Considerations before you install

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uskomaton
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[solved]

Post by uskomaton »

Thanks for this great thread!
I haven't finished reading it all yet since time doesn't permit that right now (gotta get some sleep before work),
so I'm sorry if this has been asked/answered before.

I am switching my media machine from XP to Mint 7 and I have a few questions on partitions since I have 2
large HDDs and don't quite know how to go about partitioning them.
This machine will only be used for music and movies, no need to have any access to Windows or any emulation
stuff, so I plan to use EXT and here lies the rub.


SYSTEM SPECS
RAM: 2GB
HDD 1: 200GB
HDD 2: 500GB

I was thinking the following for partitioning, in this order.

HDD 1
/boot ------- 256MB
/swap ------ 1GB
/ ------------ 12GB
/home ------ ??

HDD2
/swap ------ 1GB
music ~300GB
videos ~200GB

QUESTIONS
1. EXT 3 or 4? I will use EXT2 for /boot.
2. Primary or Logical?
3. What the heck to do to /home, use the rest of HDD1?
4. What to name the partitions on HDD2, /data/Music and /data/Videos and use symlinks to link them to
/home and how would I actually do that? (Never used symlinks and can't seem to find a good guide how to
do that across 2 HDDs)

That is it for now, thanks a bunch if you can answer any of that.


EDIT: NVM I figured it out.
Chrisoldinho
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Chrisoldinho »

Hi all I am getting confused reading all of this. I am a complete newbie so please take that into account - thanks :)

I have a 160GB HDD
2GB RAM

I have tried to read into the differences between primary and logical drives but for simplicity what would you say is best?

Here is how I plan on installing Mint 7 x64.

2GB swap file - Primary
20GB / - Primary - ext4
138GB /home - Primary - ext4

I presume the above does gives me 20GB for applications etc aka Program Files in Windows and 138GB for eveything else? Given the amount of space I have should I up / to 40GB and reduce /home to 118 to give space for my installation to grow over time?

EDIT

I've done some more reading now and I know what I am going to do. Thanks.

Just 1 question. What is the best setup for the partitions in terms of Logical/Primary.

2GB swap primary
20GB / logical
138GB home/ logical



Thanks, Chris.
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Fred
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Fred »

DragonTrainer,

Greetings and salutations sir. A couple of things come to mind that might help you.

I am going to make a suggestion that you may not have thought of that would more easily solve your problem of reinstalls of the same version of Mint.

Partitioning:

sda1 1 Gig - swap - Primary - swap partition
sda2 11 Gig. - / - Primary - ext3 partition
sda3 Rest of drive - Extended partition
sda5 Rest of drive - Data - Logical - ext3 partition

Now before you say, "no way," read a little further. :-)

This should put approximately 28 Gig in your data partition. My math comes out different than yours for a 40 Gig drive. If you don't have too much data you should have space to backup your entire install, except for the data. Your customized install will probably not exceed 6 or 7 Gig. if you don't load it up with games or try to run a Virtual machine.

Use gparted, it is located in the menu of the live cd, and make your partitions. Then start the installer and choose "manual" when you get to the partitioning part. All you have to do at this point is assign your pre-made partitions to / and swap from the menu and continue. Once you have made your install, boot into it, open a terminal and type: (with your user name of course)

mkdir /home/fred/Data

sudo su

echo "/dev/sd5 /home/fred/Data ext3 defaults,noatime 0 2" >> /etc/fstab

This will create a mount point for your Data partition and set it so it will automatically mount on start up. Restart your computer and you should find your data partition in your /home.

Now, for your reinstall issue. This won't help you much as far as upgrading to another version but it will enable you to reinstall the same system you have backed up, in case you break it. :-)

Open a terminal and type:

mkdir /home/fred/Data/Backup

This will make a folder on your Data partition for your backup. Ok... now restart your system with the Mint live cd in the drive and boot to the desktop. Make sure sda2 and sda5 are mounted and accessible from the live cd. I don't know what they might be called in /media, as it seems to change from version to version. You can tell what they are by the contents though. I am going to assume they will be called "disk2" / , and "disk5" Data, but you may have to correct that if it is not that way in your version. Open a terminal and type:

sudo su

rsync -ar --progress --delete --timeout=120 /media/disk2/ /media/disk5/Backup

When it is finished close the terminal and reboot into your hard drive install. Look in your home, in your Data folder and open the Backup folder. You should find an exact copy of your install, less any data you may have in the Data partition.

As you customize your install you can run your backup again from the live cd to capture your changes. It will run much faster after the first time as it only transfers the changes, not the whole install again.

If/when the time comes that you have broken your install and you want to go back to like it was the last time you backed up, load the live cd again. Make sure your partitions are mounted, open a terminal and type.

sudo su

rsync -ar --progress --delete --timeout=120 /media/disk5/Backup/ /media/disk2

Close the terminal when it is finished and reboot into the hard drive install. You should be back to where you were the last time you ran the backup command.

We could compress the backup if you needed the space but I like to leave it un-compressed so I can refer to a specific file if need be.

There are of course other solutions but this would be my choice if you have the space and I understand what you are trying to accomplish. :-)

Fred
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.
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Fred
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Fred »

DragonTrainer,

Yes, I see what you are talking about. You really won't have the space to do what I was suggesting without being cramped for space. You might look at using "remaster" and saving your system to a cd as a backup. Check out the thread below. Be sure and unmount your Data partition before you run the "remaster" program on your install. A few have had problems with it but most have been happy with the results.

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 26&start=0

It is a long thread but it makes a good example of someone actually using it.

Fred
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.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by mzsade »

Hi, I used to have a Windows partition of 16 GB which i removed and reformatted as ext 3 hoping to use it as a data partition. But i cannot copy anything into it, cannot open one locked Lost+folder in it, it's just lying there at the start of my HDD, being of no use. Is there a way to reclaim this space? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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mzsade
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by mzsade »

Well, i did it, killed two birds... reclaimed the 16 gigs by installing Gloria and a 1.45 gig swap on it. Time to bid adieu to my trusty Intrepid. Unlike Jaunty i could install my Nvidia drivers directly from synaptic and doing a sudo nvidia-xconfig. In Jaunty i had to install the nvidia related packages from the terminal. I am leaning towards Mint already.
Last edited by mzsade on Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nearlydeaf
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Considerations before you Reinstall

Post by nearlydeaf »

Hi,

It seems I've foobar'd my first Mint install (http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=31149) and haven't been able to resolve it, so I'm going to reinstall. I've learned alot in this thread and also here (http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 999#p83999) but I've got some questions regarding partitioning, dual/tri booting with XP, and multiple users.

Let's say I install two different distros, each in it's own partition (sda 5/6). Then I create another separate partition for User Data (Docs/Music/Pics etc.) (sda7) with symlinks back to /Home in each distro. In this case, is there any advantage to having separate /Home partitions for each distro? I know I probably don't want to share a /Home folder between them since configuration data might get confused. In the case of OS reinstalls/upgrades, I would imagine it would be better to backup only the important configuration files, and restore them to a freshly formatted /Home than to carry the whole of it over from an older version. Is that a reasonable assumption?

Related question: Let's say I also have XP on another partition and I format the User Data partition with NTFS for compatibility. Are there any issues / roadblocks / gotchas that I should be aware of? User permissions came to mind but the limited testing I've done hasn't caused any problems. Other than the security risk of using Windows period, what else could go wrong? Would it be better to keep separate versions of those docs within Windows and sync them to the User Data partition via a service like SpiderOak or Dropbox?

Lastly, does the addition of multiple users on a machine change the approach to the above in any significant way? Document privacy would be the concern here, especially with a NTFS User Data partition.

A lot to ask, I know, but I'm slowly transferring my family / small office over to Mint and want to make sure I lay out a reasonable pathway so I don't have to reinvent the wheel in 6 months.

Many thanks in advance.
motorhead kaze

Re: Considerations before you install

Post by motorhead kaze »

Thank you Fred! (Wish I read this a long time ago)
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Arathas
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Arathas »

So I am going to do my first dual boot install of mint sometime this week and had a few partitioning questions on how would be best to set it up.

The dual boot will be XP professional and Mint 7. I have 4 gigs of ram and a 250 gig HDD and a second 1 TB HDD. Because of seek times and spin speeds I was planning on installing both OSes on the 250 GB with partitions as follows.

/swap 1 GB
/ 5 GB
/home 50 GB
/opt 2 GB
/srv 4 GB
/var 2 GB
XP install Partition 20 GB
Both the remainder of the 250 and all of the 1TB formatted as NTFS for shared data.

Just wanted to see if anyone had some suggestions on setting up a dual boot in this fashion as this is my first time setting up a proper dual boot. With the partitions set up this way I am hoping to keep my data isolated from the Boot partitions so that when I reinstall either OS or choose to upgrade etc. I could do so without formating all of my 250 gig HDD and not lose so much data.
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Fred
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Fred »

Arathas,

Welcome to the Linux Mint forum. It looks as if you have been doing some homework. :-)

I am assuming this is a desktop and you will be using the 32 bit version of Mint. If not correct me.

In you have 4 Gig of RAM you will never have to go to swap. The address space for 32 bit systems is 4 Gig max., and you have that in RAM alone. You only need a swap partition because Linux expects to have one. The swap partition is currently in the prime, fastest part of the drive. I would move it farther down the partition table and make it much smaller, since it will never be used anyway.

I would put Windows on the first partition for two reasons. First, Windows wants to be there. You will have fewer problems in the future with it there. Secondly, this is the fastest part of the drive. Windows needs all the help it can get in the speed category, especially after it gets loaded up with garbage, which it will inevitability do over time.

If it were me I would reduce the size of the / partition some. 10 -12 Gig is more than adequate for a desktop. It is unlikely that your / partition will ever grow to more than 6 or 7 Gig.. Linux doesn't get bloated over time the way Windows does. Some growth will occur, but not like you are used to with Windows.

Suggested changes to your posted partitions:

sda1 Windows 20-30 Gig. NTFS primary partition
sda2 ...... / ...... 10-12 Gig. ext3 .. primary partition
sda3 .. swap ... 64 MB .... swap . primary partition
... sda4 ... rest of drive .... extended partition
sda5 . /home .. 50 Gig. .... ext3 .. logical partition
sda6 Shared remainder . NTFS logical partition

If you are going to use the 64 bit version increase your swap size to 1 Gig. It will still be unlikely that you will use this swap but it will be possible.

Good luck. :-)

Fred
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.
Unexpected Tiger
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Unexpected Tiger »

Hi, this is all really useful. I'm a little unclear what's supposed to go in the / partition. Is is just the Linux system files, or is it programs like OpenOffice and whatnot as well? Is there a Linux equivalent of all the crappy Temp files that eat up your space in Windows, and if so where are they put? Thanks..
Muzer
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Muzer »

/ is where everything goes. It is like C:

/home is user files. It is like C:\Documents and Settings

/tmp is temporary files. This is sometimes mounted as a virtual filesystem in RAM. It is like C:\WINDOWS\Temp

/var is files that change a lot. This is sometimes mounted as a virtual filesystem in RAM. There isn't really a Windows equivalent.

/usr is for non-essential programs and libraries. It is like C:\Program Files

/boot is Linux itself, as well as the bootloader.

/bin is essential programs

/lib is essential libraries

/dev gives files for most of the devices plugged into your computer. It is like the special Windows files NUL, COM0, COM1, etc.

/etc is system-wide configuration.

/media is for storage media. It is like "My Computer".

/mnt is used as a temporary mount moint where putting in it /media will clutter things up.

/opt is for third-party binary packages. It is like C:\Program Files

/root is the Administator (root)'s home directory

/proc is a virtual filesystem with files detailing the operation of the system, some of which you can change.

/sbin is for essential administration programs

/sys is like proc but newer (and different).
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Arathas
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Arathas »

Thanks for the helpful info Fred I will definitely take that into consideration when I set up my partitions a little later this week.
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jesica
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by jesica »

is it better to do the partioning yourself as to mint doing it
Last edited by jesica on Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by jaredfelix »

Hey guys, would it be possible to just use partition editor to create a seperate partition for all my system files and then another for everything else?
When I installed Gloria from the live cd I just let it format and install on my entire drive; I know its probably not a big issue and not worth re-installing, but was wondering if anything else can be done...


--Jared
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by emorrp1 »

Yep, if you run Partition Editor from the liveCD, you can shrink the system partition, and create a new data partition in the empty space, you can then reboot and deal with actually using the data partition from within your installed system.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by jaredfelix »

This is how my partitions are currently...

+ /dev/sdb1 -- ext3 -- 458.56 GiB
V /dev/sdb2 -- extended -- 7.2 GiB
/dev/sdb5 -- linux-swap -- 7.2 GiB


i cant shrink the swap partition, i think its the same as the sdb2 partion? but i can resize both...
I can only resize sdb1 and creat a new partition.

should I shrink sdb1 to 15 Gib
and have another partiton for the rest of the space? what should the partiton with the rest of the space be called?

god im such a n00b to linux, even though I consider myself to be a computer nerd, Ive only ever used windows...
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by emorrp1 »

yes, you can do that, but make sure that sdb1 doesn't contain more than 15GB of data already (you can easily see how much space you're using within Partition Editor) Provided you don't shrink sdb1 to smaller than the space you're using on it, it's pretty safe. As for the rest, that's a perennial problem, everyone has different schemes. I favour the data partition method, i.e. you can label it "data" and then it'll show up in /media/data when you reboot. Open the /media folder as root, change the permissions of the data folder (right-click > preferences) to your normal user. If you then actually move the default Documents, Pictures, Music etc. folders to inside the data partition, you can create links in your home folder directly to the folders in your data partition, enabling you to continue using these shortcuts in other applications and they don't need to know the info is actually on another partition at all. Good luck!
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by catilley »

Hi, Fred. I at first tried to dual boot, but like you said, the installer isn't always perfect. I have a 40GB hard drive with a 9.5GB partition for Windows XP Pro. That left around 29GB for Linux Mint. I don't know what the installer did, but it installed itself short of space. There wasn't even enough room left to update. Anyway, I bought this laptop to learn Linux on and after trying out a few, I'm impressed with Linux Mint. So I reinstalled, using the entire drive. This should give me all the room I'll ever need. Also, it has only 512MB of RAM, and my main laptop has 2GB with a 100GB hard drive. I feel that the system will perform better with one OS on it, given the low specs. Thanks for your advice, Fred.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by jaredfelix »

hm would it be safe to use the live cd to shrink the main partition and create a data partition after ive already downloaded a bunch of torrents? i really dont want to lose any data on any sectors of my harddrive...

i was going to shrink the main partition and create a new data partition then move my torrents to the data partition and then re shrink the main partiton again... i wont lose many data will I?

--thanks
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