Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

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Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby jokersloose on Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:05 pm

Hey All,

With Mint 5.0 just around the corner I realized when I installed I didn't partition my hard drive I let the Mint Installer do it's thing (Yeah I understand NOW how bad this is). Now from what I understand I will have to do a fresh install and I want too keep my data. So what I need to know is what would you think the best way to divide an 80 gig HD. I don't dual boot, only Mint. I have 512 ram so I need at least a 1 gig /swap, right? What about the other 79gig? And how do I add the / (Not sure how much room I need to give the OS) and /home (or what ever else I need) once I have already installed and used Mint?

Thanks,

James
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby red-e-made on Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:16 pm

Hello James

There are probably as many answers to your question as there are ways to partition your drive. It all depends really on what you use your machine for. Are you going to dual or even triple boot, for example, or use one OS exclusively?

Myself, I use Mint 4 alone, also have an 80GB hard drive, and this is how I have it partitioned, with volume sizes approximated:

sda1: /boot 250MB
sda2: / (root) 11GB
sda3: /home/red-e-made 66GB
sda4: swap 2GB

Keeping boot separate allows you to retain the same Linux kernel no matter what you write onto / (root), which is especially useful if you compile your own kernel. I don't, but I did make a few minor adjustments and like to keep them that way. You really don't need a whopping amount of space for the OS itself. I've heard anywhere from 10GB to 20GB recommended. Having a separate home partition has obvious advantages, of course.

This is a very, very simplified explanation I'm giving you. Fred is much better at providing more detailed information.
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby jokersloose on Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:21 pm

Hey and thanks for the reply. As for what I do with my laptop: basic internet; web surfing, email, web based forums like this one. I also keep a large MP3 library on it and download movies. So mostly multimedia.

Thanks,
James
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Fred on Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:30 pm

jokersloose,

Greetings sir,

There are a couple of ways to go here. One way is to use data partitions mounted in your /home folder. The other way is to make a separate /home partition and put all your data there. Or you could use a combination of both.

By-the-way, 1 Gig is plenty big enough for your swap, with 512 MB of ram. You will not gain any speed by going larger with that amount of ram.

Questions:

How big is your Mint install and how much of that space are you currently using?

Here is a thread that will give you more information than you really wanted to know about filesystems, ....etc.. :-)

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11502

Fred
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby red-e-made on Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:31 pm

jokersloose wrote: As for what I do with my laptop: basic internet; web surfing, email, web based forums like this one. I also keep a large MP3 library on it and download movies. So mostly multimedia.


Yes, this sounds like having a large home partition would be the way to go. Basic internet activity but large volumes of data.

You don't necessarily need a separate /boot partition, really - you can just as easily include as a part of / (root). I guess a safe volume for that partition would be between 10GB and 15GB - you won't fill 15GB with applications, trust me. Give a gig to swap, and let your home partition have the rest. Plenty of room for all those movies and music.

But again, just this one person's opinion.

EDIT: Ah, there's Fred. :) He brings up partitioning your home folder. I didn't go this way, but this was a matter of choice for me personally. You might find it a lot more useful to partition your home drive.
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Lantesh on Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:41 am

I'm going to recommend a slightly different stance here, and say that while it's good to keep your data (documents, movies etc...) on another partition I would still leave /home on the same partition as the rest of the OS. In other words don't keep your data in /home. I have seen on rare occasion where a partition fails to mount. If you have /home on a separate partition, and it fails to mount, your OS can run. I also prefer to have my data separate from any and all configuration settings. So I simply keep all my data in appropriately named folders on it's own partition (which is actually a completely separate hard drive as well).
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:24 am

Lantesh,

I am going to agree with you. A big /home partition is a solution, but not the best solution.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby jokersloose on Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:37 am

Fred,

Thanks for the links. I have some reading to do LOL. So I can get my head around the theory behind mount points and such. There is a LOT of information in the links you gave me. Thanks. One of the main reasons I moved to Linux is the freedom a user has over there own system. So this is the next step in my journey into learning this. :twisted: LOL

As for the questions you asked.
How big is your Mint install
I'm not sure how to answer this. If I check the properties of "Filesystem" it tells me the total capacity of the hard disk is 72.1 gig (But I know it's 80 gig)
how much of that space are you currently using?
As of right now it says I have used just under 30 gig.

So I'll do some reading on this. At least I have some time to "understand" the hows and whys of this before 5.0 comes out. :mrgreen:

Thanks again and I'll do some reading and I'm sure I'll be back to ask more questions. I do have a few now. Just a couple of things I didn't understand when reading the links you gave me.

Ok I think I understand most of what was said, from what I have read so far at least. The /boot is for the kernel (which is the heart of any Linux distro, right?) and /swap I understand (if I am doing something that fills my installed ram it will use the /swap to help speed it up, right?) /root is where the OS and any other programs I install is kept on the hard drive (this is the one I'll re-format once 5.0 comes out, right?) Now to where I am a bit confused. If /home is where I keep my data files (music, movies, personal doc's, etc) then what is the reason for /home/james/My_data? It just seems I am doubling up on the same thing. I'm sure I'm not I'm just not "seeing" it.

Thanks,
James
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Lantesh on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:29 pm

jokersloose wrote: If /home is where I keep my data files (music, movies, personal doc's, etc) then what is the reason for /home/james/My_data? It just seems I am doubling up on the same thing. I'm sure I'm not I'm just not "seeing" it.


/home is the parent directory. There will be other folders within /home such as /home/james/Desktop where anything on your desktop is kept. /home/james/Documents will be for office documents, /home/james/Music for, you get the idea. Also as you install software hidden files will be created for settings. For example /home/james/.wine will contain any settings files for the Wine program if you install it. Settings folders start with a period such as .wine . These are by default hidden, but you can change this in the View menu in Nautilus.
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:35 pm

James,

If I may call you by your first name. You are getting there. :-)

Let's see if I can answer your question without confusing you further. Let's say you have installed your system on a single partition that is 10 - 12 Gig. We will call that partition sda2. All the default folders in the file system are mounted or bound to sda2. When you made the install, those folders were populated with the appropriate files to make the system functional.

One of those folders is /home. It was part of the install and was mounted to sda2 also. In /home there is a folder for each user. In this case we will have one user, james. In the /home/james folder is where all your configuration files are for your desktop. A good example here would be your bookmarks for the browser. What we don't have in /home/james is a lot of space for you to put folders containing lots of data. We kept the install small so it would be fast and responsive. Also, it is safer and easier to upgrade if we keep our data completely out of the install.

Ok, Lets say that you had sometime in the past put all your pictures on a partition called sda5. And also you had another partition that contained all your multimedia on sda6. And another, sda7, that had all your documents on it. Ok, carrying this further, lets say you want easy access to this data from your home partition, just as if it really was there.

If you create a folder in your home called Pictures, you now have an empty folder mounted on sda2, but there is nothing in it. And we do the same with multimedia and documents. The folders live on sda2 but there is no data on sda2 that goes with these folders. They are just icons that you have created.

Now comes the part that makes the Linux file system so powerful and flexible. You can mount the Pictures folder to sda5. Now the folder is a portal to an entirely different partition, that just so happens to have your pictures in it. We can do the same thing for Multimedia, mount to sda6, and Documents, mount to sda7. The folder icons themselves live on sda2, but the data you are looking at and acting on in those folders is on a different partition that could be on another drive, another computer, or in a cloud somewhere over the rainbow. :-)

Most of the folders in Linux can be mounted to wherever you wish them to be. The default folders as well as the ones you create. This has some very powerful implications and is one of the biggest reasons the Unix/Linux file system infrastructure is so flexible, and has been around so long, while other file systems seem to come and go. There may be something better someday, but it hasn't shown up yet. :-)

Now... what are the advantages to this setup. Well first there is speed. The part of the system that we are most concerned about is small and the data is close together on the disk instead of being spread out everywhere. Secondly, all your important data is completely separate from your Linux install. If you decided to try another distro you could put it on the disk also and mount those same partitions in its' home too. You would then have your data easily available in either install.

Also, from an upgrade stand point of view, you could and I would make a backup folder on one of your data partitions and keep the few config files that you have in /home/james, just in case. Let's say you break your install. Just reformat and reinstall the base system, remount your data partitions in your /home and copy back your backed up config files. If you didn't have a lot of extra programs added, you are back in business, just as you were in less than 30 min.

I know this is long and I didn't mean for it to be, but I hope that answers your question. If not, post back and I will try again. :-)

Fred
Last edited by Fred on Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Lantesh on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:48 pm

Fred that is some great info! 8)
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Fred on Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:30 am

@Lantesh,

Thank you sir, I hope it was worth your time reading it. :-)

@jokersloose,

I think you will be happier if you make informed decisions about your own layout. Once you decide what kind of layout suits you best, whether it be like something I suggested or something else, then I will help you implement it in a sane way.

Just let me know when you are ready.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby jokersloose on Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:33 pm

Fred,

First off yes please call me James. Second, thanks for the information. I'll review and do some studying and then I'll give ya a shout for help on making it work.

Let me ask you this. From what you have said so far. It seems to me a system will run faster and more stable if I have several small mount points. This is because the information is I believe you said grouped together instead of being spread out over the entire hard drive. So if I only have the one mount point then when I save information it is saved all over the place? So by having several small ones for my hard drive it doesn't "work" as hard when I wish I open/recall saved information? Also, how do you determen how large to make each mount point. I am guessing the /boot, /, and /swap are for the most part set. How about the mount points for saved data? If I used a point for pictures, music, movies, etc. how would I know how large to make them? And I guess if I made one to small I could add to the space after the fact?

Now I see why one would want to put the OS on one, your config/saved files on a different one. If I fubar the OS (which I have tons) I can re-install without losing my saved data. Very cool.

The more I learn about Linux the more happy I am I switched from the pre-loaded OS.

Thanks again,
James
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Re: Partitioning After Install??? Need a How-to.

Postby Fred on Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:15 pm

James wrote:
So by having several small ones, (partitions), for my hard drive it doesn't "work" as hard when I wish I open/recall saved information?


Smaller partitions are faster than larger partitions. There are a number of reasons that is true. Some have to do with how a hard drive is constructed physically and how it mechanically accesses the data. There are also reasons that are related to the file system tables and infrastructure, and how it is placed on the hard disk and accessed electronically.

Also, how do you determine how large to make each mount point. I am guessing the /boot, /, and /swap are for the most part set.


If you will look in the new user section, I have a sticky post there that talks about these partition sizes.

If I used a partition for pictures, music, movies, etc. how would I know how large to make them? And I guess if I made one to small I could add to the space after the fact?


Well, only you know how much data of the type you would want to put in a given partition you have. And you are bound to know better than I, how fast this data pool will grow. I would make it large enough to hold all that data type and allow for any expected growth over say the next six months. You don't want to constrain yourself, but there is no need to be wasteful either. You don't have to allocate the whole hard drive. Just because you have an extra 50 - 150 Gig doesn't mean you have to stick it in a partition that doesn't need it. It just slows the partition down for no reason. Leave it unallocated and add it to which ever partition needs it, when it needs it. Once you learn to use Gparted this is pretty easy to do.

I hope this answers your questions.

Fred
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