Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23

Thread: Are /home partitions worth it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Beans
    11

    Question Are /home partitions worth it?

    I'm new to the Linux world and whilst I've been learning the ropes, I've read some conflicting opinions regarding the creation of separate partitions for /home and other directories during OS install.


    Some say that having these directories in separate partitions allows you to reinstall without losing your data. Others say that it adds pointless complexity to the system and that some unwanted files from old installations linger after new installs.


    What do you people think about this?


    If storing certain directories on separate partitions is a good idea, why is this the case? Would it be better to use completely different drives?


    Is this different from distro to distro?


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Beans
    1,461
    Distro
    Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    I have never heard anyone say that installing /home on the same partition as root is a bad idea. That's kind of odd as it's far more common to install it to a different partition. Really, that it's very easy to just back up /home and reinstall the OS is alone reason enough to go that way. There have been a couple instances where I've needed to reinstall the OS or something similar, and beyond a few config files in /etc, just backing up /home was enough to have me back up and running in no time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Halloween Town
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Xubuntu Development Release

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    With a separate /home you can easily install a newer Ubuntu version, or any Linux distro for that matter, without losing most of your custom settings, configurations, downloads, etc, since such a step usually involves wiping out the existing system/boot partitions. You simply choose to preserve your /home in the partitioner during install, and you're set.
    It makes data retrieval easier in the case of a crash. If you suffer from a failed release upgrade for example, the /home partition will be untouched and you can easily recover by installing or re-commencing the upgrade without being too concerned about your data. It also makes resizing/migrating to a larger home partition easier, if you ever need more space.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sunny Southend-on-Sea
    Beans
    5,424
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    As others have already pointed out, a separate /home is handy if you can be bothered. If you can't be bothered, it's not really a big deal. There's no real conflict here.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Beans
    11

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    So it's pretty much just done to preserve data when everything crashes and for new OS installs? If I back up all of my data to a cloud service or a different drive would You say that having /home on a different partition is pointless? If instead of a partition on the same drive, I use a completely different drive, do you think I'd see any speed increases by not having to wait for one drive to access all of the data?

    When I reinstall an OS I usually prefer to remove everything and start fresh. I'm in the middle writing a bunch of scripts to automatically do all the config and software removal/install that I need so If I have my data backed up somewhere else it seems that I don't need a separate /home partition.

    Are there any other directories that are commonly placed on separate partitions?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Halloween Town
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Xubuntu Development Release

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    It won't speed up file access much, unless the partition the /home is on is on a faster device like an SSD hard drive. It does allow for separate buffering though, so I guess there would be a minor speed increase from that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oz
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    I don't have a great deal in my /home... just some conky stuff and some fonts. I, for one, don't put data anywhere near my /home or any of my linux/windows partitions. In fact, all of my data is on a separate hard drive well away from where I can stuff things up. So for me, /home doesn't really amount to a hill of beans.
    Last edited by PJs Ronin; October 15th, 2013 at 12:02 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Beans
    5,546

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    The following is based solely on my own experiences over the years.

    I'm in the "Others say that it adds pointless complexity to the system and that some unwanted files from old installations linger after new installs" camp with emphasis on the second part of that statement rather than the added complexity part. What I do is create 3 partitions: /, swap. and /Data.

    In the /Data partition I create subfolders of the major subfolders of the home folder ( Music, Documents, etc... ) and then "bind" them back to the home folder. You can also use symlinks if you don't have a home network and use Samba.

    As far as creating even more partitions for the other subdirectories off root the only thing that will do is guarantee that you will eventually be back here asking how to resize these partitions because of system errors saying you are running out of space.

    Now the way I use Ubuntu may be part of the reason I follow this approach and it may differ from what you want from your OS. Ubuntu now "releases" a new edition every 6 months but they are for me a waste of my time since they are just betas which are only maintained for 9 months. So I install only LTS releases which occur every 2 years. If I had a separate home partition containing all sorts of settings and configurations for one LTS it likely won't work for the next LTS.

    I suppose if I keep upgrading my install every 6 months then the changes each time wouldn't be that great but now Linux has become a hobby and the care and feeding of that OS is the main goal. I don't use Linux that way. I use Linux as a platform to get something else done.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Beans
    11

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    Thanks for your replies everyone.

    I also read that having a separate /home partition mounted in a specific way can enhance security by disallowing the execution of s-bit programs, although I don't know exactly what s-bit programs are.

    Now the way I use Ubuntu may be part of the reason I follow this approach and it may differ from what you want from your OS. Ubuntu now "releases" a new edition every 6 months but they are for me a waste of my time since they are just betas which are only maintained for 9 months. So I install only LTS releases which occur every 2 years. If I had a separate home partition containing all sorts of settings and configurations for one LTS it likely won't work for the next LTS.
    This is another thing I've been thinking about. I need my computer to be stable so I'm leaning more towards using LTS releases or maybe even switching to Debain. I haven't decided yet, I'll see what happens when 14.04 comes along.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    ɹǝpun uʍop
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Xubuntu

    Re: Are /home partitions worth it?

    Try this. If you decide you want to install MORE than one OS, that means you are going to need a heap of /home partitions. Or, a /home directory in each. Waste of time for personal data. Duplication and other issues.

    I personally have a data partition for all installs. In there, I have the regular directories like /Documents, /Music, etc. Everything you would find in a regular Ubuntu default /home partition or directory.

    Now, when I install an OS, I let /home install as a directory inside /, BUT I then delete the directories inside the /home directory (eg /Documents, /Videos, etc.) and create symlinks to the folders which already exist on my /data partition.

    All information can be used and accessed by any install, anytime, and all installs can be totally wiped and reinstalled without ever going anywhere near the actual data partition. If I make a change to something while running in one install (and this happens) when I boot to ANY of the other installs it accessing the SAME data and therefore the same changes.

    Easy? Hope you understand where I'm coming from.

    But to answer the original question: yes, I always recommend /home partition for a regular install, even when backed up to cloud or anywhere else. I'm old school and the rule was 'grandfather, father, son'. You have the original, a backup and a backup of that. And if I was going by the same book, it is a no-brainer that the absolute safest is to have one backup on an external drive that lives off the premises for the rest of the week, one backup that lives on a separate drive, not just partition, and the original.

    But most people generally don't go to these lengths in a domestic setup now. You would generally have two backups if you were running a business (at least two and if you were running a tight one, that is).

    There are many aspects to this, and many no longer relevant (due to advances in technology and the fact we are talking LInux, not Win). In the olden days (!) drive speed mattered and think about it: if you have the OS in a single partition just big enough to hold it the drive arm doesn't need to cover the whole disk (or better still, stick the OS on a 20Gb disk). Faster. No-brainer. Consequently, OS on one drive, data on another, two lasers is better than one, faster. No brainer. These issues aren't quite as pressing now. But if you were working in high-end audio/visual you would generally not do it any other way still. OS on one drive, record to another, data on another. Rule of thumb.
    Last edited by Bucky Ball; October 15th, 2013 at 01:00 PM.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •