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Old 09-06-2010, 12:29 PM
Default partitions of a dual boot desktop - a suggestion

On 09/03/2010 07:51 PM, Vic Main wrote:
> I have a 2 Gig swap, a 2 Gig boot, and a 30 Gig and 10 Gig both
> unassigned, and finally a 110 Gig ntfs partition on a second drive
> It does seem that Ubuntu has access to all of the ntfs drives, so any
> material I need to store can go there??
> I'm dual booting with windows XP.

For a desktop computer with two physical drives, and Linux/Widows dual
boot, I'd set up the partitions as follows:

First (small, max 80 GB?) drive:
a) Windows system ("c: drive") 32 GB
b) Linux system (root, /) 16 GB
c) Linux swap, approximately same as main memory size
d) "inter-system" data exchange drive (20-30 GB)

Second (large, min 500 GB?) drive:
e) NTFS partition for Windows data ("d: drive")
f) Linux partition for users directories (/home)
g) Small FAT encrypted partition for banking etc. data

32 GB for (a) is based on my experience with XP. I haven't used
Windows since. (Should it be more?)

relative size of (e) and (f) depends on which system I intend to use
primarily for data-volume intensive applications (photo, video,

At boot in both systems I'd mount (d) as read/write and use that for
transient data that needs to be exchanged between two systems.
At boot in Linux, (e) gets mounted as read-only, and in Windows I'd
install some linux filesystem driver that mounts (f) in read-only mode.
(g) can be mounted from either operating system (cf,: www.truecrypt.org)
in read/write mode.

When Windows installations etc are done, second (large) drive should
be disconnected to ensure no damage to the user data is even remotely
possible. On rare occasions, if there are interventions on Windows
system partition that need to be done from Linux, I'd mount (a) in
read-write mode. Again, if that process messes up something, only the
system (which presumably can always be re-installed at only the cost
of my time) would be damaged, the data would remain safe.

I would not bother backing up anything on the small drive, but large
drive data partitions would be backed up religiously on a pair of
external drives, one of which is always kept off-site. (Backing up
of the small encrypted partition with sensitive data is a separate
topic). If there is a flood or fire, I'd pull out the large drive
and let the rest of the hardware burn or float... This is why, IMHO,
it is worth investing $30-50 and have the large data drive in a
desktop placed in a removable "caddy" or, better yet, in an E-sata

Marko R.

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