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Separate partition for /home

  Date: Jan 21    Category: Unix / Linux / Ubuntu    Views: 427

I'd like to do a clean new install of Ubuntu's latest version.
As has been noted here, it seems smart to do this with /home
in its own partition.

But since I am no Linux expert, I think I need a set of
step-by-step instructions for doing the new install that way.
I have been using Linux for some time, but don't really understand
it to a very great depth.

Can anyone provide such step-by-step instructions for how
you set up and use that separate /home partition?



3 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered On: Jan 21    

A couple of pages into the install process you get a choice of three
configurations, the third of which is "specifiy partitions manually" or
something like that. (The others amount to "install Ubuntu next to existing OS"
and "use whole disk for Ubuntu overwriting anything currently on the disk").

So choose the third. You see a table of your existing hard disks and existing
partitions on them. If you want to keep anything that's already there you need
to know which partitions they are, and do nothing to them at this stage.

I'm assuming you're doing a complete fresh install using the whole of one disk.
You still need to take this third "manual" option in order to set up the /home

Take the option to create a new partition table, which will delete any existing
data or OS currently on the disk.

Create partitions when prompted (or by double clicking on the "free space" in
the table) as follows:
1. about 20GB (at least 10GB) for root. Choose ext4 (or ext3) for the file
system, check the "format" checkbox, and set the mount point to "/"
2. twice the amount of ram you have installed as a swap file. Choose swap file
for the filesystem, and do nothing more with it.
3. the rest of your disk for home. Ext4 or Ext3 filesystem again, and mount
point "/home". This once only -- this once only !! -- format the home partition.

Next time you install (for instance when the next release comes out) do
everything as above except don't format the /home partition. (Take backups
before you start anyway, in case your brain goes occasionally on its own merry
way like mine does and you format it by mistake).

Everything else in the install process is even simpler than that. Have fun!

As for how to use the home partition, all I'd say is don't try and be too
clever, Ubuntu will put everything (Documents, Music, Videos, Downloads, &c.
&c.) in appropriately named folders on /home by default. Took me ages to trust
Windows enough to let it put my stuff in My Documents, and I still don't
completely, but in Ubuntu it's painless, intuitive and pays off when you

Answer #2    Answered On: Jan 21    

If Ubuntu puts all the right stuff in the right folder in your Home partition,
why shouldn't you make most of the hard drive the Home partition?

Answer #3    Answered On: Jan 21    

You need to install from the CD or usb and it will be the same as a normal
installation except:

1) choose manual or custom (the last option, they have changed the wording)
when it comes time to choose where to install. The first option will be to
use the entire disk, etc/

2) it will show the drives and partitions in graphical format, listing sizes
and format, NTFS, ext4 etc. It will name the partitions using the Linux
method which is sda1, sda2, sdb1, sdb2, etc.

If you need to partition you have the option of doing it first or doing it
here. I suggest that you do it ahead of time to reduce the stress by
spreading it out.

You don't say what your setup is, one drive or two or whether you have
anything other than Linux. We need that info to tell you more precisely what
to do. If you have not partitioned then stop here and let us know more. See
below *

3) you need to choose to use a partition for root, one for home and one for
swap. Swap will be tiny, no more than equal to your RAM if you have lots and
no more than double your RAM if you are short of RAM. Remember RAM is faster
than disk access so too much will slow you down as much as too little. Root
is typically smaller than home. Root can be anywhere from 8 GBs to 30 GBs
depending on your habits. You won't max out by installing applications if
you go toward the lower end, but if you can find ripping DVDs and making
videos are restricted by space problems. You do not want to run out of space
on root. Been there, done that. It isn't pretty. Home will be the largest
that you can make it in the rest of the space. Use it all.

4) You need to tell Ubuntu three things about each. You need to say which to
use (default is not use). You need to choose a mount point. Use / for root
and /home for home. Swap does not have one. You need to choose a file
format. Use ext4 unless you have reason to do otherwise. You format all 3
partitions the FIRST time. On subsequent installations you will NOT format
home. The rest will be the same. You edit by right clicking on the graphical
ribbon of the partition you are using (or left clicking and choosing Edit
button below) and it will bring up a box with those choices.

Then you commit the changes, paying close attention when it presents the
screen to review the changes. After that it is too late to change your mind.
The rest will be a normal installation.

* A word on partitioning. Partitioning is quite straight forward if you
proceed in steps. First you need to Resize by shrinking the drive to make
space for a new one. The new space will say unallocated. You need to plan
whether you put it at the end or beginning. This decision depends if you
have anything on the drive and you want to preserve the order. If you have
Windows on the drive then make sure it is first. Then you create new
partitions in the unallocated space. You just right click and choose new. Do
this according to your plan, leaving enough unallocated for the remaining
partitions. You are limited to the number of primary partitions, so you can
make and extended partition and more primary partitions inside one. I am
hoping that your setup is simple so we don't have to get into this. You will
need three Linux partitions counting swap plus whatever else you will want
for Windows or data. Keeping the total number of partitions to four or less
is easiest.

Read this first: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowtoPartition

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