Mauriat Miranda     mjmwired

Partitioning for 300GB

My new Seagate Barracuda 300GB hard drive just arrived. I’ll need some time to redo my entire computer (currently there are 4 operating systems). Whenever I purchase a new harddrive (about once ever 2 years) I always put some serious evaluation into how I will partition it.

Some points I consider

  • Windows is primary operating system
  • A second Windows should be possible
  • Windows should have at least seperate ‘applications’ and ‘work’ partitions
  • Multiple Linux distributions should be possible (2-3)
  • Swap partition can be shared in Linux
  • At least /home partition should be shared in Linux

In truth I only have about 3-4 GB of actual work and about 6-8 GB of media to save. I also do not play any games or do any major video editting which leaves for a great deal of flexibility.

The 300GB is misleading. Given 300x1000^3 bytes, you will actually have about 279GB since each KB is 1024 bytes and so forth.

My current scheme for 279GB:

  • NTFS - Primary - 16GB - Windows 2000 (currently using)
  • NTFS - Primary - 16GB - Windows XP (testing only)
  • NTFS - Primary - 16GB - Open (possibly Windows Vista?)
  • Extended - remaining
    • NTFS - 40GB - Applications (shared all Windows)
    • NTFS - 40GB - Data/Work (including all saved materials + including Media)
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 1 - Latest Fedora Core Release
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 2 - Previous Fedora Core Release
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 3 - Latest Fedora Core Test Release
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 4 - Possible x86_64 (pending hardware purchase)
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 5 - to be determined
    • EXT3 - 14GB - Linux 6 - to be determined
    • EXT3 - 32GB - /home - shared
    • EXT3 - 32GB - /data - shared
    • SWAP - 2GB

Some notes I would like to mention from experience and what I’ve researched.

  • Bootable Partitions - There are no /boot partitions required since the newer bootloaders (i.e. grub) and modern BIOS’s do not impose any limitations on booting from an Extended partition. However Windows has always been fussy, hence I leave them on a Primary partition regardless.
  • Multiple Distributions - I am not sure if I need space for 6 different distributions, although if I do purchase an AMD 64bit system in the near future, then this will be required as I may wish to test as many 64bit Linux distributions as 32bit.
  • Multiple Windows - Additionally I’m not sure if I wish to test 2 alternate Windows versions. Currently Windows 2000 suits my needs, but future hardware may force me to use XP or something else.
  • NTFS vs FAT32 - Currently FAT32 is read and write in Linux, however NTFS is read-only. There are some options for write to NTFS, but I don’t find them very reliable. Using FAT32 in the past has caused data loss multiple times, hence I no longer use it.
  • SWAP - I recall reading that you should have at least as much swap as you do have physical memory to support things like Software Suspend to Disk (S4 - “Hibernate”). I currently have 1GB memory, if I upgrade to 2GB, I may require more space.
  • LVM - Logical Volume Management - I lack experience in LVM but with my current configuration, every single operating system can at least read every other partition (e.g. EXT3 in Windows). I am unsure how I can achieve this using LVM.

There will probably be some reassigned space before I decide on the final layout, but I am sure the above will work well for me.

I am not recommending the above for anyone! This is only just some planned out reasoning so that I never really have to sacrifice any properly configured operating system so I can try or experiment with a new OS. For anyone who may comment about emulation or virtualization - I do not feel it is practical to truly test certain aspects of the OS.

Posted in: Devices, Miscellaneous, Setup,


  • Mauriat on April 14, 2006 - 09:09 AM

    rjbond3rd: The typical scenario is this. I would be edditing a rather large file on disk (between 300MB to 2GB). If something happened (application crash, system reset, etc.) then I wouldn’t just lose my changes, but I would lose the entire file. Later I found out this would be a problem in how FAT32 commits its changes to disk. NTFS doesn’t have this problem, but at the same time, I can no longer write to it in Linux.

    Comparison, most all my problems with FAT32 were in Windows, however I have had on occasion problems in Linux, but VERY rarely.

  • rjbond3rd on April 14, 2006 - 09:09 AM

    …“Using FAT32 in the past has caused data loss multiple times, hence I no longer use it…“

    I’m guessing this happens in either Windows or Linux, as a result of the non-robust FAT32 itself, rather than anything particular to Linux?

  • Jeff Schiller on April 12, 2006 - 08:08 AM

    Seems well thought out. Even as late as ~2000, I was still under the naive assumption that having the entire ~18GB as a single NTFS partition was enough for my Windows 2000 install (i.e. including installing applications). Of course when I later added new hard drives I now use them exclusively for new applications and data/work. If I had the time and energy, I’d do a complete restructure (and install Windows XP) but the system is still quite snappy (I attribute this to using SCSI drives).