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I have a Laptop with 1TB hard disk space. I can allocate 100GB for Ubuntu. Currently there is only Windows 7 installed. I am new to Ubuntu & am confused by terms like mount point, root partition, swap partition, etc. The doc over here gives some details, but I dont know what they mean. For installing Ubuntu I have shrunk 100GB from a drive & now that space is unallocated. So what should I do now? In how many partitions should I divide that space & what conventions should be followed. Should I do this in the Ubuntu installer or should I do all this before installing Ubuntu? Please I dont understand the terminologies used on that doc so please tell me in simple language. Thank You.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you are new to Ubuntu - don't bother. Just leave some unallocated, unpartitioned space to the Ubuntu, and installer will ask what you want to achieve:

enter image description here enter image description here

Advanced partitioning is an option only if you know what you're doing. For example, having or not having swap partition, isolating home partition, can give some benefits, but for Linux newbies this is totally useless :)

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Actually, for Linux newbies I would argue that a separate /home partition is strongly recommended. It's very simple to set up (you create another partition and tell the installer to use /home for its mount point) and it can save a lot of work if you screw up when playing around with settings. With a separate home partition, if you break something and you don't know how to fix it - just reinstall from scratch, without formatting /home. All your personal stuff is still there. – Tomas Lycken Apr 11 '13 at 13:11
+1 with @TomasLycken's caveat. Separate /home (and backups) is great for experimenting. – l0b0 Apr 11 '13 at 14:55
@TomasLycken I have 100GB unallocated space. So when installing Ubuntu is there an option to create that /home partition & configure it? I dont want to mess up with my hard drive hence asking the details beforehand. If possible can you post some pictures or atleast some article on this topic. I hope you can understand. Thank You. – Cool_Coder Apr 12 '13 at 5:51
@Cool_Coder, just try to install Ubuntu. Manual partitioning is not to crazy to setup. Create / ext4 partition with 20-30GB of space, swap partition that is double size of your RAM, and the rest give to /home, which is also ext4 partition. – Andrejs Cainikovs Apr 12 '13 at 7:52

Two partitions are enough for the installation, one will be the / partition which will also be the mounting point and the second will be a small partition the swap.

The mounting point / is to Ubuntu and rest similar operating systems like the C:\ disk for Windows, that is all system files go there. for further details of partitioning you can check dual boot partitions

The swap is used when the physical memory of the system (RAM) is full. There are further technical explanations for the swap space but i think they will not help you at the current task.

Usually if there is enough disk space, the size of the swap partition is recommended to be equal to the size of the RAM, i.e for a system with 1 GB RAM, 1 GB of swap is ok. For details about swap you can check the swap faq

lastly one good guide with screenshots can be found here: How to install Windows 7 and Ubuntu side by side which claims to be up to date with Windows 8.

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so is swap something similar to paging in Windows? Also to create such a drive is there option in the Advanced Partition settings while installing Ubuntu? – Cool_Coder Apr 12 '13 at 5:40
I wish I could +100 your answer! thanks a lot for the last link :) – Cool_Coder Apr 12 '13 at 5:54
Yes, you can create swap partition manually during installation. – Andrejs Cainikovs Apr 12 '13 at 7:49

So what should I do now?

Stick a live cd in your cd player and reboot. Let it boot the cd and you will get a prompt asking to install Ubuntu.

In how many partitions should I divide that space & what conventions should be followed. Should I do this in the Ubuntu installer or should I do all this before installing Ubuntu?

  • Use the installer, and when it comes to partitioning choose the bottom one (the image will look different when you have another OS but it will still be the bottom one):

enter image description here

  • You need at least 1 partition and it has to be named /. Format it as ext4. 20 or 25Gb is more than enough if you use another partition for home and/or data.
  • You can also create a swap. Between 2 and 4 Gb is enough for newer system.
  • You can create other partitions for /home or /boot but that is not required. Format it as ext4

Lots of people have lots of ideas when it comes to partitioning.

The exact steps are shown in this (official) how to:

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@user68186 correct. I corrected that :) – Rinzwind Apr 11 '13 at 13:01

I use three partitions for linux, system (/), home(/home) and swap using ext4, if you won't install many programs maybe you can give 20GB to System (/), now we need to create a extended partition where we will two partitions, after, check your RAM, example, my RAM y 4GB then I give 8GB to SWAP, the next step, is create the partition for home(/home), this is using the space unallocated in the extended partition. You can see this diagram to understand:

**Partitions LINUX**

    -> System (mount point / ) [20GB]
    -> Extended Partition [80GB]
        -> Swap [4GB RAM x 2 = 8GB]
        -> Home (mount point /home ) [72GB]

This is only example to ilustrate.

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