Partitioning.

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Partitioning.

Postby Disposition96 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:57 am

I realize this question is asked a lot but I don't plan to dual boot, I have a 250GB HD in my Sony laptop and I would like to know what the best way to partition it would be for performance? I play to use this laptop for everything I can.

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Re: Partitioning.

Postby lagagnon on Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:52 am

If just this one distro on it I would do:

/ (root partition) of ~ 10-15GB
swap partition of 2x RAM up to a max of 2GB.
/home - the rest of the disk for all your data.

You could make them all primary partitions, I suggest ext3 as ext4 still needs a bit of work IMHO.
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby Anaxis on Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:11 am

You don't plan on putting this on a network involving file sharing with other computers, do you?

Because if you don't, definitely go with what lagagnon suggested.

If you do plan on sharing with anyone else, especially on a home network, I'd suggest the root partition, the swap partition, and the /home partition, but with the home partition, use NTFS. This is because as advanced as Windows would claim to be, there still isn't the easiest way to make another Windows computer recognise your ext3/ext4 partitions for sharing.
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby lagagnon on Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:44 am

Anaxis wrote:If you do plan on sharing with anyone else, especially on a home network, I'd suggest the root partition, the swap partition, and the /home partition, but with the home partition, use NTFS.


I disagree. NTFS is not a great filesystem (not as good as either ext3, reiserfs or ext4). It is much easier fragmented and even though Linux can read/write to NTFS it is not recommended for everyday tasks. If you need to share files with Windows boxes create a fourth partition (say /share) and make it NTFS but do not use NTFS for /home.
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby altair4 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:59 am

Anaxis wrote:This is because as advanced as Windows would claim to be, there still isn't the easiest way to make another Windows computer recognise your ext3/ext4 partitions for sharing.


lagagnon wrote: If you need to share files with Windows boxes create a fourth partition (say /share) and make it NTFS but do not use NTFS for /home.


If you're dual booting, then both of these statements are correct. If you're not and you want to share a linux directory with windows computers on the network then Samba ( on linux ) or SMB ( on Windows ) could care less what file system you use. Windows is not accessing the directory directly but through Samba. Samba has its own filesystem, CIFS, that both Windows and Linux understands and handles the interface to the actual linux filesystem automatically.

EDIT: Just so there's no misunderstanding, the second part of lagagnon's statement - "do not use NTFS for /home" - I totally agree with. I can't think of any reason one would want an NTFS partition on a linux only box.
Last edited by altair4 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby rlindsey0 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:13 pm

I'm a relative newbie, but here's another way of doing it. You could NOT have a separate /home partition. You could leave /home on the root (/) partition, BUT instead create a separate data partition (called, for instance, "Data"), which you can then mount in any of several places. I mount mine under /home (/home/<myname>/Data), but on my father's system, it's mounted under root (/Data). All your data, such as documents, images, music, and so forth, could be sent to live on the Data partition (not in /home itself), so that when you do a clean install of another version of Mint, or even another distro entirely, you can go over root and /home while leaving your data untouched.

Note, you can make this Data partition NTFS, if you feel you need to (eg, to allow Windows access). But this way, even if you do that, the main Linux partition (/, including /home) stays ext3 or ext4 or Reiser or whatever.

How is this different from having a separate /home partition? Well, in the default setup, /home does include folders for the stuff I'm suggesting could go on the Data partition (documents, images, music, videos). But it also includes various hidden configuration files for installed programs. These configuration files may be "reusable" for updated versions of the same programs, such as you get when you do a clean install of a new OS version, but they may not be. IOW, you may not necessarily want or need them.

What I do--and again, I'm no expert, so don't take this for the word on high--is this: before I upgrade to a new Mint version, I back up all my /home stuff, including the hidden config files, to a directory on my Data partition or an external HDD. (I also back up my Firefox bookmarks.) Then, when I install the new OS, I wipe (format) the root directory, including /home. However, I do NOT format the Data partition, but I do check it to make sure it gets mounted. So I've preserved my old data, and I've got a brand-new /home, courtesy of the new OS install, but I've also got access to backed-up versions of the config files from my old /home, in case I think I need them. Then I reinstall whatever programs I need that didn't come with the new install. Sometimes I then copy a couple of the old /home config files back over to the new /home; just as often I find I don't need to.

This is maybe a little more tedious, but so far it's worked for me. Just another way to go....
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby aged hippy on Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:55 am

@ rlindsey0 - it seems to me to be simpler to have separate / and /home partitions, then when the time comes to either re-install or upgrade it is a simple matter to tell the partitioner to format / and to mount it as such and to mount /home as /home but to not format it, that way all of one's preferences and settings, etc., are retained. The only thing necessary will be to re-install any extra apps you've added.

This method has worked for me for 3+ years with no problems at all.


For sharing, i'd certainly go for what lagagnon suggested above. :)

(I also back up my Firefox bookmarks.)


Xmarks is handy if one uses Firefox. :D
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby rlindsey0 on Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:17 am

aged hippy wrote:@ rlindsey0 - it seems to me to be simpler to have separate / and /home partitions, then when the time comes to either re-install or upgrade it is a simple matter to tell the partitioner to format / and to mount it as such and to mount /home as /home but to not format it, that way all of one's preferences and settings, etc., are retained. The only thing necessary will be to re-install any extra apps you've added.

This method has worked for me for 3+ years with no problems at all.


For sharing, i'd certainly go for what lagagnon suggested above. :)

(I also back up my Firefox bookmarks.)


Xmarks is handy if one uses Firefox. :D


True, it might be simpler, and if it works, great! I was just trying to avoid the possibility that old settings in /home might mess you up (they don't always, but in theory some could). The partitioning I suggested wasn't my bright idea; it came from the Mint wiki, which used to recommend a separate /home but now recommends a separate Data partition:

"We would now recommend you not to have a separate home, but a separate partition for all your data which you mount in home. This way you get a new fresh home when (if) you install. This is slightly simpler to achieve - see also below for guidance
1) Follow the steps below except "Make the partition your new home"
Instead create a folder in home, you could call it Data
Edit fstab so the partition gets mounted - for Elyssa this would be

gksu gedit /etc/fstab (or kdesu kate or gksu thunar)

and add the line

/dev/sdax /home/your_username/Data ext3 relatime 0 2

sdax would of course be changed to the number your partition has
Then mount the partition - you could reboot but better is

sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sdax /home/your_username/Data

We assume that you don't have a separate home partition, but that really does not matter
Check that the new partition is there with all its data
Now delete everything in home except the hidden files and folders - they contain your present settings
Change Thunderbird so it starts using the profile folder in Data instead of the one directly in home
This is done by editing the file profiles.ini in /home/your_username/.mozilla-thunderbird
Change the path to the path to your profile in Data and change IsRelative from 1 to 0
We would not recommend the same for Firefox, but do save the bookmarks in the Data partition.
Of course there may be other applications where you want to use a "profile" in the new Data partition"

AND:

"My recommendation here has changed. Move all hidden files and folders (in /home of course) into an archive so you get a fresh install without the risk that old settings play tricks on you. Do not delete them - there are settings for different applications you may want to use when you reinstall - use with care"

As for FF bookmarks, you're right, I forgot about Xmarks--that's the more elegant solution.
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby aged hippy on Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:35 am

Hmmmm... Thank You for that...

but i think i'll stick with what i know. :wink:
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby rlindsey0 on Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:57 am

aged hippy wrote:Hmmmm... Thank You for that...

but i think i'll stick with what i know. :wink:


It's all good if it works!

I've got no emotional investment in proselytizing for any particular partitioning scheme; I was mainly just offering the OP another perspective. :mrgreen:
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Re: Partitioning.

Postby linuxviolin on Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:16 pm

Personally I prefer JFS (or XFS if really you want/prefer it) with noatime...

Oh, and for a line in fstab like:

/dev/sdax /home/your_username/Data ext3 relatime 0 2

I would say to put 1 instead of 0 like this (dump must be installed before):

/dev/sdax /home/your_username/Data jfs (or ext3 if you prefer it) noatime 1 2

About 2, if it's for / you must write 1 not 2 like this:

/dev/sdax / jfs (or ext3 if you prefer it) noatime 1 1
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