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I'm about to install Ubuntu 13.04 on my computer and I'm wondering how big each partition should be. I read that the swap area should be twice the size of your install RAM and I figured /home should take the space you have left, but how big should / be?

Further to this, I have two 500GB hard drives and want both of them to be available when I use the computer. Should I put / and swap on one drive while letting /home be on the other or should I put all partitions on one drive? If putting all partitions on one drive is the best option, what file-system should the other drive use?

Oh and just to clarify: I don't want to dual boot — just want the whole system to run Ubuntu.

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marked as duplicate by Braiam, Thomas Ward, Alaa Ali, Kevin Bowen, Warren Hill Sep 19 '13 at 5:57

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

The swap being twice your ram rule is from the days of 4-32 MB of ram. If you have at least 1 GB of ram, 1x swap is more than enough. Most people recommend not bothering with swap at all if you have at least 4 GB of ram, at least if you don't intend to hibernate. The minimum required size for / is 6 GB. 10 gives a little breathing room to install a few applications, but 20 would be better. There also is little reason to bother keeping / and /home separate, so I suggest just sticking with one large partition and the default ext4 filesystem.

If you have two identical drives, you may want to use the alternate installer and create a raid0 ( stripe ) array to use them both and get better performance.

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I disagree about not having a seperate home partition. If you happen to distro hop at all it makes it much easier. – Scott Goodgame Sep 17 '13 at 20:45
Thanks for the response! Using an alternate installer sounds complicated so I'm just going to assign 20GB to / and the rest of the drive to /home but then I have a drive of 500BG free and since I can't assign /home to that one too, which mount point should I give it? – user193787 Sep 17 '13 at 21:07
You can always mount the second hdd manually at a point inside your home folder, like ~/second_hdd, or whatever makes sense to you. – hmayag Sep 17 '13 at 21:53
@user193787, it isn't that complicated so you may as well give it a try and you can always fall back to using the drives separately instead. If nothing else it will be a learning experience. – psusi Sep 17 '13 at 22:24

You can custom partition by assigning the entire "/home" to the second HDD and "/" on the first HDD. Don't worry about SWAP unless your RAM is less than a Gig. File system should all be ext4.

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Given the setup with two 500GB hard disks, I recommend you look into Logical Volume Management (LVM). This adds to the complexity of setup, and is something new to learn, but it simplifies matters in the long run. With LVM, you add one or more partitions or disks (called physical volumes in this system) to a volume group, from which you allocate logical volumes, which hold filesystems in much the way that partitions do in simpler configurations. The advantage is that logical volumes are treated like files in a filesystem, so they can be manipulated much more flexibly than can partitions. In your case, a big point is that a logical volume can be bigger than either of your disks. In your current setup, if you use regular partitions, you'll need to split your user space across two disks. Ubuntu itself doesn't need even 1/10th the capacity of one of your disks -- perhaps 30GB for Ubuntu's root (/) plus a generous swap partition. That leaves about 470GB on one disk and the entirety of the second disk free. In a conventional partitioning system, that means two mount points (/home and somewhere else), and you'll need to manually manage what files goes where. With LVM, though, a logical volume can span multiple hard disks, so you can have a 970GB /home and not worry about filling up your main /home directory vs. wherever you mount your additional space.

LVM also simplifies adding space. If you add a third disk, you can add it to the volume group and then extend any or all of your logical volumes to make use of that new space. LVM obviates the need to move partitions, and expanding them becomes safer.

That said, Ubuntu's desktop edition doesn't have good LVM support, so you'll need to jump through some extra hoops to set this up. The page to which I linked earlier covers how to do this, so read it to decide if you're comfortable with those extra actions. LVM's extra redirection can also make it harder to recover your filesystem if something bad happens at a low level, like if the LVM data are damaged.

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