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How would you recommend partitioning a hard drive, if you thought you might want to change distros someday, but didn't want to lose the hard work you'd put into your ...
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  1. #1
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    Partition advice, anticipating swapping out OSs.


    How would you recommend partitioning a hard drive, if you thought you might want to change distros someday, but didn't want to lose the hard work you'd put into your current one?

    Having played for a while with Debian, Kubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora, I may be ready to wipe my hard drive clean and settle for now on MEPIS. But what if I change my mind later? What if MEPIS starts cranking out dog-turd distros, or stop cranking them out entirely? What if I become a Slackware nerd? I'll have put some labor into downloading software, adding users and groups, and tinkering with preferences -- and I don't want that all to disappear just because I thought using Gentoo would make me more of a man.

    Can folks suggest some partitioning schemes? I'm running a 512-MB RAM, 80-GB HD, desktop-dedicated, non-server machine.

    --Paul

  2. #2
    oz
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    I generally use the same partitions for any distro I install. It's simply a matter of installing the new distro right over the old distro. The sizes and filesystems of all partitions are really a matter of personal choice.

    You'd probably be best off to use an imaging tool such as Ghost 4 Linux, Clonezilla, or PartImage to make images of your installation partitions. Then you can install any distro you want over your current install, and if you decide you don't like the new distro, you restore your saved partition images. That's what I do and it takes about 4 minutes to restore the distros I've installed and fully tweaked in the past.
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer RobinVossen's Avatar
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    Well on my own PC I partiton like this:
    SWAP x2 RAM
    /boot 32 ~ 50 mb
    / The Rest

    on a Server I do it diffrent

    SWAP x2 RAM
    /boot 100 MB
    / 30%
    /home 60%

    Well if you are paraniod of losing files you should do it like this
    /boot 100MB
    SWAP 1.5 times RAM
    / 30%
    /home 30%
    /root 20%
    /var 20%

    Just how you like it, Play with it for a while.
    You find what you like..
    I forexample hate the LVM ideas..
    New Users, please read this..
    Google first, then ask..

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  5. #4
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    Where's user-installed software stored?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobinVossen View Post
    Well on my own PC I partiton like this:
    SWAP x2 RAM
    /boot 32 ~ 50 mb
    / The Rest

    ...

    Well if you are paraniod of losing files you should do it like this
    /boot 100MB
    SWAP 1.5 times RAM
    / 30%
    /home 30%
    /root 20%
    /var 20%
    I like to think I'm not paranoid...
    It's not about the fear of crash or data corruption. It's just about the labor involved in re-installing any programs.

    What I don't understand about your first suggestion (swap, /boot, and /) -- or even about the idea (seen elsewhere) of using swap, /home, and / -- is: when I install new software (e.g., Opera, Google Earth, or w3c's Amaya), where is the program itself kept? Surely not /home?

    May I use a Windows analogy? In Windows, there's a "Documents and Settings" folder that seems analogous to /home. There's also a "Program Files" folder with the .exe, .dll, and other program files not related to a specific user. That's what I want to avoid losing if I decide to change distros.

    Is there a single place in the filesystem standard where user-installed software is kept? If not, in which places is stored? If so, what else is store there? anything distro-specific that would start making my new Fedora OS start behaving like my old MEPIS OS?

    Thanks kindly for your suggestions. Ozar, I like your imaging tool idea: it reminds me always to back things up, a habit I'm not in.

    (I'd be more inclined to play around with different partitioning schemes if it were only my computer. As is, I'm taking my family along for the ride -- so I hope to get it not-too-wrong the first time.

    --Paul

  6. #5
    oz
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    I generally use a very simple partitioning scheme such as this for all my distros:

    Code:
    / (about 8 to 12 GB, ext3)
    swap (about 512 MB)
    /home (about 8 to 12 GB, ext3)
    I rarely bother with creating a separate /boot partition.
    oz

  7. #6
    Linux Engineer Freston's Avatar
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    My system:
    /dev/hda1 5GB /
    /dev/hda4 5GB /other
    /dev/hda3 36GB /home
    /dev/hda5 500MB /swap


    My hda1 and hda4 are a little on the small side. 8GB would have been better. Also I do regret not making a separate /boot partition. Still, this setup allows me to dual boot two Linux distro's. So I can check new stuff out and still keep working.

    Obviously, when I boot the other OS, the schema would look like this:

    /dev/hda1 5GB /other
    /dev/hda4 5GB /
    /dev/hda3 36GB /home
    /dev/hda5 500MB /swap
    Can't tell an OS by it's GUI

  8. #7
    Linux Engineer RobinVossen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Adasiak View Post
    May I use a Windows analogy? In Windows, there's a "Documents and Settings" folder that seems analogous to /home. There's also a "Program Files" folder with the .exe, .dll, and other program files not related to a specific user. That's what I want to avoid losing if I decide to change distros.
    --Paul
    Ok, well you have /bin that if the binairy folder from Linux. the main so called "exes" are in there. Like ls and cd and su.. And even bash.. Well you can see that as the /windows/system32 folder.
    You also have /tmp thats the temp folder. Most the Programs are installed in /usr/bin
    Well, you might want to look into this or this

    I hope that helps.
    Play with it a bit, and then you find what you like.
    For example Ozar doesnt make a /boot.
    I do and I unmount it when the system is mounted.
    Since I am paranoid that something is going to happen if I dont..
    New Users, please read this..
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