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My Thinkpad HD went bad, so I opted for an upgrade to a 500gb one. How should I partition it, and in what order? Looking around various forums, I've come up with the following scheme so far:

/dev/sda
    /dev/sda1  Primary  ext4   /boot   499 MB
    /dev/sda2  Primary  ext4   /       19999 MB
    /dev/sda3  Primary  swap           5999 MB
    /dev/sda5  Logical  ext4   /home   473606 MB

Should I add separate partitions for /usr, /var, or any others? And does it matter what order I create them? I seem to remember reading a long time ago that your swap partition should always be at the end of your disk.

I'm fairly new at this, but I love Ubuntu.

Thank you, Mike

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It looks fine home partition is good idea as it lets you reinstall or install new distro without loosing data which you have already done. –  Chakra Apr 15 '11 at 6:33

5 Answers 5

I would let the installer take care of that. E.g., for a typical user there's no reason to put /boot in its own partition.

The only thing you could think about, is to put the /home folder on a separate partition, as this will make it easier to backup your data with partition-based backup tools.

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Thank you for the suggestion! –  user14302 Apr 15 '11 at 6:58

I generally follow below. Though I'm not expert on technical merits, I found below way of partitioning is useful to me. Keeping swap in the beginning of extended partition gives flexibility that it need not to be touched ever. In case later, if I ever want to merge to partitions into one or split partitions into 2, I can do it. If I keep swap at the end, it interfere in that case.

Second, I do create /sroot (secondary root partition) - Its mainly for, upgrade purpose. Before I move to newer version Ubuntu on every 6 months, I first installed on it here and run it for a while. Once everything is set, I will install on primary root partitions. It gives flexibility in moving back to previous Ubuntu if something not working. Also, I test pre-release ubuntu version using this one.

/data - I keep movies, music, pictures and any other documents (like firefox, thunderbird, profiles, other app profiles, ) and I make soft link with directory from /home. This helps me if I ever want to do complete (clean clean) installation of Ubuntu. It take care of removing any kind of residual config with existing Gnome or any other apps on upgrade to newer versions.

I also , leave some space for Windows partitions if its laptop. Some case you might really wanted to run Windows because some of providers (netflix, etc) doesnt run fully on Ubuntu and running over Virtual Machine isn't that smoother experience.

/swap - 2GB

/ - 20GB

/home - 100GB

/data - [rest of hard-disk]

/sroot - 10GB [Secondary root]

I don't give partition for /boot. Its not needed if you are classic user like browsing and do some personal computing. /boot could be just a directory under /.

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I usually partition as follows:

/ primary usually 25-50 GB of space as you have 500 GB. I have 320 GB and I gave it 25 GB.

/home for rest of space - swap allocation.

swap is recommended to be double of memory I think but I have given 5GB to swap as I have 4 GB of physical RAM.

Both /home and swap are on logical extended partitions

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Very good, thank you all! –  user14302 Apr 15 '11 at 7:09

I'll mirror what others have said here and say ditch the /boot partition. To be honest, when I've made /boot partitions in the past it's only caused problems as kernels, etc. fill it up. There are some theoretical benefits to having a separate /boot partition such as allowing the user to format that partition with a filesystem that's particularly suited to reading kernel files. For the life of me, I don't know which filesystem performs best at this task.

The most important thing is to make a separate /home partition.

If you plan on installing a lot of packages 20 GB may be a little low for /.

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Unless you have special requirements, just choose the guided install and let it worry about it. The default configuration of one partition for swap, and one for everything else is best for most people ( which is why it is the default ).

Unless you have an old broken bios that can't see the whole disk, there is no reason to have a separate /boot partition. There is no reason at all to have a /var or anything else. Some people like to have a separate /home partition, but I have yet to see a very good reason for doing so. The usual reason cited is so you can reinstall Ubuntu without loosing your personal files, but you have been able to do this for years without a separate /home by simply un checking the format box.

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