Today i am going to install a clean ubuntu 12.04 . Right now i am running windows 7 home premium 64 bit. I am going to dual boot ubuntu. Also i am using a 120 gb ssd. My question is can you help me to manage my partitions. Right now with windows 7 i have 102gb free space (total 119gb) I am going to create a partition for ubuntu. But i dont know how much space do i have to allocate to it. Also i have an externall hdd which i keep my large files in it. Is there a possibility to create a /home partition in that hdd? /home partition keeps user data (downloads etc) i think and i dont want to waster my ssd's space for it. Also i have 16gb ram equipped. Do i have to create a partition for swap area? Finally, is it also necessary to create /boot partition? Thank you.

Ahhh forgot to tell. How much do i have to allocate for "/" also?


I would advise you to leave sufficient space for Windows 7 - it grows larger and larger as you use it. It seems to me that 30 gigabytes is ideal. (larger if you intend to install some other softwares) Ubuntu doesn't really need a dedicated partition to mount /boot; if you want to make everything as simple as possible, I would suggest:

  1. /: A fresh installation of Ubuntu 12.04 takes approximately 5 gigabytes on /, so if you are not planning to get a lot of softwares then you don't need too much space allocated for it.

  2. /swap: The common size of this partition = 0.5 * size of the memory, but I see you have some 16 gigabytes of RAM ... Ubuntu itself doesn't produce that much stuff, so just for fun, 2~4 gigabytes.

  3. /home: theoritically this is where you should allocate the most space (But as gajdipajti says, you do not need a seperate partition. If you do not specify this during installation then these stuff would be put onto /) . However as you're saying, you prefer to put this on your external hdd. I advise otherwise. You may allocate some 4~8 gigabytes for /home on ssd, and create symlinks to link whatever you put on your external hdd.

  • Thank you Dawei. But isnt it too much (4-8gb) for /home if i am going to use symlinks? Also can you please describe how symlinks works? Thank you. – borannb Apr 30 '12 at 17:56
  • It depends on what you would like to keep on /home. If you prefer to leave everything on your external hdd then you do not need a seperate /home partition. If you want to keep some files for convenience (since ssd is faster), then 2 GB may be good enough. My /home takes only 1.2GB, and that covers everything I need (music, documents, images, etc...). – Dawei Apr 30 '12 at 18:01
  • Symlink is like shortcut in Windows. You can google 'ln symlink' to see how it works. – Dawei Apr 30 '12 at 18:03
  • Glad to be of help! – Dawei Apr 30 '12 at 18:04
  • Ah and forgot to ask some importang issue. Where ubuntu downloads and installs the softwares that i install via ubuntu software center? – borannb Apr 30 '12 at 18:07

You will need 12-14 GB for /, and 1 GB for swap (swap is always needed) You won't need a separate /home partition (it would be a waste of space, just keep everything together. You could always mount the windows and the external partition for your files.

And after install you will need to lower the reserved space: sudo tune2fs -m 1 /dev/sda2 If your ubuntu partition is /dev/sda2 you could check it with the df -T command.

Update: First you shrink from windows, it will be safer. Then boot to ubuntu install, and from there you can create the rest. Root and swap.

A fresh ubuntu install will use 3,5 GB. But after some updates and more software it will go up to 5-6 GB. but you will need space for the files in /home.

  • Thank you but i didnt understand the "And after install you will need to lower the reserved space" part. What exactly it is? Also right now i am using win 7. Is it okay to create the ubuntu partition first in windows 7 disk management with shrink volume? Then use this volume for partitioning in the ubuntu setup? – borannb Apr 30 '12 at 17:49
  • the ext4 filesystem reserves 5% of the total space for root. This is too much for a desktop system, so you must lower it to 1% – gajdipajti Apr 30 '12 at 17:56

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