Partitioning with Disk Druid during installation

During a custom installation, you are given the opportunity to change how your hard disk is partitioned. Red Hat recommends using the Disk Druid. Figure 2-1 is an example of the Disk Druid screen from the Red Hat Linux Installation Guide.

igure 2-1: Change disk partitions during installation using Disk Druid.

The Disk Druid screen is divided into two sections. The top shows general information about each hard disk and primary partition. The bottom shows details of each partition.

For each of the hard disk partitions, you can see:

Device — The device name is the name representing the hard disk partition in the /dev directory. Each disk partition device begins with two letters: hd for IDE disks, sd for SCSI disks, ed for ESDI disks, or xd for XT disks. After that is a single letter representing the number of the disk (disk 1 is a, disk 2 is b, disk 3 is c, and so on). The partition number for that disk (1, 2, 3, and so on) follows that.

Start/End — Represents the partition's starting and ending cylinders on the hard disk.

Size (MB) — The amount of disk space actually allocated for the partition. If you selected to let the partition grow to fill the existing space, this number may be much larger than the requested amount.

Type — The type of file system that is installed on the disk partition. In most cases, the file system will be Linux (ext3), Win 95 FAT16 (fat), Win VFAT (vfat), or Linux swap. Table 2-1 lists the types of file systems that are available to assign to a disk partition. The number associated with each type of file system is what you would actually type if you were to assign that file system to a partition.

Note Not all these types are supported in Red Hat Linux. Of those that are, some are not built into the kernel by default (such as NTFS). Even fewer are available to be created in Disk Druid. Type cat /proc/filesystems to see which file systems are built into the kernel. Others are available as loadable modules, while others may require you to reconfigure the kernel. Most needs should be served by ext3 (Linux), vfat (DOS/Windows), swap (Linux swap) and iso9660 (CD-ROM).

Mount Point — The directory where the partition is connected into the Linux file system (if it is). You must assign the root partition (/) to a native Linux partition before you can proceed.

Format — Indicates whether (Yes) or not (No) the installation process should format the hard disk partition.

Table 2-1: File System Types and Numbers for Disk Partition

Number

File System Type

Number

File System Type

Number

File System Type

01

FAT12

42

SFS

87

NTFS volume set

02

XENIX root

4D

QNX4.x

93

Amoeba

03

XENIX usr

4E

QNX4.x 2nd part

94

Amoeba BBT

04

FAT16 <32M

4F

QNX4.x 3rd part

A0

IBM Thinkpad hiberna

05

Extended

50

OnTrack DM

A5

BSD/386

06

FAT16

51

OnTrack DM6 Aux1

A6

OpenBSD

07

HPFS/ NTFS

52

CP/M

A7

NeXTSTEP

08

AIX

53

OnTrack DM6 Aux3

B7

BSDI fs

09

AIX bootable

54

OnTrackDM6

B8

BSDI swap

0A

OS/2 Boot Manager

55

EZ-Drive

C1

DRDOS/sec (FAT-12)

0B

Win95 FAT32

56

Golden Bow

<

0C

Win95 FAT32 (LBA)

5C

Priam Edisk

C6

DRDOS/sec (FAT-16)

0E

Win95 FAT16 (LBA)

61

SpeedStor

C7

Syrinx

0F

Win95 Ext'd (LBA)

63

GNU HURD or SysV

DB

CP/M /CTOS /...

10

OPUS

64

Novell Netware 286

E1

DOS access

11

Hidden FAT12

65

Novell Netware 386

E3

DOS R/O

12

Compaq diagnostics

70

DiskSecure Multi-Boo

E4

SpeedStor

14

Hidden FAT16 <32M

75

PC/IX

EB

BeOS fs

16

Hidden FAT16

80

Old Minix

F1

SpeedStor

17

Hidden HPFS/NTFS

81

Minix/old Linux

F4

SpeedStor

18

AST Windows swapfile

82

Linux swap

F2

DOS secondary

24

NEC DOS

83

Linux (ext3)

FE

LANstep

3C

PartitionMagic recov

84

OS/2 hidden C: drive

FF

BBT

40

Venix 80286

85

Linux extended

41

PPC PReP Boot

86

NTFS volume set

In the Disk Setup section, you can see each of the hard disks that are connected to your computer. The drive name is shown first. The Geometry section (Geom) shows the numbers of cylinders, heads, and sectors, respectively, on the disk. The total amount of disk space, the amount used, and the amount free are shown in megabytes.

Reasons for partitioning

There are different opinions about how to divide up a hard disk. Here are some issues:

Do you want to install another operating system? If you want Windows on your computer along with Linux, you will need at least one Windows (Win95 FAT16 or VFAT type), one Linux (Linux ext3), and one Linux swap partition.

Is it a multiuser system? If you are using the system yourself, you probably don't need many partitions. One reason for partitioning an operating system is to keep the entire system from running out of disk space at once. That also serves to put boundaries on what an individual can use up in his or her home directory.

Do you have multiple hard disks? You need at least one partition per hard disk. If your system has two hard disks, you may assign one to / and one to /home.

Deleting, adding, and editing partitions

Before you can add a partition, there needs to be some free space available on your hard disk. If all space on your hard disk is currently assigned to one partition (as it often is in DOS or Windows), you must delete or resize that partition before you can claim space on another partition. The section on reclaiming disk space discusses how to add a partition without losing information in your existing single-partition system.

Caution Make sure that any data that you want to keep are backed up before you delete the partition. When you delete a partition, all its data are gone. The Disk Druid is less flexible, but more intuitive, than the fdisk utility. Disk Druid lets you delete, partition, and edit partitions. Select OK to assign the changes.

TipIf you create multiple partitions, make sure that there is enough room in the right places to complete the installation. For example, most of the Linux software is installed in the /usr directory (and subdirectories), whereas most user data are eventually added to the /home directory. To delete a partition in Disk Druid, do the following:

Select a partition from the list of Current Disk Partitions on the main Disk Druid window (click it or use the arrow keys).

To immediately delete the partition (no confirmation!), click Delete.

If you made a mistake, click Reset to return to the partitioning as it was when you started Disk Druid. To add a partition in Disk Druid, follow these steps from the main Disk Druid window: 1.

Select New. A window appears, enabling you to create a new partition.

Type the name of the Mount Point (the directory where this partition will connect to the Linux file system). You need at least a root (/) partition.

Select the type of file system to be used on the partition. You can select from Linux native (ext2 or ext3), software RAID, Linux swap (swap), or Windows FAT (vfat)

TipTo create a different file system type than those shown, leave the space you want to use free for now. You can click on the Back button and select fdisk instead of Disk Druid. Or, you could wait until after installation is done and use fdisk or cfdisk to create a partition of the type you want.

Type the number of megabytes to be used for the partition (in the Size field). If you want this partition to grow to fill the rest of the hard disk, you can put any number in this field (1 will do fine).

If you have more than one hard disk, select the disk on which you want to put the partition from the Allowable Drives box.

Type the size of the partition (in megabytes) into the Size (MB) box.

Select one of the following Additional Size Options: ♦

Fixed size — Click here to use only the number of megabytes you entered into the Size box when you create the partition.

Fill all space up to (MB) — If you want to use all remaining space up to a certain number of megabytes, click here and fill in the number. (You may want to do this if you are creating a VFAT partition up to the 2048MB limit that Disk Druid can create).

Fill to maximum allowable size — If you want this partition to grow to fill the rest of the disk, click here.

Optionally select Force to Be a Primary Partition if you want to be sure to be able to boot the partition or Check for Bad Blocks if you want to have the partition checked for errors.

Select OK if everything is correct. (The changes don't take effect until several steps later when you are asked to begin installing the packages.)

To edit a partition in Disk Druid from the main Disk Druid window, follow these steps:

Click the partition you want to edit.

Click the Edit button. A window appears, ready to let you edit the partition definition.

Change any of the attributes (as described in the add partition procedure). For a new install, you may need to add the mount point (/) for your primary Linux partition.

Select OK. (The changes don't take effect until several steps later, when you are asked to begin installing the packages.)

Note If you want to create a RAID device, you need to first create at least two RAID partitions. Then click the Make RAID button to make the two partitions into a RAID device. For more information on RAID, refer to the Red Hat Linux Customization guide on the DOC CD that comes with this book.

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