[SOLVED] Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

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TJ_Vinny
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[SOLVED] Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by TJ_Vinny »

Hello!

I've just tried installing Mint this weekend and have hit a road block. I've never used any Linux before FYI.

Is it possible to have the OS installed and booted from the SSD and have all the rest of the software, programs, documents, pictures, music, etc, ran from and stored to another HDD?

After dissecting the system file structure and finding other posts on this subject, it become very clear to me that it is not the same as Windows. Things seem to be spread out to multiple locations. Very "alien" to me.

If the above is not really worth the hassle, would it be best to install and use a single drive? If so, what are some recommended partitions to have? Would running only with a 2TB HDD be perfectly fine; Does the SSD really matter?

I'm sorry if this is a lot, but I tried searching for solutions and had no luck.

Thank you!
Last edited by TJ_Vinny on Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lazarus
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by lazarus »

It's perfectly possible and worthwhile doing.

For a single user system I'd install the OS to the SSD for boot speed and mount the 2TiB HDD as /home which is pretty much where a user's media files & 'personal' data are stored. Think of it as a combined Windows 'My Documents' & 'Downloads' folder.

As a bonus, Timeshift (the inbuilt OS BU sw) defaults to /home/backups so any saved backups are to a drive that's different to the system drive. ie. Better security in case of OS failure.

For a novice it's probably easier to set all this up at initial install, but the changes to an existing install are simple enough.

How big is the SSD? I assume LM is already installed there? Is the 2TB HDD already formatted or otherwise in use?
Last edited by lazarus on Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by RobJP »

i am new to linux, about a month of use... so i may be wrong in places...but i try to not be wrong...

when you install you are usually asked where to put the various parts of linux and the installers will have some sort of disk partitioning tool.

the naming convention is strange if you are used to windows. knowing drive sizes is useful. i had to make notes on some paper as i have 2x500gb, 1x500gb USB along with a 1tb drive.

i would caution against dual boot and installing linux on the same drive as windows if you are planning on doing that. unplug your windows drives and use your motherboards boot menu (F11 for me). as linux and windows do not always live in harmony.

linux will wipe everything that is on the two drives... so make sure there is nothing on them you want to keep!

during install you can put the root partition "/" on your SSD (root being all system files and some software installs). there will be an option in the partitioning tool to set the SSD (probably referred to as "sda" or similar) as root. can also set a partition (16gb for example) as the swap partition.

then your /home partition can be placed on the other drive (sdb). all your music, downloads, videos, some software installs etc will go into /home on the other drive and will be safe in the invent that linux ever breaks.

a brief how-to on installing /home on another drive is here...

https://www.maketecheasier.com/install- ... rd-drives/

its for an older version of ubuntu but it is still relevant.

hope that helps but am sure others can be more helpful :)

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by Mattyboy »

You can't really put the installed software on another drive, like you can on a Windose machine Linux doesn't work like that, it places parts in different directories. The exception to this is 'app images' those can be placed and ran from any location.

Many people divide the OS in this manner myself included.

During the install process select 'advanced' and set something like

SSD boot partition and / ( that's /root )
HDD /swap and /home

I'm booting with Windows here's an example
SSD

Code: Select all

sde      8:64   0 119.2G  0 disk 
├─sde1   8:65   0   499M  0 part 
├─sde2   8:66   0   100M  0 part /boot/efi
├─sde3   8:67   0    16M  0 part 
├─sde4   8:68   0    83G  0 part /Windows 
└─sde5   8:69   0  35.7G  0 part /root
HDD

Code: Select all

sdb      8:16   0 931.5G  0 disk 
├─sdb1   8:17   0   200G  0 part /home
├─sdb2   8:18   0     8G  0 part [SWAP]
└─sdb3   8:19   0 723.5G  0 part /mnt/freespace
I also have another drive for timeshift
HDD

Code: Select all

sdd      8:48   0   2.7T  0 disk 
├─sdd1   8:49   0   100G  0 part 
├─sdd2   8:50   0   100G  0 part /mnt/Timeshift
└─sdd3   8:51   0   2.5T  0 part /mnt/Data
30 - 40 GB is usually more than enough for /
Swap match your installed machine RAM up to 8GB
/timeshift depends on how many snapshots you wish to keep 30GB is more than enough mines using 19.6GB
/ home whatever

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michael louwe
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by michael louwe »

@ TJ_Vinny, .......
TJ_Vinny wrote:.
.
To install LM 19 on a faster SSD+HDD setup in UEFI/GPT mode(= a rough guide), first ensure that Secure Boot and Fast Boot are disabled and the Live LM 19 USB/DVD is booted in UEFI mode from the Boot Menu via BIOS Setup. ...

1. Need to use the "Something else" install method.
2. Click on the free-space of the SSD = nvmeOn1, and click "+". Create the EFI System Partition = Primary partition/at the beginning of this space/fat32/550MB/mount point is boot/efi. Click OK.
3. Click on the free-space of the SSD again and click "+". Create the Root partition = Primary partition/at the beginning of this space/ext4/xxxGB/mount point is "/".
4. Click on the free-space of the SSD again and click "+". Create the Swap partition = Primary partition/beginning of this space/swap filesystem/about 1.5 times RAM size.
5. Click on the free-space of the HDD(= 2TB) = /sda, and click "+". Create the Home partition = Primary partition/end of this space/ext4/desired size, eg 1000GB/mount point is "home".
6. Ensure that the "Device for boot loader installation" is the EFI System Partition = /nvmeOn1p1. Click OK for the install of LM to proceed.

After install of LM has completed, you should click "Continue testing", then shutdown. Remove the Live LM USB/DVD. Startup the computer, immediately go into BIOS Setup and change the boot order back to the internal hard-drive/SSD as the 1st boot device. Save, exit BIOS Setup and LM 19 should auto-boot.

P S - If SSD is 256GB and RAM is 8GB, then the Root or / partition should be about 243GB in size and the Swap partition should be about 12GB in size.
....... Seems, the Swap partition should also be created on the HDD.???
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/ssd (SSD: how to optimize your Solid State Drive for Linux Mint 19)

P P S - If using Legacy BIOS install mode and MBR/ms-dos disks/drives, follow the above guide also except no need to manually create the boot or EFI System Partition and ensure that the "Device for boot loader installation" is the SSD or nvmeOn1.

P P P S -
austin.texas wrote:Re: Partitions SSD64 + 1TB hdd with docs from Win7 - 17 Feb 2018(Legacy BIOS install mode)

Yes, you can set up a separate /data partition on the big HDD and sym-link to it. That is what I do.
But your statement of the /home on the SSD needs some clarification. You have different options.
1: The default installation.
This places your /home on the / partition on the SSD, and your configuration will not be saved when you install a new release of LM. (The configs can be backed up and restored, but that is not an easy or comprehensive process.)
2: Create a /home partition on the SSD
This option, and Option #3, will preserve your configuration as you described, and for both options you would have to install the new LM using the manual (Something Else) option.
This option will require you to set up a /data partition on the HDD for all your personal files (music, docs, photos, etc.) That process is pretty easy.
3: Create a /home partition on the HDD.
This option will not require you to set up a /data partition on the HDD for all your personal files. You can make the /home partition big enough to accommodate everything.
Last edited by michael louwe on Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

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michael louwe
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by michael louwe »

@ TJ_Vinny, .......
TJ_Vinny wrote:.
.
If you have booting problem with your AMD graphics card, please refer to the fix at ... viewtopic.php?f=46&t=122257
https://linuxmint.com/rel_sonya_cinnamon.php

and have a look at ... https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/03/ubu ... iver-16-04

TJ_Vinny
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by TJ_Vinny »

Wow, thanks for all of the replies! I don't think I've ever been in a forum that is so alive!
Anyway...
@Lazarus:
lazarus wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:07 am
How big is the SSD? I assume LM is already installed there? Is the 2TB HDD already formatted or otherwise in use?
I forgot to mention, the SSD is 120 GB and LM is already installed. The entire HDD is still unallocated, fresh out of the box.
As I didn't get far into it at all, I was planning on wiping the SSD through the live session and starting over.

@RobJP
I have no plans for dual booting, this computer is going to be Linux dedicated.
After some more reading, I was planing on at least putting /home onto its own partition.
You also stated that some software will be installed to /home, is it specific for which software goes there?

@Mattyboy
It is interesting to me how Linux ditches the drive letter format of Windows, but now I understand that partitions are pretty much attached to specific directories within a common pool. Correct?
I noticed that your swap is in your HDD. What is the purpose of the swap exactly?

@Michal Louwe
I had a question about the fat32 format suggestion. I noticed that when I did the simple installer for LM, a complete fresh install onto a new drive, a 537MB partition was created and mounted to /boot/efi in the fat32 file system. With all of the other guides, the installation docs and videos, not talking about making a /boot partition and suggesting anything other than ext4, is it truly neccessary? Should fat32 be used?

Also, I haven't had any issues with booting with my AMD graphics card, but I'll take a look at that link anyway, thanks!

@Everyone
Again, thank you all for the suggestions!

[EDIT] So, the plan for this build is to be a work station for art, music, 3d rendering and animation. I have plans for only using software like: Gimp, Audacity, Krita, Blender, Wings3D, Firefox, the Libre Office Suite,possibly Scribus and probably a couple of others. It would be nice to know how much of these applications would be spread out throughout the system, but if the OS needs around 40gb, then I guess it wouldn't matter much with a 120GB SSD.

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michael louwe
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by michael louwe »

@ TJ_Vinny, .......
TJ_Vinny wrote:Should fat32 be used?.
Yes, ... https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/EF ... _partition

If the EFI System Partition is formatted in ext4, Windows cannot be booted since Windows cannot read Linux ext4 file-system = no more UEFI standard.

TJ_Vinny
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by TJ_Vinny »

michael louwe wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:53 pm
If the EFI System Partition is formatted in ext4, Windows cannot be booted since Windows cannot read Linux ext4 file-system = no more UEFI standard.
But should FAT32 be used even if I'm not using Windows at all on the computer using Linux? Or because of the UEFI BIOS from the mother board?
This is territory I have yet to delve deeper into.

I do think I'm understanding it more. Thank you for the link! The part that isn't clear for me is that Windows is referenced a lot in guides and dual booting seems to pop up everywhere when I search. I'm just not dual booting.
I'm sorry if I'm not grasping this correctly.

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michael louwe
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by michael louwe »

@ TJ_Vinny, .......
TJ_Vinny wrote:.
.
Standard UEFI certification should require all the major tech players to abide by the agreed standards, ie a FAT32/16/12 file-system for the EFI System Partition. I think the UEFI-BIOS firmware of major OEM computers will only recognize a FAT32/16/12 EFI System Partition, ie it won't recognize an ext4 or ntfs or exfat or btrfs EFI System Partition. This UEFI standardization is independent of the OS.

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by Mattyboy »

TJ_Vinny wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:17 pm


But should FAT32 be used even if I'm not using Windows at all on the computer using Linux? Or because of the UEFI BIOS from the mother board?
This is territory I have yet to delve deeper into.
If you're not using and have no intention of using Windows then its fairly irrelevant as the installer will just choose the appropriate format for you.

/swap is basically used to dump the contents of your RAM onto disk like when you put the system into hibernation so you don't 'loose' what you were working on.

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by lazarus »

From a fresh install it should be fairly straightforward.
Mattyboy wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:56 pm
/swap is basically used to dump the contents of your RAM onto disk like when you put the system into hibernation so you don't 'loose' what you were working on.
Not quite. It's also used when a system's RAM is heavily loaded, swapping pages in and out.

As a result, I wouldn't put a /swap partition (or swapfile) on the SSD. It's better off on the HDD; slightly slower access times, but increases the SSD's life-span.

FWIW, a rule of thumb on size of swap is 2x system RAM for a basic desktop. (Less for a server, much more for an older PC with RAM measured in MB instead of GB)
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by rui no onna »

lazarus wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:20 pm
As a result, I wouldn't put a /swap partition (or swapfile) on the SSD. It's better off on the HDD; slightly slower access times, but increases the SSD's life-span.
I actually leave swap on the SSD for the performance improvement (the difference in access times is around 100x, iirc). SSDs are more resilient (in terms of P/E cycles) than people think. They're far more likely to suffer from random controller failure way before they run out of P/E cycles. Granted, if one is short on storage on the SSD, then that's a reason to put it on the HDD.

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by TJ_Vinny »

I really do appreciate the suggestions!

Another question: With the basic install, as in the "Erase Disk and Install Linux Mint" option, everything is automatically set up and running partitioning needed, correct? Before posting, everything was running fine when I did that.
From there, I can simply remount /home and probably /timeshift onto the other drive, right?

If I were to create a /swap, would I choose 32, 24, 16, or 8 GB if I have 16 GB of RAM? I'm getting mixed opinions on it. I also heard that swap partitions aren't needed for Mint 19?

@ Michael Louwe
Thank you for clarifying that for me! The article you linked me gave me the idea, but you just drove the lesson home!

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by Photojoe4 »

As others have said, this is totally doable (the machine I'm using has that setup), and actually makes a lot of sense- you can reinstall/upgrade your OS without touching your data, you can upgrade to a larger hard drive pretty easy if you run out of space, and you can recover from a catastrophic drive failure pretty easily (recommend doing regular backups of your Home drive to an external drive or 2). You don't need a swap partition with 19 (it will create a swap file when you install it), just select "something else" when you install and make a root partition on your ssd and a home partition on your hdd (both Ext4).

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michael louwe
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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by michael louwe »

@ TJ_Vinny, .......
TJ_Vinny wrote:.
.
For a dual-drives setup, the manual "Something else" install method should be used because it is not a normal computer setup for the LM Installer, ie should not use the automatic "Erase disk ..." method.

I think installation of LM 19 does not require the creation of the Swap partition any more ... viewtopic.php?t=271029

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by Mattyboy »

TJ_Vinny wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:34 pm
If I were to create a /swap, would I choose 32, 24, 16, or 8 GB if I have 16 GB of RAM? I'm getting mixed opinions on it. I also heard that swap partitions aren't needed for Mint 19?
Yeah, 19 uses a swap file so its less important to 'worry about it'.

For the sake of conversation how big should a swap partition be? It depends on what you plan to do. As established in its basic form the swap 'backs up' what ever is currently loaded in your RAM. So what are you going to be doing on your machine that would use up all of your installed RAM? The current 'standard' for modern desktop machines is 8GB, that will happily run your OS and a AAA game... but you may be working with 4k video rendering and that eats RAM like popping M&M's. Crazy people seem to want to open 50 tabs in firefox.. how they keep track is beyond me... and that eats RAM.

8GB seems like a good middle ground but if you have it installed use 16GB and 'future proof' it a bit, but, currently there's not many instances where you'll actually use it on a desktop/laptop. If you've got nice big hard drives its less of a concern but you have to think about the space a swap is using on your disk, 32GB is enough for a timeshift partition.. and then some.

Swap files have more value when available RAM is limited..take into consideration all the different, valid, opinions but at the end of the day...your machine, your choice.

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by rui no onna »

This article offers pretty good guidance.

https://itsfoss.com/swap-size/

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by TJ_Vinny »

Thank you once again guys!
For the amount of RAM and the large amount of storage space that I have and can spare, I guess I can just go ahead and throw in a 24 GB /swap partition (So 1.5x as Michael Louwe suggests) and call it good. I plan on using RAM heavy things on it anyway, I have the storage to spare, and I'd rather play it safe.

As I already have LM installed on the SSD with the initial installer, I have dug around a bit and found a guide on transferring /home to another drive. Everything is up and running just fine, I just need to move /home, create a /swap, and possibly /timeshift over to the HDD. It looks like this can all be done using GParted
This guide seems to be Ubuntu based, but it looks like it'll work just fine with Mint: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Parti ... ome/Moving
Thoughts?

@ rui no onna
Thank you, it did give me a better understanding, although still confusing. I was able to gather some more information from the comment section on people's personal experience and that helped a lot.

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Re: Mint 19 Cinnamon: SSD for OS and HDD for storage?

Post by Mattyboy »

TJ_Vinny wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:52 pm
This guide seems to be Ubuntu based, but it looks like it'll work just fine with Mint: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Parti ... ome/Moving
Thoughts?
Yeah, just a few alterations for Mint 19

Use

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blkid -o list
in place of

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sudo blkid
and ( cinnamon )

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xed admin:///etc/fstab
or

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sudo vim /etc/fstab 
in place of

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sudo gedit /etc/fstab 
If you need further help you know where to ask, good luck

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