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Thread: XP/Linux Partitions

  1. #1
    Hammerhead Shark gateway's Avatar
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    XP/Linux Partitions

    Hi guys,
    I've decided to make a foray into Linux, but I was hoping for some input on partitions:

    Background
    I have a 160GB hard drive in my laptop right now. I'm using about 60 GB right now with my XP install/personal files all on one partition.
    From doing some reading, I believe I want three partitions for 1) Windows install/personal files; 2) Linux install; 3) Linux personal files (separate for when I upgrade (or screw up) my linux and need a new install). My XP partition will be NTFS. I'll be running Fedora 17.

    Concerns
    I'm not really worried about the partition sizes - they'll be something like 50%, 20%, 30% respectively - but I am worried about the file system types and being able to access files from both OSes.
    My concerns boil down to a few points:
    1) I've found utilities for accessing ext2 file systems from Windows, but are there the same for ext3 or ext4?
    2) The comparisons between ext2,3,4 that I've seen indicate there are some differences between 2 and 3 in terms of preventing corruption and some speed differences between 3 and 4, but how major are these differences?
    3) I've read some bad reports of Linux on an NTFS partition, so I would like to avoid that, but is there any harm in having different file systems on different partitions and accessing them through different OSes?

    Thank you for any advice or thoughts!
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  2. #2
    Great White Shark
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    ext2/3 are more or less the same. ext3 adds journaling. You don't need that for basic access from Windows. ext4 is entirely different and is extent not inode based. This makes the existing tools for reading ext2/3 from windows useless.

    Don't run linux on an NTFS partition, it doesn't work well.

    For what it's worth, I would do this:

    1. Windows partition
    2. Linux partition
    3. NTFS partition with files, etc.

    Your linux "userspace" is pretty much your home directory. You can make a complete backup simply tarring it up and putting the tarball in the NTFS file paritition. When you untar it after reinstalling (assuming you need to) everything is back to the moment when you made the tarball.

    example:
    Code:
    tar -cvjf /ntfs/files/gateway.linux.backup.20120709.tar.bz2 /home/gateway

    Basically the point I would make is that Linux can hand NTFS just fine, but for performance reasons you don't want to run from an NTFS partition. For file storage, etc. though, it's fine. Install like you plan on reinstalling windows (OS and data on separate partitions), then install linux on the leftovers (even 10GB will be enough to play if it isn't your full time OS).

    *Edit: I'm currently trying to figure out the partitions on my laptop since I got a new 240GB SSD (227GB). My final layout is something like:

    160GB Windows7
    40GB Windows8
    20GB Ubuntu 12.04
    Last edited by James; 07-09-2012 at 10:00 AM.

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  3. #3
    Hammerhead Shark gateway's Avatar
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    I like the sound of that set-up. I think I'll do something like that.
    Thank you!

    Two quick follow-up questions:
    1) What file system are you using for your Ubuntu partition?
    2) (in an effort to hijack my own thread) What led you to choose the Ubuntu distro?
    [SGC Moderate Member]

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  4. #4
    Great White Shark
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    I started with Linux way back in the day on Slackware. Slackware was great, in that it forced me to build all of my own software, learn about dependencies, etc. But Ubuntu is nice because it's updated regularly, and it more or less just works. It's super easy to maintain and manage as well. I even went with Ubuntu on my personal server for awhile. Ultimately, my work was using CentOS, so the current incarnation of my personal server is running CentOS as well.

    I still with Ubuntu on the personal side of things because it's quick and easy to find what you want/need to make it a very useful platform. I think I started using it back on 8.04, or 7.10 maybe? Either way, I've been using it for a few years, and haven't found a reason to switch. Fair warning: The biggest complaint with Ubuntu is the desktop window manager. I prefer installing Ubuntu Server edition, and installing Fluxbox as the windows manager. It's extremely lightweight and customizable, but not very user friendly at all. (Until you hack on it for a few hours). So my reasons for staying might not be worthwhile if you use the stock desktop interface.

    *Edit: And nowadays I use ext4 for all my linux filesystems for personal PC's. For the longest time I was using XFS from my slackware days, but now I use ext4.
    Last edited by James; 07-11-2012 at 05:45 PM.

    Crusader for the 64-bit Era.
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  5. #5
    Mako Shark
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    I have one of my computers dual booting with XP and Ubuntu. I set it up before I did much reading on Linux so I just have a 1 TB NTFS HD with one partition. I boot the computer to Ubuntu 99.9+% of the time. I use it mostly to transcode DVD with Handbrake. I think I'm running 10.10. I have had no problems whatsoever. My other computer triple boots with XP on one NTFS HD and Win7/Mint 12 on a separate HD. I have Mint in an ext3 partition and Win7 in a NTFS partition. So far not problems with that.

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