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Thread: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

  1. #11
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    If you never hibernate you probably could get by without. I have heard that it boots a bit slower without any swap as it has to look for it and fail. I would just give a small swap of 2GB or create a swap file.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq
    HOWTO: Use swapfile instead of partition and hibernate
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1042946

    While you can backup MBR with dd, I would not. You can easily reinstall all boot loaders if you have the repair CDs or liveCD/USB.

    How to restore the Ubuntu/XP/Vista/7 bootloader (Updated for Ubuntu 9.10 and later with grub2) by talsemgeest
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1014708
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  2. #12
    anewguy is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    Wink Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    Your first partition is the vendor recovery partition. Some can just use it to make a set of DVDs that is the system image as when you purchased it. Before any updates, new software and many reboot. But some seem to create just a smaller recovery DVD and still require the recovery partition to recreate system to 'as new' state. Best to leave it if you do not know, but full backup would be better to restore system anyway.

    You use the last primary partition as an extended partition which can hold may logical partitions. Windows will also read data from a logical that is NTFS formated, but will not directly boot from a logical. Linux boots from a logical without any issues.

    Basics of partitions:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowtoPartition
    GParted partitioning software - Full tutorial
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html
    Thanks for the partitioning stuff - I was getting pretty tired yesterday and in checking my posts tonight to see if I screwed something up I noticed my post prior to yours, and I screwed up the terms on the partitioning. Glad you were there to straighten that out!

    Dave

  3. #13
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    Thumbs down Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Ahh, didn't spot your response in time oldfred as it had moved on to a 2nd page!

    Anyway, currently posting from my working Natty install so all good

    I created an Extended partition on my remaining free space. Then I created a 224GB NTFS logical partition called Storage, and an unformatted logical partition from the remaining space (~55GB). At this point I was intending to create a swap file in my Storage partition but later read that it was not as effective and can be slower, or can cause disk I/O problems.

    I installed Ubuntu from the install file while running the LiveCD, using the 'advanced partitioning' option to choose the right partition, putting '/' in the Mount field and ext4 journaling as the format, and declined to add a swap file.

    So after reading the SwapFaq and before exiting the LiveCD I used GParted again to shrink the Storage partition and add a logical Swap partition. I saw a few threads on what size was suitable, and in the end went for my RAM size plus ~1GB (= a farily large 9GB), in case i want to hibernate and because I plan on using lots of graphics and video editing applications. I didn't realise 'hibernate' meant specifically with no power or battery tho, so its unlikely I will do that, but no harm done.

    Also glad to read that I can use space in my Win7 partition for storage and access it readily from Ubuntu, so the oversized windows partition doesnt matter too.

    It's all going swimmingly. Thanks for the invaluable advice.

    Just having problems getting updates now, but I think thats the Ubuntu servers today. Are they based near Blackberrys servers? lol

    One other question; I want to install a lot of applications bundled with Ubuntu Studio, and I have the install image (which I didnt use as I dont need the low latency kernel). Is there a way to get the apps I want from that instead of downloading them all?

    AND - should I bother to change my swapiness from 60 to 30 or 20?

    Shane
    Last edited by Peter Parkorr; October 13th, 2011 at 04:44 PM. Reason: to boldly go

  4. #14
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Oneiric just came out, servers are going to be busy for a few days. You should change your server to the 'best' server. In update manager, tab Ubuntu Software, download from, click on other and choose best server. It pings everyone and gives you the best. You may want to check again in a few days as it may change based on how systems will be loaded.

    You can also select CD as download source but I have never done that.

    I prefer smaller system partitions, just so heads on hard drive are now search large partition for most used files. Data not used so much then can be spread out in a large partition.Also slightly easier to backup as you know data is in data partition(s).
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  5. #15
    anewguy is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    Wink Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Re: hibernation - personally, if you have a relatively new piece of hardware (and I don't mean only a year or 2 old - can be quite a bit older), the new OS's with as fast as they boot to me makes hibernation sort of a mute point. It made sense quite a while ago with slower hardware and slower to load OS's, as indeed the time to reload from swap and be running was quicker then - not so much now. So, and this is just me, hibernation really isn't needed with modern hardware and OS's.

    Just my 2-cents worth!

    Dave

  6. #16
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Parkorr View Post
    Thank you again.

    I am just updating windows, and then will give it a defrag before shrinking its partition. Then I'll clone my HD after shrinking so the image is as up to date as possible.

    I've got a working Macrium recovery CD for windows now as well. Slow but steady progress :thumbs:

    Edit: Do you always need the swap partition? I have 8GB of RAM.

    Now I've defragged my virtually unused HD (533GB free of 581GB) but windows disk manager is reporting I can only shrink the win partition by 280GB.
    Not cool, that will leave my windows partition at ~300GB. Is there a Linux tool that can do it better?

    Shane
    Good stuff! You've prepared well and protected yourself. Everyone has answered with conservative recommendations which are appropriate.

    No, you don't have to use a swap unless you want to be able to hibernate. I will tell you that in my experience with 3GB of memory, only when working with a large number of songs or pictures is my swap used much at all. Still, with your amount of disk space it seems reasonable to put a 8GB swap at the end of the disk in the extended partition. More on that later.

    You've done all the conservative preparation. Now you need to do something you will see disagreement about in these forums and that does carry some risk. It is my opinion and experience that windows will never shrink itself to where you are not wasting a bunch of space unused in the windows partition. It makes sense. Windows has itself spread out, fat and happy, and while it is in use you are trying to squeeze it down to a disk space diet.

    You can keep doing the whole cycle (defrag, shrink, look at application error log, see what stopped the shrink, figure out a way to address that file, do it all over) and find yourself trying to out smart windows by turning off services or features temporarily. This will include changes that should not be permanent and entail some risk. All in the name of shrinking an OS while it is in use. Doesn't make sense to me.

    And if you think about it, the default install of ubuntu or any distro you first install on a system that already has windows will use linux tools to shrink the windows partition. If you want to limit windows to a reasonable level of disk space, you too will use linux tools to do this. In the ubuntu world the tool is GParted.

    Here is what you'll need to do with it. This is after you've done what you have done. Ensure that no more than 3 primary partitions exist so you can create an extended partition with logical partitions in it. This means some people will have to delete an existing manufacturer tools partition or some other partition that you can do without.

    1. Determine how much free space you should leave within your windows partition for future needs. If you want to leave 30GB free for example and you currently have 200GB free, you'll shrink enough to free up 170GB. Know how much windows is using and much you want to leave it free, shrink the partition by the remaining amount.

    2. Get some familiarity with GParted. You can boot the live cd/usb and run GParted to do that. It isn't hard to use but use it's help to understand how to do what you plan to do.

    3. Understand your partition layout. After shrinking will your free space all be contiguous? Shrinking the windows partition will leave free unused space at the end of the location it is using now on the drive. If you had to delete a partition, does it leave free space at the beginning of the disk or will it be contiguous with what you get from the shrink? The extended partition will need to use contiguous space on the disk.

    4. Think about how you plan to use the space for linux. You don't have to be able to see the future with clairvoyance but if you have desires and plans, plot that use out on the drive. You can make changes later but you should think about this and make partition changes as seldom as you can. If you want to share a partition for documents, pictures, music, etc., how big does it need to be and will it be shared just among linux distros or with windows too? A partition shared with windows needs to be formatted as NTFS but if it is only a linux share it should be EXT4 or another journaling file system. Know what partitions you'll be creating, what they will be used for and how big they'll be. One swap partition can be used for multiple linux distributions if you'll be installing multiple distros. Put the swap at the end.

    5. Start out with one change at a time. If you shrink windows, do only that, reboot and windows will want at least one chkdsk to run. There may be two reboots with a chkdsk each time. Make sure windows functions as expected before proceeding. Then if there is an existing extended partition (you don't have one now in this case) expand it and then reboot and retest existing functionality.

    6. I recommend that you create partitions prior to ubuntu/linux installation and then during installation direct the installer to use your planned partitions. During the disk allocation section of installation you can choose a partition for the / (root) mount point. You need that and you don't need to set anything for the swap if a swap type of partition already exists from your preparation. If you want a shared home partition for that distro to use, you need to choose the partition for that and set its mount point as /Home. The other mount point choices are seldom used.

    I think that is a long enough post (sorry for the length) for now. If this brings up questions, please ask.
    Jim
    Toshiba Satellite L505-S6946
    Precise, Fedora, Kororaa, Bodhi

  7. #17
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    Thumbs down Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blasphemist View Post
    Good stuff...

    No, you don't have to use a swap... with your amount of disk space it seems reasonable to put a 8GB swap at the end of the disk in the extended partition. Did that (9GB)

    Now you need to do something you will see disagreement about... windows will never shrink itself...
    You can keep doing the whole cycle... trying to out smart windows... If you want to limit windows to a reasonable level of disk space, you too will use GParted. Controversial! Go on...

    create an extended partition with logical partitions in it. Did that

    1. Determine how much free space you should leave within your windows partition. It is using 51GB of 302GB, I would love to reclaim 200-225GB.

    3. After shrinking will your free space all be contiguous? Jah. It won't be next to my current storage partition but the free space will be next to the extended partition;

    4. A partition shared with windows needs to be formatted as NTFS - It is.
    Put the swap at the end. I did (fluke). Any reason?

    5. one change at a time. If you shrink windows, do only that, reboot and windows will want at least one chkdsk to run. kk

    6. I recommend that you create partitions prior to ubuntu/linux installation and then during installation direct the installer to use your planned partitions. Affirmative, this was carried out earlier, Sir
    During the disk allocation you can choose a partition for the / (root) mount point. Aye Captain.
    You don't need to set anything for the swap. Completed in retrospect, commander.
    If you want a shared home partition for that distro to use, you need to choose the partition for that and set its mount point as /Home. This I still need to do, as well as the win7 equivalent with libraries.
    Cool, thanks for the post, I think I scored 8 out of 10, with room for improvement in the 'get some balls and trim windows back boy!' area. I will not be doing it immediately, maybe after creating another disk backup image first.
    Plenty of room for now and as I mentioned earlier I can still use my win partition space from linux anyway. I'm mostly amazed that from a jumble of FAQs, a random assortment of threads, and a few differing opinions I came out with almost exactly what you recommend. Pat on my own back

    Thanks Jim,
    Shane
    Last edited by Peter Parkorr; October 14th, 2011 at 01:00 AM. Reason: nameology

  8. #18
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    I think you're figuring this stuff out just like I did Shane. That would explain us coming to the same ideas. I'll include a shot of my partitions here so you can see how mine is set up. It sounds like you'll need to do just as I had to and expand your extended partition to the left after the shrink.

    Notice a few MB unallocated in a few places, don't worry about that. Also notice how much is used in each partition. The distros don't really need much space unless you install a lot, such as server stuff and development apps, and if aren't careful you can end up with a lot of unused space spread all over when using a bunch of partitions. I put the swap at the end just for organization and to keep it from being involved if I change partition sizes or use.

    As I convert over to using my Oneiric parts as my main environment I think my now main partition is going to become a /Home partition for all distros. My data partition will hold a lot of the same stuff but is accessible to windows too. That /Home will be what gets backed up daily to the external usb drive and this will keep me pretty safe especially with the cloud now. I'm planning to play with Fedora 16 on the oneiric part that gets retired and then put precise pangolin on it after that.
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    Jim
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    Precise, Fedora, Kororaa, Bodhi

  9. #19
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Mine looks similar but with a lot less partitions (pic attached). I was going to ask why you had so many! but I can see you are involved with the development like some other posters on this thread. I would love to get involved at some point, what is best to learn with that in mind? Scripting or a programming language?

    I am not going to update to Oneiric (which I cannot even pretend to be able to pronounce) until I am happier with 11.04, but is there a benefit to updating over a new install of each version i.e. keeping installed programmes etc?

    Cheers,
    Shane
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  10. #20
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    After updating in place many times, had to do a clean install to convert to 64bit. Really liked how it ended up cleaner. But you have to plan ahead. If data or /home is in separate partition that helps. You can export list of installed apps and reinstall the latest version. Best is just to install to another 20GB partition and then if you forgot something you can go back. That is why I have all installs since 9.10 still installed. I originally was just going to use 2 partitions and alternate but I had room and kept adding.
    My backup plan is a clean install as I do not have much that I have to have as a home system. So I backup what I would need anyway for each new install.

    Oldfred's list of stuff to backup May 2011:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1748541
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







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