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  1. #1

    Partitioning for triple-booting

    I am planning to rework my big Dell laptop from a boring old Windows XP machine into a triple-boot machine, and am seeking counsel on the partitioning issue. My intent is to install Ubuntu as my main Linux environment, and then to embark on a Linux From Scratch project to see what I can learn there. While my hard disk is being de-fragged, I'm trying to get a solid handle on how the drive should be partitioned. Here's what makes sense right now:

        Windows NTFS  150 GB  XP
        Linux   ext3   20 GB  Ubuntu
        Linux   ext3   20 GB  LFS
        Linux   swap    4 GB  2x system RAM of 3.25 GB
        Shared  FAT32 100 GB
    That looked okay until I saw mention of a 4-partition limit. So my questions are: is the 4-partition limit still valid? If so, is it possible to use a single Linux partition and then to somehow subdivide it to have two environments on it?
    Last edited by radlyeel; 12-01-2010 at 09:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    the hills
    The 4 partition limit is only for primary
    partitions. Create an extended partition, and as
    many logical partitions as you like.

  3. #3
    So I could put Windows and Shared on two primaries, and all the Linux stuff on the extended partition, and then boot into any of the three? That would be perfect.

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    the hills
    Yes, Windows prefers to be on the first primary,
    at least that's what people have said about older versions.
    Linux can go anywhere.

  6. #5
    Linux swap 4 GB
    is overkill for
    RAM of 3.25 GB
    Unless you plan to do some heavy compiling. 1 Gig of swap would be enough.
    I refuse to let fear and fear of others rule my life. It puts my humanity at risk.
    Accepting Death is the only way to stay alive.

  7. #6
    Thanks for the feedback. I'd always been told that 2x RAM was a good guideline. And since the same swap space will be used for everything I do on Ubuntu, including some 3D game development, giving up an extra 1% of my disk space seems like a small price to pay.

  8. #7
    I'd always been told that 2x RAM was a good guideline.
    It is but only under two circumstances: you have significantly less than 4 GB of RAM and you use a source based distribution or applications which consume a lot of memory. So e.g. for Gentoo 2x RAM would be good in many cases but for Ubuntu you don't need your RAM size twice.
    Also when you have enough RAM you don't need so much Swap space. My Computer has 8GB and I run Gentoo. In 90% of the time no Swap is used at all. Only when I do some really heavy compiling some bytes may be in use but the available Swap I have here is still oversized and of course it's no twice my RAM.
    Refining Linux Advent calendar: 24 Outstanding ZSH Gems

  9. #8
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Afaik, swap is used for suspend-to-disk.
    On a desktop/laptop you need at least as much swap as you have ram to use that feature.
    From that perspective 4GByte swap for 3,25GByte ram sounds about right.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

  10. #9
    Not necessarily. You can also use Tux-on-Ice for hibernation/suspend-to-disk which let's you use a swap file instead of a partition to store the RAM contents.
    Refining Linux Advent calendar: 24 Outstanding ZSH Gems

  11. #10
    Just Joined! bonesTdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I am working on something similar - triple booting (or more if possible) my old machine. My partitions are set, but my problem has been Grub. It only wants to allow me to boot to two different OSs. Three becomes a problem. I have been using Super Grub Disk to manage my settings but don't really understand what it is doing.

    Any advice? I think my Grub file is located on my main (Win XP) partition, but I don't know what I am looking for or what to do when I find it.

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