Partitioning

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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.

-Wikipedia:Disk partitioning

Partitioning tools

To control the actual partition scheme type:

# fdisk -l
  • fdisk - Terminal partitioning toolsincluded in Linux. Available in the package util-linux.
  • cfdisk - A terminal partitioning tool written with ncurse libraries. Available in the package util-linux.
  • GNU Parted - It allows to resize or to copy a partition (fdisk and cfdisk don't have this feature)
  • Partitionmanager - Graphical tool written in QT.
  • QtParted - Similar to Partitionmanager, available in AUR.
  • GParted - Graphical tool written in GTK.

File system

Wikipedia:File system

A file system (or filesystem) is a means to organize data expected to be retained after a program terminates by providing procedures to store, retrieve and update data, as well as manage the available space on the device(s) which contain it. A file system organizes data in an efficient manner and is tuned to the specific characteristics of the device. The most commons are:

  • NTFS - File system used by windows. Mountable with many utilities (e.g. NTFS-3G )
  • FAT32 - File system used to store files, used by most USB or removable Devices. Mountable with mount or other utilities (e.g Thunar#Thunar_Volume_Manager )
  • ext2/ext3/ext4 - File system used for GNU/Unix partitions.

Partitions in a GNU/Unix system

The recommended partitions are 4:

  • / (root)
  • /home
  • /boot
  • swap

But you can add also:

  • /usr
  • /var


/ (root)

The / partition or root partition is necessary and it is the most important. The other partitions can be replaced by it, even thought have different partitions is recommended.

/home

The /home partition stores, in different folders, personal files. Very useful for backup, and it can be shared with other Linux distro (Not recommended becuase of possible incompatibilies.

/boot

The /boot partiton is only required during the boot, it stores files of the Boot Manager (as Grub. Journaling is not required, and a separate {{ic|/boot} partition is needed if installing a software RAID0(stripe) system.

Swap

The swap paertition provides memory that can be used as virtual RAM. It's recommended for PCs with 1Gb or less of physical RAM.

/usr

The /usr partition stores file that are shared by all users. A /usr partition is very useful because it can be shared with others Linux OS.

/var

The /var partition stores cache and log files. It is frequently read or written.


Partitioning during installation

The partitiong process is clearly explained here: Beginners' Guide#Prepare hard drive.

That is only a short summary. The available options are:

  1. Auto-Prepare
  2. Manually Partition Hard Drives
  3. Manually Configure block devices, filesystems and mountpoints
  4. Rollback last filesystem changes

Auto-Prepare

The Auto-Prepare options formats the entire Hard Disk and divides it into 4 partitions: -/boot (ext2 file system) with a size of 100Mb (editable) -Swap with a size of 256Mb (editable) -/home -/

For /home and / partitions there are a lot of available files system (the same for both). A ext3 or ext4 file system is recommended and at least a size of 5Gb for the / partition.

N.B Using the "Auto-Prepare" option all files on the Hard disk will be deleted.

Manually Partition Hard Drives

With this option the user can edit the partitions with the cfdisk tool. This option can be done before the installation, using other tools.

Manually Configure block devices, filesystems and mountpoints

With this option the user can manage the partition, setting file system and, overall, the role of each partition (/, /home, /boot, Swap, /var or /usr).