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First, let me make clear that I have gone through the answers to similar questions and still have decided to post my own because: i) no answer seemed specific enough for a relative novice like me, and ii) in any case, an answer updated to the size of Ubuntu 20.04 would likely be helpful to others as well.

Now to elaborate a little on my title. As mentioned there, I have chosen the "something else" option for the installation. The 'swap' and 'home' partitions present no difficulty but exactly what partition should I create/choose for installing Ubuntu 20.04? And what should be the size of this partition so as to comfortably accommodate not only the OS now but also the future updates,etc? Is it the 'root' partition and does the installation automatically choose it? In that case the 'root' partition has to be allocated a suitable size.

Secondly, a main concern of mine is to keep the additional software installed by me as well as my documents (text, images, videos, etc.) untouched in the event of a re-installation of the OS. So I am concerned to know where exactly this kind of data are to be stored. In the 'home' partition, or in a separate partition created out of the remaining free space? If it's the 'home' I will have to make it sufficiently large, and if it's a separate partition/partitions I would like to know its/their mounting point(s).

I shall be grateful for all precise, clear-cut advice.

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  • 1
    you should make regular backups of your Home directory so that, in the event of reinstallation or other data corruption event, any important files stored there are recoverable.
    – 24601
    Jul 10 at 12:13
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    There are a couple of items that should probably clarified: (1) any answer you receive will be opinion based on past experience and/or preference, which is not the goal of this site (2) a swap partition is only necessary if you choose to hibernate the machine, otherwise a swap file is fine (3) reinstalling the OS will require applications to be reinstalled as well, so keeping them in a dedicated partition is needless complexity (4) the default partition layout offered by the 20.04 installer is actually pretty decent, so its suggested layout may be exactly what you need 🤔
    – matigo
    Jul 10 at 12:22
  • How big is your drive? At some point trying to optimize the size of / becomes a time waster given the cheapness of media. Jul 10 at 13:20
  • Do you do web development, data science, or another specific kind of programming? Are you a professional video editor or photo enhancement artist? Are you a home desktop user with average domestic computer needs like organizing family photo albums, and keeping tax documents? The bottom line is, none of us can guess what your needs are, and even if we could we probably won't know what is best for you. I am voting to close this question as opinion based.
    – user68186
    Jul 10 at 14:59
  • See this answer for some other information about where to keep your programs.
    – user68186
    Jul 10 at 15:03
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The simple answer is 25GB for /, 1.01 × RAM for swap, and the rest for /home. System updates will only affect /, and if you later do a reinstall, you can tell the installer not to format /home.

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  • Thanks. Your answer -- not to format /home during re-installation of the OS -- is the most to the point and therefore most useful. However, while I understand that this will protect all the documents created by me, how to protect all the additional software I will have downloaded and installed in the meantime? Can these too be located in /home? And one more query: can I create multiple partitions here and, if so, how?
    – user255726
    Jul 10 at 15:52
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Follow this guide for more details : https://www.tecmint.com/install-ubuntu-alongside-with-windows

If you choose something else:-

note:- 1. all your software are gonna store in root directory

  1. all your pictures, downloads and movies and other stuff you download you can save it on home partition

  2. Swap partition is basically for support your system's ram

Now make sure to allot more than 20Gb in root partition because every software are gonna store there

note:- steam games can be saved in the home directory

And that's it.

Installation steps

1. create root partition with / sign with 20+gb
2. create a home partition with /home written
3. create swap partition according to you system ram

note:- make sure to make all these partitions in logical type not in primary

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  • Thanks. In "other stuff" are all the additional software and applications that I download included? In other words can these too be saved in /home?
    – user255726
    Jul 10 at 15:59
  • 1
    yes you can save them in /home directory too. @user255726 Jul 10 at 16:21
  • In Ubuntu you don't download software and application and "save" them in your /home. You install them directly from various repositories. The process is similar to installing software in iPhone. You don't get to choose where to save and where to install them. There are exceptions such as: static binaries, appimages, Windows software running in WINE, games under Steam etc. These can/should/must get installed in /home/$USER folder.
    – user68186
    Jul 10 at 18:38
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Honestly, I don't see anything in your proposed usage that requires "Something Else". Your proposed use looks very default-settings. Everybody wants their data and locally-installed software protected. Everybody wants some swap.

Advice: Make your first install successful rather than perfect. A success --sticking to the default installer settings-- takes only about 45 minutes or so.

After you know what success looks like, you can re-install with more complex settings. Another 45 minutes.

  • Protecting your data and locally-installed software is the job of regular backups. A separate /home can be overwritten by an admin mistake or simple typo during a re-install. We all think we won't make that typo...but we do.

  • The Ubuntu installer creates a swap file nowadays instead of a swap partition. You can indeed specify a separate swap partition if you wish, but most folks have no need for that customization. The file is easier to grow/shrink if your swap needs are wildly different than expected. The partition is needed for hibernation.

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