Considerations before you install

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catilley
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by catilley »

My Mint 9 x64 install is 300GB in size, primarily because I can run all of my OS's in it via VirtualBox. It's the best ever, and I look forward to installing Mint 10RC tonight.

Cat
RagingBoredom
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by RagingBoredom »

Okay, I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I'll give it a shot and hope for the best. My apologies for the length and the complete lack of knowledge so please bear with me.

I have a 2+ year old Dell 1520 laptop running Windows XP (32-bit) with a 150 GB HD and 2 GB RAM. This laptop is solely for home use. I've used the Live CD (on a usb card) for approx. ~2 hours total but that is the extent of my Linux experience. Complete 100% Linux newbie here. I would like to change that. However, I want to keep XP around. I have never dual-booted so no experience there either. I find myself in a situation where I need to reformat this laptop and I am heavily considering dual-booting but I don't know where to start. I've read bits of this thread as well as the PDF User Guide but I think I'm making it out to be harder than it actually is and I'm feeling like I'm in WAY over my head. So, I have some questions:

1. Does it matter which OS I install first? As in, is there a difference in performance or is it easier if I install XP first then Mint as opposed to if I did it Mint first then XP? I'm leaning toward installing Mint first but I don't know if it'd matter either way. If it'd be a lot better or easier to install XP first and then install Mint then obviously I'd like to go that route.

2a. Partitioning. I would like to have a ~20 GB partition on my HD for my Windows install and at least an 80 GB data partition (NTFS) for software, torrents, music, videos, etc. which would be accessed through windows. I know I don't need much room for the Linux install so I could probably go up to 100 GB for the data partition and still have ~30 GB for Linux...which should be more than enough if I understand correctly. And if I go that route, would I be able to access that 80-100 GB data partition from inside Linux or would I be resigned to only accessing it from inside Windows? Again, complete Linux newbie so if the answer to this question is so obvious that it seems like I should be in a padded room in a straight jacket every second of the day for not knowing it then please take it easy on me :P

2b. Still Partitioning. How exactly should I partition Linux? If I go the route above for Windows, I'll have ~30 GB to work with. I don't know what "/", "/home", "/everything else" is but I'm going to take a stab at it. Is "/" the Linux equivalent of the 20 GB windows partition that I mentioned above and is "/home" the equivalent of the 80-100 GB data partition like above? So that if I wanted/needed to reinstall Mint I could do so without the other data getting wiped too? And I know I'd need a 2 GB swap partition too. So with 30 GB to work with, how would you suggest my partitions look? Like this:

swap - 2 GB
/ - 10 GB
/home - ~18 GB

Or like something else?

And if I understand the gist of what "/" and "/home" are, would I really need 18 GB for "/home"? Because the bigger I can make the data partition inside windows that I mentioned above, the better. But I am completely clueless when it comes to Linux so I may be WAY off in how I'm trying to understand this. My apologies if I'm completely off base.

3. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. I'm sure I'll have questions later but for now, this will do. And if this is the wrong place to ask then I'm sorry. I'm a bit overwhelmed by all of this but if you point me in the right direction I promise I won't make the mistake of posting in the wrong section/topic again.
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

1) No, the order in which you install your OS'es does not matter. You could install XP first, then Mint, or Mint first, then XP, and you'll still end up with the same thing. However, it is generally recommended to install WIndows first (which is already on your computer), then Linux, due to the fact that when you install Windows, it automatically overwrites the Master Boot Record on your computer so that only WIndows can boot. Linux at least gives you the choice whether to install the Grub bootloader (to keep it simple, you should), which will allow you to dual-boot WIndows and Linux. You can install Linux, then Windows, but then you'll have to do a few additional steps afterwards to re-install the Grub bootloader and restore your ability to boot into Linux.

2) The question here is about filesystems; Windows XP and later uses the NFTS filesystem by default (not that you're given any other choice on Windows), while the latest versions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint use the ext4 filesystem by default (but advanced users can also choose between a wide range of other filesystems...JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, brtfs...the pros and cons of each filesystem is beyond the scope of my knowledge). Linux Mint comes with built-in read and write support for NFTS, so yes, you can access your WIndows partition(s) with Mint. On the other hand, WIndows cannot read or write to ext4 or any other Linux partition without 3rd party tools.

Even though you can access NFTS partitions with Linux, I'd advise you to stick with Linux filesystems on Linux whenever possible. Of course you can install Linux on a NFTS filesystem, even within WIndows (i.e. Wubi, mint4win). However, that is not optimal, and there are several downsides to that...I don't want to overwhelm you with info at this moment though. ;)

2b) Sounds ok. You have the general idea down.../ is for system files, /home is for your personal data.
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
RagingBoredom
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by RagingBoredom »

Thanks for the reply, vincent. The reason why I would want to access the NTFS partition is so that I can listen to music while I'm on Mint without having to put any of it one of the ext4 partitions. So I understand the very basics of "/" and "/home" but what about software installs? Will they go to "/" or "/home"? Because if they go to "/" then I won't need 18 GB for "/home" but would I need more than 10 GB for "/"? But if they do go to "/home" then is 18 GB overkill for someone who will use Mint mainly for browsing online, music, maybe videos, and some occasional fooling around with downloading and trying out some software?

Thanks in advance for answering my incredibly newbie-ish questions.
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

Software installs from the package manager will all be placed within the /usr directory, and configuration files in /etc. So yes, programs you install will be in / and not in /home.

I realize that the directory structure may be a bit confusing for a Windows convert (it was for me too, when I first tried out Linux), so here's a brief article you may want to read that explains it pretty well. Keep in mind that in Linux, everything has a path under the / directory, like /home (your Home folder), /dev/sda# (the #th partition on your first hard drive), /dev/cdrom (your CD drive)...not only are actual files represented as files, other partitions on your computer and even hardware components are recognized as files located somewhere within the / directory (the "root" directory).

http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/descripti ... ories.html

Another important concept to understand is that everything in Linux uses dynamic, shared libraries (that's why package managers are so useful), unlike Windows, where statis libraries are the norm. This means that in Linux, the OS and its programs will take up a lot less space than in Windows (so much so that you can run Linux from an USB drive). Therefore, unless you plan to install absolutely everything that is offered to you via the package manager, 10 GB for / is sufficient. I've been using Linux for quite a while and my own / partition has never surpassed the 10 GB mark yet...and yet, I have a lot of packages installed, including games and all that.

Accessing your music on a NFTS partition is fine.
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
RagingBoredom
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by RagingBoredom »

Thanks a ton, vincent. I'm posting this from Linux Mint :D

I had some issues because for some reason my /home partition was screwed up. Looked up info on this site and found some help but everything was over my head so after an hour or so I just deleted all the partitions and started over. Everything works great now. Thanks for your help.
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

All right, well I'm glad you got everything sorted out in the end. :)
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
hyoumoku
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Linux Mint Partitioning to new laptop I'm going to buy

Post by hyoumoku »

Hi! I've been thinking for sometime what is suggested for this partitioning.

Soon, I'm going to buy a new ASUS i5 laptop and will make Linux Mint the only OS (probably the latest GNOME 64bit). Even though I'm going to technically install Linux Mint OS in the system, actually, I'm going to install VirtualBox to run at most probably 3 OS (Windows XP, Windows 7, and/or another Linux distro - but probably just end up installing Windows XP). You see, I haven't tested VirtualBox fully to know what would be ideal.

My question is this - what is the ideal partition for the system partition when there is a VirtualBox installed? Is it something like this:

swap - Formatted as swap - as big as RAM
/ - Formatted as ext3 - How big should this be to include VirtualBox that will install other OS? I have no idea actually :oops: 30gb? 40gb? 50gb?
Rest of the discspace for documents, music, video files, etc etc - probably in NTFS for easy sharing, though might end up ext3, I'm actually not sure :oops:

Kindly please suggest what you think is ideal *bows very deeply*
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

VirtualBox will store your virtual hard drives (.vdi) within your /home partition. So partition your computer as you would have done originally, but give any extra/unused room to your /home partition.
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
JohnHahn201099
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by JohnHahn201099 »

Thanks a lot for the installation guide. I've always wanted to try using Linux for a change (I only used Windows and Mac in the previous days) but was afraid of the complicated setup =D
hyoumoku
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by hyoumoku »

Thanks for the reply vincent 8Db

I'm actually planning to have the / and /home to be in the same partition since data and documents itself would be in different partition.

So I'm thinking the setup to be something like this:

swap - Formatted as swap - as big as RAM
/ - Formatted as ext3 - 30 to 50gb until I finalize with money I have how big the harddisk I'm getting for the laptop
Rest of the discspace for documents, music, video files, etc etc - in NTFS for easy sharing, though might end up using ext3

Would that be advisable or should I go ahead and make / and /home in separate partitions?

Again, thanks for the advice vincent :D
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

Do you think 30 - 50 GB for the / partition is enough to store the virtual machine(s) you plan on having? Keep in mind that a virtual machine installation of Windows will take up as much space as a real Windows installation. Since you're putting your personal documents in a separate partition, there's no point in creating separate / and /home partitions then.
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hyoumoku
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by hyoumoku »

Thanks again for the response vincent 8Db

I'm just wondering though, as I never really tried upgrading from one release to a newer release (usually just fresh install), will there will be a problem in upgrading if the / and /home will be of different partition? I'm still considering doing separate / and /home. But one thing that keeps me worried is that if / and /home would be of separate partition, upgrading from a release to a newer release might break my personal files ^^;;
Silent Warrior
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Silent Warrior »

Hyoumoku: It's generally not a problem - and is, in fact, often the recommended setup. You MIGHT run into trouble if you distro-hop a lot - configuration-files not being exactly the same, geared towards a version of app x that distribution y doesn't carry, version a of app z saving file such-and-such in a subtly different format from your next installation, maybe a conversion script is expected but not found, giving you a hard time opening this file until your version of app z is the same as the previous installation... I say MIGHT, mind you - I only ran into this just recently when I tried Fedora, notorious revolutionary, and now having switched back to Mint Julia. You shouldn't normally have to worry. I've generally upgraded between releases since Ubuntu 6.06, or whenever it was I began.
From the first week of my Linux-life I've used separate / and /home. The careful observer will note I said first week, not first install. :)
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

I'd echo the advice given above, except that if you're using Gnome, definitely remove the hidden ".gconf" folder in your home directory before upgrading. Presumably, Gnome's configuration files aren't really backwards compatible, and from what I've seen, about half of the problems that users have complained about after having updated Mint (with the same /home partition) stems from .gconf, e.g. broken gnome-panel, broken app functionality (some apps store config files within gconf), etc. In fact, I'd delete most of my hidden folders before upgrading (I do keep some like .mozilla, for example, as I don't want to have to recreate my Firefox profile).

Another common mistake: if you have a / and a /home partition, make sure both are mounted with their respective mountpoints during the installation of a newer Mint release. I've seen plenty of people mount / but forget about /home...thus, they end up with a / partition containing /home, and a separate partition (the old /home partition). It's not too hard to fix though, with a bit of fstab tweaking.
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
Silent Warrior
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Silent Warrior »

The .config-folder can cause a couple of issues too... Just coming back from a quick Fedora-experience, I noticed Tomboy and Banshee just wouldn't start. After poking and prodding the issue for a while, I found the .config-folder, did some 'administration tasks', and - no more problem.
So - are .gconf and .config our prime candidates for not backing up between releases/distributions?
telenux
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by telenux »

Sorry, I don't want to go through 13 pages.

What's the current recommendation?

I plan on booting two hard drives, one Windows drive and one Linux drive. I find multiple parttions to be a pain although I think it's okay if it's like three or four.

I already knew about the swap partition being 2x the capacity of the RAM.

My drives are these, 320GB and 500GB.

I thought I'd use the faster drive, my 320GB for my Windows and the 500GB for Linux. I'd have more things going on with the Linux drive anyway so I need a relatively large drive. I want to use Virtual Box, too, so it will only benefit from a larger drive.

If I partition the Linux drive with about two or three partitions, does that sound good? Then I'll use a large chunk of the drive for a VirtualBox setup?

The Windows drive, I'll either use one entire partition or two, so a 'C' and 'D'. Data I'll have on two separate drives, ext3/4 and NTFS, respectively.

Is this a good way or is there something better that I should try?
Edgpaez
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Edgpaez »

Sounds pretty good to me...
With Linux a root, swap and /home partitions should be ok
And win will always need at least one partition besides C. Also, save yourself a lot of trouble and make /home partition (or whatever partition you choose to save docs) a FAT32 partition so that windows can read it.
Willielikesmonkeys
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Willielikesmonkeys »

of course nowadays with mint 64 bit you could make the sum of ram & swap 8 gb but i wouldn't suggest this if you have less than 3.5-4gb of ram
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by 74m3_G33k »

telenux: As Edgapaez suggests, three partitions for for Linux install is good enough (/, swap, /home) but here are some considerations:
(i) don't make your /home partition FAT32(!?) - I can see the basic logic in allowing Windoze to read it but if you value your data why entrust it to a fragile legacy file system so lacking in functionality? Linux can read all your data on the Win install so use it to copy any data you need there as well;
(ii) use ext4 - it's been stable for ages and by default the delayed write feature is disabled now (well it is in Ubuntu...so I presume that holds for Mint too);
(iii) even Linux gets borked (especially when you're learning and playing...) so consider taking an image of your root partition with Clonezilla or a similar tool, save it to a small ext3 partition at the end of your Linux drive;
(iv) fussy people will sometimes make a separate partition for /boot (<1GB) and /var (<15GB) - the latter being a good idea for the paranoid who increase the logging on their box (logs are an excellent cure for insomnia).

Have fun!

Ian 8)
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