Mint Install on Virgin HDD

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Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby mipcar on Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:51 am

I want to fiddle a bit now.My first try was installing Mint 6 on an old MS system. Just ran drive format under MS then loaded the Mint disk and all was well.

I've purchased a brand new HDD which I want to fit in place of the small one I have in there now.

My question is can I just plug in the new HDD (with the old one removed) boot the machine with the Linux disk and let it do it's own thing? Or will I need to try to format the new drive first.?

Second question, assuming the first install goes fine, as this is a large HDD I want to set it up to put on a couple of other distros.
I know how to run gparted but not sure what to call each partition or what size to make it. Can someone run me through that please? The new is 160gig.

Thanks,
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby DataMan on Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:50 am

By coincidence, my operating system hard drive is also 160G. I'm currently supporting 4 linux ops and 1 Windows 2000 Pro SP4 on the drive along with a dedicated GRUB partition (handy to have if you're going multi-Lx ops).

For the setup, there are countless variations. I'll provide you with my recommendation for starting out with a virgin hd:

1. With the drive installed, either boot to GParted Live or Mint LiveCD to get at GParted.
2. Create an ext3 size ~5 - ~8GB (this will be your "/" for your initial install of Lx.
3. Create a small swap. The conventional wisdom here 2X RAM or 2G max.
4. With the remaining space create an extended partition.
5. If you want to go with a dedicated partition for '/home', create 1 ext3 partition here within the extended partition for your /home.
6. If you want a separate place to store stuff (like media etc, create an ext3 within the extended.
7. Leave the remaining space within the extended partition unallocated for now. You'll carve this up on adding the additional ops etc.
8. Note the identifier for "/" and "/home" and any data type partition you created.
9. Exit GParted and the re-boot to your install CD.
10. When it comes time in the installation for partitioning, choose the manual method and identify the pertinent partitions. Make sure you check the "format" checkbox for the "/" partition.

Note : I strongly recommend doing each operation in GParted by itself before moving on to the next one. Personal experience, had a very bad situation occur some time ago when I "tree'd" several operations together for execution in GParted.

Have Fun,

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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:56 am

I would like to respectfully add my advice to what Dataman has told you. Keep in mind that everyone does things differently here and there really is no right or wrong.

My first point of contention is that I find I routinely climb above 16GB on my / partition. I like to install lots of apps and I also keep my /home inside /, though I only use /home as a temp repository and workspace. I feel that 20GB is ideal for my / partitions.

I would also not worry about using GParted, the Linux installer can take care of all these partitioning needs. Just choose custom partitioning and you should be able to make all these changes.

From the 160GB free space create a 2GB partition. In file system just select swap.

Next pull out a 20GB chunk from free space and create an ext3 root (/)partition.

Then use the rest of the drive to create an ext3 partition that you will label yourself. I use /data for my label.

An option would be to create a 4th primary of maybe 20GB for /home, but I dislike doing this. I know which config files I need to pull out of /home into /data when I change the OS. In fact, I keep a working backup of these files on /data. This way I start fresh with each install, it can eliminate many little bugs and it only takes a few minutes to tweak things back to where you like them.

Another option is to leave 20GB free space. Then, if you ever wanted to install another OS or upgrade to the next release you can install on this and dual boot for a while until you know things are right. Then just delete the earlier version, or just leave it as a backdoor in case anything goes wrong with your main OS. You can share the data partition and the swap between the two, just be aware that some distros start the user ID at 500 and not 1000 like debian distros. This can cause permission problems.

Anyway, no disrespect meant towards Dataman, I just wanted to give you some other ideas.
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby DataMan on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:21 pm

There are definitely 2 schools of thought on a dedicated partition for /home. As Fedorarefugee suggested, you could definitely include the /home into the main ops partition (that's the other school of thought :) ).

The poster indicated that he wants to expand into other distro's / versions at some point in the future. For that reason, I recommended using GParted and create the extended partition up front ( I don't think you can create extended as part of the installer partitioning capabilities??). If he goes with his 4th partition as a data partition in ext3, he's going to be faced with a significant challenge down the road if/when he wants to expand to another partition(s) for the additional ops.

Just a bit of my rationale for whatever it's worth... :)

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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby Aging Technogeek on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:16 pm

I tend to agree with DataMan. I like a fast booting, fast running operating system and I have found that small, tight partitions on the outside edge of the disk ( the top of the partition table) give the fastest response. The only change I would make in DataMan's suggestions is put your swap space first. If your system is light on ram and Mint accesses the swap on a regular basis it will be quicker. Of course, if you have plenty of ram swap space is not really needed except that Linux expects to find a swap space and may react strangely if its not there. So put in at least 256 Meg of swap even if you have 6-8 gig of ram.

You don't have to preformat the disk, just remember to check the format boxes for the / and /home partitions during the installation.


My normal install looks like this:

swap
size depends on system ram (minimum 256 Meg : maximum equal to or slightly more than ram ) If you have a laptop and want it to hibernate swap must be equal to or
slightly larger than total ram
/ (root)
8 -10 Gig - My root partition in Mint main usually has about 3.5 to 4 Gig used but I don't run a lot of added apps. If you feel cramped with 10 Gig, use what you think you need.
After all, Linux is about choice and creativity. There are no hard and fast rules about this.
/home
5 -8 Gig - Again, I don't install many apps and don't save large files so I can get by with a small /home. Use what you think you need.

The rest of the disk I would leave unallocated so you will have plenty of space to install other OS.

Almost forgot - all the above partitions are logical and contained within a 20 -25 Gig extended partition.

That's my two cents worth. If you wait a while you will get at least four or five additional suggestions. Read them all and pick what you feel is right for you. Welcome to the Mint community.
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:25 pm

DataMan wrote:There are definitely 2 schools of thought on a dedicated partition for /home. As Fedorarefugee suggested, you could definitely include the /home into the main ops partition (that's the other school of thought :) ).

The poster indicated that he wants to expand into other distro's / versions at some point in the future. For that reason, I recommended using GParted and create the extended partition up front ( I don't think you can create extended as part of the installer partitioning capabilities??). If he goes with his 4th partition as a data partition in ext3, he's going to be faced with a significant challenge down the road if/when he wants to expand to another partition(s) for the additional ops.

Just a bit of my rationale for whatever it's worth... :)

-DataMan



Not if he includes /home in root. Then he will have two root partitions (for two distros / versions) a shared swap and a shared data partition for his personal stuff. If he wanted separate /homes then he could extend both root partitions and include /home and /whatever else keeping the distros partitions all together (though this is irrelevant except making the partition table easy to understand). If he wanted to boot three or more distros then he will have some head scratching to do. In any case, I especially do not recommend sharing a /home between two distros, or even two versions of the same distro. It can be done but it will lead to many problems. Easier to just keep your personal stuff on a separate partition. I have had the same /data on my main desktop since FC4, which was about 4(?) years ago now. It has seen upwards of ten different installs by this point, I am currently running Shane's Fluxbox 6 version, and have never had a problem mounting and reading/writing to it.

I believe you are correct about not being able to do extended partitions in the Mint installer, at least that I have ever noticed. In this case it would probably be best to set the table up with GParted. The only reason I suggested otherwise when using primary partitions is because when you create them with the Mint installer you will be sure to format and/or mount them.

edit: Also, in response to Aging Technogeek, and in reference to smaller partitions, I agree. Especially if you are dual booting two distros and do not intend to install much beyond the default apps then by all means keep them as small as comfortable. A standard ISO install can usually be done in ~7GB even with /home included. All the more reason to keep personal data on a larger, inside partition. The only reason I suggested 20GB for / was if you only ran the one distro and intended to leave it installed and wanted to feel free to install everything in sight. On a 160GB drive 20GB is not really cutting into anything and this is a good size for total comfort. If you will not need it you should not waste the space though.
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby AK Dave on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:51 pm

You do need more space if you plan to do any serious compiling, esp of the kernel, and esp if you intend to save logfiles of compiles.

My laptop partition table summarizes like this:
2gb swap
12gb linux
12gb linux
EXTENDED
12gb linux
130gb data

I've considered perhaps installing XP back onto this laptop, primarily for gaming, but its been a year since I've used XP (outside of work) in other than a virtual session (and at work I boot an XP desktop but all my work is done on an XP guest on a remote server).
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby mipcar on Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:28 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. The other thing I was wondering, if as you know we can have a dual boot by installing Linux in an MS machine, it just gives you the option to dual boot as it sees the other O/S. Would not the same thing happen if I first put Mint on the virgin HDD, get things set up and running, then install the other distro I want to try?

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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby Aging Technogeek on Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:36 pm

If the second distro you install uses Grub as its bootloader it should see your Mint install and automatically set up the dual boot menu. I'm dual booting Mint 6 main and Mint 6 XFCE on two computers and both times Grub set up for dual boot with no problems.

I've never tried any distros that use Lilo so I can't speak to that situation, but you should have no trouble dual or multi booting with Grub.
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:43 pm

mipcar wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. The other thing I was wondering, if as you know we can have a dual boot by installing Linux in an MS machine, it just gives you the option to dual boot as it sees the other O/S. Would not the same thing happen if I first put Mint on the virgin HDD, get things set up and running, then install the other distro I want to try?

Mychael


IMHO you want to stay away from any automatic partitioning even if just installing one distro. Partitioning is very easy and very flexible. You can tailor your table to your exact needs. Auto partitioning always does screwy things, such as leaving you with a 140GB Linux partition and a 20GB Windows partition.

Dual/multi booting couldnt be easier. Install your first OS with the grub in the MBR. Then, each succeeding distro, install the grub in the /boot partition. You will have to manually go into the first distro's grub and map the freshly installed slave distro just once. After that, the MBR grub will always point to the slave and the slave grub can update itself with each new kernel change. This is a totally hands off approach on your part until you change a distro. Then it is simply a matter of either renaming the distro in the MBR grub or remapping the partition table if you reinstall the MBR grub.

Dual booting Windows is a bit different but not any harder.
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby shane on Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:29 pm

Just a small contribution... There is this thread here started by Fred which is an invaluable resource for hard disk management. It is a lengthy read in all but Fred's initial post should put you on the right track.
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby Aging Technogeek on Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:49 pm

shane wrote:Just a small contribution... There is this thread here started by Fred which is an invaluable resource for hard disk management. It is a lengthy read in all but Fred's initial post should put you on the right track.
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872


I agree wholeheartedly. Most of what I've learned about partitioning I learned from Fred. Check out his thread, it's invaluable knowledge about installing Mint .
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Re: Mint Install on Virgin HDD

Postby AK Dave on Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:03 pm

I generally advise people to stay away from automatic partitioning in all cases, even the "virgin HDD" scenario.
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