Hard Drive and Partition Questions

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Hard Drive and Partition Questions

Postby det4100 on Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:02 pm

I have a few questions about HD's and partitions. If they don't belong here, let me know and I'll bring them to the appropriate forum.

1. My HD's are listed as sda, sdb and sdc. Since they are IDE drives, I thought they would be hda, hdb and hdc. I thought SCSI drives were listed as sda etc. If so, does it hurt the drives performance if they are listed wrong?

2. Before installing Mint on sdb, (sda has windows on it) I had a version of mandrake on the drive that would not boot any more, so I ran gparted prior to installing and created what I thought were the following partitions:

/dev/hdb1 fat32 (for additional windows files and pupsave files)
/dev/hdb2 extended
/dev/hdb5 ext3 for mint
/dev/hdb6 ext3 for Home
/dev/hdb7 swap

I ended up with this, after installing:

/dev/sdb1 fat32 mounted at /media/sdb1
/dev/sdb2 extended
/dev/sdb5 ext3 mounted at /, /dev/.static/dev
/dev/sdb6 ext3 mounted at /home
/dev/sdb7 ext3 mounted at /media/sdb7
/dev/sdb8 swap

Since I come from a windows background, I thought all this partitioning stuff would have removed the mandrake OS. Now I realize that I just resized some partions and maybe created a few new ones. Mint installed and ran fine. (Very happy with it) But as you might guess, my disk has more data on it than it should. I now have several Home directories, share directories and usr directories. Also the mount point /media confuses me a little and the mount point /, /dev/.static/dev confuses me a lot. I'm not sure why this partition would mount here. I would like to reclaim this disk space and remove the files associated with the mandrake OS. I have for example, in my Home folder, another home folder as follows /home/home/guest containing lots of files and folders, many of which appear to be associated with mandrake, given the names of some of the folders, .MdkOnline and .fvwm-metisse. So the question is, did Mint migrate these files during install, and will it disable Mint if I delete them.

3. Last question. I have several Lost+Found folders in some of these partitions. They are locked and I tried accessing from a terminal as root. These folders are a few Megs in size, but show no files. I would guess that these are FUBAR'ed files from the mandrake OS. Can they be cleared, emptied, deleted or something, so I can get the disk space back? A quick explanation of the folder would be appreciated, but not necessary. I can look that up.

I know that the easy answer is, "Hey noob, you screwed up! Reformat and do it right!". But that defeats the purpose of me posting this. The desire to learn. What went wrong? How can I fix it? If it can't be fixed, how do I do it right the next time.

I've spent a lot of time searching these forums about HDs and partitions. There are way too many opinions about the subject to get a clear understanding of what is the proper way to partition a drive. Suffice it to say, I am a home user with several computers networked through the house using both windows and various linux distros. So I don't want to start a debate on the subject. Simple and safe configuration is what I'm after. There is nothing on these computers that would destroy my life if I lost them. (Except, maybe, my Louis Armstrong recordings)

Thank you for your time

det4100
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Re: Hard Drive and Partition Questions

Postby Husse on Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:17 pm

Valid questions
But I don't understand why you have remaining data you don't want.
If you wanted to use the disk without keeping data the way to go is to remove all partitions and then make new ones + format the partitions.
But if you just modified the existing partitions and no format the data is kept - and is supposed to be kept, anything else would be disastrous as there are many cases when you want to keep your data.
To your other questions
hda used to be IDE and sda scsi, but then came SATA and sda was SATA as well. From Feisty Ubuntu decided to make all drives s and not h (grub the obvious exception) but hda still works I think, but is not recommended.
/media is the normal mount point for "non special" partitions (Like home and root)
The odd looking
/, /dev/.static/dev
is how root appears in some cases - I have not had the time to look up why. I have this in my secondary computer which has nine distros installed - this one only has five (other) distros installed and the installer has not used that option....
The lost and found folders are locked with a purpose :)
If there is something in them it's remains of a check by fsck were corrupted files were found
And as you mounted a home when you installed the installer made the best of the situation and put your old home folder in /home/home/guest and as you already noticed the files are from your Mandrake home and has nothing to do with Mint. As a general rule you can't do anything in your home folder that messes up Linux. The obvious exception are that you can loose personal settings for some programs stored in home.
And you must have set sdb7 as an ordinary partition else it would have been used as swap.
Now that you know you can decide if you want to make a fresh install (Keeping your home partition I suspect :)) or keep "the mess" :)
Sorry for the slightly messy language, must have been tired - takes too long to fix :)
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Re: Hard Drive and Partition Questions

Postby Acid7711 on Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:56 pm

Husse wrote:From Feisty Ubuntu decided to make all drives s and not h (grub the obvious exception) but hda still works I think, but is not recommended.

I believe it's a UDev change. I first noticed this change early on under Arch, and have seen other distributions such as Debian, etc slowly updating and catching on.
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Re: Hard Drive and Partition Questions

Postby det4100 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:41 am

Husse,

Thank you for your explanation. Very easy to understand and quite informative. I apparently erred while creating the partitions, by not formating and removing the old OS. The installer did the right thing by preserving my home directory. After analyzing the folders and removing all the files and folders associated with the old OS, I recovered over 7 gigs of hard drive space. I think I'll keep the current setup as of now, with the Mint Home on a separate partition. In the meantime, I'll do a little more reading before deciding to reinstall and setting up additional partitions for other areas of Mint.

The more I learn about the way in which the OS operates, it is starting to become clear to me that certain areas of the folder hierarchy are more important than others, depending on the use of the computer. (be it a home desktop or a web server for example) Requiring the user to really think about how he wants to set up the partitions and mount points so as not to lose data in the event of a system crash.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

det4100
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