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Disk partitioning is the act of dividing a hard disk drive into multiple virtual hard disk drives, referred to as partitions, to treat one physical disk drive as if it were multiple disks.
Partitioning a hard drive allows one to logically divide the available space into sections that can be accessed independently of one another. Partition information is stored within a hard drive's Master Boot Record.
An entire hard drive may be allocated to a single partition, or one may divide the available storage space amongst multiple partitions. A number of scenarios require creation multiple partitions: dual- or multi-booting, for example, or maintaining a swap partition. In other cases, partitioning is used as a means of logically separating data, such as creating separate partitions for audio and video files. Common partitioning schemes are discussed in detail below.
Users may create up to four primary partitions per hard drive. If additional partitions are required, a single extended partition can be created instead (that is, up to three primary partitions and one extended partition). An extended partition can be further divided into an unlimited number of logical partitions.
One partition holds everything.
- Only needed during boot and kernel upgrades (when regenerating the initial ramdisk)
- Not required for normal system operation
- Journaled filesystem not required
- Needed if installing a software RAID0(stripe) system.
- Facilitates backups and multi-booting
- /home often requires the most disk space (for desktop users) and may need to be expanded at a later date
- Frequently read/written (logs, cache)
- Avoid running out of disk space due to flunky logs, etc.
- Can be shared between multiple systems
- Partition sizes
- File systems
Creating new partitions
Any of the partitioning tools can be used to create new partitions.
- fdisk & cfdisk
- GNU Parted
- QtParted & GParted