partitioning on new HD? - openSUSE, BT3, UbuntuStudio, XP

Hi, I am looking to upgrade my current, puny, 20GB laptop hard drive to 160GB, and was hoping to lay out my partitioning ideas before I sit down to actually start plugging them in to the screen. Any guidance would be most appreciated!

As I indicated, I’m looking at a 160GB drive for my Japanese Toshiba Dynabook E9. I really can’t justify the cost for a 250GB, but if I need to I might twist my arm enough to go for it. Currently I’m running only openSUSE 11.

I want to run openSUSE 11, BackTrack 3, UbuntuStudio and a small installation of Windows XP that I can either boot in to as needed or run as a VM (off a raw partition if allowed). I do some occasional voice over work and video editing, and like the looks of UbuStu, so I want it available.

I was thinking of the following layout, but some things are pure guesses, so correct me as needed please:

16GB - / (openSUSE)
2GB - swap (laptop has 1GB memory)
22GB - /home (to be used by openSUSE, UbuStu and BT3, if it is possible)
8GB - / (BackTrack 3)
16GB - / (UbuntuStudio)
72GB - /shared (I will put all my important music/photos/documents/etc here)
24GB - Windows XP

Now, I made a shared location for all my stuff…should I cut back on the /home partition? …or should I just make a larger /home and have /home/shared?? I basically want to have a single repository for my music and photos that will be available to whichever distro that I am booted in to, and to any other users that I allow access to. For that reason I didn’t want it all just under my own personal user /home folder.

Are my / partitions large enough? Is there anything else I should change? I just want to get this right to begin with and not have to fight to change it later.

Does your machine BIOS accept bigger drives? A user on this forum just
discovered after buying a 160GB, the system could only use a max of

I would create separate homes for each distro and use a shared
partition as the configs (eg .kde .gnome .kde4 etc) may differ and
interfere. Therefore use extended partitions or just use the default
home created by / as you can always mount your other homes manually or
via fstab.

I don’t like the device-by-id and always use the option device name
and label the partition in the fstab options during an install.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 2 days 23:35, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.09, 0.17
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 177.80

Good question on the BIOS…I inherited this laptop from a Japanese associate, and with my limited Japanese-language skills I don’t think I could find it out without just trying a larger drive. :frowning:

My plan with the home folder was to share it without sharing the user folders (meaning, have an openSUSE user named ‘me-suse’, an UbuStu user ‘me-ubustu’, and whatever BT3 uses). That was recommended to me on some other forum a while back. They told me that there could be conflicts unless the user names were different. And, I’d like to be able to blow away an installation and reinstall without losing my data nor having to do a heroic backup.

Thanks for the BIOS point…I’ll have to see what I can find out, I suppose…or just try one and hope it works.

Just had another thought re the hard drive, check the height of the
drive as well and make sure you can physically fit it. From memory some
of those smaller drives are only about 7.5mm high the newer ones can be
10-12mm in height! Also there may be a power issue, as the drive may
draw more current than the design can handle.

You need to google on the model number and check the specs for the
drive :slight_smile:

You could also look at booting from a USB key or external drive?

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 3 days 1:09, 1 user, load average: 0.01, 0.21, 0.35
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 177.80

Hmm…well, I checked the physical size of the hard drive bay, and it looks to be exactly the size of the current (30GB) drive’s height. The CD/DVD drive slides over the top of this bay, so an extra 4~5 mm or so would pose a definite problem. Thanks for the tip.

I was looking at a WD Scorpio 160GB drive, so I’ll do as you recommended and check the specs for the actual height.

I never would have thought of that, thanks!

And, I don’t know whether this laptop supports booting from external media. I considered using a CD or a flash drive for booting BackTrack, but I have also used the unofficial installer to put it on a HD before as well. I like just having it installed and not having to mess with a CD and not being able to update it.

So…assuming I go one of those routes…and can overcome the 32-bit hard drive size barrier on this laptop (which I am told is 4 years old, so I think it should be new enough)…is my partitioning scheme littered with potential problems? :slight_smile:

You should be able to check in the BIOS to see what the boot options

I think the partitioning will be fine, depending on final drive size. I
would look at booting the gnome live cd and setup your partitioning of
the drive first then go back and install windows, backtrack, ubuntu then

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 1:35, 2 users, load average: 0.14, 0.06, 0.08
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 177.80