I have a small SSD and a large HDD. I'm in a similar situation to the following user:

How to combine an SSD boot drive with a HDD data drive?

In the process of manually partitioning my drives, I encounter a menu that looks like this (note: I fetched this image from google as an example). I have several questions about this menu and about manual partitioning:

  1. What does the F character after the partition size indicate in the menu image? In my case, I also have K and f characters. What do those mean? (I'm assuming B is bootable)
  2. What characters (properties, whatever) do I need to have for the root partition on my SSD?
  3. I have indicated where /, swap, and /home go. If I do not make separate partitions for the rest of the top level folders (/var, /tmp, etc), where does it decide to place them?

My setup is based on the opinions I've gathered throughout these forums: 20Gb root partition on SSD, +500Gb /home partition on HDD, 16Gb swap on HDD (this was the default size in my case).


1 Answer 1

  1. The F character indicates that the partition is to be formatted. Under normal installations on a new machine, this is the desired setting, however, if you were to be reinstalling the OS on a machine with a previously used partition for /home, for example, you would go into the manual partition options and specify that partition should not be formatted.

  2. The root partition on the SSD is usable as-is with the default settings. There are some tweaks which could be done, post installation, to reduce the amount of writes to the SSD. Often, the logging options for various system services is scaled back or the noatime filesystem option is turned on to avoid constantly updated access times of system binaries/shared libraries/etc. which are unnecessary.

  3. As Linux is a singly-rooted operating systems, all directories will appear on the root partition. If, for example, user home directories are on a dedicated partition, that partition would be mounted into that directory as its mount point.

Based upon your graphic, it looks like the root partition is a little small and the /var partition is quite large. For basic test setups such as you are likely doing with this VMware virtual machine, I would probably encourage you to not dedicate a partition to /var. You will have too little flexibility when you fill your root partition and you have an extra gigabyte of free space in /var. You can always create a dedicated disk image for /home to reduce overall disk usage.

  • I edited the OP. I found the image from google to use as an example. Sorry about that.
    – anonymous
    Jan 5, 2013 at 4:16
  • Last question, just to be sure: It does not matter which partition I mark as bootable (root or home), right?
    – anonymous
    Jan 5, 2013 at 4:23
  • It is actually quite important. Make sure that the root directory is bootable. BIOS will look to the bootable partition to locate the bootloader (GRUB) which will then actually load the kernel and the rest of the OS.
    – Rob Gibson
    Jan 5, 2013 at 4:44

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