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                  Partition-Mass-Storage-Dummies-Linux-HOWTO

   Revision History
   Revision 6           2009-04-05 08:38:51         Revised by: jdd
   adding forgotten HOWTO header for wiki
   Revision 5           2009-04-05 08:35:01         Revised by: jdd
   adding link to the Partitions-and-mass-storage-HOWTO
   Revision 4           2009-03-30 18:34:19         Revised by: jdd
   remove headers to render to docbook
   Revision 3           2009-03-30 18:07:40         Revised by: jdd
   Revision 2           2009-03-30 17:58:09         Revised by: jdd
   Revision 1           2009-03-30 17:54:21         Revised by: jdd
   title change from sub page to full page (done with copy/paste)

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Table of Contents

   1. Partition-Mass-Storage-Dummies-Linux-HOWTO

   2. Licence

   3. Definitions

                3.1. Disks

                3.2. Partitions

   4. Making Room for Linux

                4.1. Using Windows

                4.2. Using Linux

   5. Images of the partitionning tools

                5.1. Windows XP

                5.2. Parted Magic

                5.3. openSUSE

                5.4. Mandriva

                5.5. Fedora

                5.6. Ubuntu Desktop

                5.7. Debian

                5.8. Others

                1. Partition-Mass-Storage-Dummies-Linux-HOWTO

   copyright (c) 2009 Jean-Daniel Dodin

   This HOWTO is about partitionning usual mass storage that can be
   magnetic rotating hard drives or Solid State Drives (SSD - including
   flash cards or USB keys).

   Writing the Partition HOWTO, I noticed that, as of year 2009, at least,
   partitionning is very complicated. However, most partitionning tasks can
   be done very easily with the appropriate tools, so this HOWTO for any
   people that want to understand the partitionning without going too
   deeply inside.

   A more complete partition use description can be found on the
   Partitions-and-mass-storage-HOWTO,
   [http://wiki.tldp.org/Partitions-and-mass-storage-HOWTO#] available for
   example here

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                  2. Licence

         Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this
         document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
         Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software
         Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and
         no Back-Cover Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the
         section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

   [http://wiki.tldp.org/LdpWikiDefaultLicence#GNUFreeDocumentationLicense]
   GNU Free Documentation License

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                3. Definitions

3.1. Disks

   Disks are usually made of rotating plates, read by magnetic heads.
   Tracks are circular parts of the plates. As we may have several plates,
   a stack of plate is seen as a cylinder. All the heads are moved at the
   same time, reading each it's track. All the tracks read at the same time
   are a cylinder as well.

   Each track is divided as sectors that can be 512 or 4k bytes long.

   So Mass Storage disks are nearly always described as "CHS", that is
   Cylinders number, Heads number, Sectors by track number, and the product
   of all these numbers gives the visible disk size.

   However, this have no meaning for SSD and even with true rotating hard
   drive, the CHS have absolutely no more any meaning! It keeps using only
   by inertia... so don't worry too much about these numbers, and if
   possible ignore them.

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.2. Partitions

   Partition is from "part". A partition is a part of a drive with some
   special attributes.

   Computers makers seems pretty dumb when seeing how they keep
   underestimating the possible next disk size, so each year they have to
   issue a new standard. Disks firmware are buggy, so the software tools
   have to fix them - and do quite well the job.

   That is to say that understanding fully why the Partitionning tool
   choose to create the partitions the way they do is very complex. It's
   explained fully (or mostly) on the Partitions-and-mass-storage-HOWTO,
   you probably won't read and don't have to now.

   Windows makes little use of partitions. One can install as many Windows
   version he wants on the same partition (and often do). It may even
   proove difficult to install Windows on just an other drive on the same
   computer.

   Nor Unix nor Linux have any such problem. Just on the contrary, Linux
   love to use at least three partitions. This mean you can have as many
   Linux on your drive as you want, each on it's special part(ition) of the
   drive, erase the partition without losing your data (backup first is
   still better) for example. The two main Linux partitions are used for
   the system ("/" or "root") and the users data ("home"). The third
   ("swap") is used to add some more memory and is written directly sector
   by sector by the system. You usually don't even see it.

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           4. Making Room for Linux

4.1. Using Windows

   Most of the time, your computer come with a paid Windows. If you are not
   an experienced Linux User, it's probably better to keep this Windows,
   just for safety in case you have to show your computer to the vendor
   tech (If your vendor is Linux fiendly you are lucky!). So you have to
   make room for your prefered Linux.

   If You have Windows XP, little luck. Most XP computers come with only
   one partition on the disk and XP don't know how to make it smaller (If
   you have two, see the next paragraph). What you have to do is to
   "defragment" the drive (look in disk properties, you will probably have
   to "verify" the drive first) - if the computer is brand new and never
   used, this is not necessary. The "defragmentation" makes the work easier
   for the Linux partitionner.

   If you have Windows Vista, go to Control center, Administration tools,
   Disk tools to see the actual disk partitionning. If you have luck, may
   be there is yet a "data" partition. If so, you have just to look where
   is this partition located and what it's size is. It will be used for
   Linux.

   If not, clic right on the system disk partition rectangle, you will see
   a resize option. Use it. Keep some room for Vista (50Gb, for example)
   and OK, you have now several partitions on your drive.

   If you see in this screen a small partition (usually around 9Gb), be
   specially cautious. This is the "system restore partition" that holds
   the Windows Vista (or XP) original system. Your computer manual should
   explain how to copy this to two DVD's. Do this before any use of your
   computer. Make notice of the size and place of this partition (it can be
   at the very beginning of the drive or at the very end), try to not erase
   it right now. Don't erase it during the computer insurance time.

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.2. Using Linux

   You, as a dummy Linux user, have better use a very well known Linux
   Distribution. There are more than a hundred Linux distributions and I
   don't have used all of them, of course, so I can't be sure some of them
   couldn't erase your drive if ever you don't understand a question.

   However I'm rather sure Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandiva, Red Hat Fedora, new
   Debian can be reasonably safe for a beginner.

   So launch the Linux install. Probably you will have to insert a Cd or
   DVD and run. May be you will install immediately or launch a live system
   (Linux working from memory, not from drive), then install froms there.

   Anyway, you will have to answer some basic questions and at a moment you
   will be asked if you want to keep windows or erase it. Beleive me, keep
   it for now, it will be easy to remove later.

   At this moment you will be presented a screen with a graphic of the
   proposed disk partitions. Scan it to verify the Windows partition is not
   touched - not formatted. It is probably labelled "NTFS" or "Windows".
   Verify also that the Windows system backup partition is not touched. It
   may not have any identified label. In some partitionner, the partition
   table may be called Disklabel.

   You may have to give Linux the name or position of the Vista partition
   created on the previous step. If your Windows is XP, you will be
   proposed to shrink the Windows Partition this is good.

   Then accept the partitionning sheme your distribution proposes. Do not
   try to be an expert. At install time, no good Linux Partition tool
   should erase a Windows system partition. If it does, write me, I will
   include a notice here.

   Modern Linux distributions are perfectly able to resize a Windows
   partition to make room to Linux. Let some room to Windows, though, if
   you plan to use it.

   So, in summary, trust your Linux install. Most install problems are
   user's problem, not Linux Distribution problems!!

   Do not try "LVM" or "RAID" for your first install. To use these things,
   read the hole Partitions-and-mass-storage-HOWTO.

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     5. Images of the partitionning tools

5.1. Windows XP

   Here you can see the XP tool for partitionning (french version). The
   partition is the dashed c: rectangle. You can see the contextual menu
   (right clic) with no resizing - the resizing option can be seen only in
   the Vista similar menu.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   If the computer used Windows for a while, you will have to verify and
   defragment the disk. This is found in the disk context menu, tab
   "tools". Defragmenting is re-organising the files in the disk. On the
   picture below, you see a badly fragmented disk. Vertical lines are
   files. To be able to shrink the partition with the Linux tools, you must
   have a large blank on the right of the rectangle on the defrag window.
   Even only one file on the right prevents resizing.

   If you can't resize, you can only backup all your data, make the
   partitionning (with Parted magic, for example), deleting all the disk,
   reinstall XP then install Linux. Given you will probably have to
   reinstall Windows from time to time, you can use this moment to make
   room for Linux.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.2. Parted Magic

   Parted Magic is a CD or USB key utility extremely usefull if you have to
   deal with partitions (find it with web search Probably
   [http://partedmagic.com/] http://partedmagic.com/). It allows
   repartitonning, resizing of partitions (if possible), and even search
   for lost partitions if you happen to have trashed your partition table
   (experts only). Do not confuse Parted Magic (free and open source) with
   the proprietary program Partition Magic (expensive).

   This tool is by far the more friendly. If you read this HOWTO you are
   probably not as Dummy as you may think, at least you are curious. So you
   may have benefits to use Parted magic at least to make one free
   partition the Linux installer will easily find and use (and certainly
   repartition again, that's normal).

   Here is the booting screen, you should be able to boot any computer with
   this CD.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   You start a graphical screen, as usual. You have icons at the bottom of
   the screen, clic to use. The partitionning tool is gparted, a very
   friendly tool. Notice gparted gives you immediately the free space in
   the Windows partition (the images here is that of a very small disk -
   only 8Gb).

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   Right clic on the desired partition gives you the needed options.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   In the resizing window, you can resize with the mouse (moving the
   partition limit with the mouse), or give a numerical value.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   Here is a view of a much bigger disk.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   On the same Parted Magic CD, you have also other tools, like "Testdisk".
   This one is much less friendly, but also very powerfull (and being so
   allow easily to destroy your disk). You will be able to use it sometime
   in the future, not now.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.3. openSUSE

   openSUSE is a friendly Linux Distribution, trying to reduce as much as
   possible the risk of removing accidentally files on the disk while
   installing.

   If you insert the openSUSE DVD in your drive when Windows is running,
   the DVD starts and propose to install Linux. It creates a special
   Windows starting menu and reboot to the install without any work to do
   for the user.

   On this first image, openSUSE warns that it's not possible to resize the
   XP disk, you have to remove it entirely if you want to install Linux.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   After I did quite a long cleaning work (including removing of unusefull
   files) on the XP disk, from inside XP, the diagnostic is better:

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.4. Mandriva

   Mandriva is even simpler, the options are to remove Windows or to use
   part of the drive.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   If you choose this solution, you have a windows to select what part of
   the disk is for XP, what part for Linux, as usual.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.5. Fedora

   Red Hat was the first really handy Linux Distribution, but for many
   years now, it's no more aimed to John Doe but to professionals (with the
   associated support and price). It's average user conterpart is
   Fedoraproject.

   Fedora can be dowloaded as a live CD, you start it (no boot options) and
   then clic on an icon to begin the installation.

   On the partitionning screen, Fedora give a drop down list of the choices
   possible, one is resizing (here the french screen)

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   The following screen is for the size, as usual.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.6. Ubuntu Desktop

   Ubuntu also have a friendly screen to resize partitions, but one have to
   go to "manual" to find it, what can be a little scary.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   It's the "edit" button that allows resizing. Do not format the XP main
   partition! This would erase all the content.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.7. Debian

   Debian is now as pretty as most distributions. The boot menu (first CD)
   gives more options than many - this is not a live CD.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   The partitionner. Choices are the same as Ubuntu does (Ubuntu is built
   upon Debian).

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   "Manual" have the resize option.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   You have to give a number - no slide, no view of the free space.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   ------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.8. Others

   Many Linux distributions are availalble, for example from
   [http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/] ibiblio. If any of
   these distributions uses gparted, it's possible very easily to partition
   a drive with them, as we could see with Parted magic. Here the example
   of Puppy Linux.

   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
   +----------------------------------------------------------------------+

   This distributions may be a bit more difficult to understand, but it
   installs is extremely low end hardware (256Mb ram for live cd, 2GB Hard
   drive).





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