Considerations before you install

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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby AlmightyDoerOfStuff on Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:44 pm

(I only read a few pages of this thread at the beginning and end. I know that's not kosher in some communities, but I have no questions to ask at present so I imagine it's okay.)

I don't know if this has been said before but I'll say it again.

Do NOT go with the default installation options if you're dualbooting Windows and Linux on the same hard drive, with the boot loaders on separate hard drives! It only leads to pain... :|

You'd think I would have learned the first or second time I tried it, when I had WinXP installed on sdb (the master SATA drive) with its boot sector on sda (the slave PATA storage drive). That's the way Windows liked it, and I don't mess with Windows too much because I know it can be temperamental. Then, when I tried to install Ubuntu on the same hard drive, it ALSO wrote its boot sector to sda, overwriting Windows's. Now neither of them would boot. I don't really know why, but they wouldn't. So I reinstalled Windows (after having already set it up the way I liked :x ) and installed Ubuntu on the same partition, but with Grub2 on sdb, and now they booted. Fine. Lesson learned? No, of course not. Then I updated from Meerkat to Narwhal, and did the same thing, So I installed fresh over again. >_< Everything was fine until Ocelot came along with Unity, which I hate, being the only GUI, with GNOME 3 which I also don't like being a separate download (or so I heard). So I switched to Katya. And guess what happened when I did? :evil: <-(directed at myself) At least this last time I managed to fix it without losing my settings and applications again. I reinstalled Mint immediately, and then later when I found out Windows wasn't working, I just used the Recovery Console to fix everything.

I don't especially like Windows, but I need it for certain things that don't work on Linux or Wine, such as my HP printer (which is supposed to work perfectly according to the driver's developers' website but doesn't), my Sansa Fuze+ portable media player, and some websites like the Pokemon Dream World site for Pokemon Black and White versions.

So I'm hoping that, by posting about my repetitive journeys through the installation media of my OSes, I'll remember next time I have to update or switch again. :P

As for separate /home/ partitions, I didn't see this thread when I was installing, but I don't keep my data in my /home/ folder anyway. I keep it on an NTFS partition on my laptop, or on my NTFS storage disk on my desktop, so it can be accessed from either OS. But now I know I can make it bigger. I made my Linux partitions pretty big, not realizing how little space programs take up on ext4 partitions. I just checked mine here on my laptop. 31GB of partition space, less than 5.5GB of files. I can probably shrink it by 16 GB and add the space to my 20GB storage partition. Or, I can add another Linux installation. I won't worry about that now, but I might do that once GNOME 3 becomes standard, so I can tweak GNOME 3 and see if I can make it likable, while still having my GNOME 2 installation intact should I decide I don't like it and want to try other options, like KDE or something. More likely I'll do that on my desktop computer though, since I have more room there.

Now to go make my official introductory post. 8)

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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby sunewbie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:05 am

Thank for sharing nice info
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby leae89 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:41 pm

Forgot to say I'm downloading the LXDE version.
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My Appreciation

Postby marbangens on Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:33 am

good information
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby rickNS on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:58 am

mplumridge22 wrote:Hi

Following on from Fred, I don't know if my experiences are of any help to anyone but like most people i like to try the latest distros.

I have tried virtually every 3.5.9 KDE and 4.03 distro going and none of them will boot on my laptop.
Sony Vaio, dual core t5300, 2 gb ram and 120hd so not an old system by any means.

None of the forums (Kubuntu, Mandriva) have been able to resolve.
Having tried Most other distros, as most of us have, Mint is by far the smoothest and easiest install and operation i have encountered

My advice is, don't read too much into live CD's of the latest distros and how they run on your machine, they all worked on my laptop but none would boot when installed.

If you find a distro like mint that runs perfectly on your pc....STICK WITH IT!


Martyn, I couldn't agree more. I tried ubuntu 10. (something) a couple years ago. I wasn't so impressed. Next I tried Mint (9) I probably won't upgrade either (any time soon). I love mint, With only one small exception, and that will soon be overcome as soon as I get more comfortable with GIMP. I will soon have no need for windows what-so-ever, or paying the "Bill" for a disk that I can not own ? confused ? Frankly, that is the biggest reason I ever tried Linux in the first place. Thank XXX I did.

Make no mistake I (Richard Sweet) am going to make a contribution (cash) to Linux in the very near future. I hope Bill Gates dies a horrible, and painfull death. (add more curse words here) You know it is only a matter of time till more people get "turned on" to this Mint stuff, one year, ten years...who knows ? but eventually they will for just the same reasons as I did. Then, and only then will you be able to get the disk you "paid" for from microsoft, and Microsoft will DIE. I wouldn't want to be holding too many stocks at that out, it will happen, and I'm willing to bet on that !


(about me)--- I'm a Linux newbie, by necessity, see, I'm tired of not "owning" the disk I paid for. Perhaps his greedyness is a good thing. Hopefully it will be the death of him. My Linux (Mint) experience has been very positive, My printer works, wireless works, who doesn't like firefox ?, I got Synergy to work with a little effort. To the Linux team, I'll say again, an on board HELP FILE would be a great assett. BTW that's not to say that the forums aren't great, but for some basic type stuff it would be a lot faster to "look up" stuff than to ask questions on a forum, and wait for answers. Now that's just common sence, and my ONLY critisim.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby sunewbie on Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:15 am

rickNS wrote:To the Linux team, I'll say again, an on board HELP FILE would be a great assett. BTW that's not to say that the forums aren't great, but for some basic type stuff it would be a lot faster to "look up" stuff than to ask questions on a forum, and wait for answers. Now that's just common sence, and my ONLY critisim.

Please visit the community, sign-up and visit idea literature references, or a library and vote for it. Fell free to comment your suggestions :)

The idea is already considered by mods
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby hefff on Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:11 pm

Hello guys, im new ......

Last edited by hefff on Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby wayne128 on Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:51 pm

hefff wrote:
Also there isnt anything simple in the installation of linux even mint compared to windows, even when u do clear install. For 16 years i havent read probly even a page bout installing anything in win dos or other and still managed, and i read like 2 books just for a simple install and still cant figure it out :? .

What you could do is

goto website, get the documentation, like this one

then read the material on documentation,
it should let you install Mint into your hard disk.

If you follow the procedure, and have some issue, then, just open one new topic, usually in newbie section if you are not sure where to put your topic, explain you issues there and hope some kind people will come in and help your issue :mrgreen:
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby 3fRI on Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:35 am

Great suggestions! I wish I had thought of partitioning more creatively, which I'll do the next time. Many thanks. :D
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby user4815162342 on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:27 pm

Just had a few questions on my partition plan here, I hope I can get some advice or just nods of approval. I'm not a complete newbie, I've been using linux to run a home file/media server for several years now, but I haven't done a lot of partitioning.

Anyway, I'm setting up a used laptop with a 60GB drive and 2GB of Ram. I'm planning on using it for web browsing, office documents and *programming*... mostly web stuff but I'll probably be doing some Java and Mono as well. I would like to dual boot Mint 11 LXDE with the OEM XP Media Center that's already on it, so that I can use the windows install for testing -- I'm hoping I can keep that running on a single 10GB partition, since I won't be using it to store documents.

Here's my plan -- I'm using Fred's second option, keeping just documents and files (but not all of /home) in a data partition, so it's easier to upgrade without touching them.
Windows: 10 GB
/boot: 500 MB
swap: 2 GB
/: 10 GB
data: whatever's left (around 38 GB, by my calculations)

a) Will 10 GB be enough if I'm using it for development? I'm not writing drivers, or rebuilding kernels -- as I said, just Java, Mono and web development, but I'm not certain yet exactly how much space things like Eclipse takes up. There'd also be LAMPP and possible some other database tools, as well as some graphics programs...

b) Will 2 GB swap be okay for hibernating? What I'm concerned about is that when the laptop goes into hibernation, it will write anything in the RAM to the swap space... but what about the stuff that's already in swap at the time of hibernating? Should I make swap 4GB, so I can create a hibernate file that matches the size of the RAM and not get rid of the swap that's there?

c) It's possible that I might be setting up other users on this laptop (the kids might use it for schoolwork), in which case it doesn't make sense to mount the data partition as /home/joe/documents/, or whatever it is. I think it would be simpler in this case to mount it as /srv (for lack of a better place on the file system hierarchy) and use symlinks out of each user's home directory to point to their documents under that dir, thus:
/home/joe/documents -> /srv/joe/documents
/home/joe/music -> /srv/joe/music
/home/mary/documents -> /srv/mary/documents
/home/bill/documents -> /srv/bill/documents

Or is there a better way?
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby robinclark on Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:49 am

First off, thanks to Fred for the original post, and to everybody else for pitching in so far. I've played around with Ubuntu before but I'm really looking forward to going all-in with Mint.

I've read through most of this thread for good measure (n00b alert), and If I could I'd like to ask for your advice relating to a new install on my shiny new laptop :D

My setup:
Hard drives; primary - 30GB mSATA SSD, secondary - 320GB standard drive
FYI its a Thinkpad Edge E320

- Mint 12 x64 installed on primary, using separate partitions for data on secondary
- Keep & shrink pre-installed Win7 on secondary as a fall back in case I'm having a bad Linux day and need to get something done :wink:.

From Fred's advice I've devised this plan:

swap ----Formatted as swap ----- 2 Gig.
/ ----------Formatted as ext4 ------14 Gig.

swap ---- Formatted as swap ---- 2 Gig.
WIn7 Partition ----NTFS ----30 Gig.
Data Partition1 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data
Data Partition2 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data
Data Partition3 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data


Is that a good way forward?
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby mintybits on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:03 pm


Hi. I haven't read fred's advice but I would do it this way:

/ 30GB ext4 (whole drive)

Win7 50GB NTFS
Swap 4GB
Data Partition1 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data
Data Partition2 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data
Data Partition3 ----Formatted as ext4 -----sized for data

1. No need for swap space on the SSD unless you need really fast swap. You have bags of RAM so, normally, swap space hardly ever gets used.
2. I'd give Win7 a lot of space if you are going to use it much. I think the basic install consumes near 15GB and Win7 won't be able to use your ext4 partitions.
3. Install Mint12 all on the SSD. Then mount the HDD partitions at boot in fstab and create symbolic links between /home/you/ and the data partitions as appropriate. Eg: you might link /home/you/Music to one of the data partitions.
4. I'd be inclined to put Win7 in a primary partition and the rest in an extended partition.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby Lumikki on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:14 pm

I have my Linux Mint 12 (64bit) cinnamon fully on SSD.

I created only / (30GB ext4) and 4GB swap as I'm only user. How ever swap isn't even used at all, ever. I have 2TB Raid-1 NAS for personal data and media files.
I also mounted NAS with nfs to my Mint users home directory. So, they are there like any other folder, if I need to access them.
I keep on SSD only dayly used files, rest I store in NAS, if I think they are worth of keeping.
It's pretty easy to do reinstalling OS, as there isn't much personal data at all to be saved.

Not sure what I should do differently?
Last edited by Lumikki on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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How do you change the partitions?

Postby Stokestack on Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:03 am

I'm running the installer from the DVD, and doing the custom (something else) option.

I can't get the thing to actually let me set up a partitioning scheme. It'll let me delete partitions but not change them (although "change" is an option and it pretends to let you).

If I delete all partitions and then add one, it ignores the size I specify and makes it the size of the whole disk. After that, I can't change anything.

How does one use this thing? Thanks!

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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby haemocoel on Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:26 am

Thank you for the complex information.
I read and re search a lot just to find the basic simple beginning information.
Yet nobody can relay , basic information.
cat = meow.
pretty basic.
i understand software / programs are built in layers.
why cannot any one just spit out the information as it is.
Thank you
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby tonybad on Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:01 am

thank Fred!
your words are wise,sage
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby python134r on Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:50 pm

Great thread, alot of information for me but good solid working info that to learn from others experience is greatly appreciated as opposed to learning the hard way "trial and error".

Thanx to all......

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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby MoroccanMint on Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:20 pm

Thank you so much Fred, this post was of great help. It's amazing how 4.5 years past and the thread keeps getting replies. I read them all!

I have a new laptop, 64bit, 4GB RAM and one 750 GB HD. I will install Mint 13 Cinnamon 64bit. It will be the only OS in this computer, no Windows, dual boot or whatsoever. I will be working mostly with pdf and office suite files. I know I will eventually put the system to sleep and hibernate, not often but I will. So I was thinking of this scheme, but still have some doubts:

/ - formatted ext4 - 12gb
/swap - formatted swap - 4gb
/home - formatted ext4 - 50gb
unallocated 714gb (will progressively be added as needed, in new big partitions)

I'm not sure about the ext4, nor whether these partitions should be all primary, extended or what. Any ideas or tips for improvement?

Thanks to all.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby bigj231 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:41 pm

On new hardware, I like to use a GPT partition table, so that all of the partitions can be primary. It makes the partitioning simpler, as well as allowing for UEFI boot.
I would also advocate using EXT4 for everything except swap, unless you know that you need something different.
In my experience, several smaller partitions is only useful when your system breaks. I have seen benchmark results both ways, and the difference in my actual usage is minimal. The extra time spent setting everything up won't pay for itself until you have to reinstall or update. Even then you should have backups of your data that you can use so the difference is moot.
I ALWAYS use a separate /home partition so that I only have to reinstall Mint and my programs. I can reinstall a broken system back in less than 6 hours.
Finally, If you are unsure about Mint or Linux in general, install it in a virtual machine. That way if something breaks or you don't like it you don't have any issues removing or repairing it.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby sarahr on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:51 am

Greetings -

I have read with interest Fred's initial post and the many that have followed. I've been running Linux Mint for about a month now on a Lenovo laptop (i5, 8 GB RAM) that started life running Windows 7/8. I bought the machine to experiment with Mint, though, and I'm not a Windows user as I find it to generally crap (indeed, it broke itself trying to apply updates to 8 and I haven't bothered with it since).

I purchased a new HDD for this machine, going from 500 GB to 750 GB and a 7200 RPM drive. This is a brand-new drive, not formatted and no OS, that I received today. For the past few hours, my friend (who has exactly the same machine and exactly the same new drive) have been struggling to get our custom installs of Linux Mint 14 Cinammon back up and running, with no luck.

The problem comes in the area of the bootloader, which seems to not be able to be installed no matter what we do. First off, here is our drive partition map:

/dev/sda1 200 MB ext2 /boot
/dev/sda2 2048 MB swap /swap
/dev/sda3 12288 MB ext 3 /
/dev/sda4 512000 MB ext 3 /home
/dev/sda5 10240 MB NTFS /shared
/dev/sda6 (remainder) NTFS /windows

We initially have set this up using GParted. There is no Windows install on here, but we created the two NTFS partitions in the event that we might someday put it back on.

When we run the install from the Live CD, all is well until the bootloader comes into play, at which time we are told that the install has failed on /dev/sda . We tried to overcome this by choosing /dev/sda1 (where we'd created this little boot partition), but that failed, too.

Most recently, I've tried running the Ubuntu Boot-Repair utility, which, from the looks of it, is telling me I have no GRUB installed anywhere on this machine. That would certainly cause a problem. But I had attempted to install Grub from the command line before running the utlity, although I guess that didn't work or save itself (as I'm booted off the CD).

This is about where my knowledge level encounters a brick wall. I'll include the results of the Boot-Repair utility here, for your persual; please click on this URL to learn more.

Any advice? We're going nuts here. Thanks.
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