I want to reinstall Ubuntu from scratch.

I have read (here and here) that it is recommended to have 3 partitions for the desktop installation: root, home and swap as having a separate home and root can simplify the process if you want to upgrade or reinstall Ubuntu (if you break something by mistake).

But there is no type of formula (that I can find) on how big each partition should be. I know this is somewhat dependant on what you plan to install. I want to have flexibility down the line to install new software without having to worry about shifting the partition sizes around.

Does anyone know of a formula or percentage breakdown that they have used to successfully calculate partition sizes?

i.e. x% of space will be allocated to the swap, y% of space to the root partition and z% of space to the home partition


To my experience a formula describing partition sizes in % are no use here. Absolute values I would recommend are

  • 4 GB Swap
  • 10-15 GB for OS depending on how much software you want to install
  • the rest for the home partition.

It should be sufficient for beginner to experienced user, I don't know what exact demands real power users have.

  • 1
    I recently went through the process of upgrading to 11.10 and debated the same. I'd previously had a separate home partition. I ultimately gave in to the growing sentiment that suggested that one should just all the install process to manage the process for you, and separate home partitions are problematic for future upgrades (leftover vestiges from earlier config versions are likely to lead to problems). The upgrade was a PITA because I had to recreate my environment, but I believe my system is cleaner and runs better because I truly started over... Just my two cents. – Kendor Jan 14 '12 at 14:24
  • 1
    I agree, there is no "formula". In general you want your swap partition to be = to ram, see help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq . You need at least 3.5 Gb for an ubuntu install, but if you go that small you will run out of space fast. I generally advise 10-20 Gb. As far as /home, how much data do you have ? – Panther Jan 14 '12 at 16:42

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