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Can I make a Home partition on my drive and move my home folder there without reformatting my entire disk?

I am booting my system off a USB stick and running Gparted. I can change the size of the partition and add another but I don't know how to set the file structure to recognize it as Home.

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3 Answers

Create the new partition and write the changes to disk. Note the device that is associated with the partition: it will be something like /dev/sda5.

Fire up a terminal, then execute:

ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/

Locate the device that you created. The output will look like this:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2010-10-10 12:00 35746711-2b3a-44bd-b75e-e9782243dbce -> ../../sda5

You need the device's UUID - in my case, that is 35746711-2b3a-44bd-b75e-e9782243dbce. Take note of this value.

Then, mount the root partition (using normal Gnome/KDE/similar interface) and edit the file named /etc/fstab inside that partition. The command is:

sudo gedit /media/YOUR_PARTITION/etc/fstab

To edit that file and copy your old files, follow the instructions here. You will need to change the UUID and the filesystem type, of course, from what is in that post.

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Since you need boot files and home to be in their own partitions, you need a total of 3 partitions. As you state in your question, resize existing partitions and create 3 new ones. The boot partition need only be 50 MB.

When the installer ask you for partitioning, simple select these empty partitions and set the mount point as follows

  • 1 for boot and select mount point as /boot | size: 50mb
  • 1 for home and select mount point as /home
    and
  • 1 for root with mount point as /

You could always transfer the contents of your /home directory to the newly created partition and then install ubuntu mounting the partition as /home. See this for details.

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The term you are looking for is "mount point". Set one mount point to / and one to /home and you're set. Find more about partitioning on the Ubuntu help pages.

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