partitions and other newb questions [SOLVED]

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wicked_sticky
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partitions and other newb questions [SOLVED]

Post by wicked_sticky »

1) If I have a separate "/" and "/home" partition... besides my personal files, what goes in the /home partition?

**Questions 1-3 are if I have an MBR/bios

2) Where is grub typically installed ?

3) when we install a multi boot (all linux flavors), the boot window/ grub is overwritten written by the newest install, and if i delete the partition of an older install the only thing that doesnt boot is is the entry for the deleted partition. BUT if I delete the partition with the newest distro will I still get the boot option or will it just hang?

4) I haven't dont anything yet but good to know, if I want to make a partition larger or move it to the left (not right) is there a fast way to fix grub to make it bootable? (from my reading the answer is no).

5)If I wipe my entire drive and change to an efi/gpt setup do the answers 2-3 questions change?

6) How much of a difference in CPU usage is xfce vs mate? (Im using KDE on my desktop but my laptop has 4gb ram and N3540 cpu (pretty weak quad core), windows 10 is horrifically slow, cpu usage shoots up to 100%, ram difference between xfce/mate/cinnamon is small, is the cpu usage just as small?
Last edited by wicked_sticky on Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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gold_finger
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Re: partitions and other newb questions

Post by gold_finger »

wicked_sticky wrote:1) If I have a separate "/" and "/home" partition... besides my personal files, what goes in the /home partition?
Various configuration files for programs you use (eg. Firefox -- bookmarks, addons, etc.) and/or customizations you've made to desktop (eg. icons and their arrangement in the panel, on the desktop, etc.).
wicked_sticky wrote:2) Where is grub typically installed ?
To the MBR (Master Boot Record) of the drive, which is designated as simply /dev/sda (for 1st hard drive), /dev/sdb (2nd drive), etc.
wicked_sticky wrote:3) when we install a multi boot (all linux flavors), the boot window/ grub is overwritten written by the newest install, and if i delete the partition of an older install the only thing that doesnt boot is is the entry for the deleted partition. BUT if I delete the partition with the newest distro will I still get the boot option or will it just hang?
Yes, it will just hang. Solution to that is to log into a distro that will be kept and install grub to MBR from there (eg. sudo grub-install /dev/sda) before deleting the OS that currently controls booting. That way you shift control to a different distro first so booting will still work after the deletion. Also, if you don't know this already, if you delete a distro not in control of booting, you can get rid of its non-working grub entry by simply updating grub in the OS that controls booting -- eg. run sudo update-grub in a terminal of controlling OS.
wicked_sticky wrote:4) I haven't dont anything yet but good to know, if I want to make a partition larger or move it to the left (not right) is there a fast way to fix grub to make it bootable? (from my reading the answer is no).
Generally speaking, fixing grub from live USB/DVD is pretty simple but can be a little more complicated if you start moving partitions around on the disk. (eg. if partition UUIDs got changed, that would add complications to the procedure. It's doable, just not quite as "easy".)
wicked_sticky wrote:5)If I wipe my entire drive and change to an efi/gpt setup do the answers 2-3 questions change?
Grub files are installed to the ESP (EFI System Partition) instead of the MBR. Don't have a UEFI setup myself so can't answer what happens when deleting controlling OS.
wicked_sticky wrote:6) How much of a difference in CPU usage is xfce vs mate? (Im using KDE on my desktop but my laptop has 4gb ram and N3540 cpu (pretty weak quad core), windows 10 is horrifically slow, cpu usage shoots up to 100%, ram difference between xfce/mate/cinnamon is small, is the cpu usage just as small?
Xfce and Mate will probably be very similar performance-wise and both will require less resources than either Cinnamon or KDE. All of them may run fine on your system though. Only way to tell is test them out and decide for yourself which fits your needs best. Personally I like speed and stability, so install Xfce on my computers whether they can handle heavier DEs or not.
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acerimusdux
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Re: partitions and other newb questions

Post by acerimusdux »

1. Any user specific files go into /home, including user specific configuration files. On the initial install, very little will go there. There is a directory /etc/skel which contains the files which will be copied to a new users home directory every time a new user is created. Won't be much more than that there, on a new install, until you start adding your own stuff.

2. Grub is typically installed to the root of a drive, not an individual partition.

3. It will hang only if you installed grub to the individual partition, and then deleted the partition (been there/done that).

4. To move or resize an existing partition to the left (meaning moving the start of the partition) usually requires reformatting the partition. If grub were on there it would have to be reinstalled (as the location of the boot sector would have to move).

5. don't know really; but I think EFI requires it's own partition (/boot/efi) so you wouldn't be installing the boot sector elsewhere?

6. Don't think there's much difference. I have a 2011 Athlon II with 4G ram, where I had been running XFCE. Just installed the latest Cinnamon, and it seems pretty peppy. I thought the old display manager used to be a bit of a resource hog, and had been in the habit of switching to lightDM w/ XFCE on my chromebook and old desktops. But the newer releases seem to have LightDM as the default. I'd guess even a 10-year old machine might handle Cinnamon at this point. The applications (like Firefox) seems to be the resource hogs, the window managers and desktops seem to be relatively lightweight.
wicked_sticky
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Re: partitions and other newb questions

Post by wicked_sticky »

gold_finger wrote:
wicked_sticky wrote:3) when we install a multi boot (all linux flavors), the boot window/ grub is overwritten written by the newest install, and if i delete the partition of an older install the only thing that doesnt boot is is the entry for the deleted partition. BUT if I delete the partition with the newest distro will I still get the boot option or will it just hang?
Yes, it will just hang. Solution to that is to log into a distro that will be kept and install grub to MBR from there (eg. sudo grub-install /dev/sda) before deleting the OS that currently controls booting. That way you shift control to a different distro first so booting will still work after the deletion. Also, if you don't know this already, if you delete a distro not in control of booting, you can get rid of its non-working grub entry by simply updating grub in the OS that controls booting -- eg. run sudo update-grub in a terminal of controlling OS.
Thanks this helps a lot.

So my understanding is: the MBR is at the beginning of a drive outside of a partition. When a new distro is installed, it points MBR to boot from grub which is located in the root partition its installed on (assuming i did create a separate boot partition). And every linux OS I have installed has grub, but only one of them controls booting.
Is that all correct?



And if I boot into a distro Im keeping and run:
sudo grub-install /dev/sda it gives the booted distro control, how can I verify it worked? If I edit grub/grub.cfg to have blue background and see if the color changed be prove it?
gold_finger wrote:
wicked_sticky wrote:6) How much of a difference in CPU usage is xfce vs mate? (Im using KDE on my desktop but my laptop has 4gb ram and N3540 cpu (pretty weak quad core), windows 10 is horrifically slow, cpu usage shoots up to 100%, ram difference between xfce/mate/cinnamon is small, is the cpu usage just as small?
Xfce and Mate will probably be very similar performance-wise and both will require less resources than either Cinnamon or KDE. All of them may run fine on your system though. Only way to tell is test them out and decide for yourself which fits your needs best. Personally I like speed and stability, so install Xfce on my computers whether they can handle heavier DEs or not.
This $179,5yo laptop still came with 4gb ram

All these DE's all pretty intuitive, and they all use less than 0.5gb ram idle, so its kinda hard to determine at what point you'll notice a performance difference going with a lighter DE (or why windows 10 brings this computer to its knees)
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Re: partitions and other newb questions

Post by gold_finger »

wicked_sticky wrote:So my understanding is: the MBR is at the beginning of a drive outside of a partition. When a new distro is installed, it points MBR to boot from grub which is located in the root partition its installed on (assuming i did create a separate boot partition). And every linux OS I have installed has grub, but only one of them controls booting.
Is that all correct?
Correct.
wicked_sticky wrote:And if I boot into a distro Im keeping and run:
sudo grub-install /dev/sda it gives the booted distro control, how can I verify it worked?
Easiest way to know it worked is to reboot and you'll now see that the distro you performed grub-install from is now the first boot choice shown and is the default entry computer will boot if you don't move to another before countdown timer expires.
wicked_sticky wrote:This $179,5yo laptop still came with 4gb ram

All these DE's all pretty intuitive, and they all use less than 0.5gb ram idle, so its kinda hard to determine at what point you'll notice a performance difference going with a lighter DE (or why windows 10 brings this computer to its knees)
I haven't done a real (bare metal) install of other versions of Mint in quite some time. Used Mate on one computer for about a year and it was fine, but I switched it back to Xfce because it is more flexible when it comes to customizing look and feel. (At least, that's my opinion.) I've tried KDE (Mint and other distros) several times over the years. Some people rave about KDE and things they've written about it influenced me to try it many times. For whatever reason, it's one DE that I just don't like and could never get used to using, even though I wanted to like it based on the positive things written about it. Cinnamon I haven't installed since first version came out a few years back. I liked it but it seemed to be quite unstable. It's my understanding that it's improved quite a bit since then, but generally speaking it is still best when computer has a higher end graphics card than I typically have in my computers. (I could be wrong about that though. Maybe it would work fine on some of my computers. I just haven't bothered trying it recently to find out.) Bottom line: everyone's tastes are different and best way to decide which Mint version is best is to try each out for yourself.

As for Windows 10 -- I don't know why it "brings your computer to its knees" and am a bit surprised to here that. (I say that as someone who is about as far from being a fan of MS and Windows as anyone can get.) I haven't used Windows much at all in the last 7-8 years since switching to Linux, but I did buy a couple of used computers last year that came with Win 10 on them from prior owners. Out of curiosity I played around with it for a few days on one of them -- a 2008 HP Elitebook 2530 with 2GB RAM, (full specs posted below). Despite finding Win10 interface absolutely horrid, I was surprised at how "snappy" it seemed be on such a low spec computer. I had the impression that it was less resource hungry than Win7. However, that could have been because I mostly ran it unconnected to the internet so it couldn't constantly "call home" to mothership MS. And also, the first thing I did with it was delete and/or disable all of the spyware applications (my description of most of the default crap loaded on it) that by default are set to connect to internet and report to the mothership and who knows who else. So maybe it would work a little better for you if you disabled/removed some of the spyware that's constantly reporting your every move to various entities in the background.

Specs for HP Elitebook w/ Win 10 on it:

Code: Select all

bill@HP-EliteBook-2530p ~ $ inxi -Fxz
System:    Host: HP-EliteBook-2530p Kernel: 4.4.0-21-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.3.1)
           Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3 (Gtk 2.24.28) Distro: Linux Mint 18 Sarah
Machine:   System: Hewlett-Packard (portable) product: HP EliteBook 2530p v: F.04
           Mobo: Hewlett-Packard model: 30E1 v: KBC Version 03.16
           Bios: Hewlett-Packard v: 68PSU Ver. F.04 date: 09/23/2008
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core2 Duo L9300 (-MCP-) cache: 6144 KB
           flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 6383
           clock speeds: max: 1601 MHz 1: 1600 MHz 2: 800 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.3 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1280x800@60.02hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Mobile Intel GM45 Express GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 11.2.0 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.4.0-21-generic
Network:   Card-1: Intel 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: 40e0 bus-ID: 00:19.0
           IF: enp0s25 state: down mac: <filter>
           Card-2: Intel PRO/Wireless 5100 AGN [Shiloh] Network Connection driver: iwlwifi bus-ID: 02:00.0
           IF: wls1 state: down mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 160.0GB (5.6% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: FUJITSU_MHW2160B size: 160.0GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 15G used: 6.3G (46%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda6
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 2.28GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda8
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 35.0C mobo: 27.8C
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
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wicked_sticky
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Re: partitions and other newb questions

Post by wicked_sticky »

Cool, thanks for all the info.

---pointless rant bellow----

The laptop in question is my wifes Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L15W-B1208 - Pentium N3540, 4GB ram, 500gb she wanted a small cheap commuter laptop), windows 10 update is awful, unlike earlier verisons theres no way to disable it (except literally going into the start services and disable it from starting), by fedault the updates are peer to peer so its slow and is always eating up your upload bandwidth AND you don't see what its doing so if an update failed it will try installing it indefinitely without letting you know something is wrong. So, yeah win 10 is much faster than previous versions if its offline.

I stripped out all the preinstalled programs but the laptop also has 29 preinstalled toshiba proprietary drivers/ and utilities, I'm sure those are a big part of the problem.

My oldest still operational desk-top was running an phenom x4 9500, and this laptop should have been way more power in every way, so I was baffled why it was so slow, ie 30 seconds for chrome to load, 10 seconds for control panel to open, 3 or 4 for any window to maximize/minimize. And the touch schscreen or keyboard driver CONSTANTLY crashed and reloaded when you use the touchscreen then immediately use the keyboard

I tried peppermint live cd:ran fine, mint xfce:ran fine, mint mate: ran fine, mint cinamon: ran fine, Manjaro KDE: ran fine though just barely noticeable that it wasnt as snappy as the others. I think Ill go with mate on her computer, xfce seems a little bit less user friendly for someone who only knows windows.
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Re: partitions and other newb questions [SOLVED]

Post by gold_finger »

wicked_sticky wrote:windows 10 update is awful, unlike earlier verisons theres no way to disable it
I just stumbled on this post a few hours ago: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=237350&p=1325639#p1325639.

No idea whether it works or not, but can't hurt to give it a shot.
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Re: partitions and other newb questions [SOLVED]

Post by Spearmint2 »

Windows 10 update process and peer to peer "sharing" of update files is scandolous, even among devoted Windows users. It's especially hard on those using satellite provider internet services, since they have data limitations per month, and the peer sharing eats that up. I do remember there's a setting for satellite users which can turn that off, but can't remember exactly what it is since I refused to use W10 at all. At least with Mint and other Linux distros, you control updates on when and what yourself.
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