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I want to install Linux on my new PC. I shrunk the HD and now have 450GB of free space (unallocated I should say).

I had Linux installed on my laptop but the darn auto config thing would never set up the space correctly. And I had to manually set up the root dir, etc. And I can not remember how large I made the directories. I remember finding out later i had used way more space than I needed.

So how much overall space should I allow for the entire Linux OS and how large should each directory be?

And how do I set up the swap space?

thanks all!



  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    The general recommendation for swap space is twice your installed RAM size. As for the root directory, even a fully loaded distro will not take more than 5GB, I have several testing distros installed on 20GB, but for a normal user I recommend 40GB+ for new programs, in addition you can also setup a separate home partition so you have allocated space for your personal files so they won't squeeze out the system and application files.
  • I always use a single partition for the whole linux system.
    I have several linux systems on different partitions on my hard drive.
    I also have a swap partition and larger partitions that I use for storage
    (that's where I download the isos, etc.).
    On the partition I'm currently on I use slackware 12.2 and here's the
    output of the command
    $ df -h /
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/root              13G  6.3G  5.9G  52% /

    As you can see, even with an 8GB partition you'd stil have plenty of room.
    You could create a larger partition for large downloads (iso files, videos, etc.)
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    The major issue with have too little extra space allocated is installation of new programs, large logs file or /tmp files can fill up your root partition which would cause the system to crash. I know that when using Slackware, if you use blackbuilds or sbopkg all builds are kept in the /tmp directory and that will quickly increase in size, I have caught my /tmp at over 6G before.
  • czar960
    czar960 Posts: 43
    thanks for the help!

    I have another question.
    Being that I am windows based at the moment (windows 7) does one usually install from a burned CD?
    The only Linux that I successfully installed was Linux Mint (Ubuntu) I burned a cd. and then it asked me about whether to install along side windows, in place of windows or separately (I think that was it). So what do you suggest?

    I don't want to replace windows entirely so what happens if I choose along side windows? Are there advantages or drawbacks?

    Maybe I am doing something wrong.....not sure. Is there a complete step by step guide with any of these installations of Linux?
    I probably want to go with a desktop type. I am not a programmer and not really interested in programming. I just want a PC that operates reliably.

    thanks again.
  • vtel57
    vtel57 Posts: 164
    Just be careful and pay attention to ALL instructions/options when you boot the CD. All LIVE-type Linux CD/DVDs will always have an option to install manually (allows you to set up partitions and mount points). Other type Linux installation CD/DVDs also allow manual installation, but you need to be wee bit more skillful because they are not graphic installers... or they are very minimal graphic installers. Words seem to scare new Linux explorers away.

    For a tutorial on dual boot installation with windows, just do a search at Google for:

    dual boot how to windows linux

    You'll get a bazillion hits. Google is your friend. :)
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I agree with Eric Layton, do some google research, there is usually an installation guide on the website of the distro that you chose.

    Most likely unless Mint has a wubi option you will have to shrink your windows partition and install it along side of windows.
  • czar960
    czar960 Posts: 43
    thanks again for all of your help. I am learning more but it is taking me a while.

    I think the biggest problem for me is that the installer(s)Linux Mint, and now Ubuntu, do not work for me. I tried Ubuntu 9.10 last night and it failed.

    I have a feeling I am missing something very basic here and have not explained myself well enough.

    I don't know if you folks install manually or if the auto install thing works for you.
    All I can say is when I have told it to install on a partition it does install it only uses enough space for the OS itself. (meaning if I tell it to install on a 50GB partition on my HD it resizes the disk to be only big enough for the OS itself.) Then it won't run correctly because there is no space to run/download/etc files.

    So, is there supposed to be a /usr dir on another "partition"?
    I don't have any Linux installed on either PC at the moment or I could tell you what directories there are.
    Maybe the installer has been working and I just need to add something else. What do you think?

    Also,...new question :) The error I got last night while trying to install Ubuntu 9.10 had to do with a proprietary graphics card.
    My new PC (HP Pavilion HPE-112y) has a ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics card. The installer went to the pseudo desktop (running from the CD) and gave me some info box about a proprietary graphics driver.

    So, 2 questions now.
    what about the whole OS installer thing? Am I just missing directories?
    will I be able to install a Linux system on my new PC? graphics card issue.

    thanks much!
  • czar960
    czar960 Posts: 43
    Yes! That helps immensely. :)

    ...anybody have any clues about the graphics card?

    Also,...new question The error I got last night while trying to install Ubuntu 9.10 had to do with a proprietary graphics card.
    My new PC (HP Pavilion HPE-112y) has a ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics card. The installer went to the pseudo desktop (running from the CD) and gave me some info box about a proprietary graphics driver.

    Anybody heard of this before?
    Will I be able to install Linux on this new pc?

    thank you.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    It is informed you about a proprietary driver, then that means it is giving you the option to install it, all you need to do to install it is go to system->administration -> hardware drivers, choose the driver then click activate.
  • czar960
    czar960 Posts: 43
    Okay, maybe this installer is bad then. Odd error message.
    It would let me continue at all. So there was no way to install click "activate" on anything.

    I wonder why I am having so much trouble with these installer. Is it the AMD version and x64 bit versions?
    Any thoughts? It could be me, but I don't think so :)

  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    can you post a screenshot of the error message in imageshack, so we can see the message?
  • czar960
    czar960 Posts: 43
    I would have to run through the install again to get you the exact error message.

    If a message like that sounds VERY unusual to you then I am going to chalk it up to another installer problem.

    I do have a disk of Ubuntu with the alternate installer that I am going to give a try....
    ....this is getting redundant. But hey...this is how we learn huh?
    I have a better understanding of the installations and how the disk should be set up now :)

    I want to get this working. I really liked the Linux Mint when it was running. The only reason I uninstalled it was because the audio stopped working and I could not fix it.

  • Thanks again Robin. This is exactly the kind of feedback I needed.
    After another failed install attempt I decided to go back to my old Mint CD 7 (Gloria) and give it a try on the older laptop first (windows XP amd Turion x64). It installed just fine and but I had to weed through the 200 or so updates to make no changes to the audio. (Pulse audio and GStreaming) And it is working fine. I was think about trying it on the new PC but maybe your Xubuntu would work better....downloading as I type...So I will let you all know how it turns out.

    I really wish this stuff was easier to grasp. You start talking about Jaucky Jacalope and it makes no sense. Maybe something like an organizational chart would help folks understand the different components of Linux and all of it's iterations.
    And of course there are only 50 or so kinds just on this site alone.
    For all of the hue and cry about Microsoft and all I think giving people an option over Windows is great.
    Even though it is free people are not going to even try Linux if they can't understand it.

  • okay...the Xubuntu disk did not work. The PC will not run the disk at startup.
    The Linux Mint disk that I know works on the old laptop has an .exe file in first directory on the disk.

    If I look at these the Xubuntu or whatever they are all .iso files. One huge file. Not several files and a .exe file.

    So should I be using a different application to burn these files to disk? Is a .iso file supposed to do the same thing as a .exe file when found on a disk at startup?

    Or is there another way to download the installation files to have have it run at startup?

  • So is the Karmic Koala (oh brother...) not a good idea? it is the newest and what I burned to disk ...finally. My own fault I guess.

    should I go with Hardy Heron?....

  • thanks for the reply.
    Latest.....after burning the install files in the correct format tried to instal Xubuntu 9.10.
    For some reason the partitioner in that install program will not work on this PC.
    I verified this by running the install of Linux Mint 7.0 and it works and I could install Mint if I continued.

    I think I want to go with the Xubuntu (Hardy heron) but need another way to install it.

    What other options do I have?

  • I wouldn't miind buying an install CD if I KNEW it was going to work.
    What I need to find out is: is the installer for Xubuntu (HH) the same as the installer for (KK) - I don't remember the names just the intials.

    Just to be clear....Xubuntu (KK) installer failed at the disk partitioning of the install (No way to go forward) by the way....the disk partitioner would not show ANYTHING... no other OS. nothing...all buttons grayed out
    Linux Mint 7.0 tested as far as the disk partioning part of the install and was "Okay" to that point.
    I want to install Xubuntu (HH) but don't know if the disk poartitioning will work

    Is it possible that Xubuntu failed at the disk partitioner for a different reason?
    This is a Windows 7 PC with AMD 64 Phenom processor.

  • I would hate to give up on this after all this time but I am getting there.

    The Xubutnu install disk would only let me create on partition. So I thought I would try and create the partitions on Windows and then format with the disk. But after I added one partition in Windows Partition Wizard said "cannot create. No free MBR slots on the disk.
    So what do i do?
    Can I change the number of MBR slots (Master boot record) on the PC?
    Can I install in one partition?
    What about swap space?

    ...little help here please...

  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    How many partitions do you currently have on that hard drive? Additionally have you setup both physical and logical partitions on that disk?
  • I think these are all Primary partitions
    The only thing I did to the disk was use the shrink utility in Windows to get the unallocated space

    Currently the disk looks like this.

    *system disk 100 MB (this is the partition table)
    C: HP 500 GB (Windows 7 x64 OS)
    D: Factory Image 12 GB (System Recovery)
    unallocated 450 GB

    The only way I know how to set it up is with Windows 7 taking up one partition and Linux taking up 3 partitions ("Swap", / (root), /home).
    This partitioning stuff is all new to me as well as Linux. And the way the Linux installers have worked (I have tried several) are forcing me to set this up manually.
    So, as I see it, I either need a way to add MBR slots (I have no idea if that is even possible), or a way to set up Linux taking up 2 partitions. (swap and the OS and home directories)

    I expect to use about 50 GB for Linux so I guess I'll convert the rest of the unallocated disk to Windows.I don't need D; I have backup disks.
    This is an HP Pavilion HPE-112y, Windows7 64 bit. AMD 64 Phenom (if it matters)

    So, there you have it. any help is appreciated.


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