Need Multi-boot advice on new PC SOLVED

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Need Multi-boot advice on new PC SOLVED

Postby Havanacus on Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:46 pm

I've got a new PC on the way, and I plan to use Mint as the primary operating system and Windows XP + Vista on the side. The complication is that I'd like a partition that can be read and written to by both Mint and Vista while XP remains completely isolated so that it's files can not be read by the other two. I planned to divide the 1 TB HD as follows.
  • Mint = 150 GB
  • Swap = 10 GB
  • Vista = 150 GB
  • XP = 100 GB
  • Shared = 500 GB

Would software like GAG help me keep track of which partition has permission to do what and help save me trouble if I need to reinstall windows at a later date?
How exactly should I go about creating the shared partition?
What file system should I use?
Should I mount the shared partition as my home directory?

I've read some information on this already, but I'd like some personal advice so I can get this right the first time.

Thanks in advance, Havanacus.
Last edited by Havanacus on Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby altair4 on Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:49 pm

I haven't used GAG in so long it's best to wait for someone who is currently using it but I believe it can do what you seek to do. If I remember correctly it has a "Hide Primary Partitions" option that when selected will hide the other primary partitions (1 - 3) that are not booted from each other.

You'll have to rearrange your partition plan however since as described your SWAP is in a primary partition.

As for the Shared partition you can select FAT32 or NTFS as both linux and Windows can read and write to that filesystem natively. You can also use Ext3 but then you have to install something in your Windows OS to be able to read and write to that. Something I personally wouldn't do but that's just my opinion. FAT32 has an individual filesize limit of 4GB so depending on what you plan on saving there I think NTFS is your best option.

As for your /home, again this is just my opinion, I would create a separate ext3 partition to hold it.

So I would have something like this:

WinXP
Vista
Mint
Mint /home
Shared
Swap

Just make sure that the OS partitions are in partition 1,2, and 3.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Havanacus on Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:42 am

I was planning on storing all of my videos, music, and documents on the shared NTFS partition in case I needed to use them with a windows program. I was thinking of just mounting this as my home partition. I don't really know how to go about this, but I haven't yet tried either. I just want to no if there will be any difficulties.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby richyrich on Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:51 am

Yes, there will be difficulties . . . as you cannot have /home formatted as ntfs, it must be either ext3 or ext4. That is why altair4 gave you his suggestion for the "Shared" ntfs partition.

The swap partition should only be about 2 times your RAM - example 2 gigs RAM = 4 gig swap.

This is quite a long thread, but you will find a lot of good advice from Fred there :

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872

good luck, and regards, Richy
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Havanacus on Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:03 pm

I'm beginning to understand. If I keep all of my documents on the shared partition, why would I bother creating a separate /home partition? It would be empty.

It doesn't seem to difficult to use Ext2fsd to allow windows to read/write an ext3 /home partition, any reason I shouldn't just do that? I probably won't be using windows much anyways.

Also, 16 GB of swap space seemed almost as excessive as 8 GB of RAM. I though it was a safe bet that I wouldn't need more then 10 GB.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Fred on Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:21 pm

Havanacus wrote:
It doesn't seem to difficult to use Ext2fsd to allow windows to read/write an ext3 /home partition, any reason I shouldn't just do that?

You should never allow Windows to have access to your Linux /. Windows does not respect Linux file permissions, which is what keeps Linux safe.

My suggestion would be to use a large shared NTFS partition for your data store. You can then access it from Windows or Mint. It can be mounted in a folder in your /home or in the /media directory. Then Windows can't get to any of your Linux system or configuration files, only to the data files.

EDIT: If you are using a 32 bit system the sum of your physical RAM plus swap need not be more than 4 Gig. on a desktop. Actually you can't use more than 3 to 3.5 Gig. On a notebook you need at least as much swap as you have RAM to be able to hibernate.

On a 64 bit system I use a rule of thumb of swap should be approximately 25% of RAM.

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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby altair4 on Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:21 pm

Havanacus wrote:I was planning on storing all of my videos, music, and documents on the shared NTFS partition in case I needed to use them with a windows program. I was thinking of just mounting this as my home partition. I don't really know how to go about this, but I haven't yet tried either. I just want to no if there will be any difficulties.

Maybe I'm wrong but I get the feeling that you're equating a linux /home with a windows "My Documents". It's much more than that. /home is more like windows "My Documents" + "Documents and Settings". All the settings and preferences for all the applications as well as the desktop itself are located in a linux /home. You really don't want windows anywhere near that thing.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Havanacus on Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:45 pm

Thank you everyone for your help.
Now I understand why I should mount a separate NTFS partition. What I'm thinking now is along the lines of:
  • XP - 100 GB
  • Vista - 150 GB
  • Mint - 150GB
  • /home - 8GB
  • Shared - 500GB
  • Swap - 2GB

Unless anyone else has any further or alternate suggestions (or maybe and opinion of GAG) I'll consider this topic solved in 2 days.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby atlef on Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:26 am

Havanacus wrote: My suggestion.
  • XP - 100 GB
  • Vista - 150 GB
  • Mint - 13GB
  • /home - 145GB
  • Swap - 2GB
  • Shared - 500GB


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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Havanacus on Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:54 am

  • XP - 100 GB
  • Vista - 150 GB
  • Mint - 13GB
  • /home - 145GB
  • Swap - 2GB
  • Shared - 500GB

Oh, okay. I did some more reading and I understand the filesystem a little better now.
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby Havanacus on Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:43 pm

After more reading, I wonder if I have to be concerned with extended partitions. I don't think so, but I like to be sure.

It seems fine to me, but this is my first time installing more then one OS on a single computer and I don't want to panic when confronted with some option or other.
  • XP - 100 GB - Primary - NTFS
  • Vista - 150 GB - Primary - NTFS
  • Mint - 13GB - Primary - ext3
  • /home - 145GB - Extended - ext3
  • Swap - 2GB - Extended
  • Shared - 500GB - Extended - NTFS
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Re: Need Multi-boot advice on new PC

Postby atlef on Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:54 am

Looks just right, so go ahead.
You can have 4 primary partitions or 3 primary an x number of partitions on the extended. Not sure how many, but you seem to have figured it out.

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