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Thread: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

  1. #1
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    Question Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Hi everyone

    I am planning to clean install Ubuntu on a new laptop with 512gb SSD & 16gb RAM.

    Before doing that, I would like to understand the optimum partitioning.

    Normal Installation -> Erase disk and instal Ubuntu
    • Is above the best option? (I understand that it is the easiest option)
    • What would be the outcome partition setup?


    Normal Installation -> Something else
    • What would be the optimum partition setup?


    Thank you for the help
    Last edited by erosman; May 31st, 2021 at 07:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    Hi everyone

    I am planning to clean install Ubuntu on a new laptop with 512gb SSD & 16gb RAM.

    Before doing that, I would like to understand the optimum partitioning.

    Normal Installation -> Erase disk and instal Ubuntu
    • Is above the best option? (I understand that it is the easiest option)
    • What would be the outcome partition setup?
    This will create a small EFI partition and a big ext4 partition for everything else, assuming you install in UEFI mode (as you should on a new laptop). If you want an encrypted system, it will also create a /boot partition. I wouldn't call it optimum, but it's a good guess when the installer doesn't know how you want to use your system.
    Normal Installation -> Something else
    • What would be the optimum partition setup?


    Thank you for the help
    Depends on how you want to use it. Some considerations:
    How large do you want your root partition to be? I suggest around 30GB if you keep your documents somewhere else, more if you keep them in your root partition.
    Do you want to keep space free for a second operating system, so you can dual boot?
    Do you want a separate /home partition? This is where all your documents and settings go, so having it separate can make reinstalling easier.
    Do you want a separate data partition instead of a /home partition? Simple data partitions can be shared between different Linux systems, a /home partition can't.
    Do you want a swap partition or a swap file?
    Any other partitions you want for special reasons?

  3. #3
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    ... assuming you install in UEFI mode (as you should on a new laptop). If you want an encrypted system,....
    My computing doesn't require file encryption. The normal login would be fine which I might even set to auto-login as I work at home 99% of the time.


    How large do you want your root partition to be? I suggest around 30GB if you keep your documents somewhere else, more if you keep them in your root partition.
    I would like to keep my docs separate.
    Some video guides suggest 40gb or 50gb for root `/` which is confusing.

    Do you want to keep space free for a second operating system, so you can dual boot?
    Should I?
    I am moving from Windows so I am not sure.
    Last time I tried Linux was 20+ years ago (Slackware, Gentoo, Debian) as a dual boot with Windows but it was not easy those days and kernel panic caused me to leave it.
    I am planing to get a laptop without an OS.
    It is likely that I would need to run a Windows application few times a year (not available for Linux) for a very short time (fill out forms to submit).
    Would an emulator or Wine do the job???

    Do you want a separate /home partition? This is where all your documents and settings go, so having it separate can make reinstalling easier.
    Indeed, that would be my choice. How large should it be?

    Do you want a separate data partition instead of a /home partition? Simple data partitions can be shared between different Linux systems, a /home partition can't.
    Do you mean different systems running on the same machine or different machines?
    I only use one laptop. On the other hand, in case of disaster, taking out the SSD and being able to read my documents would be advantageous.
    I habitually backup files to external drives and prefer to keep the HD as empty as possible. My current laptop has 750gb HD and out of the 700gb usable space, 540gb is free.

    Do you want a swap partition or a swap file?
    Some installation guides include one and some don't and I dont know what is best.

    Any other partitions you want for special reasons?
    Nothing comes to mind.

    Basically, I use a single laptop (with extra monitor) for normal computing plus programming (JavaScript). I don't play games.

  4. #4
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Thread moved to Installation & Upgrades for a better fit.

  5. #5
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    It is likely that I would need to run a Windows application few times a year (not available for Linux) for a very short time (fill out forms to submit).
    Would an emulator or Wine do the job???
    If you have the install disc for that Windows application Wine might be useful. Remember, Microsoft does not give any assistance to the Wine Developers. Nothing is guaranteed.

    https://appdb.winehq.org/

    https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManag...Ascending=true

    Before you ditch Windows completely make sure that you can do all the important stuff that you want to do with Linux applications or in Linux (through Wine) or by some alternative method.

    Regards
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  6. #6
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    A 30 GB / partition makes a lot of sense.It isolates the OS from your user files, making upgrading MUCH easier.
    Do you need Hibernate? If yes, you'll need a swap partition that's a bit larger than your RAM (eg, 17 GB).
    The rest you can partition according to your user data needs (between users, or a separate video partition, or...)

  7. #7
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Quote Originally Posted by erosman View Post
    Some video guides suggest 40gb or 50gb for root `/` which is confusing.
    I currently use a 32GB root partition, of which I use only 9.2GB for Xubuntu 20.10. I've got a separate /home partition. Wasting 20GB is no problem on a 320GB hard drive. Yes, it's quite old by now.
    Should I?
    I am moving from Windows so I am not sure.
    People making a sudden switch to Linux often get disappointed. Wine may work, but that's not guaranteed. There are also virtual machines or you could keep an old spare computer running Windows. Dual booting can also refer to installing two Linux systems on one computer. Many people do that, for fun, to experiment or to have a spare system if one breaks.
    Indeed, that would be my choice. How large should it be?
    A /home partition is usually just all space that you don't need for something else. I don't know the rate at which you collect large files.
    Do you mean different systems running on the same machine or different machines?
    A simple data partition can be shared among multiple Linux systems installed on the same computer, dual booting. A /home partition can't. At least, not when you use the same user ID on both systems. This is because different Linux distros or versions will create incompatible config files with the same same.
    Some installation guides include one and some don't and I don't know what is best.
    A swap file is nowadays the default on Ubuntu. It's easier to resize or move. A swap partition can be used to hibernate. I don't think hibernation works with a swap file, but I'm not entirely sure. And a swap partition can be shared by multiple Linux systems dual booting on one computer. There may be a small difference in speed, but it's not very likely you'll actually use swap, so it doesn't really matter.

  8. #8
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Storing documents

    Is it a good idea to create an NTFS partition and store documents there so that in case of need, it would be accessible by both Linux and Windows OS?
    Would it affect the performance to read/write to NTFS?

  9. #9
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Only use NTFS partition if you have Windows. And make sure Windows fast start up is off, Windows may turn it back on with updates & then Linux NTFS driver cannot access it. You need Windows to run chkdsk or defrag ont NTFS partitions periodically, and you cannot do that from Linux.

    Fast Start up off (always on hibernation), note that Windows turns this back on with updates, SHIFT + Shut down button
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...2#post13488472
    http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4...dows-10-a.html
    http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2...dows-10-a.html

    I find my own optimal partitioning obsolete after a few years. But I do not trust drives for much over 3 years as major working drive, so usually get a new drive and reallocated old drive to backup or misc use.

    I suggest new users use default of / and if UEFI with gpt partitioning (which most systems are), an ESP - efi system partition.
    Anything beyond default requires Something Else install option.

    Bit more advanced, better for larger total Linux partitions sizes, and often suggested is a separate /home partition and smaller / (root) partition. I use about 30GB for / partition and have about 9GB used with Kubuntu. But I include /home in /, and remove all snaps which now make root use larger. I put all data & some hidden folders like Firefox & Thunderbird profiles into data partition(s). About to convert to two or more data partitions. One with more unused space for data that varies a lot and others for some data I know will not change a lot.

    An advantage of /home over data is that it then automatically adds mount of partition into fstab with correct ownership & permissions. If you create your own data partition you have to manually do all that and need to have some understanding of how much data you have or want to keep. So /home better for newer users, but those somewhat familiar with Linux.
    Last edited by oldfred; June 1st, 2021 at 06:18 PM.
    UEFI boot install & repair info - Regularly Updated :
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  10. #10
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    Re: Clean Install & Optimum Partitioning

    Only use ntfs on the internal hard drive of your computer if it has Windows installed. Ubuntu can read and write ntfs, but not repair or defrag. If your system gets broken and can no longer boot, you can use a live disk to access the hard drive. If the computer is completely broken, you can take the hard drive out, connect it to a different computer (even a Windows computer) and use a Linux live disk to access it. There should be no need to access the hard drive in an emergency from Windows. So keep that disk you use to install Ubuntu. It is a great tool to have when you break the system.

    Of course, for an external drive that you may want to use on Windows too, or if you install Windows alongside Ubuntu on the same computer, ntfs partitions make sense.

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