So I have a laptop with 16GB RAM, 240GB SSD (For system files) and 1TB HDD (For data/media files). I’m installing Ubuntu 20.04 alongside my Windows 10 (also on SSD). I have the following 4 questions:

  1. How much disk space on my SSD should I create for Ubuntu? (This should essentially be the sum of the root, home and swap, right?)

  2. How much space should I allocate to the root partition? (25GB is what I’ve heard, just need to confirm)

  3. Do I need to create a partition for home directory? (If I don’t, is it impossible to store data/media files on the system drive of Ubuntu?)

  4. How much swap memory do I need? (Not sure if I plan to hibernate)

If someone could also explain how the automated partition works, that might be helpful as well to decide if at all I should do all this manually. Thanks!

  • 1
    The answer to these questions are opinion based. We don't know how you will use your computer for what purposes. You don't need separate root, home and swap partitions. Default installation process will create a single system partition and use a /home folder and a swap file. This works best for most people.
    – user68186
    May 19, 2020 at 17:01
  • Does this answer your question? How do I install Ubuntu alongside a pre-installed Windows with UEFI?
    – user68186
    May 19, 2020 at 17:04
  • No. 4: See help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq
    – K7AAY
    May 19, 2020 at 17:10
  • 1
    I don’t use it for very heavy softwares. It’s usually data analysis of some experiments and low level python coding apart from the usual tasks of report writing, movies, music, etc.
    – NKBhalla
    May 19, 2020 at 17:14
  • 1
    @K7AAY Sorry about that. I’ll take care of it next time. :) And thanks for that link, though. That pretty much answers my last question.
    – NKBhalla
    May 19, 2020 at 17:30

2 Answers 2

  1. 20 Gb. And yes. But do alter ~./config/users-dirs.dirs to change the user directories to a partition on the HDD. I have every personal file in a /discworld/ mount point. The HDD can be NTFS so you can share the whole HDD with Windows.

  2. I have never ever needed more than 20Gb (currently I am on 16Gb with lots of extra installed software like apache and mysql). 25Gb is good enough. Mind that my 20Gb include swap and a /home/ that only holds hidden files so you will have at 5Gb on me. Mind that this does depend on what you are going to install. 9 browsers, more than 1 office suit, multiple servers (database, web, file etc) and will add quickly.

  3. Please do. For a multitude of reasons. To name a few: easy backup, easy re-install, in case the sdd dies the hdd is still safe (it is speed over quality for the sdd and quality over speed for the hdd; and your personal files require ... quality. Your boot and software startups require speed).

  4. You don't need to bother yourself with it. Ubuntu uses a /swapfile and it will adjust itself to what is needed. Mine is 2Gb ...

     $ ls -l --block-size=M /swapfile 
     -rw------- 1 root root 2048M mrt  3 17:22 /swapfile

    and I have 32Gb memory. I never ever use hibernate or suspend. Cold boot takes 9 seconds so is a perfect time for me. I also have everything related to power management set to off (only the display turns of on lid close) where when I am on power I switch to nVidia and when on battery I use to intel graphics.


I have a very similar setup. My rule of thumb is to use 25 GB for root (Ubuntu system), around 45 GB for /home, and to set up a small swapfile on the system partition as well. I handle the swapfile with systemd-swap, because of the ample RAM with 16 GB, I have set it to have a default 128 MB swapfile which can grow to 512 MB if necessary.

It is not needed in 99% of computer use, but it helps to shut down something gracefully in case of a memory hog. You cannot hibernate, but this is generally more of a hassle than it is worth. My system starts up in less than 18 s according to systemd-analyze, that's good enough for me. For short interruptions, you can always use suspend instead of hibernate.

The rest is left to the Windows 10 partition. Depending on disk size and needs, the ratio of /home to Windows 10 can vary, but don't use less than 60 GB for the Windows 10 partition. This is for light Windows 10 usage with one or two essential programs and no games.

You don't strictly need a separate /home partition, but I find it very helpful to separate the system from the data at backup time and for migrations. Partition-based backups have clear separations if you want to set up a clean system, your personal data is not littered with system files.

  • The configs in /home benefit from speed so have a look at how I set my machine up ;-) I
    – Rinzwind
    May 19, 2020 at 17:14

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