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Thread: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Arrow Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    Hello everyone.
    As an 'Absolute Beginner' with Linux and Ubuntu, I hope my complete ignorance and linux-blasphemy will be forgiven.

    I have installed Ubuntu 11.10 beside Windows7 on my Samsung N220 Netbook following a guide I had found online. I managed to dual-boot properly.
    4 primary partitions were already in use by Windows7 (recovery, boot, system and documents), so I deleted the NTFS document primary partition and created an extended partition in order to divide it in several logical sub-partitions, at least 4 as the guide suggested. (1 each for boot, /, usr, swap; the guide also said one could want to create partitions also for important folders such as var and tmp)
    So I created:

    1. /boot (500MB), where I put Grub
    2. / (10GB), where the system itself installed
    3. /usr (105GB), where the guide stated most of my media files will eventually be stored (I later found out this was wrong)
    4. swap (2+ GB)

    Here's a screenshot of Gparted with my HD partitions:




    Now, either I was too drunk (which is a possibility) or the guide is wrong: I didn't want to have a huge usr folder. I wanted a pretty capable home one, where to store all my docs, videos, mp3s, pics and downloads!
    How can I solve this now? I really don't know what the usr folder is meant for (I assume it contains some important files, probably related to logging-in sessions? But I can also see a games folder in it, so I guess also installed apps go here?) so I wouldn't just get rid of it. Still, I would like to re-place it in the same partition where the system is and also use the 105GB partition as my home folder.
    Is that possible? And how can I do it?
    Thanks to whoever is going to reply this.

    Additional info
    Ubuntu won't let me write on any of the NTFS partitions, as well as in the usr one. I guess my account hasn't the required privileges?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Ubuntu

    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    If you've just installed Ubuntu, I would start again. I'd up the 10 gig partition to about 15-20 but 10 will be fine unless you plan on installing a lot of applications. Also I'd forget about a /boot partition.

    Then run the install again (from the cd or usb).

    When the installer asks how you want to install Ubuntu choose "Something Else"

    In the partition editor select the big partition (currently 105 gigs). Choose to use it as an Ext4 journaling file system. Give it a mountpoint of /home and choose to format it.

    Then select the smaller partition (currently 10 gig) and choose to use as a Ext4 journaling file system and to format it. Give this partitiuon a mountpoint of /

    The installer should pickup the swap partition.

    Do not touch the windows partition.

    So

    Small partition - mountpoint /
    Big partition - mountpoint /home

    You will loose any data you currently have on your Ubuntu install through doing this. It is always a good idea to back up any data on that computer before partitioning or installing an operating system.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    Thanks for the quick reply, nothingspecial.
    So, there's really no need of a boot partition? I can choose to boot from the / partition?
    I had already thought about reinstalling the whole thing once again...and that's what I'll probably do.

    But, just out of curiosity: is there any other way one can fix/play with/resize/move/rename/change the system folders/partitions?

    Are there any guides or relevant information about important topics such /home, /var, /usr and /temp folders I can read? Could you please link one or more?

    Cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Chicago Suburbs
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    this is how you can move a /home:

    To move /home uses rsync
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Pa...ng/Home/Moving

    Most desktops do not need the extra system partitions.
    You may need the extra partitions if installing a server and old instructions were often server based. Some old Desktops could not boot from beyond 137GB, so they sometimes needed a separate /boot if Windows used the first 120 GB for example. If you installed RAID or LVM which are more common on servers you might also need a separate /boot.

    Herman on advantages/disadvantages of separate system partitions post#3
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1410392
    Install with creating partitions screen shots
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~herman546/p22.html
    Details on system partitions, more for complex or server systems
    http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/ai...sys/index.html
    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. #5
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    Xubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    A boot partition can have value, but I would not recommend it in your situation.

    For the record, I endorse the start from scratch method. To sate your curiosity, it would go something like this:
    1. Boot with a live CD/USB session. You cannot unmount / or /usr on your active OS and you will need these partitions unmounted
    2. Resize /dev/sda7 in Gparted to make room for expanding /dev/sda6 (you're getting shoort on space which can cause issues.
    3. Mount /dev/sda7 and copy all files to /dev/sd6/usr (the /usr partition is mounted as this folder). Verify that it coppied correctly, and clean format the partition.
    4. Move everything from /dev/sda6/home to /dev/sda7
    5. edit /dev/sda6/etc/fstab and change the mount point for /dev/sda7 from /usr to /home
    6. Cross fingers, reboot to hard disk.

    You can do pretty much the same thing for /boot, and delete /dev/sda5.

    Again, I don't recommend this unless you have a good understanding of the file system.

  6. #6
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    I only
    /
    34G


    Build

    Is automatically generated
    Build

    swap
    512
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq

    sudo fallocate -l 512m /mnt/512Mb.swap
    sudo chmod 600 /mnt/512Mb.swap
    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/512Mb.swap bs=1024 count=524288

    sudo mkswap /mnt/512Mb.swap


    gksudo gedit /etc/fstab
    /mnt/512Mb.swap none swap sw 0 0



    The remainder
    Space
    Make a partition in the After through gparted

    Last edited by oklokl; February 7th, 2012 at 05:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2012
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    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    Thank you everyone for your replies and for the useful information you have linked to.
    I will definitely read everything about partitioning, home moving, but for now I will stick with system folders understanding.

    From what I now understand, applications are installed in bin, sbin and usr folders, as well as in the opt one (third-party apps - and games? - go here).
    That means the space used by these folders can considerably increase, accordingly to how many applications one installs.

    I won't bother creating a partition for tmp folder, since I reckon that fragmentation is not a big issue on Linux systems (I would definitely keep a separate partition for temporary files on a Windows system, so I could delete/defrag that partition more quickly and also avoid fragmentation of the system partition).

    What I will try to do now is to follow eriktheblu suggestions and resize the partitions.
    Eventually, I will use just 1 partition for Ubuntu (Herman's explanation on the thread linked by oldfred is very appealing, although I will still use a swap partition, I guess) plus 1 partition shared by Ubuntu and Windows where my data will be kept (I still have to figure out how my /home will link to this NTFS partition, though...or if it's better to do this the other way around, which means format it as a ext2/3 or ext4 and use an application on Windows who allows me to read/write on such partitions, although I do understand that trying to mess with ext4 partitions from Windows can be tricky).

    @oklokl I don't quite understand what you have written.

    Anyway, thank you for your replies guys.

    I'll keep you posted!

    Giorgio

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Chicago Suburbs
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Fresh installation, would like to swap 'home' and 'usr' folders

    /home has to have a linux format.

    You can link folders into /home. I have both a shared NTFS and a data ext3 partition with folders linked into my /home.

    Splitting home directory discussion:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1811198
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1901437
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...hlight=%2Fdata

    Shared /data (NTFS)-see post #3 oldfred
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1772620
    Mount, hide & link windows partition
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1397508
    Share Windows partition older:
    http://lifehacker.com/348858/use-a-s...n-dual-booting
    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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