Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Beans
    48

    Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Background: when I first moved to Linux last fall, it was with a low-spec laptop that was sitting in the back of the closet. Then I decided to add Linux to a slightly more capable laptop that I depended on for business in a dual-boot with Windows 10. But both of those installations were "full" (using the first option, Erase Disk and Install) and through online discussions I came to realize this was teaching me nothing about partitioning. OTOH, these laptops were not anything I wanted to experiment with, since I depended on them.

    So I picked up via ebay a used Lenovo ThinkPad X131e (with 8gb RAM...so I can try a distro with more of a demand on memory) and that's what I'm going to use as my laboratory (or playground, take your pick). It's on this device that I've installed Ubuntu Budgie. With that installation, I went the "Something Else" route and, probably mostly due to the drives being configured this way (the previous owner had a Linux Mint install) -- though I *did* adjust the sizes of the partitions and formatted them -- I came out with this setup:

    /dev/sda1 Filesystem Partition 1 using 20GB ext 4 to the / (320GB HDD)
    300GB free

    /dev/sda2 Swap Partition 1 using 8.4GB as the Swap (20GB SATA SSD)
    Filesystem Partition 2 using 12GB ext4 to the /home
    2.6 MB free

    Now, let me add here that it wasn't until after I bought this laptop and even AFTER I made this installation that I realized the second drive was a SSD! And that leads to my question here: would there be any reason NOT to have done this installation by "flipping" everything...putting the OS on the SSD and the swap and /home on the HDD? I realize that the current Filesystem partition on /sda1 is exactly the same size as the SSD...but I also know that size was arbitrary and simply based on some general guidelines I'd seen online. So how much smaller could that be? Would the speed of operation from the SSD be worth doing this? On the other side of the coin, are there good reasons NOT to use the SSD for the OS?

    Also, if anyone has any guidance as to how big the partitions above (in the installation that's been performed...and that works!) could have/should have been, I'd appreciate the advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Squidbilly-Land
    Beans
    18,809
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    People ask "how should I partition my install" all the time. Please search these forums for lots of different answers.

    Additionally, I wouldn't have 8G for the swap. 4.1G is my only answer for a desktop system swap size regardless of RAM in the system. There are caveats to this - also explained in detail in these forums already.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Metro Boston
    Beans
    14,733
    Distro
    Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    In general, most users have no need to partition their drives for Ubuntu installations these days unless it's for dual-boot or multiple operating systems. I like to keep a couple different operating systems on my machines so I do partition my drives. In general I use
    - a 512 MB partition with ext2 for /boot
    - a 20 GB ext4 partition for each OS image that will be mounted as / when booted
    - a swap partition larger than the actual memory size to enable hibernation
    - the rest of the drive for /home so that it can be shared across the various operating systems

    20GB for each OS is a bit of overkill; my Kubuntu 20.04 installation occupies about 7 GB. /boot and swap are separate primary partitions; the rest of the drive uses an extended partition. I believe current Ubuntu default installations no longer use a swap partition but a swap file instead.

    If you want to learn more about storage options, I'd look into LVM as an alternative to fixed partitions: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lvm

    I have only single 512 GB SSDs in my laptops, and only HDDs in desktop towers.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; 4 Weeks Ago at 05:22 PM.
    If you ask for help, do not abandon your request. Please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

    Blog · Linode System Administration Guides · Android Apps for Ubuntu Users

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Beans
    48

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    People ask "how should I partition my install" all the time. Please search these forums for lots of different answers.

    Additionally, I wouldn't have 8G for the swap. 4.1G is my only answer for a desktop system swap size regardless of RAM in the system. There are caveats to this - also explained in detail in these forums already.
    @TheFu Thanks for the reply. The suggestion to "search" is not unexpected...that seems to be the reflexive response in most any forum for most any topic. And it's a valid point and I understand why active members get weary responding. However, those searches typically produce a lot of chaff surrounding the wheat, since they pull up all of the peripheral comment that every thread included. Perhaps that's why a lot of Linux distro forums have decided to compile a Wiki and make that available to users.

    I'll see if I can find the explanation for why 4.1G is "the answer" for a swap...when having it the same size as the RAM was similarly offered as "the answer" somewhere else.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Beans
    48

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    In general, most users have no need to partition their drives for Ubuntu installations these days unless it's for dual-boot or multiple operating systems. I like to keep a couple different operating systems on my machines so I do partition my drives. In general I use
    - a 512 MB partition with ext2 for /boot
    - a 20 GB ext4 partition for each OS image that will be mounted as / when booted
    - a swap partition larger than the actual memory size to enable hibernation
    - the rest of the drive for /home so that it can be shared across the various operating systems

    20GB for each OS is a bit of overkill; my Kubuntu 20.04 installation occupies about 7 GB. /boot and swap are separate primary partitions; the rest of the drive uses an extended partition. I believe current Ubuntu default installations no longer use a swap partition but a swap file instead.

    If you want to learn more about storage options, I'd look into LVM as an alternative to fixed partitions: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lvm

    I have only single 512 GB SSDs in my laptops, and only HDDs in desktop towers.
    Thanks for the reply, @SeijiSensei. From what you've provided, I think I can take some comfort in the choice of 20 GB for the OS image (and even if it's overkill, as you say, it's at least commonplace).

    It's also good to know that "most users have no need to partition their drives for Ubuntu installations these days unless it's for dual-boot or multiple operating systems." As I explained, that *was*, in fact, the route I took with my first two installations on two other (less capable) laptops. But then I came upon a lot of users who were big believers in having a separate /home that they could use if/when they changed distros or chose a fresh install instead of an upgrade to their existing distro. And that's when I realized I couldn't "learn by doing" if I was using the complete installs.

    So, if I've understood you, your laptops have *only* the SSDs and, therefore, that's why you've installed the Linux OS on them? Of the two replies I've received so far (you and The Fu) it appears neither one of you thinks my SSD is a better (or even good) choice for the OS over the larger HDD.

    Boston, eh? I lived there for 7 years ('80 through the end of '86...almost more years ago than I care to admit). It was a great time to be there...though I tell people now (and not trying to be glib) that I liked everything about living in the Boston metro except affording it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Metro Boston
    Beans
    14,733
    Distro
    Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Quote Originally Posted by davepool View Post
    So, if I've understood you, your laptops have *only* the SSDs and, therefore, that's why you've installed the Linux OS on them? Of the two replies I've received so far (you and The Fu) it appears neither one of you thinks my SSD is a better (or even good) choice for the OS over the larger HDD.
    I'd put the OS on the SSD for performance reasons, though with enough memory there isn't that much disk activity in normal operation. Linux loads needed programs and libraries into memory; once they are there the disk's performance doesn't matter. Putting the OS on the SSD considerably speeds up booting.

    Boston, eh? I lived there for 7 years ('80 through the end of '86...almost more years ago than I care to admit). It was a great time to be there...though I tell people now (and not trying to be glib) that I liked everything about living in the Boston metro except affording it!
    It hasn't gotten any better affordability-wise since then.
    If you ask for help, do not abandon your request. Please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

    Blog · Linode System Administration Guides · Android Apps for Ubuntu Users

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SW Forida
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    That looks like a Haswell based system which would then have had Windows in UEFI boot mode.
    Microsoft has required vendors to install Windows in UEFI boot mode with gpt partitioning since 2012.

    For default installs of both Windows & Linux by users, it installs in the same boot mode as you boot install media. Systems with UEFI Secure boot off, will offer two ways to boot live installer, UEFI:flash or flash where flash is name or label of flash drive. My system says UEFI:PMAP or PMAP.

    And then if you partition in advance and want UEFI, you really should use gpt and must have an ESP - efi system partition.

    Lots more info on UEFI install, partitioning, definitions etc in link below in my signature.
    Last edited by oldfred; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:29 PM.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Beans
    48

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    @SeijiSensei Sounds pretty much like I'd be better off leaving well enough alone! Wasn't aware of the point about low disk activity with enough memory...do you think 8GB qualifies as "enough"?
    Last edited by davepool; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:43 PM. Reason: added addressee handle

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Beans
    48

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    That looks like a Haswell based system which would then have had Windows in UEFI boot mode.
    Microsoft has required vendors to install Windows in UEFI boot mode with gpt partitioning since 2012.

    For default installs of both Windows & Linux by users, it installs in the same boot mode as you boot install media. Systems with UEFI Secure boot off, will offer two ways to boot live installer, UEFI:flash or flash where flash is name or label of flash drive. My system says UEFI:PMAP or PMAP.

    And then if you partition in advance and want UEFI, you really should use gpt and must have an ESP - efi system partition.

    Lots more info on UEFI install, partitioning, definitions etc in link below in my signature.
    @oldfred I don't know about "Haswell-based system" but I think we can all assume that even if the guy I bought the ThinkPad from had Linux Mint on it, it certainly came from the factory with Windows. But, as I said, about all I did was "follow the roadmap" of where things were laid out in his LM install.

    I'll certainly check out the info at the end of your link....because most of that above about UEFI, PMAP, etc is a foreign language. But if it helps any, all of these installs of mine (including last night's of Ubuntu Budgie) were done with a USB on which the flashed installer was via Etcher from a download actually done on my Windows 10 desktop PC.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Galiza
    Beans
    434
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Adventures in Partitioning (Newby)

    Quote Originally Posted by davepool View Post
    I'll certainly check out the info at the end of your link....because most of that above about UEFI, PMAP, etc is a foreign language. But if it helps any, all of these installs of mine (including last night's of Ubuntu Budgie) were done with a USB on which the flashed installer was via Etcher from a download actually done on my Windows 10 desktop PC.
    If you are installing OSes, Linux, Windows or others, that language cannot be foreign. You actually need to learn about and be aware of the basic differences between different hardware and be familiar with all the other hardware the machine has. Not doing that is asking for trouble.

    And the reason why you won't find the thing you're asking, some sort of "definitive guide for partitioning", is because that thing doesn't exist. That are different OS requirements regarding both the file system in the partition(s) and about the partitioning type as well - Windows requires MBR for BIOS/Legacy and GPT for UEFI - but besides those it all boils down to requirements of specific usage scenarios and personal preference. No one can give you the answer you're looking for, you need to learn first then find your answer by yourself. Like someone said here or AskUbuntu, not sure, not long ago, if you want to understand Greek literature, you need to start by learning the Greek alphabet.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

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
  •