How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Write tutorials here
There are more tutorials here
Forum rules
Please don't add support questions to tutorials,start your own thread in the appropriate sub-forum instead. Before you post please read this
User avatar
Level 10
Level 10
Posts: 3339
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by Fred » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:24 am

melbo wrote:
What happens when I run with no swap partition or file?
Actually, in most cases, almost nothing. Most general purpose desktops with 2 Gig or more RAM rarely need to go into swap. When it does need to go into swap however, it will be noticeably slower. The exception would be if you are running virtual machines. They consume lots of RAM so having a swap partition in that case would be wise.

Having said that, the Linux kernel expects to have a swap partition available. There are some other situations, rare on a GP desktop, that not having a swap partition available can also cause slow downs.

For those looking at a reinstall, you might also want to read the thread below regarding things to consider before installing. ... 90&t=11872

For those looking for a back-up solution you might look at my back-up / restore and clean-up script. It is at version 1.2 now and I am currently testing version 1.3, which will be more flexible and have more options. It should be posted to the below thread replacing version 1.2 in a few more days. ... 42&t=12988

Hope this is helpful.

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

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

User avatar
Eric Weir
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 3:06 pm
Location: Decatur, GA USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by Eric Weir » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:41 pm

AK Dave wrote:Put the OS on one drive, the swap at the root of the other drive.
I understand everything that follows.
Do you want to be able to have two OS installs on the same machine?
It's occurred to me, though my motives would probably be a little different than yours, i.e., just to try out different distributions, rather than unstable releases, etc.
2 drives? 40gb each? How much RAM do you have? What sort of processor do you run?
Two drives, 40 Gb each, one 7200 rpm, the other 5400. P4 1.6 Ghz, 512 Mb.
Here's my suggestion:
Primary (hda1) ext3 / 11gb
Logical (hda2) ext3 /home 1gb
Logical (hda5) ext3 - 28gb
Primary (hdb1) swap swap 2gb
Primary (hdb2) ext3 / 10gb
Logical (hdb5) ext3 - 28gb
Most of this I understand, some things I don't. [1] 1 Gb /home is enough, even if you separate data from .config files and email? [2] No mount points for the two extended partitions? [3] Symlinks? I've heard of them. Have no idea how to establish them. Sounds more complicated than having data files in /home.

Still don't understand primary/extended/logical. No more than four primary per drive. One primary can be an extended. [Only one? Only one per drive period?] An extended can have many logical. [Logical is a distinction within extended? What's the primary/extended distinction? Primary can't be subdivided?] Why these different types? Why not just one type?

Thanks again,
Eric Weir
Decatur, GA USA
Linux Mint 5

User avatar
AK Dave
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1042
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 3:39 pm
Location: Anchorage, AK USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by AK Dave » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:33 pm

1. The 1gb /home should be more than enough if you don't use it for bulk media storage. Music, Video, etc can all be very bulky. It is bad practice to download direct to the desktop (/home/username/Desktop) and files should be directed to folders as appropriate. The bulk of these would be expected to be directed to folders outside of /home and thus can easily be on a seperate partition.

2. Mount points are at your discretion for the "non-core-filesystem" extra partitions. I mount my internal data/media/junk/download partition as "/Local" but it could just as easily be mounted as "/media/warez" or whatever you want to call it. With two drives, you might have /thing1 and /thing2 or /media/thing1 and /media/thing2 depending on what you prefer. You can edit your fstab (/etc/fstab) as necessary if you have a particular way you want them mounted. If you don't designate mountpoints for those drives, they can still be mounted. They'll show up as /media/hda5 and /media/hdb5.

If you have multiple swap partitions across multiple drives (internal, external, usb-stick) you can mount them in fstab in a specific order OR you can give one of them an obnoxious priority (bash script or manual terminal). My laptop has a 1.8gb swap partition on the hard disk. This is just part of a polite linux install. The kernel expects to see a swap, so I provide one gratis. But if I am actually expecting to NEED a swapfile, I plug in a usb stick and mount it as a swapfile. Using a usb stick (flash memory) for random access swap is vastly more efficient than a hard drive, so I give it an obnoxious priority (32768) so that if I do need to swap it goes there first.

3. Symlinks are awesome. Open nautilus. R-click a folder. There's the option to create the link. Can't remember if this is Nautilus or just Konquerer (I'm usually a KDE guy so I usually run Konq), but in Konquerer you drag-drop a folder and it asks if you want to move, copy, or create a symlink. Can't get much easier than that. A symlink is a genuine real file system item sitting in a folder that is a pointer to another folder or file of another name and/or location. The name symlink means "symbolic link". Generically, Nautilus creates symlinks in the same directory as the original file with the name "Link to Foldername", and then instead of drag/drop the file you drag/drop the link where you want it. Rename the link. Bobs your uncle.

Here's how I use them:
1. In my /Local drive there is a folder called /Music (/media/Local/username/Music). All my music goes there. Its a nice arrangement. If I want access to that music from my desktop, Banshee, an app, anything else, I could direct the entire path name. But I'm lazy and don't like to do that. I also like being able to drag/drop from my home (/home/username) into the music folder. So I deleted the /home/username/Music folder created by default and replaced it with a symlink pointing the way to the real folder on the /Local drive.
2. Video is big and bulky. I don't like to store video (avi files, dvd isos) on my hard disk. I use k9copy to create iso images of dvd video for backup purposes, but an iso image of a commercial dvd is around 8gig. I put these iso files on an external hard drive. I create a symlink in my home folder pointing the way to the actual location on the remote drive, which needs to be mounted at the time the symlink is created but can then be dismounted. When the drive is mounted, the symlink is active.

The other question about primary/extended and the "rules": well, those are the rules. I didn't make them up and they're stupid, but those are the rules for partition tables. Some genius thunk them up decades ago and we're stuck with them. The distinction between Primary and Extended is made in the partition table. The last Primary partition may be created as an Extended partition. An Extended partition is a Primary partition with some special features. Used to be we only had Primary partitions. Now we also have Extended partitions. An Extended partition is a useless designation without a Logical partition within it. Otherwise it is just an empty placeholder. Why is it this way? Because it is.

Okay, P4 & 512mb RAM?
You actually should have a swapfile, unless you run a mini-linux (Damn Small, Puppy, etc), and will probably use it. Your CPU can address a max of 4gb ram, but your BIOS might limit that to 3gb. Your swapfile should be a minimum of 1gb, and you could theoretically have up to 3gb of swap but by that time your CPU will be spending so much time swapping that no work will get done. Limit swap on hda to 512mb and add another 1024mb on EITHER hdb OR a usb stick. My preference, given your RAM constraints, would be for you to plug a 1gb usb stick into the back of your computer as a permenant addition and mount it as swap, permenantly. It will be cheaper than doubling your ram (you need oldschool DDR, which will be either pricey and new or cheap and used), and almost as good (better than buying someone's old burnt-out DOA ram anyways). With a usb stick as your priority swapfile and swapping=100 you should be in good shape. But at that point we're bridging into a couple different moderate-skill how-to articles on "usb stick swap" and "swap performance tweaks".

User avatar
Level 10
Level 10
Posts: 3339
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by Fred » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:40 pm

AK Dave,

It is so nice to see somebody post on this topic that actually "gets it right" instead of posting myths and hearsay. :-)

Use the below to create a symlink:

ln -sf target_file/foldername symlink_filename

............ target folder/file path .........symlink path/name
ln -sf /media/sda7/Music/Country /home/fred/CountryMusic

If you are in the folder you wish to create the symlink in you don't need the path for the symlink, just the symlink name.

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

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.

Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by infamous » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:29 pm

Disclaimer: I'm a noob.
Observation: If you use swap a lot put it near the bigging and near the /
Seems all too obvious to me.
Putting it after the /home seems kinda dumb.

Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:25 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by JohnS » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:05 am

scorp123 wrote:
9812713 wrote: I deleted my 1 BIG partition, and broke it into 3 separate partitions. I have used the following sizes to reflect my system settings.

HDA1 - Size = 1.4 GB -- Mount Point = LINUX-SWAP (2.5 x Ram Size)
HDA2 - Size = 4 GB -- Mount Point = / (top level) Type: RieserFS
HDA3 - Size = 30+ GB -- Mount Point = /Home Type: RieserFS
Bonus: Add a hda4 - size = 8GB == Basically this can be used to install windows ...
So you installed your entire OS into one single " / " root partition ??? :shock:
Why oh why would one do such a thing!?
9812713 wrote:Now the beauty of this setup is
Beauty?! Ahemmmm ... no. Putting the entire OS into one single partition is bad bad bad bad bad!

It's a somewhat forgiveable mistake recent converts and ex-Windows users make, but this is definitely not the right way to do this!

Partitioning - UNIX style

Working fullt-time as UNIX + Linux support engineer for a really big company I shall be so arrogant and simply claim that I know what I am talking of.

Putting the entire operating system into one single partition is a big "No" ... It's a mistake ex-Windows users often make because they don't know it better. OK, we shall forgive them. But if you as administrator do this in a live environment with critical applications running on the machines you will get your head whacked off -- either by "friendly" colleagues such as myself or we will make sure the responsible manager will do it. Can you say BOFH?

Why this is a bad idea: Please read this article:

Basically, if something goes wrong and you have everything in one single partition, repairing this will be very hard.

Having your stuff broken up into the various UNIX-style mount-points has vast advantages here, as any broken partition can be mounted individually and independently from the main " / " root partition.

How I partition my disks (work + private!)

Before exploring this we should take a look what mount-points a typical UNIX and/or Linux system has. And I will sort them here by read/write access likeliness - meaning: Those mount-points which will mostly be read are on the top, followed by mount-points which mostly will get written to:
  • /boot -- contains the boot loader and boot menu. Is mostly read at boot time, has only limited numbers of write accesses. Because of its importance this should be the first Linux partition on the disk.

    / -- contains all the other filesystems, plus important locations such as /etc, /sbin, /lib, and many other important places that cannot exist on separate partitions. Can have some limited write accesses (e.g. temporary files in /tmp) but for the most of the time only gets read accesses. Because of its importance for the boot process this partition should be right after the /boot partition (otherwise the heads of the disk have to move a lot, especially during the boot process ...)

    /usr -- contains all the binaries and the X11 graphical interface (e.g. /usr/X11R6) and libraries that don't belong to the OS proper but rather to an application somewhere somehow (e.g. /usr/lib). Only gets bigger write accesses when applications get installed or someone compiles a kernel (the kernel sources are usually located in /usr/src/linux), other than that this mount-point mostly gets read from not written to. Because of its importance for the boot process and overall significance for the functioning of the system this partition should be right before or right after the " / " partition.

    /opt -- some distributions use this for optional stuff, e.g. non-essential tools (from the system's point of view!) such as GoogleEarth and other things that are considered "nice to have" but not really "must have or the system won't work without it". This partition can be anywhere on the disk, but I personally prefer to place it before /var ...

    /srv -- some distributions use this to run their WWW and/or FTP servers in there. Sometimes admins chose to create this mount-point as some sort of "sand box" in which they run their network services. Can have some fair amount of write accesses, especially if you have stuff running in there that produces logs.

    /var -- used for variable data. Usually your system logs are in there (e.g. /var/log/* ), some distributions use it for the WWW pages that are being served (e.g. /var/www). Gets mostly written to, and then a lot!

    /home -- where the users place all their stuff. Bookmarks, config files created by all the various applications and desktops, all one's personal files, and all the stuff you do all day ends up here. Gets read and written to like mad.
So ... given how certain mount-points get written to a lot and others don't, I'd order them the way as written above. Now let's assume you have a 100 GB disk you want to partition, and you will use your system for WWW (e.g. to host your personal homepage on it + a small forum?) and maybe for some FTP (e.g. to exchange files easily with other users?), here is the partitioning I would suggest:
  • /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: /opt ... if you want it. 2 GB should be enough
    /dev/hda7: /srv ... if you really want it. At least 4 GB
    /dev/hda8: /var ... at least 2 GB.
    /dev/hda10: /home ... at least 75-80 GB if we take a 100 GB disk as basis
    /dev/hda11: 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.
Now, the beauty in this setup is that first of all it's properly partitioned and less likely to give you headaches, and the second aspect is that all the partitions with lots of read accesses are concentrated towards the beginning of the harddisk and thus can be read faster whereas the partitions which will get lots of write accesses and which are more likely to fragment a little are towards the end of the harddisk (towards the physical center as stated by someone else further down in this thread).

This is how it's supposed to be done.

Suggestions and flame messages welcome :lol:

EDIT: some factual errors about where harddisks begin or end corrected ... :wink: Thanks to all :D

this is exactly where alot of my problems stem from now i am running
mint 5 Elyssa main edition
u think you could break down that partion table in bytes so i i know what to type in
or tell me how to break that down
A Windows user will not endear himself by bringing his habitual attitudes over to Linux, to put it lightly....The Newbie with His Foot in His Mouth

Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:59 am

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by chowanec » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:02 am

1MB = 1024 bytes

Just multiply the math from there...?


Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:10 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by mikedeerf » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:15 am

1MB = 1024 bytes
Also, 1GB = 1024MB.
If your using GParted, it asks you to set partition sizes in MB. If, for aesthetic reasons, you want your partitions to be even GB numbers, just take what you want in GB * 1024 to get the number to punch into GParted.

ex: 5GB * 1024 = 5120 MB; 60GB * 1024 = 61440 MB.

Speaking of GParted, the GParted Live CD is awesome.
(as far as this newbie can tell, you can't edit partitions while they're mounted, so you can't modify your Mint / partition from inside of Mint - this is where the GParted CD comes in). I suppose you could use the Mint Live CD too, but it takes longer to boot and such.

One tangent: do be aware that with the GParted Live CD, you're running with root permissions. So don't open a terminal and start typing commands if you don't know what you're doing (last night for instance, I accidentally ran chmod on every file in my Mint 5 partition, which really hosed things. Thankfully, I'd used GParted to back that partition up 2 hours earlier, so I just restored the partition back. But that could have been very, very bad.)

User avatar
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:58 am

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by mintyed » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:06 am

i need to know how to set up a Linux mint hard drive from scratch

I want to partition most of it for Mint and some for XP

mint tells me i need to allocate a swap file what is this and do i need it

This is so confusing and different from XP so where to begin. Xp only needs one partition and its easy. no swap needed.
Enjoy It
Linux is many things to many people.
If you use it and it fits your needs enjoy it.

Level 19
Level 19
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:27 am

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by altair4 » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:26 am

Xp only needs one partition and its easy. no swap needed.
Actually, that is not correct. WinXP does indeed need a swap file but it creates one automatically. In Windows the swap file is called pagefile and it's default location is C:\pagefile.sys.

Also, there is no law that states that you have to create a separate partition for every single linux directory. You could just create 2: "/" and "swap".
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.

Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:46 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by viniciuscortez » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:31 pm


Once I partition my hd in / and /home, what should I do before installing a new system? Should I wipe out everything on my home folder but my own stuff (cleaning all the hidden paths), or having those directories will somehow help my new system to read my configs?

User avatar
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 821
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:24 am
Location: USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by newW2 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:00 pm

You should tell us what your goal is. For example:
What are your trying to accomplish? Are moving from one Mint version to another, or from Ubuntu (or an unbuntu based system) to another unbuntu based system.
Do you want all the same packages installed?
What do you want to do if the new install fails - reload a backup of the current OS?

Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:46 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by viniciuscortez » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:44 pm

I'm currently moving back from pclinuxos to mint 6 (hopefully to mint 6 KDE the moment the final version is released). I don't need all my configurations to be kept, because I only tested that distro for about two weeks. What I'd like to know is:

When I [re]install mint and set this data partition mountpoint to /home/vinicius, the new system will automatically recreate the needed system folders (in the case I delete them), as well as keep intact my Pictures, Movies, Documents, etc folders, or will it overwrite their content?

My hd is partiotioned in three: a filesystem "/"; a swap space; and a data partition "sda" mounted on /home/vinicius/

User avatar
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 821
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:24 am
Location: USA

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by newW2 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:15 pm

If your data partition is truly not on the same partition as root or home then your data should be safe. There are some good how to posts, the wiki also has a good section on partitioning and install. And don't forget the users guide (theres a link on the page). Referencing that guide look at page 18. Note the format column has a check box - don't check it on that data partition.

Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:46 pm

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by viniciuscortez » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:07 pm

Then in order to make mint read my partition all I need is to set the mounting point, without checking the format box!


User avatar
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 365
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 9:40 am
Location: Seattle

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by marcus0263 » Mon May 11, 2009 4:15 pm

This Heading Edited by gazza :- NOTE, this is NOT recommended for mint installs a simpler
3 partitions sda1 / , sda2 swap , sda3 /home is sufficient and best practice for future fresh installs.

Simple scheme for slicing up your drive, works for most. This is "assuming" you're running one drive -

/dev/sda1 /boot ext2 256 Meg (keep your kernel/kernels safe)
/dev/sda2 / ext4 8 Gig (should be good to go, give or take a little depending on the size of your disk)
/dev/sda3 /var/log ext4 256 Meg (so you don't have a run away daemon filling up logs then filling up your root file system)
/dev/sda5 /home ext4 rest of the disk minus swap, use gcalc to come up with the right amount
/dev/sda6 swap swap 256 - 512 Meg should be more than enough and keep it at the end of your disk (last partition)

It's simple and with gparted slicing up the drive is a simple process. Always keep boot, root and your logs on their own slice, I actually go farther and put /var, /usr/src, /usr/lib on their own slices also. But the above works well for 99% of the general users. Following the Microsoft worlds way of everything on one slice you're setting yourself up for problems.
Shuttle SX58
Intel i7 Gulftown Hex Core
G.Skill 16Gig 1333
OCS Vertex 2 SSD
Segate SATA II
Palit GeForce GTS 450
LMKDE 14 64Bit

Where Thought Crime is Committed
Reject the Herd

Level 23
Level 23
Posts: 18703
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:22 am
Location: Near Borås Sweden

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by Husse » Tue May 12, 2009 5:37 am

One comment - if you want hibernate to work swap needs to be slightly larger than your memory
Don't fix it if it ain't broken, don't break it if you can't fix it

User avatar
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 603
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:56 am
Location: Kwinana, Western Australia


Post by ibm450 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:23 pm

scorp123 wrote:
kenetics wrote:Thanks. One other question, will there be a /boot for each Linux OS and does Grub reside in the boot?
Each Linux installation has its /boot directory, yes. So this can either just be a sub-directory in each of the root directories of each installation ... or if you really want it super complicated, you could create each /boot for each Linux installation as a separate partition and mount point. The big question is: How are you going to partition your harddisk then so that these things don't get into each other's way ?? (It can be done ... but it's not easy!!) Also, something that you need to think ahead of: The GRUB installation of the last Linux distribution you install is most likely the one that will take control of the Master Boot Record of your harddisk. So when the PC boots, you'll first see the GRUB of the last Linux distribution you installed. All other Linux installations should still be selectable as boot options. Regardless of this, you can still always overwrite the MBR's GRUB with a GRUB from your currently running distribution, regardless in which order it was installed. You'll just have to make sure that the /boot/grub/menu.lst you want to use is right about the various menu entries and that everything is selectable. Basically you can copy and paste the relevant sections of each menu.lst file from one distribution to another (ain't that cool or what?)

My partitioning scheme which I posted in this thread was assuming that one would only have one Linux as the main OS and a Windows installation somewhere (e.g. for the casual game here and there).

With multiple Linux installations things might be slightly more complicated. Let's take a 120 GB disk as basis and let's assume you would install up to three Linux distros on it (e.g. for evaluation purposes). Let's assume we're talking about these fine Linux distributions:
  • - openSuSE 10.2
    - Linux Mint "Bianca"
    - Fedora Core 6
So here we go:
  • /dev/hda1 -- 15 GB openSUSE 10.2, containing everything but /home
    /dev/hda2 -- 15 GB Fedora Core 6, containing everything but /home
    /dev/hda3 -- 15 GB Linux Mint, containing everything but /home
    /dev/hda4 -- extended partition, from here to the end of the HD
    /dev/hda5 -- ca. 75-78 GB shared /home between all three distros (user names could nontheless be different between the three; having the same user name on all three may create new problems eg. with incompatible settings in GNOME and KDE ... with the help of symbolic links stuff like documents, browser settings, etc. could still be shared easily between all three distros and user accounts!) ...Very important: Make sure you only format this partition the first time (e.g. during the installation of the first Linux distro you want to use) and then don't format it in all subsequent installations! :wink: Or else: bye bye oh beloved files, bye bye browser settings, bye bye e-mails ... :wink:
    /dev/hda9 -- swap, whatever is left of the harddisk (e.g. 2 GB)

can not get to run 2 distros on my system. i install LM7 then LM6KDE and all turns pear shape. the system wont load up and KDE installation over writes LM7 grub. as far as creating the separate partitions i cant seem to understand how to use different partions to install other distros on to it. can some1 explain do a step to step tutorial on exactly what to do from partitions to installing other distros to modifying the grub etc.

also i find playing video files on LM very grainy and washed (even adjusting the sat - contrast levels) opposed to playing them in xp which play crisp clear
Asus UL50VT laptop ~ LM10 - Unity 12.04 - Win 7

Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1284
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:25 am

IBM 450

Post by FedoraRefugee » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:19 am

ibm450 wrote:can not get to run 2 distros on my system. i install LM7 then LM6KDE and all turns pear shape. the system wont load up and KDE installation over writes LM7 grub. as far as creating the separate partitions i cant seem to understand how to use different partitions to install other distros on to it. can some1 explain do a step to step tutorial on exactly what to do from partitions to installing other distros to modifying the grub etc.

also i find playing video files on LM very grainy and washed (even adjusting the sat - contrast levels) opposed to playing them in xp which play crisp clear
If you are still talking to me I can answer your grub issue. As was stated in the post you quoted the last Mint install is overwriting the grub of the first. Even here you have several ways to go, you could just use the first distro grub and not install any other grubs if the succeeding distros allow that, you could just use the last distro's grub to overwrite the first grubs in the MBR, you could install something like supergrub last to overwrite all distro grubs or you could chainload slave distro grubs from a single master distro grub. I suggest the last. The link Fred gave you in the other thread describes how to do this. The advantage is that each distro keeps its own grub so that if you update that distro's kernel it will be automatically written in that grub's menu.lst. This is a lot of info, huh? This is why I got "bitter" with your posts, you need to understand there is no "easy" one size fits all answer.

RE partitioning, do yourself a favor. I dont know if you are in the field right now or what your internet situation is like, but at first available opportunity go here: ... _id=173828

and download the latest gparted live CD and burn it to a disc. This is a small bootable Linux distro (Gentoo i believe) that will open with the Gparted partitioning tool open on the desktop. With this tool you can create and modify your partitioning layout easily. This is how you create your partitions. Just choose the layout you need. Use the above post, or the one Fred linked to, or even the layout I suggested in the other thread, here again, there are many options and everyone will argue over what's best. The answer to what is best is what works for you.

RE the /home thing, here again, I emphasize, create a /data partition. The above post's method will work, as long as you have different user names per distro. But WHY even bother? Just create a /data for your personal documents and share it between all distros and keep /home small and in the / partition of each distro.

I apologize for slamming you around in the other thread, we are all here to help. But you need to allow us to help you first! You will need to set up a dialog with someone and describe your needs. You will get personal attention and someone will walk you through this, but you need to understand that one size does not fit all.

I suggest you start a thread for each problem. One thread of your own for partitioning, another for the video problem.

Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:58 am

Re: How To: Partition your Hard Drive.

Post by MintyCat » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:54 pm

I'm bringing this to life again, since I'm about to make a clean install of Gloria on my desktop and while searching the Linux Mint Wiki, I found an article on howto partition and it had a link for this thread, and I thought it would be interesting if you guys just gave me your opinion on my partitioning scheme, since I'm highly unsure of it, being used to just having a separate /home partition and a swap twice bigger than my RAM. :)

But first, let me say I've read the previous pages on this thread, and found some interesting opinions I would like to briefly discuss. :wink:
linuxviolin wrote:Personally I would say to you not to be bored, for a home user use simply 1 partition for / (about 10 GB should be enough) and 1 for /home, both in ext3.

For swap use 1 GB maximum and I recommend to you to lower the swappiness (that depends on your memory):

"The use of the swap memory by default on Kernel 2.6.xx is set to 60% that means that the system will use intensively the swap memory. This sounds good if we have a small amount of memory (around 512MB or less) and lot of load on our PC especially if it is working as server. But if we have plenty of RAM (at least 1GB), as I do which is 2GB, and we are using our PC as desktop machine for daily use, we can change the percentage of swap to be utilized. This setting will increase the performance of Linux experience." (Vichar Bhatt)

Run at the CLI, as root:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

You should see 60. Now change it to 10 (or even 0 as I did it, adapt according to your system, test):

sysctl -w vm.swappiness=10

Now is time to work for some minutes with some applications if you see that is better, you can make the changes permanent, adding this line at the end of /etc/sysctl.conf:

Well, I have to agree. A separate /home seems enough to me, the average desktop user. I don't run a server, but I do like to install new software, do some distro hopping but mainly I just listen to music, browse the web and write down some stuff. So why should I give myself an headache, creating all those partitions, when I know it's not worth it, given the circumstances. And with so many partitions, anyone is bound to be confused, and when I install or upgrade an distro, I like it to be as smooth and clean as possible, and I think the average Joe/Jane, thinks the same. If they didn't, they would probably not be reading this thread. :wink:

And very useful tip you got us there, linuxviolin! Many thanks. :D

I have 3GB RAM on both my desktop and laptop, and I was so worried it wasn't enough I always did a swap partition with at least 5GB. Prolly I just need 3GB, maybe less, right? :?:
nelamvr6 wrote:
scorp123 wrote:And where should it put /home? On your Windows partition? Before or after " / "? On a separate disk? On your USB stick? On your external harddisk? .... You see the problem?
No, I can't see the problem at all!

At this point I will have told the installer I want to, for example, use the largest free contiguous space for my Linux installation.

Why can the installer take that specification, and then divvy it up appropriately between /, /home and swap?

I didn't tell the installer where I wanted my swap partition, how did it know where to put that?
You want a separate /home => you've got to define it, partition your harddrive and then tell the installer to mount your /home there.
Why? I mean, we're speaking in hypotheticals here, and we all want to make Linux better, right? Why should I have to tell it anything?
UNIX-like OS simply expect that *You* know what you do.
And this is what has to change if we want broader acceptance of Linux on the desktop.

All I know is that I'm not a dummy, and I'm not completely computer illiterate either. But the installer never even mentioned a separate /home partition. Only after installing, only then do I read both you and Clem posting that one should at a minimum have a separate /home partition!

I understand what you are saying, but isn't Mint about making things work the right way out of the box? Why can't the installer at least ask me if I want a separate /home partition?
This was a very productive discussion in my opinion, and an interesting theme that Linux users should discuss with developers, so we can all work together and make things as simple but still as reliable as possible. Aren't we supposed to evolve after all? :wink:

I know Linux is all about control and choice, but at least distros like Linux Mint should make an effort to incorporate suggestions like these on their systems, making it even easier for a new user to come into this scary and unknown world. Maybe during the install process, prompt the availability of a root account or the creation of a /home partition, if the user wishes so, but at the same time, inform the user of what they're doing, the consequences or the importance to rely on solutions like those. You know, live to the expectation, giving the hand so the user can give the first steps without falling, and when the user finally learns how to support himself enough to walk, have the option to change to a much complex and challenging distro. mintAssistant was just the tip of the iceberg, I think we should go deeper, try out something like Ubuntu Karmic's presentation screens, that let the user know, in a simple and clear language, what they're about to meet when the log in into their new system, what apps they have available, etc. Use that as a model, and make something like it, that accommodates the user's journey through the install. :)

And now, finally, my partitioning scheme, followed by some questions:

HDD -- 500GB

/dev/sda1: /boot [150 MB]
/dev/sda2: / [20GB, because here apps get installed, right? so I need some space]
/dev/sda3: extended partition, up and until the end of the disk
/dev/sda4: /usr [5GB, what's this for?]
/dev/sda5: NFTS (Factory_Image)
/dev/sda6: /opt [2GB, is that enough or those files get stored in / if this partition doesn't exist?]
/dev/sda7: /var [2GB, do I need this if I'm not running a server?]
/dev/sda8: /home [Rest of the disk]
/dev/sda9: swap [3GB, since I have 3GB RAM]

Supposedly I don't need /srv since I don't run a server, right? :?

And I already have an Windows partition, which contains a recovery image of Vista, and I think it's located in between /usr and /opt. Is there any problem with that? If there is, how can I work it out? :?

And can someone explain to me how do I make that extended partition? What's it for?

Hopefully I haven't got you guys bored, or actually sleeping, I just like to make my contribution to the project the way I can, giving suggestions and participating on the forum. At least for the moment, because I plan on helping much more. Thank you all guys for your time! :D

Post Reply

Return to “Tutorials”