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Thread: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

  1. #11
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    Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    I thought it would be a good idea for people new to Linux to draw out the partitioning scheme before actually going about installing anything.

    This is a first draft of trying to install two Linux distros and Windows on one HDD.



    I would very much appreciate it if other people could let me know their recommendations or variations of above scheme. There are lots of important things to know about all this but before actually going into all that detail I thought it might be best to visualize what is going on. In the end I hope to present to the interested Linux beginner a working graphic of a typical multiboot or triple OS install. So if this first try is not correct you will find the correct one at the end of the thread eventually.

    One thing I am still trying to find out what the partitions will be named by Linux since this quote from this post properly confused me. Ideally I would like to create a little graphic showing those drive descriptions as well. So to speak try and reach a solid partitioning scheme for two Linux distros and Windows.

    "Note: /dev/sda4 = Entire Extended partition. sda4 is "theoretical" in that it can not be mounted as such, but it "takes up a number".
    This is true for both Linux and grub speak !"
    No idea what to make of that. What I would guess is that they would be in the sda1 being ROOT1 to sda7 being BOOT, but why skip sda4?
    Last edited by ubni; February 16th, 2012 at 01:09 AM. Reason: added info,

  2. #12
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    Xubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf

    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    Closed, duplicate.

    Edit: Re-opened. Sorry for any confusion!
    Last edited by oldos2er; February 16th, 2012 at 01:52 AM.

  3. #13
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    Here is a reply to this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by JKyleOKC
    Apparently both copies of your thread were removed; here's the reply I tried to send you:

    The Main Boot Record (MBR) only has space for four partition table entries. The "extended" partition type was invented to allow more; a drive can have only one extended partition, which is actually a small area containing additional partition table entries for the "logical" partitions, but which is shown in partition listings as occupying all of the space assigned to the logicals, plus its own small storage area.

    By convention, Linux defines the four "primary" (or three primary and one extended) partitions as /dev/sdX1 through /dev/sdX4 (where X is the letter assigned to the whole drive, starting with "a"). If all four are assigned, the extended one becomes sda4. The logical partitions it contains always start at sdX5 and go up from there.

    If you create only a couple of primary partitions plus an extended one, they will be sdX1, sdX2, and sdX3 (which will be the extended one. You could specify all the rest of the drive to be part of the extended partition, and then add logical partitions in that area at any time later.

    I'm not sure that you will be happy with your proposed layout; having only 10 GB in each home partition might make things very tight, since almost everything you do will be stored in your home directory and if you have more than one user defined, all of their home directories will be inside the single home partition. However it doesn't look bad otherwise.
    Thanks for your reply. Oohhh yes now I get it. The fourth point on the HDD being the Extended partition is where the other partitions start. 4 is the beginning of the new chain, extending the HDD. It makes perfect sense now. Wow, this was easy but yet I could not find an answer. Thanks!

    There is enough space on the HDD so I am going to increase the home partitions to 20GB each, or should I even use more for it? Can I store system images of the particular Linux distro on the DATA partition as well or am I better advised to put it in the HOME partition for that distro? I like to regularly image the OS to be able to revert changes or errors easily.

    10GB for each ROOT should be enough, same as 1GB for boot, am I right? I think I will also increase the SWAP to 16GB since the space is there.

    I have tried to predict what the partitions will be labeled by GParted. I have used GParted before but not to do this. Perhaps new users can visualise better what will be going on when GParted is being used.


    Here is a new draft.

    The first row is the exact order that I think the partitions will actually appear on the drive. I am not sure if I can have a Pimary partition inside the Extended partition. However I think I got the partition naming in Linux right, no?

    What about the speed? Would it be better to have the Data partition next to Windows in the middle of the drive and push Home1 and Home2 further to the end of the HDD? Is this really that much of a difference?


  4. #14
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    I don't know whether it's still true, but in past versions of Windows, it was absolutely required that the Windows system be in a primary partition, and its preferred position was at sda1. Your swap partition can be a logical one with absolutely no problem, as can both of the Linux system partitions.

    I no longer dual boot (except for my seldom-used laptop) so my approach may not help you at all, but here's the setup I'm using on my main box here:
    Code:
    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x000a20d4
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *           1        6079    48829536   83  Linux
    /dev/sda2            6080       60181   434574315   83  Linux
    /dev/sda3           60182       60801     4980150   82  Linux swap / Solaris
    I have the system at sda1, /home on sda2, and swap on sda3. The swap is almost 5 GiB (my RAM is 3 GiB) and is never used. My home directory contains quite a few virtual disk files, totaling more than 170 GiB, which is where I run my Windows applications, with a separate virtual machine for each group of apps.

    Your needs will be considerably different, but this may help you get an idea of what can be done. The total size of your drive will have a lot to do with how you parcel it out, of course!
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  5. #15
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    Hi!

    You were asking what other people do in regards to partitioning. I've set up Linux on a number of Windows netbooks at my home. Usually, the netbooks come with either 3 or all 4 of the primary partitions already taken (Windows uses the extra partitions for various aspects of the system restoration process should one have to completely reinstall Windows on the netbook). If all 4 primary partitions are already taken by Windows, I've had to delete one that isn't critical (i.e. HPTOOLS) and then use that one to make an extended partition that I can put Linux on. Then I make 3 logical partitions (ext4 file system) under the extended partition. I use gparted to resize the windows partition to what I need (i.e. 180GB of a 500GB drive so I can use the Windows for games and a few things). I used to set the root partition as the first logical one which made it right beside the Windows one. But if I later want to resize my home partition (i.e. take some GB from the Windows partition and give it to my home partition), this is easier if the home partition is next to the Windows partition. After the home partition, I use the next logical partition for the root (about 20GB), and then the last logical partition for the swap (about 4GB or twice as much as my RAM). The size of the home partition is whatever is left over after the 180GB Windows partition, the 20GB root partition and the 4GB swap. With a 500GB hard drive, that was a little under 300GB.

  6. #16
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueyak View Post
    Hi!

    You were asking what other people do in regards to partitioning. I've set up Linux on a number of Windows netbooks at my home. Usually, the netbooks come with either 3 or all 4 of the primary partitions already taken (Windows uses the extra partitions for various aspects of the system restoration process should one have to completely reinstall Windows on the netbook). If all 4 primary partitions are already taken by Windows, I've had to delete one that isn't critical (i.e. HPTOOLS) and then use that one to make an extended partition that I can put Linux on. Then I make 3 logical partitions (ext4 file system) under the extended partition. I use gparted to resize the windows partition to what I need (i.e. 180GB of a 500GB drive so I can use the Windows for games and a few things). I used to set the root partition as the first logical one which made it right beside the Windows one. But if I later want to resize my home partition (i.e. take some GB from the Windows partition and give it to my home partition), this is easier if the home partition is next to the Windows partition. After the home partition, I use the next logical partition for the root (about 20GB), and then the last logical partition for the swap (about 4GB or twice as much as my RAM). The size of the home partition is whatever is left over after the 180GB Windows partition, the 20GB root partition and the 4GB swap. With a 500GB hard drive, that was a little under 300GB.
    Can you make a screenshot of the the partitioning you use in GParted or something else please?

  7. #17
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    I posted my laptop in your old thread before you created this new one.

    This is my sdc drive. I have Windows in sda1, so it is not quite the same. You will see a lot of system partitions and two data partitions, one NTFS and one ext3.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Oct 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.







  8. #18
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    The old thread is about 2 OS, this is about 2 and more, hence I made the new one and deleted the reply I originally posted and made a new thread. It did not fit the topic description any more. Only reason I made this one. Sure if you like to merge them please do so, but I think this one really is about 2 and more OS on one HDD.

    Considering this theory is based on one HDD I have come up with the following:



    By now I also know Windows has to be sda1 and there is no need for a separate /boot partition since GRUB 2 is loaded first in the MBR (Master Boot Record) and can access the various /boot sections of the corresponding /root to boot the OS. This is at least from what I understand now. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

  9. #19
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    Re: Partitioning scheme to multiboot Linux distros and Windows on one HDD

    From a performance point of view, if swap is to be used (and i mean if the system will actually use it alot) then it is best to have it near the beginning of a drive, especially if it is a mechanical HDD and not a SSD

    but depends on how much it is used really
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  10. #20
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    Re: Partitioning laptop for Linux and Windows

    Thanks for the screenshot. I think I have understood your setup except one point.

    Why do you have sda2 as /shared? Is that in fact the /home?

    Since using one /boot partition for multiple installs is not possible (well it is but in different circumstances and for a much more advanced setup building custom kernels I think) what is it GRUB does then and how does one not end up with multiple GRUB menus and /boot partitions but just one menu?

    After a quick look at the GRUB site I found this:

    "Briefly, a boot loader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the operating system kernel software (such as the Hurd or Linux)." from GRUB Intro
    So GRUB 2 and /boot are have no need to be on separate partitions, right? I think now I get it!! Excuse me but you can see I am an absolute beginner. GRUB 2 is even before the first partition on the HDD, if I am correct in the first 63 sectors of the actual HDD where the MBR, Master Boot Record resides? Or something similar?

    If this is correct then it is sure advisable to have /root (or simply called "/") together with /boot and others and no need for extra partitions at this level of experience, right?

    Then this only leaves /home that I definitely want to keep separate from /root or simply " /" to be able to not loose my settings when re-installing the OS as well as to store the OS image files done with Clonezilla for example.

    Last thing left is Swap and Data.

    Here is another graphical draft. I hope I don't annoy you with those graphics, I find them tremendously helpful for understanding what I am going to to. Perhaps they help other beginners too.

    Note this is only a dual boot partitioning scheme. Linux and Windows on one HDD.


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