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Partitioning for Linux

Partitioning for Linux

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Published by Rhett Ligon
guide for partitioning in linux
guide for partitioning in linux

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Published by: Rhett Ligon on Oct 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Partitioning Your Hard Drive for Linux
Partition Explanation
The hardest part for me was trying to understanding what a partition was and how I should use it.A partition is a way to divide or separated the space on your hard-drive so each part can be used tokeep different data. A partition is mostly used to separate different operating systems so you theycan run on one machine, but can be used to separate data too. All Windows computers come with a
“C:” drive and some also come with a Recovery “D:” drive.
These drives are both separatepartitions, they separate the Windows OS data from the Recovery data. These partitions can be asbig or as small as you wish, depending on how big your hard-drive is. Now that we understand a partition is just a
way to separate different data we’ll need to learn about
partition types, and formats.
 There are 3 types of partitions,
, and
partition is the only type of partition that a Windows or MAC OS can boot from. The C:drive is a primary partition.A
partition is used to store any data that you might want, it can be assigned a letter like “H:”or “J:” exactly like the C: drive has.
boot from either a logical or primary partition. An
partition is a container to hold your logical partitions. This means an extended partitionis really justa bunch of logical partitions put together.
: you must have an extended partitionbefore you can create logical partitions.
Also note:
These do not have formats, and there size is thesize of the logical partitions inside. 
space is just space that is un-partitioned, and has no data on it. To get unallocatedspace you will have to Shrink the a drive. An example is you have a 150GB C: that you shrink to100GB, you're then left with 50GB unallocated space.
No data is lost when shrinking.
Also note:
A single hard-drive may only contain 4 primary partitions
3 primary and 1 extendedpartition, with as many logical partitions inside as you want.
A hard-
drive can have quite a few different formats, but we’ll only cover a few hear.
The format will determine how the hard-drive handlesand stores data.
It’s hard to explain each format without getting super technical so I’ll just include a link to its wiki so you can go as in
-depthas you want.
 is the default Windows partition format.
 is the newest Linux partition format. 
 a partition in this format will relieve your RAM when running Linux.(Link on this is a prettyeasy read and good info) 
Before we start!
 It is advised that you have a backup disk of your OS in case it becomes corrupt(Not likely). 
 You need to back up your computer! Although in most cases everything goes fine, there are somerare occasions when you could lose your data.
Additionally it would be good to also go through and delete any un-needed files to free up space andmake partitioning faster.
 Next you
to defrag your computer, it will help cut down the risk of data loss when youpartition. You can either use the default Windows defragmenter or download one online. (I
personally use “Auslogic”
CNET Download.com which seems to be faster IMO)Alright, now that you have your data on an external hard-
drive or disk we’ll need a program to
partition our hard drive for us. We can use the default windows program which can be found under
“Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management”.
 Or you can download a partitioning program online.
I will be using
for this tutorial; it is free and fairly well know/respected. I'll also assume you have a Live CD of the Linux distro you want to use so you can use itspartitioning tool.
I’ll be using the GParted Linux
Mint partitioning tool, not sure if it comes with otherdistros or not. 
Planning Your Partitions
 Now comes the fun part! Planning how you want to partition your hard-drive. This will heavilydepend on what you plan to do but I will throw in a few things to consider and how I did mypartitioning. Consider: 
Try not to over size your partitions. 
You can only have 4 primary
3 primary and 1 extendedpartition per hard-drive. 
Consider a separate partition for your personal documents anddata. I decided I wanted one partition solely for running Vista, another for Linux, and one more for mydocuments and files. I set up my current hard-
drive like this (I’m dual booting Linux Mint).
 [TABLE="width: 712"][TR][TD="width: 128"]
Partition #
[/TD][TD="width: 85"]
[/TD][TD="width: 118"]
[/TD][TD="width: 112"]
[/TD][TD="width: 199"]
[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]1
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Primary)[/TD][TD="width: 118"]NTFS[/TD][TD="width: 112"]130GB[/TD][TD="width: 199"]
“C:”, Windows Vista Files
[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]2
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Primary)[/TD]
[TD="width: 118"]NTFS[/TD][TD="width: 112"]15.8GB[/TD][TD="width: 199"]
“D:”, Recovery
[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]3
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Primary)[/TD][TD="width: 118"]Ext4[/TD][TD="width: 112"]30GB[/TD][TD="width: 199"]My Linux Mint partition[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]4
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Extended)[/TD][TD="width: 118"]N/A[/TD][TD="width: 112"]N/A[/TD][TD="width: 199"]To hold my logical partitions[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]5
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Logical)[/TD][TD="width: 118"]SWAP[/TD][TD="width: 112"]5GB[/TD][TD="width: 199"]My Linux SWAP partition[/TD][/TR][TR][TD="width: 128"]6
[/TD][TD="width: 85"](Logical)[/TD][TD="width: 118"]NTFS[/TD][TD="width: 112"]120GB[/TD][TD="width: 199"]Partition for my documents[/TD][/TR][/TABLE]As you see I keep 130GB for Vista which is more than plenty for updates and patches. 30GB forLinux Mint, and a 5GB SWAP. I also made a 120GB NTFS logical partition for my documents.The reason I keep my data on another partition is so that if Vista or Mint crashes or needs updatedall I need to do is swipe the partition and re-install, while all my data is safe on another partition.I chose NTFS format but you can also choose ext2/ext3. It just depends on if you want to mount aNTFS partition in Linux to gain read/write or use a program in Windows to gain read/write toext2/ext3. I will NOT be going over mounting in this tutorial. Some users also like to make logical partitions for different parts of Linux. Say a small partition for
the /boot and another for the /home etc.…
So they can replace certain parts of the OS withoutmessing up the rest. Click here for more information(2
post down). Alright now I suggest you get a piece of paper and a pen and write down what OSs and documentsyou plan to have on your computer and find the best setup for you.
Just remember there isn’t a
wrong way to partition nor is there a default one size fits all partition either. Everybody partitions fora different reason, and with different logic. 

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