How to partition 160GB hard disk such as whenever I reinstall or upgrade my data on it should be safe such as it shouldn't get deleted?

For example in Windows XP, I have four partitions like c,d,e,f. Whenever I install new Window XP or anything in c:, my data in d:, e: and f: are safe. But this doesn't happen in Linux my all data were wiped out when I changed Ubuntu from 10.10 to 12.04.


1 Answer 1


Ubuntu (like all UNIX-like systems) organizes files in a hierarchical tree. At the top of this tree is / (the root directory) where everything else resides including the /home directory.

The /home directory is where all users' personal files, folders and settings resides such as music, photos, videos, etc. - everything you see in the Home folder in Nautilus.

Thus, creating a separate partition for /home will allow you to reinstall Ubuntu and still keep all your personal files and settings safe.

Option A

Create a separate /home partition using Live CD:

  1. Boot from a LiveCD and select "Try Ubuntu".
  2. Launch GParted from Dash.

    • In the GParted window, select which partition you want to resize to create space for /home.

    • Select the unallocated space gained from the above step and click on Partition → New from the menu.

    • Select the filesystem you want, ext3 or ext4.

    • Click Apply, Close then Quit.

  3. Now, you need to tell Ubuntu to use the new partition as /home.

    gksu gedit /etc/fstab

    this will open the fstab file in gedit, now add the following line:

    /dev/sdxy /home ext4 defaults 0 0

    where 'sdxy' is the partition you just created, i.e. /dev/sda2

  4. Save and close the file.

  5. Reboot.

Option B

Create a separate /home partition during installation:

  1. Boot from a LiveCD and select "Install Ubuntu".
  2. In the next window click on Continue.
  3. In the "Installation Type" window, select "Something Else" then "Continue.
  4. In the next window, select a free (unallocated) space and click on "Add".

    You have to create at least 2 partitions: / and /home

    In the Create partition window:

    • Set the size for the partition
    • Select the filesystem (ext3 or ext4)
    • Select the mount point, use:
      • / for root
      • /home for home
  5. Once you're done creating partitions, you should have one ext3/ext4 partition with a mount point of / and one ext3/ext4 partition with a mount point of /home. Depending on your situation, you may also have a swap partition.

  6. If you're satisfied with your partition scheme, click Forward to continue with the installation.

  • You don't need a separate /home partition for this, simply use manual partitioning when you reinstall and do not check the format tick box.
    – psusi
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 15:50

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