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Thread: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

  1. #1
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    Question Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    I've been using a separate home partition for some time now. The big advantage was that you could reinstall Ubuntu without losing all of your personal data. However, Ubiquity now supports preserving your /home. So I'm thinking about just going back to a single partition. Are there any advantages to having a separate /home partition now?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    Hello

    Having one saved me a lot of copying when I decided to move from Ubuntu to Debian on the desktop PC. I deleted all the dotfiles and folders as well, so that there were no 'preference hangovers', but all the music and photos did not need to be restored.

    Guess if you are staying in the Ubuntu camp then Ubiquity will be OK for you. We all have complete up to date backups in two places of course

  3. #3
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    The big advantage is the one that keithpeter mentioned - less copying.

    I have my home folder on the same drive/partition as my main install, but I do backups of it so I have what I need in case I need to reinstall.
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    If you ever want to try a non-Ubuntu distro (or is Ubiquity a debian thing?) then you will run into problems.

    It also offers some degree of damage control if e.g. something causes your file system on / to get corrupted, your /home partition is likely to be unaffected, and you can simply reinstall your OS without losing any data.

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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    It makes clean installs and upgrades a breeze, something handy if you plan on breaking you system a lot (which I do as often as I'm able). As mentioned, it also makes distro hopping easier.

  6. #6
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    Ok, I can see an advantage if you're distro hopping or switching distros but I don't do distro hopping anymore and I don't plan on switching distros. So for me personally that's of little or no value to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by undecim View Post
    If you ever want to try a non-Ubuntu distro (or is Ubiquity a debian thing?) then you will run into problems.

    It also offers some degree of damage control if e.g. something causes your file system on / to get corrupted, your /home partition is likely to be unaffected, and you can simply reinstall your OS without losing any data.
    Ubiquity is Ubuntu's installer. As for damage control, I don't see that as a benefit. Your home partition could become corrupted just as easily as the root partition. Of course, this is why we have backups.

    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaaron View Post
    It makes clean installs and upgrades a breeze, something handy if you plan on breaking you system a lot (which I do as often as I'm able). As mentioned, it also makes distro hopping easier.
    Did you read the link? You can do fresh installs with your /home on the same partition as the root partition without losing anything.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by FuturePilot View Post
    Did you read the link? You can do fresh installs with your /home on the same partition as the root partition without losing anything.
    This isn't the same as wiping the system and doing a real fresh install. When I do it, I wipe all my user config files as well, and only migrate over the ones that I specifically want. Old config files can cause buggy behavior in Ubuntu upgrades. I have always had better results when I wipe the system and start with a fresh home folder, run some post-install scripts, and trickle my settings over gradually as I need them.

    It does take more work, but it's a cleaner way to do it that leaves less 'cruft of years gone by'.

    By the way, did you check the date in that wiki page? This is nothing new.
    Last edited by ninjaaron; October 4th, 2011 at 08:28 PM.

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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    I'd say for you, there's not much advantage, other than what other people have said about having to copy the files during the installation. I'm not sure how Ubiquity handles that.

    I've always put everything except swap on one partition. But one advantage I've seen about having a separate /home partition is that it makes it easier and less risky if you want to use the same /home partition with multiple linux installations at once. But that obviously doesn't apply to you.

    And ninjaaron has a good point about the benefit of wiping your config files to get a true clean install.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    Well, I also split up my /home partition, and it was really helpful to me,when I wanted to upgrade my hard drives.

    I had a 320 GB with my / partition on, and 2 TB drive with my /home partition on. Then, when I upgraded, I installed a 120 GB Solid state drive for my / partition.

    Now, that meant that I could get a lot of the speed benefits of SSD, but all my data was on the conventional hard drive with its oodles of storage space.

    So, keeping it separate is also an advantage if you're swopping around hardware.

    But, keep in mind, the INSTALLER will protect your home directory. That means the INSTALLER won't mess with your personal files and settings. But, it won't protect your data if you accidentally format your / partition, or any other threat to your root directory.

  10. #10
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    Re: Do separate /home partitions provide any advantage anymore?

    I always keep my data on a separate partition, but I also have a strange setup. Due to being, well, poor... and mdadm being built in, I like to utilize software RAID in Linux as much as possible. As a result, my standard setup is:

    Small SATA HDD for Root
    Two Large SATA HDD's for /Home

    That way my data is not only on a separate partition, but also is redundant in itself.

    Plus, having the advantage of taking my two array drives, putting them in another system, installing mdadm and magically having all of my data there is nice. I haven't had quite that much luck with hardware RAID controllers in the past. While lesser performing, it has enough advantage that makes me a fan of it. That said, yes I keep my data on a separate partition and due to my setup, I swear by it.

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