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I am just wondering which type of partitioning I should choose for installing a Linux distro in a USB hard drive.

I want to have partitions for /, /usr, and physical memory.

Which of them should be primary partitions and which of them should be logical?

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    Define "physical memory". This term normally refers to RAM, which has nothing to do with hard drives. – psusi Feb 7 '12 at 14:33
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If you boot the Live Media in your computer and have the USB Hard Drive installed (plugged in) you will be given a choice during installation as to WHERE to install and WHAT format you want.

I choose EXT4 because its more versatile than the other formats. Personal preference.

use THIS GUIDE and you shouldn't have any issues.

enter image description here

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With four or less partitions there should not be a problem making them all primary.

Have you considered also making a swap partition?

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You can only have 4 primary partitions, so if you want more then 4 partitions you will have to use extended/logical partitions. Other then that limit (4 primary partitions) it does not matter.

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As already posted, with an MSDOS partition table (the default) you can have up to four primary partitions, so just make every partition a primary partition.

I'm not sure why you'd want /usr/ on a separate partition. /usr/ contains "userspace program files" - it's the equivalent of C:\Program Files\ on a Windows machine.

I think what you're trying to do is put your personal files (Windows C:\Users\ or C:\Documents and Settings\) on a separate partition. This corresponds to /home/ in Linux.

And by "physical memory" I think you mean a swap partition. A swap partition on a USB hard disk is going to be doggedly slow, but if you have enough RAM you won't be hitting swap too much (so no big deal.)

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