Partitioning a new HD for dual boot - Questions

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  1. Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    I'm about to jump into Linux feet first, and I could use a little
    advice on partitioning the hard drive before I begin.

    I have purchased a new 40 GB hard drive for an HP Pavilion 4440 with
    192 MB RAM (don't laugh, it's what's on hand). It's running on the
    Phoenix Technologies LTD 1.02 11/18/98 BIOS, and the current OS is
    Win98. It is currently equipped with two hard drives, a 4 GB drive
    that has the current Win98 install and a 2 GB drive used for data. I
    do not currently plan to use either existing drive for the newly
    configured system; I will back them up and restore what data I need to
    the new drive later. I intend to use Linux for as many tasks as
    possible, but expect that I'll need a few Windows legacy apps around
    for a while yet. I will be installing Red Hat 9. Windows 98 will be
    freshly installed to the Windows partition.

    I'm looking for a reasonable partitioning plan. I've come up with the
    following first approximation:

    mount point type size comment
    (none) vfat 2 GB Windows boot
    / ext2 2 GB Linux root
    /mnt/win_hdd2 vfat 6 GB Windows apps, shareable data
    /usr ext2 5 GB Linux system binaries
    /usr/local ext2 14 GB Linux apps
    /home ext2 10 GB Linux user directories
    swap swap 1 GB Linux swap

    Some questions:

    Am I correct in my understanding that non-system Linux apps (games,
    productivity software, etc.) are customarily installed in /usr/local?

    I'm aware of the need to have the Windows and Linux boot partitions
    close to the beginning of the disk, due to limitations in the BIOS and
    the boot loader. Other than that, is the order of partitions
    important? Would a order othar than that shown above make for an
    easier install?

    Have I alloted too little or too much swap space for Linux?

    Thanks in advacnce for any comments and suggestions...

    LB

  2. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey wrote:

    > I'm about to jump into Linux feet first, and I could use a little
    > advice on partitioning the hard drive before I begin.
    >
    > I have purchased a new 40 GB hard drive for an HP Pavilion 4440 with
    > 192 MB RAM


    ....

    >
    > I'm aware of the need to have the Windows and Linux boot partitions
    > close to the beginning of the disk, due to limitations in the BIOS and
    > the boot loader. Other than that, is the order of partitions
    > important? Would a order othar than that shown above make for an
    > easier install?
    >
    > Have I alloted too little or too much swap space for Linux?
    >



    I think you are perhaps doing too much of a planning. I decided the
    following for my 60 GB hard disk:

    1. About half = 30 GB for Windows, the other half for Linux.

    2. As I have Windows XP with NTFS file system (to which you cannot write
    from Linux), I thought a small vfat partition would be handy in order to
    have a place where I can read and write from both OS.

    3. /home should be on a separate partition in order to allow for scratching
    the OS without scratching the user data. Yhis is particular helpful if you
    (after a year or so) want to have a fresh installation of a newer Linux
    version rather than upgrading.

    Besides these considerations, I more or less followed SuSE's partition
    proposal during installation. The result is below.

    I read somewhere that swap space should be something in the range 1-2 x RAM.
    You have quite a big swap space which might not be needed.

    The boot-partition-close-to-the-beginning issue is really something for
    ancient BIOSes and bootloaders. I have the GRUB boot loader in the Master
    Boot Record, and there are no problems to start Linux which is located in a
    partition with start cylinder 3832.

    Regards, Hermann


    ------------------------
    zorro:~ # fdisk -l

    Disk /dev/hda: 60.0 GB, 60022480896 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7297 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/hda1 1 6 48163+ de Dell Utility
    /dev/hda2 * 7 3831 30724312+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/hda3 3832 7297 27840645 f Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/hda5 3832 3833 16033+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda6 3834 3962 1036161 82 Linux swap
    /dev/hda7 3963 4462 4016218+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda8 4463 4619 1261071 83 Linux
    /dev/hda9 4620 7001 19133383+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda10 7002 7297 2377588+ c Win95 FAT32 (LBA)





  3. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey wrote:

    > I'm looking for a reasonable partitioning plan. I've come up with the
    > following first approximation:
    >
    > mount point****type*****size***comment
    > (none)*********vfat*****2*GB***Windows*boot


    right here, i would dedicate the balance of the
    drive's space to an extended partition, then create
    the required logical partitions [in the ext.]

    > /**************ext2*****2*GB***Linux*root


    i'd make this /boot and make another for / (and
    i'd also make it larger than this)

    > /mnt/win_hdd2**vfat*****6*GB***Windows*apps,*shareable* data
    > /usr***********ext2*****5*GB***Linux*system*binarie s
    > /usr/local*****ext2****14*GB***Linux*apps


    i'd only use the single /usr and not worry about /usr/local

    > /home**********ext2****10*GB***Linux*user*directori es
    > swap***********swap*****1*GB***Linux*swap


    the *simplest* solution would be:
    primary partition for win
    extended partition
    logical for /boot
    logical for fat32 (shared partition)
    logical for /
    logical for swap

    a sampling for an old box of mine:
    # fdisk -l

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/hda1 1 7 56196 6 FAT16
    /dev/hda2 * 8 4982 39961687+ f Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/hda5 8 155 1188778+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/hda6 156 174 152586 b Win95 FAT32
    /dev/hda7 175 207 265041 82 Linux swap
    /dev/hda8 208 208 8001 83 Linux
    /dev/hda9 209 209 8001 83 Linux
    /dev/hda10 * 210 211 16033+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda11 212 364 1228941 83 Linux
    /dev/hda12 378 747 2971993+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda13 748 951 1638598+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda14 952 1883 7486258+ 83 Linux
    /dev/hda15 1884 2138 2048256 6 FAT16
    /dev/hda16 2139 2393 2048256 6 FAT16
    /dev/hda17 2394 2521 1028128+ 6 FAT16
    /dev/hda18 2522 2781 2088418+ 6 FAT16
    /dev/hda19 2782 4982 17679501 83 Linux
    /dev/hda20 365 377 104391 83 Linux

    this has multiple Linux'es on it, hence the multiple
    /boot and / partitions (and a few fats). for example,
    for the suse system, /boot == hda10 and / == hda19,
    and they all share swap
    ..
    --
    /// Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer, skydiver, \\\
    \\\ and author: "Inside Linux", "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed" ///
    Now I lay me down to sleep
    I pray the double lock will keep;
    May no brick through the window break,
    And, no one rob me till I awake.


  4. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    On 11 Oct 2003 08:24:47 -0700,
    Lije Bailey wrote:
    > I'm about to jump into Linux feet first, and I could use a little
    > advice on partitioning the hard drive before I begin.
    >
    > I have purchased a new 40 GB hard drive for an HP Pavilion 4440 with
    > 192 MB RAM (don't laugh, it's what's on hand). It's running on the


    Running an HP Pavilion 4450 with 256MB. Adequate, though if you use
    KDE or Gnome (with Nautilus) it will probably be a little more sluggish
    than 98 unless you turn off all unneeded services. Using a lighter GUI
    I expect you'll be pretty happy (IceWM, fvwm95, xfce, fluxbox/blackbox,
    etc).

    > Phoenix Technologies LTD 1.02 11/18/98 BIOS, and the current OS is
    > Win98. It is currently equipped with two hard drives, a 4 GB drive
    > that has the current Win98 install and a 2 GB drive used for data. I
    > do not currently plan to use either existing drive for the newly
    > configured system; I will back them up and restore what data I need to
    > the new drive later. I intend to use Linux for as many tasks as
    > possible, but expect that I'll need a few Windows legacy apps around
    > for a while yet. I will be installing Red Hat 9. Windows 98 will be
    > freshly installed to the Windows partition.
    >
    > I'm looking for a reasonable partitioning plan. I've come up with the
    > following first approximation:
    >
    > mount point type size comment
    > (none) vfat 2 GB Windows boot
    > / ext2 2 GB Linux root
    > /mnt/win_hdd2 vfat 6 GB Windows apps, shareable data
    > /usr ext2 5 GB Linux system binaries
    > /usr/local ext2 14 GB Linux apps
    > /home ext2 10 GB Linux user directories
    > swap swap 1 GB Linux swap
    >
    > Some questions:
    >
    > Am I correct in my understanding that non-system Linux apps (games,
    > productivity software, etc.) are customarily installed in /usr/local?


    I believe that's usually the case for apps that don't come with the
    distro, and aren't installed via package manager. Some also use /opt.

    > I'm aware of the need to have the Windows and Linux boot partitions
    > close to the beginning of the disk, due to limitations in the BIOS and
    > the boot loader. Other than that, is the order of partitions
    > important? Would a order othar than that shown above make for an
    > easier install?


    It's best to leave windows at the beginning of the disk to ease
    reinstalls (of windows), Windows boots from the first (should be only)
    active primary partition. Keep in mind, if you had this disk up and
    running in Dos/Windows with a different size for the first vfat
    partition, you must blank the first sector of that partion before you
    format it in Dos/Windows or it may format the previously allocated space
    for that partition. I'd imagine PM works around it, but it should be
    done if you are relying on fdisk (windows or linux, see man fdisk for
    details.)

    >
    > Have I alloted too little or too much swap space for Linux?


    About half of that should be more than sufficient, IIRC 2x memory is the
    usual rule of thumb, so 384MB should be sufficient.

    I'd use ext3 instead of ext2, fscking a handful of multi-gig ext2
    filesystems can be a real PITA, ext3 is usually very quick.


    --
    mcsuper5@usol.com http://mcsuper5.freeshell.org/
    Registered Linux User #303915 http://counter.li.org/



  5. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey on Saturday 11 October 2003 15:24 wrote:

    > I'm about to jump into Linux feet first, and I could use a little
    > advice on partitioning the hard drive before I begin.
    >
    > I have purchased a new 40 GB hard drive for an HP Pavilion 4440 with
    > 192 MB RAM (don't laugh, it's what's on hand). It's running on the
    > Phoenix Technologies LTD 1.02 11/18/98 BIOS, and the current OS is
    > Win98. It is currently equipped with two hard drives, a 4 GB drive
    > that has the current Win98 install and a 2 GB drive used for data. I
    > do not currently plan to use either existing drive for the newly
    > configured system; I will back them up and restore what data I need
    > to the new drive later. I intend to use Linux for as many tasks as
    > possible, but expect that I'll need a few Windows legacy apps around
    > for a while yet. I will be installing Red Hat 9. Windows 98 will be
    > freshly installed to the Windows partition.
    >
    > I'm looking for a reasonable partitioning plan. I've come up with
    > the following first approximation:
    >
    > mount point type size comment
    > (none) vfat 2 GB Windows boot


    OK

    > / ext2 2 GB Linux root


    Since you've separated out /usr, /usr/local, and /home, it isn't
    necessary to have / this large. 300 to 500MB is fine, if nothing
    major (like KDE is on some distros) gets installed in /opt and you
    pull out /var and /tmp (see below). Otherwise, 1GB is more than
    sufficient.

    > /mnt/win_hdd2 vfat 6 GB Windows apps, shareable data


    I would put this partition immediately after your Windows boot
    partition, and make both Primary partitions, then make the balance of
    the drive a Linux Extended partition, and put all your Linux
    partitions there.

    > /usr ext2 5 GB Linux system binaries
    > /usr/local ext2 14 GB Linux apps
    > /home ext2 10 GB Linux user directories


    Are you planning on have lots of users on your system or downloading
    lots of large files? All these partitions are way too big, if you're
    not.

    There's really no need to have separate /usr & /usr/local unless
    you're running a server. Making these separated partitions makes it
    easier (as well as improve each's security) to set access permissions
    for users to install software that everyone can use. They all would
    have read, write and execute permission on /usr/local, but only read
    and execute on /usr -- only the root user would have write permission
    there.

    In a home system, I would keep /usr/local as a directory in /usr. In
    this case, 5GB total for /usr is more than enough.

    > swap swap 1 GB Linux swap


    Too big, unless you're planning on running some very memory intensive
    applications. 256M should be more than enough. My system has 256MB
    RAM and 256MB swap. The swap rarely gets used. Also, put swap
    closer to the beginning of the drive for improved performance.
    Between / and /usr would be good.


    > Some questions:
    >
    > Am I correct in my understanding that non-system Linux apps (games,
    > productivity software, etc.) are customarily installed in
    > /usr/local?


    No, not always.

    > I'm aware of the need to have the Windows and Linux boot partitions
    > close to the beginning of the disk, due to limitations in the BIOS
    > and the boot loader. Other than that, is the order of partitions
    > important? Would a order othar than that shown above make for an
    > easier install?


    For Linux, it is no longer necessary to have /boot or / in the first
    1024 cylinders of the HD. This was originally a limitation of the
    Linux Loader (lilo). It no longer applies. For Windows, however, I
    would load that OS on the first partition of the drive, the C:
    partition -- /dev/hda1, make it a Primary, and bootable. (Windows
    likes to be on first partition on the drive.) Don't make any other
    partitions bootable. Linux doesn't need it, and 2 bootable
    partitions may confuse Windows.

    Here's how I would partition:

    /dev/hda1 Primary vfat 2GB Windows System
    /dev/hda2 Primary vfat 6GB
    (/dev/hda3 Linux Extended to end of drive)
    /dev/hda5 Logical ext3 1GB /
    /dev/hda6 Logical 256MB swap
    /dev/hda7 Logical ext3 5Gb /usr
    /dev/hda8 Logical ext3 2 - 5GB /home

    For safety, to prevent / from becoming full if infected by a virus,
    which would prevent the system from booting or running, I would pull
    /var out of / and make it a partition. 100MB is good enough. I would
    also do a symbolic link of /tmp to /var/tmp for the same reasons.

    Leave the balance of the drive unpartitioned. This would be used for
    future expansion.

    For further study, I suggest reading the appropriate HOWTOs at The
    Linux Documentation Project -- www.tldp.org -- particularly the ones
    on Partitioning and Dual or Multiple OS installations.

    --
    Stefan Patric
    tootek2@yahoo.com

  6. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey wrote:
    > I'm about to jump into Linux feet first, and I could use a little
    > advice on partitioning the hard drive before I begin.
    >
    > I have purchased a new 40 GB hard drive for an HP Pavilion 4440 with
    > 192 MB RAM (don't laugh, it's what's on hand). It's running on the
    > Phoenix Technologies LTD 1.02 11/18/98 BIOS, and the current OS is
    > Win98. It is currently equipped with two hard drives, a 4 GB drive
    > that has the current Win98 install and a 2 GB drive used for data. I
    > do not currently plan to use either existing drive for the newly
    > configured system; I will back them up and restore what data I need to
    > the new drive later. I intend to use Linux for as many tasks as
    > possible, but expect that I'll need a few Windows legacy apps around
    > for a while yet. I will be installing Red Hat 9. Windows 98 will be
    > freshly installed to the Windows partition.


    Since you already have Windows running on the 4GB, leave it alone. Put
    Linux on the 40GB. Try to separate the OS in separate disk.


    > Am I correct in my understanding that non-system Linux apps (games,
    > productivity software, etc.) are customarily installed in /usr/local?


    No. /usr/local is for stuffs other than what came on the distribution
    CD, usually installed by you.

    --
    William Park, Open Geometry Consulting,
    Linux solution for data management and processing.

  7. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Stefan Patric wrote in message news:...

    > Here's how I would partition:
    >
    > /dev/hda1 Primary vfat 2GB Windows System
    > /dev/hda2 Primary vfat 6GB
    > (/dev/hda3 Linux Extended to end of drive)
    > /dev/hda5 Logical ext3 1GB /
    > /dev/hda6 Logical 256MB swap
    > /dev/hda7 Logical ext3 5Gb /usr
    > /dev/hda8 Logical ext3 2 - 5GB /home
    >
    > For safety, to prevent / from becoming full if infected by a virus,
    > which would prevent the system from booting or running, I would pull
    > /var out of / and make it a partition. 100MB is good enough. I would
    > also do a symbolic link of /tmp to /var/tmp for the same reasons.


    This is a simple and logical approach. I like it. Thanks, Stefan.

    > Leave the balance of the drive unpartitioned. This would be used for
    > future expansion.
    >
    > For further study, I suggest reading the appropriate HOWTOs at The
    > Linux Documentation Project -- www.tldp.org -- particularly the ones
    > on Partitioning and Dual or Multiple OS installations.


    I've been slogging thru them. The concepts are slowly penetrating this old brain.

    LB

  8. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey wrote:
    > Stefan Patric wrote in message news:...
    >
    > > Here's how I would partition:
    > >
    > > /dev/hda1 Primary vfat 2GB Windows System
    > > /dev/hda2 Primary vfat 6GB
    > > (/dev/hda3 Linux Extended to end of drive)
    > > /dev/hda5 Logical ext3 1GB /
    > > /dev/hda6 Logical 256MB swap
    > > /dev/hda7 Logical ext3 5Gb /usr
    > > /dev/hda8 Logical ext3 2 - 5GB /home
    > >
    > > For safety, to prevent / from becoming full if infected by a virus,
    > > which would prevent the system from booting or running, I would pull
    > > /var out of / and make it a partition. 100MB is good enough. I would
    > > also do a symbolic link of /tmp to /var/tmp for the same reasons.

    >
    > This is a simple and logical approach. I like it. Thanks, Stefan.


    But he's out by a factor of 10. 1GB is about right for /var in that
    config.

    % du -sx /var/*
    7 /var/account
    2 /var/autofs
    153 /var/backups
    21476 /var/cache
    5 /var/dhcp
    334 /var/games
    2 /var/home
    92 /var/intermezzo-0
    82396 /var/lib
    1 /var/list
    1 /var/lists
    1 /var/local
    3 /var/lock
    145483 /var/log
    1843 /var/lost+found
    0 /var/mail
    3 /var/news
    77 /var/run
    6 /var/samba
    13201 /var/spool
    12322 /var/state
    630984 /var/tmp
    70 /var/www
    22 /var/yp
    %

    and that's just a client machine.

    Peter

  9. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    William Park wrote in message news:...

    > Since you already have Windows running on the 4GB, leave it alone. Put
    > Linux on the 40GB. Try to separate the OS in separate disk.


    The Windows install on my current 4 GB drive is hosed in several
    regards. Reinstalling from scratch is a much better option for me.

    LB

  10. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    Lije Bailey wrote:
    > William Park wrote in message news:...
    >
    >> Since you already have Windows running on the 4GB, leave it alone. Put
    >> Linux on the 40GB. Try to separate the OS in separate disk.

    >
    > The Windows install on my current 4 GB drive is hosed in several
    > regards. Reinstalling from scratch is a much better option for me.


    My sympathy. Then, reinstall into the same disk. You can set aside 2GB
    partition on the new 40GB as replacement of your old 2GB disk. Of
    course, how many disks you want to have would depend on your need and
    expertise, I guess.

    --
    William Park, Open Geometry Consulting,
    Linux solution for data management and processing.

  11. Re: Partitioning a new HD for dual boot

    William Park wrote in message news:...

    > Lije Bailey wrote:


    > > The Windows install on my current 4 GB drive is hosed in several
    > > regards. Reinstalling from scratch is a much better option for me.

    >
    > My sympathy. Then, reinstall into the same disk. You can set aside 2GB
    > partition on the new 40GB as replacement of your old 2GB disk. Of
    > course, how many disks you want to have would depend on your need and
    > expertise, I guess.


    I'm just paranoid enough that I want to keep the current Windows hard
    drive intact until I know I have a good re-install. The current
    install works, but it's got some problems, and I like having something
    to fall back on.

    However, it dawns on me that I may have an old 3 GB IDE drive sitting
    unused somewhere, and that would be fine for a fresh Windows install.
    Back to the drawing board...

    LB

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