Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

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Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Brett on Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:07 pm

I am reinstalling mint and xp on my system, setting up to dual boot, but primarily use mint. I just need XP for those few things I can't do with linux. With that said, I need help partitioning my HDD. I read the "How to Partition.." in the Tips & Tricks forum, and got this from scorp:

/dev/hda1: /boot, 50 MB min., 150 MB max.
/dev/hda2: /, 2 GB min.
/dev/hda3: extended partition, up and until the end of the disk
/dev/hda5: /usr, at least 5 GB
/dev/hda6: /var ... at least 2 GB.
/dev/hda7: /home ... at least 75-80 GB if we take a 100 GB disk as basis
/dev/hda8: swap ... 2x the size of your RAM, but not more. If you have like 2 GB RAM, then 1x the size of your RAM should be enough.

How should I change this to dual boot? I am using a 250gb HDD, and would like to allocate about 10gb for XP. I know I should install XP before installing mint, but does the XP partition need to be first as well?

Also, I notice the partitioning schemes always skip hda4. Why is this?


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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:24 pm

Brett,

Greetings,

You might want to take a look at this thread. Similar problem.

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=9211

You might also take a look at my post in this thread about other aspects of partitioning:

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9326

If you have questions, I'll be happy to try to answer them.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Brett on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:03 pm

Thanks for those links. Read through them..

How does this look?


/dev/hda1 -- Boot 150mb
/dev/hda2 -- / 40gb
/dev/hda3 -- extended partition
/dev/hda5 -- Windows XP, 50 gb
/dev/hda6 -- /usr 15gb
/dev/hda7 -- /var 15gb
/dev/hda8 -- /home 50 gb
unused space
/dev/hda9 -- swap 3 gb


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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:59 pm

Brett,

Let me just point out a few things. As I said in one of those posts that I referred you to, partitioning a Linux system is a very contentious issue. Everybody seems to have strong feelings about his or her own way. I am not about to get into a discussion about what is the "right" way to partition. I'll just give you my thoughts and you decide what you want to do.

I am going to assume that you are after a general purpose desktop system and won't be doing a lot of program development, or compiling a lot of your programs. If that is the case then the rest of this post applies to you.

I'll use a Kubuntu system, which is similar to Mint, I have on my computer as an example. I set it up as a general purpose desktop. I use a swap partition, a /boot partition, a / (root) partition, and a /home partition. To be honest, I could do without the /boot partition, but since I have a number of systems on my machine I use a /boot partition for each OS so I can keep them close to the top of the partition tables. The closer a file is to the outside of the disk the faster it can be read from. The kernel is in the /boot folder.

The size of my Kubuntu / (root) partition is 12 Gig. Believe me I have a lot of extra stuff added in for testing etc. and am still only using 6.2 Gig of that space. I can't imagine how I could possibly run out of space in / (root) using it as an average desktop user would.

You have /var sized at 15 Gig. My var is currently using 350 MB. You have /user sized at 15 Gig. My /user is using 4.1 Gig., the largest file in / (root). My point is that every partition you make you have to size for worst case. You therefore tend to allocate too much space and it is just wasted. If you go too small you might run out of room and break the system. If you leave those files in / (root) they can expand or contract as needed without having to allocate so much space to those files alone. There are other reasons why I do as I do but I think I made my point.

In your case you only have one disk installed and Windows always needs to go on the first partition of the first hard drive. This is the Windows way. Windows kinda works ok if done Microsoft's way. It hardly works at all if you don't play by their rules. If it isn't on a primary partition on the first partition you will have ongoing problems with installing some programs and strange things happening in the registry. You can make it work but the problems will be never ending, according to those that know a lot more about Windows than I do. Below is what I would suggest in your case. If you choose to do otherwise thats fine. It certainly won't hurt my feelings. This is just my recommendation, for whatever it is worth.

sda1 primary see notes ntfs Windows
sda2 primary swap see notes swap Linux
sda3 primary / (root) 10 Gig ext3 Mint
sda4 extended /home rest of drive? ext3 Mint
sda5 logical shared see notes ntfs

Notes: 1) You need to size the Windows partition for as big as you think Windows, programs, and data will grow plus at least 20%. 2) The swap partition should be twice the amount of ram you have but the total should not exceed 4 Gig. 3) If you have a lot of space to work with it is handy to have a shared drive that both operating systems can use.

Hope that helps. :-)

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby muskratmx on Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:32 pm

Windows always needs to go on the first partition of the first hard drive. This is the Windows way. Windows kinda works ok if done Microsoft's way. It hardly works at all if you don't play by their rules.


That's an urban myth, Windows factory installs often use the first partition hidden to hold recovery files or do suspend to disk functions. Also It's possible to install several versions of windows to the same drive on separate partitions, again using hidden partitions. But unless your familiar with making and managing hidden partitions it's easiest to install windows on the first partition.

Also, I notice the partitioning schemes always skip hda4. Why is this?


Partition 4 is a place holder or the number assigned to the extended partition. All logical partitions are within the extended.
for example;
Code: Select all
hda1----
hda2----
hda3----
hda4----hda5---
            hda6---
            and so on----

this done because of the limitations of only having 4 primary partitions. It doesn't have to always be that way, you could assign 2 primary and then go to logical and it would be 3, but I believe the first logical would then be 5 anyway. I could be mistaken about that though.

Unless you setting up a sever there is no need of all those partitions. All you "NEED" is /(root) and swap. But it's advice able to have /home as a separate partition. If you plan to install more than one Linux OS then /boot can be an advantage.

I have my 120 GB drive setup like so.
Code: Select all
hda1== windows - 20gb
hda2== /boot - 500mb
hda3== swap - 1gb (this should double your memory, but I've heard that more than 1 gb is of no use.)
hda4 == hda5 == / root of my first linux OS - 20gb
              hda6 == / root of my second linux OS - 20gb
              hda7 == / root of my third linux OS - 20gb
              hda8 == /home - 20gb (all three Linux installs use this for their home directory)
              hda9 == /media/fat - the remainder of the drive (used for both windows and linux data - formated fat32)
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:47 pm

muskratmx,

Windows needing to be on the first partition may be an urban myth as you said, but I have seen BIOS problems when this is not done. Especially on older equipment. I am not a Windows expert by any stretch of the imagination. I was only repeating what a number of people over the years have told me about this, that know a lot more than I do about Windows. I can't remember seeing a Windows recovery partition on the first partition. They are usually on the inside of the disk, ie at the bottom of the partition table. It would be rather foolish to use the fastest, prime part of the disk as a recovery partition that might not ever even be used.

As far as hidden partitions. It is my understanding that they are only partitions that Windows doesn't recognize the formatting. "Hidden partitions" is Windows terminology. It is only hidden from Windows. It is still one of the 4 partitions allowed on the disk. It is certainly not invisible to any of the Linux/Unix tools that are available to work with partitions.

The partitioning numbers and the missing hda4 like you said it is a place holder for the fourth partition. If there is only one partition in the extended partition, assuming the extended partition is the fourth one, then you will have an hda4. If there are two or more logical partitions then hda4 will be missing in the partition table.

In the table that I showed, if there isn't a shared drive then his /home will be hda4. If he has a shared drive then it would be hda5 = /home and hda6 = shared drive. At least I think thats the way it works out.

Regarding the size of the swap file, your comments about the 1 Gig. limit used to be true. Now however, all the distros that I am familiar with have kernels that are compiled with support for up to 4 Gig. So twice the physical ram is the appropriate swap size as long as the total doesn't exceed 4 Gig.

With all the tools available today for working with ntfs, I can see no good reason for using a fat32 or 16 shared folder. Unless of course you are still running Windows 95/98 or ME.

Can get complicated, but fun figuring out, don't you think? :-)

Fred
Last edited by Fred on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby muskratmx on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:19 am

They are usually on the inside of the disk, ie at the bottom of the partition table. It would be rather foolish to use the fastest, prime part


I aggree, but I had an XP system that had the frist partition, as a recovery. Windows couldn't see it. Your right Linux could see it. But Linux can hide partitions to. Grub is quit able to hide partitons also. I've installed windows to a drive then moved it to slave position. When Grub boots into windows it swaps postition so windows thinks it's in the master partition.

I still use winxp as fat 32, and win98 on some systems, just because some of my older linux systems still won't write to ntfs. I was just giving what I had in my partion table. Also almost all the thumb drives are fat 32 or 16 still so I partion my external HDs to fat32 for a sort of standard in my systems.

It is certainly not invisible to any of the Linux/Unix tools that are available to work with partitions.

IBM as a bois that hides a partition from all OSs including Linux/Unix disk tools.

Regarding the size of the swap file, your comments about the 1 Gig. limit used to be true. Now however, all the distros that I am familiar with have kernels that are compiled with support for up to 4 Gig

Regarding the new kernel limitations, I was unaware of that. It's nice to know.

I guess more than anything I was trying to imprees on bret that partitioning is really a preferance, depending upon the use. Servers use quite a different partition setup than desktops. Most partitioning guides I've seen tell newbies to setup partition for a server.
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:33 am

muskratmx,

When it comes to Windows I would certainly have to defer to your more informed opinion. My Windows knowledge is shamefully lacking. The last Windows I used on a day to day basis was Windows 98 shortly after it came out.


I guess more than anything I was trying to imprees on bret that partitioning is really a preferance, depending upon the use. Servers use quite a different partition setup than desktops. Most partitioning guides I've seen tell newbies to setup partition for a server.


So So true! I run into flame wars over partitioning on a regular basis. Never have understood how people can get so worked up over such an arcane issue.

Have a nice evening,

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby muskratmx on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:42 am

I try not to use windows, But I have some mapping software I use in the truck, and until I get a emulator to support them I still need it on my laptop.

At home I only keep it around to test softwear for friends and clients, since I do a lot of PC repair on the side.

In My store I have a small cyber cafe, The public still demand windows. But that is coming to a screching halt. Because of vista. I will not invest my time and money into MS any more. If people refuse to come over to open source then it won't be long I won't be able to help them any more.

The new MS Office for vista is causing problem for my clients. They save a file then bring them to my shop to print out the jobs and I'm unable to open them. I tell them all, "Download Open Office" or "I'm sorry I can't help anymore".

It's be an educational chat
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby vincent on Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:00 pm

Hi,
You guys should be able to help me.. I've searched & googled with no luck.
I have just built a dual boot-XP & linux- machine. The lunix distro
I choose has a problem with the mobo. I want to install Mint which works fine as a live CD.
My HD is a Western Digital 80 GB SATA.
When I installed XP I split it 60 XP & 20 Linux. When I installed linux GParted showed ~ 15+ . I went ahead and installed without further
partitioning.
Now with the need to install Mint I stumbled on to your partitioning/GParted discussion.
GParted shows 58.59 GB nts and 15.93 GB ext3. Total 74.52 GB
I would like to get the other 5.48 GB back but GParted isn't seeing it!!!
Any suggestions. Thanks, Vince
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:35 pm

vincent,

The good news is the whole 80 Gig. is still there, probably even a bit more.

The bad news is you can't have it back. :-)

Assuming you didn't miss a small partition in the table, which I sincerely doubt.

Magnetic media is not perfect. The drive manufacturers mark bad parts of the media when they test them, and this bad media isn't usable. If you take ten identical drives you will have ten different amounts of usable memory. If you take the space that the partition table and boundaries occupy, plus the file system tables, plus the bad sectors of the disk you will have accounted for the missing space. I have seen 160 Gig. drives with large partition tables and all journaled file systems loose as much as 20 Gig. by the time they were formatted and ready to use.

Life just isn't fair is it! :-)

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby muskratmx on Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:03 am

Also if you start with a 80gb drive and chop it up into segments, each partition hsa a partition table which uses a small amount of space. You lose that space. :cry: And some drive manufactures are worst than others about that. I've found WDs to be a bit waste full in that area.

But did Linux Mint install without requesting a swap partition??????
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby vincent on Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:34 pm

Hi,
Thank you for your help.. it is appreciated!!

I tried to install Mint last nite ( after I quit crying about my wimpy brand new HD) but the version of GParted on the live CD would not let me make a swap section other than 2400. I tried 2000, 1600, 1200, and it always ended up 2400!!
So today I will try to download and burn a GParted disc from the site linked in one of the threads mentioned above.
My plans to split it are:
1. primary-swap-2G
2. primary-ext3-/(root)-5G
3. extended-ext3-/(home) remainder

If I am successful, and can get the Nvidia drivers installed, it will be a first for me. I have been
trying for years to get a Linux machine but never made it.. always something wrong.
Thanks, Vincent
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby vincent on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:00 pm

Hi,
I am in the process of splitting the section for Mint. I have /5239MB and Gparted is reporting 226MB used....How? Why? Same for /home: 9483 Allocated.. 304mb Used.
Is this just overhead costs? If not, how do I remove whatever is there?
Thanks, Vincent
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:13 pm

vincent,

This is your journaling file system table. When you format you create, among other things, a table that will contain all the pointers and meta data that can be held in the partition. This is the way the computer knows where on the hard drive a certain piece of data resides. Think of it as infrastructure or a system of pointers.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Guest on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:49 pm

Well, I went ahead and installed... and it appeared to work as it booted to the desktop.
Fred, I didn't see your post in time, but thanks to both you and "muskratmx" for your
help and many posts on this subject. Do you do Nvidia Drivers??? LOL
You know, those must be some very elegant tables at 226 & 304 megs.
Thanks again, Vincent
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:09 pm

vincent,

Journaling file systems are complex and elegant. :-)

Had you used ext2 file systems the tables would have been considerably smaller. But you wouldn't have the fault recovery capabilities of a journaling file system.

In this world you just don't get something for nothing. :-)

Enjoy,

Fred
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Guest on Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:14 pm

What a pity... all that work and no sound!!! That is kind of fundamental!! Off Mint comes!!
Thanks anyway guys, Vincent
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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby Fred on Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:28 pm

vincent,

You gave up awfully easy. Why don't you start another thread and ask about the sound. There are ways to solve that problem.

Anything worth having is worth working for. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

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Re: Partitioning w/ Dual Boot

Postby muskratmx on Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:28 pm

Do you do Nvidia Drivers??? LOL


No I don't use Nvidia , if I can help, but a lot of folks do, so you should be able to get it working.

What a pity... all that work and no sound!!! That is kind of fundamental!! Off Mint comes!!


Did the sound work with the live CD? If so then it, a rather small matter to get it working.

And like fred said, great things are worth striffing for. You won't find any linux system that works 100% of the time out of the box and on 100% of the hardware. But nether does any other OS for that matter, including windoz.

But if you give up that easy, well it would of be just a matter of time and you would have removed it anyway. Just today, I did a systems update, and now my systems acting funky, I'll have to wait until next update and hope the developers fixed it, or spend time and find the funky package and fix it myself. That's the cost of any OS, even windoz has done this to me.
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