition, then you need a program to do that.

There is always the risk of losing data, but if you are careful the risk is low. If you need to repartition the existing partition, then the risk is higher, especially if you don't backup the system.

The space needed depends on what you intend to install. You can install a very minimal system and that will not take up much space, or you can install everything (not suggested) and it will take up a lot more. Without more information as to what you want to do with the system, it is hard to say what you will need. I tend to allocate 4Gb for the root filesystem, 100Mb for the /boot partition, 1Gb for the swap, 4Gb for /home (user data) and the rest for user data/storage (pictures, etc.).

Swap is used to make space in memory when you are running many programs. If you have enough memory, then it will be less likely to be needed, but it is still a good idea. At a minimum I would suggest 512Kb, but I know some people who don't allocate any space, but I would only consider that if you have at least 1Gb of memory.
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#3
Thebinaryman

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i would give more space for root (depending on hard drive) he may want to install some games which can be major space hogs. most demo versions are over 400mb. full versions tend to be like 3gb these days. but besides that, yeah, most distros have "automatic" partitioners that you selec how much space you want for windows, it will do the linux partitioning for you, and on some distros, its just boot, swap, and root, and usually dont need a seperate home partition, but i know mandrake did that with the seperate home partition.
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#4
Kemasa

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i would give more space for root (depending on hard drive) he may want to install some games which can be major space hogs. most demo versions are over 400mb. full versions tend to be like 3gb these days. but besides that, yeah, most distros have "automatic" partitioners that you selec how much space you want for windows, it will do the linux partitioning for you, and on some distros, its just boot, swap, and root, and usually dont need a seperate home partition, but i know mandrake did that with the seperate home partition.


In my opinion you don't want to put non-system stuff on the root partition, especially games or other things. If the system were to crash, you want to minimize the chances that the root filesystem is corrupted.

So, what you do is install the other things on another partition and create a link, if it is needed, from the root filesystem. For example, if you are going to have a lot of local programs installed, link /usr/local to another partition or mount the other filesystem on /usr/local. Linux/Unix does not have the limits that Windoze does with respect to where you install the program and you can often put it anywhere and add the location to your path. I prefer to link /usr/local rather than a mount since files and directories can be hidden "under" the mount (especially when you are dealing with mail directories, not often the case with home PCs).

While you don't "need" to have separate partitions, it is a good idea, especially with home. Also, if you want to reinstall or upgrade the OS, if all that is on the root partition is system stuff, you can wipe it out and none of your stuff is lost. I normally have a second (or third) root partition so that I can load a new version, backup the current version, etc. It is a simple switch from one to the other. Also, often upgrades don't work well, so a clean install is generally a good idea and have the second partition helps, especially if you have problems or don't like the new version.

Another reason is that with multiple root partition and limited user data on the root partition, you can install different distros without having to reload your stuff, but you need to be careful with different versions of programs since some might not be compatible and then you could have issues with some of the config files in your home directory.
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#5
Thebinaryman

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as installing games/programs as root i was refering to "/" meaning root, not "/root/", what i meant was if he was installing something in "/usr/local/games/" he would want more than 4gb, i see what you mean about the seperate partitions though, sounds like a good idea, i'm gonna do that in the future, but many distros if you choose the "automatic" partitioner to make it easy, it automatically puts your "/home/" in the root partition, not on its own.
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#6
Kemasa

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as installing games/programs as root i was refering to "/" meaning root, not "/root/", what i meant was if he was installing something in "/usr/local/games/" he would want more than 4gb, i see what you mean about the seperate partitions though, sounds like a good idea, i'm gonna do that in the future, but many distros if you choose the "automatic" partitioner to make it easy, it automatically puts your "/home/" in the root partition, not on its own.


I was not refering to "/root", but the root partition /.

/usr/local/games need not be on the root partition and should not be on the root partition if you intend to install a lot of things there. You can put it elsewhere and either create a soft link to it or mount the partition. I prefer the soft link, although there are some performance issues (most won't notice it). With many Linux programs you can place it anywhere, so it does not matter as long as you know to put it elsewhere. So, he still would not need more than about 4Gb for the root partition, but may need a large partition for packages which are installed. Also, if you keep the root partition reasonable, you can repartition the rest of the disk without having to reinstall everything, as long as you have enough space to shuffle things around.

Automatic is easy, but it is just not right :-).

The same is true for Windoze, but it is harder to separate the data, but you really don't want a single partition.
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#7
Paul Bennett

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Ok. Since I Have no clue what Im doing, Ill probably go with the automatic, easy thing if its presented.

Are linux (ubuntu) versions easy to upgrade? If a new version is released, can I upgrade easily?
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#8
Thebinaryman

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well, you should really try Kemasa's method sometime, and at worst, the installer will guide you through everything, so it wont be too hard. i dont know about "upgrading" ubuntu, but if you have your system on a seperate partition from your files, you can just reformat the partition with your system and full install the new version. but dont worry about the version, the older ones are just as good if not better in some ways cause everythings been tested, and there are binary packages for most programs specifically for your version, which is rare for the latest versions of many os's. its not bad if your linux is 6 months out of date, look at windows, most people are using xp from 2001!, and many distros offer easy updates like windows.
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#9
Optikal

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I use mandrake to re-partition my drives, it has an excellent gui.
(Dual boot XP-Yoper)
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#10
yorry76

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Ok. Since I Have no clue what Im doing, Ill probably go with the automatic, easy thing if its presented.

Are linux (ubuntu) versions easy to upgrade? If a new version is released, can I upgrade easily?

Paul, just get in there and have a go at partitioning yourself, read up a bit on the net, check the forums for the distro you choose and go for it. It's pretty simple to achieve success and, if you do have trouble then help is always at hand.

I set up Slackware with a 1G swap, 10G home and another 10G storage (shared with XP - Fat32 formatted) pretty sure i just used the command line 'cfdisk' in slack.

As for updating, I've never bothered, since I've been trying different distro's anyway.

How much space should I add for the new OS? I have a 40GB HD, (but for some reason is only 33.5GB huh.gif )

There is sometimes a hidden partition, used by manufacturers. My acer laptop has 2.5G hidden. I don't know much more about it than that but I'm sure someone here does :tazz:

Have fun :)

yorry

Edited by yorry76, 19 March 2006 - 03:27 PM.

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#11
Dragon

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Are linux (ubuntu) versions easy to upgrade? If a new version is released, can I upgrade easily?

upgrading in Ubuntu has two methods, First just do a complete reinstall in the same partition that you install the current upgrade. This is the most used way.

second you can use this method to upgrade, some users have reported screwed up install using this method.

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

change all references of your current version to the newly released version, below you will find an example of a sources.list file. so in this one to upgrade to Dapper, which is scheduled for release in June, you would replace all referenced to Breezy to Dapper. Note I have just placed a strikeout for example, you would actully remove the reference to Breezy

## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch updated software from the network
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch major bug fix updates produced
## after the final release of the distribution.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-updates main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-updates main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'universe'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper universe
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper universe

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-security main restricted

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-security universe

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper multiverse

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse

after changing the above and saving the file, you would do the following.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dist-upgrade

using the apt-get method saves your settings, but sometimes it can screw up the installation requiring you do download the ISO, burn it, then do a clean install. The repair options will not solve this.
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