Find the answer to your Linux question:
Results 1 to 4 of 4
Enjoy an ad free experience by logging in. Not a member yet? Register.
  1. #1

    (Re)partitioning advice needed

    It started out with a missing swap partition, which I've come to understand that I dearly need/want. I was never asked/urged to make one when I installed, but I've experienced so many freezes, especially when using gimp and the likes (I tend to keep many programs running at the same time), that I think I need one, even though I have 512Mb RAM, which I've frequently seen being said to be enough.
    So I fired up Qtparted from a liveCD and tried to shrink one of the existing partitions to make room for a 512Mb swap partition, but nothing worked. Here's my (current) partition table, from fdisk:

    Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/hda1   *           1        2295    18434556    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/hda2            2698        3082     3092512+   b  W95 FAT32
    /dev/hda3            3083        3973     7156957+  83  Linux
    /dev/hda4            3974        4864     7156957+  83  Linux
    This is after an attempt to shrink the NTFS partition to make room for a new one, which resulted in the following table, from cfdisk:

                                     cfdisk 2.12p
                                  Disk Drive: /dev/hda
                            Size: 40007761920 bytes, 40.0 GB
                  Heads: 255   Sectors per Track: 63   Cylinders: 4864
        Name        Flags      Part Type  FS Type          [Label]        Size (MB)
        hda1        Boot        Primary   NTFS             []              18877.02
                                          Unusable                          3306.57
        hda2                    Primary   W95 FAT32                         3166.74
        hda3                    Primary   Linux ext3                        7328.73
        hda4                    Primary   Linux ext3                        7328.73
    Three Gb of unusable space -- that hurts...
    I've now found out that the reason I can't make a swap partition, ot use those 3 Gb, is that all my partitions are primary, and that there is only room for four, so my only option is to repartition completely. I want to take the opportunity to remake my partitions from scratch. This is what I want:

    a) shrink hda1 to the minimum, i.e. the OS and the program files, and move all the user files to the fat32-partition (hda2). This should leave this partition with c. 12 Gb
    b) grow hda2 to make room for all the files that I want to use under both OSs: c. 9 Gb.
    c) make a swap partition - 0.5 Gb should be enough, am I right?
    d) the two linux partitions - hda3=/ and hda4=/home - could stay the way they are, I guess.
    d) make a new partition for /usr. I've read that that's a good option, because I will then not have to reinstall all my software if/when I upgrade the OS, or install a different distro.

    so here are my questions:

    1. General question: is there a way for me to clean up this mess without reformatting or deleting a lot of partitions...?
    2. Is it possible to move the existing partitions and make use of the currently unusable space by adding it to an existing partition (other than hda1, from which it was originally taken?)
    3. Is it possible to turn one of the existing linux-partitions into an extended partition without deleting it first? I.e., is there a command or something whereby I can call, say, hda4 an extended partition, and then add a logical partition under it?
    4. The swap partition, should it be a primary partition, or does that not matter?
    5. Is my suggested partition scheme sensible? I'm a software junkie, so I want the projected /usr partition to be quite big. This probably means that the root partition can shrink to - what? 3 Gb?
    6. I also read somewhere that there were some files under /usr which were needed at bootup, when only / is mounted, so that I perhaps shouldn't place the entire /usr directory on a separate partition - is this correct? In which case I could place the /usr/share and /usr/local in a separate partition and mount them from there? Should they also have each their partitions, or doesn't that matter?
    7. While I'm at it, are there other parts of the file system which could use their own partitions?

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Chicago (USA)
    1. I doubt it.
    2. Changing the start locations of partitions other than swap is dangerous, so no.
    3. I doubt it.
    4. It doesn't matter if any partition is primary or logical, except mabye for Windows (Ionno about that, but you know how bad it is).
    5. Don't make a /usr, make a /usr/local. You'll probably run into strange things with different versions between distros with /usr. You should install things that didn't come with your distro to /usr/local (for a tarball made with GNU Autotools, ./configure --prefix=/usr/local will do that). That way distros won't use that space, so there shouldn't be any problems (except you screwing it up and power failures).
    6. see 5
    7. /boot should be small (<1GB) and not have a journaling filesystem (such as ext2, a journal would be a waste of space). This saves troubles with bootloaders.

    I've a 1GB swap partition, but it hardly gets used with .5GB of RAM, even when playing Nexuiz, so .5GB should be enough.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your replies. The "I doubt it"s for 1. and 3. were what I feared...
    5. Is there, then, a way to let Synaptic (I'm on Mepis) know that, and install the packages to /usr/local instead of the default location (usually /usr/share, I guess)? Anyway, good advice.
    7. I'm dual-booting, so the bootable partition is hda1, the ntfs partition.

    Here's what I'm thinking I might do - I welcome comments:
    1. Move all files on the fat32 partition to the ntfs partition while logged in on Windows.
    2. Likewise, move all the files in the /home partition (hda4) to the root partition (hda3) while booting from a live CD (or should I make a tar-file out of it? I've had problems with permissions and such before, which I don't want to repeat - but I guess I can copy with -r, -p and -m set, to retain permissions and dates, correct?
    3. Delete these two partitions, and make a new extended partition, with logical partitions for /usr/local, the original ones, and a swap partition.
    4. The only problem then is hda3, which, unless I do the same with it as with the others, will be lying there, in the middle of the usable area, forcing me to make separate partitions on each side, and forcing their sizes. It's acceptable, I guess, but annoying nonetheless, if I come that far with setting things right, but not all the way.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Another option may be to add a swap file instead of a swap partition. Check this link.
    //got nothin'
    ///this use to look better

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts