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  1. #1

    Best practice for setting up dual-boot Windows/Linux machine.


    I recently had a go at running Windows virtually within Linux Mint but I have decided that I just donít like running it this way.

    I have a few programs that I just cannot find decent replacements for in Linux (in particular, Mediamonkey and VideoReDo) and I have decided that I have no choice but to keep Windows 7 on my Desktop and install a dual boot setup.

    I would be grateful for some advice for partitioning a 1TB HDD for this.

    I think that I am going to need five partitions:

    1. 60GB partition for the Windows installation.
    2. An NTFS partition to share between Windows and Linux.
    3. A 20GB Root partition for Linux
    4. A 20GB Home partition for Linux
    5. A 4GB Swap partition for Linux Ė I currently have 12GB of RAM installed and from what I have read, you really do not need the same amount of Swap space as installed RAM.

    I would be really grateful for some advice on the following:

    1. Am I using the best partition order for a new installation? I seem to remember reading that a Swap partition should always be placed right at the end of the disk.
    2. Would you agree with the partitions sizes used? I need to work out in advance whether they are as the shared NTFS partition is going to be installed second and I need to calculate how big to make it.

    Thanks very much.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    There really isn't any 'best' partition order, depends on each individual need. Your scheme looks OK. Obviously install windows first. With 12GB RAM, you probably won't need swap but sometimes Linux installers complain if you don't create one so 2-4GB should be more than enough since you have a large hard drive. 10-20GB should be good for the Linux root filesystem partition unless you plan to install a lot of new software. Usually the /home partition is larger since most personal data is kept there but if you have a separate data partition, that won't be necessary. When you install Mint, install the Grub bootloader to the master boot record of the drive. It will be much easier to boot windows and Mint rather than trying to manually configure the windows bootloader to do so. You can create the shared ntfs partition from Linux and format it or format it from windows. As you will see, when in windows your Linux partitions will not be recognized or be shown as unallocated space.

  3. #3
    Hi Yancek,

    Thanks very much for that.

    Just one quick thing, what exactly do you mean by this:

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    When you install Mint, install the Grub bootloader to the master boot record of the drive.
    Sorry - am a complete beginner to Linux and still trying to learn the ropes.

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  5. #4
    Linux User IsaacKuo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA, USA
    My personal preference is to keep things simpler, with just 3 partitions:

    1) A huge NTFS partition for Windows and most data files
    2) A small root Linux partition, maybe as small as 10GB (this includes /home as well); in your case 40GB would be fine
    3) A very small Swap partition; in your case I'd go with 8GB in size. With 12GB you probably don't need it, but the one time you do need it may be worth the minimal cost in disk space. As I see it, that one time might call for more than 4GB...I mean, if it's some crazy runaway process which burns through 12GB in short order, how much is just an extra 4GB going to buy you?

    Generally, unless you have a specific reason to split things off into another partition, don't do it. The simplicity of fewer partitions means less effort on your part figuring out required sizes and worrying about how much partition space is left.

    Obviously, Windows and Linux need to be installed in different partitions (unless you use Wubi, but Wubi is a kludgy resource hog), so that's a reason for at least two partitions. And having a Swap partition is not strictly necessary--but having it may be nicer than having your system suddenly start killing resource hogs when you hit the RAM limit. So that's a good reason for three partitions.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  6. #5
    Right - I am with you.

    So just use the large NTFS partition for storage for both operating systems?

    So essentially, I just need to install Windows on a large NTFS drive which is 1TB minus 40GB for Linux minus 8GB for Swap?

  7. #6
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    Just one quick thing, what exactly do you mean by this
    When you install Mint, install the Grub bootloader to the master boot record of the drive.
    On the installation window, near the bottom you will see: Device for bootloader installation. The default is: /dev/sda. That would do it, don't change anything. That is, if you have only the one 1TB drive. You don't indicate otherwise?

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