Separate Home Partition

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MechaKong
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Separate Home Partition

Post by MechaKong »

I'm considering installing Linux Mint and I'd like to know if anyone has any tips or links to good tutorials for making a separate home partition for Mint?

I've read here on the forums that a separate home partition is a good idea for new users (Considerations before you install). Is it a fairly straightforward process or are there any precautions a new user should take when setting up a separate home partition?

Extra Questions:

1. Would it be alright to install Mint 10 RC or would waiting for the final release be a better option?

2. When you have a separate home partition does it automatically show up in the Nautilus browser like any other folder, or do you have to manually mount it each time you want to use it?

3. Can you install programs from a disc, the software center, or the internet directly to the separate home partition, or do you have to download programs to the operating system partition first then move them over to the home partition?

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pluraldave
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by pluraldave »

MechaKong wrote:I've read here on the forums that a separate home partition is a good idea for new users (Considerations before you install). Is it a fairly straightforward process or are there any precautions a new user should take when setting up a separate home partition?
I would argue that a separate data partition (or partitions) is a better solution but creating a home partition is probably slightly easier for new users. There are no precautions to take other than the normal steps of backing up any data already on the hard drives in question and taking your time, carefully reading instructions given by the installer and using common sense where applicable. If your internet connection works before installation you can always fire up xchat and someone will guide you through the installation.
MechaKong wrote:1. Would it be alright to install Mint 10 RC or would waiting for the final release be a better option?
Yes to both. You can install now but obviously there will be some bug fixes between now and the stable release. If it is a choice between installing 10RC or installing 9 now and 10 in a week or two go with the RC.
MechaKong wrote:2. When you have a separate home partition does it automatically show up in the Nautilus browser like any other folder, or do you have to manually mount it each time you want to use it?
In Linux all partitions are mounted to directories (folders). There is no difference between navigating through directories on the same partition and navigating from one partition to another. Partitions that are intended to be permanently mounted will require an entry in fstab (configuration file that handles mounting on boot). If you set up partitions during the install fstab will be taken care of automatically. During the partition setup there is a mount point field for each partition. You can select /home from a drop-down list but if you go with a data partition you will have to type the mount point, eg /home/<username>/Documents where <username> is the username you will choose when you get to that step (all lowercase).
MechaKong wrote:3. Can you install programs from a disc, the software center, or the internet directly to the separate home partition, or do you have to download programs to the operating system partition first then move them over to the home partition?
This defeats the point of a home or data partition. The point of these partitions is to separate your documents/files from the system and applications. Most applications will install to various parts of the directory tree instead of being installed to a self-contained directory that you could place in /home.

dawgdoc
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by dawgdoc »

I typed most of this earlier and saved it as a draft. For the most part it echos what pluraldave says
It is fairly straight forward to have a separate /home partition. I apologize if I make some of this too simple, I do not know your level of knowledge. Although I take it to be greater than average since you are reading before diving in.

Download the ISO file of LM-10, Julia, check the MD5sum, and burn it to disk at a slow speed. Burn as in make an image, not copy the file. Run it as a liveCD and see how well it works with your hardware. Since we are talking about the Mint 10 RC, it will be easily updated to the release version by downloading all level 1 and 2 updates from MintUpdate.

1.) Yes the home partition will show in Nautilus as a directory.

2.) Are you doing a clean install to a computer without an OS? If so, proceed with the install when you are ready. If you are using a system with an OS and data already on it you will need to clear some space for Mint. If you have Windows on the disk, defrag the disk in question twice (at least with WinXP and Vista, don't know about Win7) then use Windows disk manager to shrink it's partition. Proceed to installing.

3.) Regarding installing files: If you add a program using Software Manager or Synaptic (Package Manager) it will place everything where it belongs. Questions and thoughts about the file system of Linux If you download .deb files and source files they will go to your home partition. They are types of compressed files, when the programs within are installed the parts will go where they should, leaving the compressed archive. Downloaded data will go to your home or desktop. (This is as a general rule.)

During the install procedure, when you get to the step where you select how to install, pick the third option "Specify partitions manually (advanced)". Since you are creating a separate /home partition you will need 3 partitions at a minimum: a root / partition, a swap partition (if you will be using suspend/hibernate/sleep make it larger than your amount of ram, if you are not using suspend/hibernate and you have sufficient ram the swap partition can be minimal) and a /home partition for data and configuration files. Click Next or Proceed and it will take you to the partition manager (GParted)
As pluraldave said, you use the dropdown list to select the mount points, specify the partition size and file system for /home, swap, and / My setup is somewhat similar to his, I have 3 separate data partitions with different types of data in each. (Actually I had the data partitions before I ever started using linux.) But I also have a separate /home. It works for me, especially since I have had two or three distributions on this laptop at the same time. It simplifies my management of backups.

The guru known as Fred posted this on Auto Mount Partitions on Boot (also Windows partitions)

I hope the links help, most of the rest goes with what dave said.
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by colyn »

pluraldave wrote: Yes to both. You can install now but obviously there will be some bug fixes between now and the stable release. If it is a choice between installing 10RC or installing 9 now and 10 in a week or two go with the RC.
If you want to install Mint 10RC now updating to the final release once released is as simple as applying level 1 and 2 updates.

As bugs are fixed in the RC these fixes will be made available. In other words once done your RC will be the final without having to uninstall and install the final.

MechaKong
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by MechaKong »

Thanks for the helpful replies! I appreciate all of the information.
dawgdoc wrote:2.) Are you doing a clean install to a computer without an OS? If so, proceed with the install when you are ready. If you are using a system with an OS and data already on it you will need to clear some space for Mint. If you have Windows on the disk, defrag the disk in question twice (at least with WinXP and Vista, don't know about Win7) then use Windows disk manager to shrink it's partition. Proceed to installing.
I'm planning on doing an install over Windows Vista on a Toshiba laptop. I'm thinking of just removing Vista altogether but my only concern is that I've read that some Toshiba laptops have issues with Linux. I haven't noticed any issues using a Mint 10 RC Live CD or a Mint 9 Live USB, though.

If the plan is to just let Linux overwrite Vista, should I still defrag the drive before doing the Linux install?

dawgdoc
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by dawgdoc »

MechaKong wrote:Thanks for the helpful replies! I appreciate all of the information.

I'm planning on doing an install over Windows Vista on a Toshiba laptop. I'm thinking of just removing Vista altogether but my only concern is that I've read that some Toshiba laptops have issues with Linux.

If the plan is to just let Linux overwrite Vista, should I still defrag the drive before doing the Linux install?
I recall some Vista laptops had problems with WinXP. You were not able to downgrade to WinXP from Vista. I can not recall if it was a hardware driver or a bios firmware issue. At the time manufacturers made no offers to correct the trouble. If it is a driver issue and since the LiveCD is running fine for you, then you should have not troubles. If it is a bios thing, I do not know what would happen when you remove Vista. Google for your model and see if others are running only Linux, any flavor on it.

If you are going to use the entire hard drive for Mint then there is no need to defrag.
SYSTEMS:
HP 15-bw0017cl -- Mint 19.3 Cinnamon
Compaq Presario CQ62 -- Mint 17 Cinnamon (support for 80 y/o family members 1st install)
READING:
The Secret of the Ninth Planet by Donald A. Wollheim

1002richards
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Re: Separate Home Partition

Post by 1002richards »

Useful partitioning guide for Mint / Ubuntu 10.04 with screenshots:

http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2010/05/26/ma ... ntu-10-04/

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