Mint Install Questions

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trope
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Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:53 am

Installing Mint 19.

I thought that whole disk encryption is better than encrypting only the home directory (both faster and more secure), but apparently it is only possible with LVM? If I uncheck LVM, it automatically unchecks the encrypt entire drive option. Is there a way to do it without using LVM? Was suggested not to use LVM here:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=275895

The laptop has a 750 GB HDD and a 120 GB SSD. I am asked which drive to install Mint on. Which should I choose? And what becomes of the other HD? This is with the basic install tool, I did not click on the advanced partitioning tool, but if I should then what should I select there?

Will I have to choose later which drive to store files on? Eg, is it like windows where I will see a C: drive and a E: drive from within Mint? I will be transferring my home directory from another laptop, which is 160 GB. Since it is too big, I would have to put it on the 750 GB drive.

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:18 pm

It is possible to have encrypted partitions without LVM, but you'd have to set that up manually then. I get where catweazel was coming from in that other thread but in the case of encrypted partitions I think it's a good idea to use LVM because it makes handling them a bit easier. Obviously the makers of Ubuntu and Mint agree by making it the default installation method for encrypted drives. I suggest you go with the defaults in this case.

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:54 pm

I definitely need encryption. If I use LVM, does that make the other question about HDs moot?

I am okay with not using LVM if I can get instructions on how to set up the manual partition for encryption.

rui no onna
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by rui no onna » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:06 pm

trope wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:54 pm
I definitely need encryption. If I use LVM, does that make the other question about HDs moot?

I am okay with not using LVM if I can get instructions on how to set up the manual partition for encryption.
Tutorial for manual setup:
https://medium.com/@teejeetech/linux-mu ... 0896c03cce

You can just ignore the multiboot stuff and use ext4 in lieu of btrfs.

Mind, ubiquity's built-in LVM encrypted setup is a lot simpler to use.

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:32 pm

trope wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:54 pm
I definitely need encryption. If I use LVM, does that make the other question about HDs moot?

I am okay with not using LVM if I can get instructions on how to set up the manual partition for encryption.
Sorry, had missed the part of the the drives. First, if you want to set up encryption manually, probably start reading here https://gitlab.com/cryptsetup/cryptsetu ... dQuestions since that's the tool you'll likely be using (comes pre-installed on Mint). I don't know the tutorial rui linked above but it looks detailed enough so probably a good idea to follow something like that.

As to drives, typically you'll want the operating system and applications on the SSD to benefit from the speed. /home should go on the HDD, and to reduce write cycles on the SSD you'll probably want to put /var onto the HDD as well along with your swap file or partition. Also /tmp if you don't mount it to RAM (tmpfs).
Last edited by gm10 on Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:11 am

I installed using LVM and had major problems, when booting got the following error message:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/567730/ ... ist#567897

I tried a few things unsuccessfully and it is way beyond my ability to try others. There is some suggestion that the problem is due to LVM, so I am going to reinstall without it.

There is a choice during the installer: "erase disk and install linux mint"
I researched this online and apparently it makes 1 partition (not sure how it would work on my laptop because there are 2 HDs? is the single partition spread across the 2 HDs or is it not possible?). If I do that is there a way to encrypt it later?

If that is not possible, then does the cryptsetup step come after I finish installing mint? If make the /home partition the largest and put it on the HDD, and encrypt it; what would be the process to use it? Right now I have to enter my decryption key to boot into linux mint, so it is convenient (I do not have to enter it multiple times during a session).

If doing the manual install, I'll plan on following your advice and put /home, /var, swap partition? (vs. file), and /tmp on the HDD and OS and applications on the SSD. The OS is the /root partition? What is the applications one called? I see a lot of partitions already so I believe I use the "new partition table" option.

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:24 am

You'll have to create and encrypt the partitions manually before installation if you do it without lvm. You were linked a tutorial above.

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:54 pm

I don't see how the tutorial is relevant for me, or answers any of the questions I posted? I was instructed to
use ext4 in lieu of btrfs
, but this code

Code: Select all

sudo cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/disk/by-partlabel/xps_system && \
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/disk/by-partlabel/xps_system xps_system && \
sudo mkfs.btrfs -f /dev/mapper/xps_system
contains a mention of btrfs, and much code that follows. Can I substitute ext4 for btrfs in all these instances?

Also that user has 1 HD, sda. I researched what /dev and /sd means, and I have 2 HDs, which would be named sda and sdb. In addition, that tutorial does not make it clear at all how to apply this advice:

Code: Select all

As to drives, typically you'll want the operating system and applications on the SSD to benefit from the speed. /home should go on the HDD, and to reduce write cycles on the SSD you'll probably want to put /var onto the HDD as well along with your swap file or partition. Also /tmp if you don't mount it to RAM (tmpfs).

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:07 pm

Found another guide but it mentions HDD, so not sure it would apply to me since have an SSD and a HDD:
https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2061

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:11 pm

It looks like I can encrypt the /home folder at least after an installation, so this should enable me to use the Mint installer?:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/366749/ ... stallation
gm10 wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:24 am
You'll have to create and encrypt the partitions manually before installation if you do it without lvm. You were linked a tutorial above.

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:47 am

Folder encryption is something else entirely than disk/partition encryption. As to the guide you found, SSD and HDD are the same as far as this is concerned. Here's another in-depth guide: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Manua ... Encryption

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:19 pm

That last guide is very clear, I will plan on using it. However, it instructs to create a single partition called system. The installer, https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Manua ... areInstall, presumably creates the boot, root, and swap (and maybe home) in that partition. I think I'm supposed to put that on the SSD, but you recommended to make the /swap on the HDD:
gm10 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:32 pm
As to drives, typically you'll want the operating system and applications on the SSD to benefit from the speed. /home should go on the HDD, and to reduce write cycles on the SSD you'll probably want to put /var onto the HDD as well along with your swap file or partition. Also /tmp if you don't mount it to RAM (tmpfs).
I am not sure that the installer will function properly if I put the swap on the HDD at the beginning (and the /var. I'm not sure what you mean regarding /tmp), or will it? I looked over the code and it seems robust but I don't really understand it all. If I make the /var and the /tmp on the HDD, how big should those be?

There are instructions for a separate /data partition, which I will put on the HDD. No mention of /home.

Also, right now I have an EFI partition, 512 MB, on both the SSD and HDD. Do I delete the one on the HDD? And is it okay to delete everything and start over? The guide you linked states twice, very explicitly, that if the EFI partition exists, just use it, even if it is not the recommended 550 MB size (they give an example where it is only 100 MB). Not sure why this is. Because if I started from scratch with a new partition table I could make it 550 MB.

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:30 pm

The installer won't mind where you put things because you'll do it in "Something else..." mode, anyway, and will have to define a mount point for every partition manually. Remember, you didn't want the automatic install because it used LVM.

As to EFI partition sizes, that's a bit of a religious dispute for some. 512 MB is the default for Mint, my own is 50 MB and I have more than just EFI stuff in there. As far as I'm concerned it just doesn't matter.

As to deleting and starting over: I don't think you have much of a choice if you want to encrypt it all, because it all needs to be re-created in an encrypted container. The boot partition isn't always encrypted, it's easier if it isn't, but just do whatever the guide you're following suggests I guess.

trope
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by trope » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:38 pm

It seemed from that latter guide that it had its own installer and bypassed the "Something else" but maybe I misunderstood it.

So then how big do you recommend the /tmp and /var partitions are?

And I need a single EFI on the SSD right?

gm10
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Re: Mint Install Questions

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:44 pm

trope wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:38 pm
It seemed from that latter guide that it had its own installer and bypassed the "Something else" but maybe I misunderstood it.

So then how big do you recommend the /tmp and /var partitions are?

And I need a single EFI on the SSD right?
It's possible. I didn't read the guide, in case of doubt don't mind me and follow what they're saying. ;)

My /var currently holds about 1 GB of data. So 2-3 GB is probably a good size. You can also keep it all in one partition for now and move it all later. You don't even necessarily need separate partitions for those, you could use symbolic links to another location.

Only one EFI per disk, yep.

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