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Thread: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

  1. #1
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    Partitioning HP 8540w EliteBook for Linux and Windows

    Dear Ubuntu Community,

    I have a HP 8540w EliteBook and would like to run Ubuntu alongside Windows and later Mac OS with one of the platform virtual machines. I want these three OS since I am learning to code with Python and I want to make sure that the code I write works on all three OS and is platform independent. To be able to test this I like these three OS running on the laptop. For now I am not worried at all about the Mac OS and will attend to that at a later date since I will only run this in a virtual machine.

    So far I have been using Windows, XP and 7. Since I see many advantages using Ubuntu for several things I cannot do with Windows and my need for coding and testing the code on these three platforms I would now like to learn to use Ubuntu next to Windows.

    When working with Windows I always keep the OS, drivers, software installations on C: and my work data on D:. I regularly image the OS onto an external hard drive, so to speak partition C:, to be safe from hell.

    My questions now are how can I understand the two OS working next to each other on one hard drive with several partitions. For this I have drawn out a very simple graphic of how I would logically think this would work. Since I have absolutely no experience with Ubuntu please do not mind if this is completely wrong.

    The top row represents the hard drive as I have it now and the bottom row represents the hard drive as I would imagine it running Ubuntu and Windows on it. Of course the drive letters represent the single partitions, that is why I did not include vertical separator lines in the graphic.



    Before I start with the correct partitioning of the hard drive I would like to know how the two OS will be placed onto the partition and how much space I should ideally assign to them. All the work data from the drive has been saved externally and I will actually DBAN the whole drive before starting to work with the two OS next to each other. As you can see I am really willing to do and learn this correctly from the beginning.

    As far as I understand under Windows I install the OS and the drivers, make a first default OS image, then install the software I like including all settings and preferences, make another OS image and start working with the laptop. This method has proven to be very productive and safe for me for years so far.


    1. Can I understand this under Ubuntu similarly? From what I think, and please do correct me if this is not the case, the Ubuntu OS will surly be installed on a separate partition like shown in the bottom row of the above graphic, no?
      _
    2. What about my work data that I keep on D: respectively on E:. Can I access that data from the Ubuntu OS as well or does Ubuntu keep all the OS files and the work data in one partition, similarly to having all your work files on C: My Documents under Windows, and then when something messes up not only the OS but the whole work data is gone as well?
      _
    3. You can see that I would clearly like to separate the OS from the work data. Is this possible with Ubuntu as well and how can I prepare the partitions correctly to achieve such a setup? Is such a setup actually advisable when running Ubuntu?
      _
    4. What about the drivers for my laptop model? Under Windows I have meticulously organised all the drivers that I need for the laptop, burnt them onto a CD and can install them fast once I have installed the OS. Is something like this possible with Ubuntu as well? Where do I get the drivers for my laptop under Ubuntu? Is my laptop at all compatible to run Ubuntu or will I have to accept deductions, like not being able to properly use the graphics or sound card with it for example?
      _
    5. Last not least, similarly to imaging the OS under Windows once I have reached a satisfactory state of the OS, can this be done under Ubuntu as well? I like to have images of the working setup under Ubuntu so that I do not have to worry about making mistakes and can quickly revert to the initial setup and state of the OS when something goes wrong.
      _
    6. What do I install first, Ubuntu or Windows and why?
      _
    7. Keeping in mind the bottom row and that I like to be able to access my work files from the Windows OS as well as from the Ubuntu OS how much space do I approximately need to assign to the pure Ubuntu OS on the hard drive?
      _
    8. When I install software under Ubuntu, will that install onto the Ubuntu OS partition? Meaning do I need to leave more space on the Ubuntu OS partition when I later like to install software onto it?

    I hope that these question are not too much to ask in the absolute beginners forum. These are the questions that I have and I think in order to do all this correctly I need to have some sort of idea of what I am doing before I actually go ahead and half-knowingly slap on Ubuntu onto the laptop only to later discover that it does not work out the way I want it to work or the way it is supposed to work.

    I am very thankful for informative and helpful replies, links to tutorials and explanations, ideally with graphics illustrating the partitioning. I have gotten myself a 1100+ pages book on Ubuntu/Linux to learn all this properly as well and am starting to dig into it. However if someone could illustrate to me how all this will work together I would have a starting point and could and will use the book as a reference when I need more and detailed explanations.

    Thank you very much for any replies partly or whole answering my questions. I salute the Ubuntu Community and hope to prosper and have as much fun with the OS as all the cracks out there online and offline are telling me it really is.

    Regards,
    Ubni
    Last edited by ubni; February 15th, 2012 at 02:18 AM. Reason: more detailed title, updated png link,

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    I think you're on the right line but I found your posting too long - sorry! Anyway, I think these will help:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/9059/...r-with-ubuntu/

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/35807...ws-and-ubuntu/

    http://members.iinet.net/~herman546/index.html

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011
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    16

    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Thanks for your reply. Well in that case I will make it really simple.

    Before I go Linux and into partitioning I need to make sure the machine supports it.

    How can I find out if my laptop is compatible with Ubuntu?

    Detailed hardware information about my laptop can be found at this link:

    https://www1.ethz.ch/neptun/hardware...C/h10_modelle3

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    12,430

    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by ubni View Post
    Before I start with the correct partitioning of the hard drive I would like to know how the two OS will be placed onto the partition and how much space I should ideally assign to them.
    Linux does not use the Windows concept of drive letters, but like Windows, it will install the OS and apps within the same filesystem. If you want to SHARE data between Windows and Ubuntu, then create a separate DATA partition, and format it NTFS -- since both can read & write to NTFS file systems.

    As far as I understand under Windows I install the OS and the drivers, make a first default OS image, then install the software I like including all settings and preferences, make another OS image and start working with the laptop. This method has proven to be very productive and safe for me for years so far.
    Good approach -- this is exactly what I've done for years.


    1) Can I understand this under Ubuntu similarly? From what I think, and please do correct me if this is not the case, the Ubuntu OS will surly be installed on a separate partition like shown in the bottom row of the above graphic, no?
    Yes, for best results and performance, install Ubuntu into its own partitions.
    2) What about my work data that I keep on D: respectively on E:. Can I access that data from the Ubuntu OS as well or does Ubuntu keep all the OS files and the work data in one partition, similarly to having all your work files on C: My Documents under Windows, and then when something messes up not only the OS but the whole work data is gone as well?
    To the degree you can, keep your work data on the separate DATA partition -- not in Ubuntu, not in Windows. Ubuntu can read/write Windows partitions, but you really don't want to be making changes to the Win7 OS files from inside Ubuntu. That is asking for trouble. Windows can read Ubuntu, but you should not be trying to change Ubuntu files from inside Windows.
    3) You can see that I would clearly like to separate the OS from the work data. Is this possible with Ubuntu as well and how can I prepare the partitions correctly to achieve such a setup? Is such a setup actually advisable when running Ubuntu?
    You can create a separate /home partition for storing personal data, and while it functions similar to My Documents in Windows, it's not the same implementation.
    4) What about the drivers for my laptop model? Where do I get the drivers for my laptop under Ubuntu? Is my laptop at all compatible to run Ubuntu or will I have to accept deductions, like not being able to properly use the graphics or sound card with it for example?
    Unlike with Windows, you don't install drivers from a CD or download them; instead, when Ubuntu is installed, it scans the hardware and downloads the drivers needed. A good approach is to boot from the Ubuntu desktop CD, selecting Try Ubuntu, and see how well it works -- from the standpoint of detecting hardware and installing drivers. Every PC is different, so there's no guarantee that anything will work before you try it.
    5) Last not least, similarly to imaging the OS under Windows once I have reached a satisfactory state of the OS, can this be done under Ubuntu as well? I like to have images of the working setup under Ubuntu so that I do not have to worry about making mistakes and can quickly revert to the initial setup and state of the OS when something goes wrong.
    Again ... we think alike here, and I regularly image off the Ubuntu install using Clonezilla to an external drive. Takes 10 minutes to do the imageing and verification, and less to restore.
    6) What do I install first, Ubuntu or Windows and why?
    Win7 -- because Ubuntu will detect Win7 when you install it second.
    7)Keeping in mind the bottom row and that I like to be able to access my work files from the Windows OS as well as from the Ubuntu OS how much space do I approximately need to assign to the pure Ubuntu OS on the hard drive?
    Spaces:
    30GB - Win7 OS
    10GB - Ubuntu (without /home)
    10GB - Ubuntu /home
    Remainer -- NTFS data partition

    (others may have different suggestiuons)
    When I install software under Ubuntu, will that install onto the Ubuntu OS partition? Meaning do I need to leave more space on the Ubuntu OS partition when I later like to install software onto it?
    You set up the partitions manually during the installation. Ubuntu then automatically writes the files into the proper partitions during the install. Spaces provided above should me more that sufficient -- provided most of the large data files are put into the DATA partition.
    Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17; MS Win 8.1.
    Will not respond to PM requests for support -- use the forums.

  5. #5
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    i liked Herman's site that Megaptera linked above. He has lots of detail. Do not worry about difference in versions. Process is the same for install with slight screen differences.

    Most HP's use all four primary partitions. Windows has to boot from a primary and Windows 7 uses two. A hidden 100MB boot/repair partition and the main install. HP then had the vendor recovery and a utilities partition.

    You should make a Windows repair CD, just in case you have to repair Windows. You said you have good backups which is essential.

    Make your own Windows recoveryCD/repair:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/w...em-repair-disc
    http://forums.techarena.in/guides-tutorials/1114725.htm

    Windows 7 repair USB, Also Vista if service pack installed
    http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-re...tion-dvd-disc/
    http://www.webupd8.org/2010/10/creat...usb-drive.html

    Good advice on how to handle all four primary partitions used. - srs5694
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1686440
    Besure to create recovery DVD(s) first. And a Windows repair CD.
    HP tools partition discussion - similar for other vendor partitions:
    http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Noteboo...on/td-p/228360
    Shrinking a Windows 7 partition is best done in Windows. But do not create new partitions with Windows.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...windows-vista/
    The Hedge show graphically how to delete & create partitions:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1713649


    Linux usually includes all the drivers you need, sometimes it has to download wireless or video drivers and you need to install with a Ethernet connection, not wireless. Test liveCD to make sure your system works ok. With nVidia as separate card, I have to use nomodeset on first boot after install, not sure if that is the same for an internal nVidia chip or not.

    If all your data is in a separate NTFS data partition, you do not need a large system partition. I generally suggest 10-20GB, but I use 25GB since I have space on my drives. swap can be 2GB or the size of RAM in GiB if you want to hibernate(but you do not really need to hibernate as it boots very quickly).
    Last edited by oldfred; November 22nd, 2011 at 09:01 PM.
    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.







  6. #6
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Thank you all for your replies. Coming here has indeed proven to be a first very helpful step. Thanks!

    I will thoroughly read through the information supplied and then come back here to confirm what worked and what did not work.

  7. #7
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Again thanks for the links! I have read through some of the info provided and have come up with this partition scheme.

    The list is also the exact order on the HDD meaning I start with SWAP for example since it is recommended to use about 1.5 or 2 times the amount of RAM for SWAP and have it at the start or end of the HDD for good speeds.


    1. SWAP 16GB since there is 8GB RAM on the laptop (is this too much?)
    2. Linux ROOT 20GB
    3. DATA NTFS
    4. Windows 7 40GB
    5. Linux Home 20GB
      Here I would like ideally to save the Linux OS images. How big is a typical Ubuntu OS image made with Clonezilla please?


    All this I would do with Gparted, then install Windows onto the 4th partition (primary).

    Do the Linux SWAP and Home partitions need to be primary as well or only the ROOT and SWAP and Home can be logical?

    Again I have put Home at the end for good speeds. Is this really so vital for the OS? Why are the speeds at end and start of the HDD so much better?

    I guess with this scheme I would be ready to go and run a first test.

    Note there is no data on the HDD and I will wipe it with DBAN before installation. I do not keep any manufacturers "own" partitions like recovery and the additional software either on the HDD that came with the laptop.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by ubni; February 15th, 2012 at 06:00 PM. Reason: removed extra questions on multibooting Linux OS

  8. #8
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    You can have Windows in sda4 since it is a primary, but Windows does not know about Linux partitions and sometimes gets confused if not the first partition. I would just make Windows sda1 if starting from a total new install. It is just a tad easier to Install Windows first as it automatically overwrites the MBR, and you would have to reinstall grub2's boot loader to the MBR if you install Windows second.

    All Linux partitions can be logical. The default install of Ubuntu to a empty drive is / is primary & swap is logical. I prefer to use one or two primary partitions, then use the rest as logical. Then you have a spare primary or two in case you need it later. I always make rest of drive the extended even if I do not fill the extended with partitions. I left 100GB unallocated and now keep adding 25GB for new / partitions so I can test or try a new install.
    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.







  9. #9
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Please delete this reply, thank you. The reply I posted did not have to do with the original thread name any more.
    Last edited by ubni; February 16th, 2012 at 12:55 AM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    The extended partition is a primary partition and is just a container for all the logical partitions. Since it can be any of the four primary you could make sda2 the extended and not create sda3 nor sda4 as primaries. The first logical is always sda5 so you still have the "space" in the partition table for the remaining primary partitions.

    You cannot use one /boot partition for multiple installs. I do not recommend separate /boot unless you have a very old system with the BIOS limit that you can only boot from the first 137GB or a server type configuration with RAID or LVM.

    If planning multiple / (root) partitions for multiple installs it may be better to keep /home inside the root partition and just have one data partition. Then the data is easily shared if distributions are in the same family (all Debian) or are configured with UID & GIDs at are the 1000 as Ubuntu uses.

    Attached is a screenshot of my LapTop. It is not optimal but gives an idea of how it is set up with dual boot. It started with just XP and I added Ubuntu.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by oldfred; February 16th, 2012 at 01:10 AM.
    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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