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Partitioning + Formatting A Hard Drive For Ubuntu

Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:56 pm

Hi folks. I received my Ubuntu disk in the mail t'other day hot from the Netherlands and I'm thinking on partitioning/formatting the hard drive and installing it on my IBM backup.

It's an Athlon 833 mhz, 320 mb memory, 120 gigabyte hard drive setup now running XP and having the NTFS filing system. I've pushed it about as far as the motherboard will let me for very little money. I need to have both XP and Ubuntu on the box-it's a backup for my work and cannot be just a linux play box.

However, everything I've read so far about getting the job done is just gobbledygook and technospeak-either that or "pay $69 for the utility program that makes this easy".

Does anyone have any good insights on resources for the technically adept but teminology challenged that will unscramble this for me?

If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
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Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:23 am

RE: Partitioning + Formatting A Hard Drive For Ubu

Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:48 am

ok basically to make this easy you will need a utility. Partition Magic being the best bet. But yes it does cost money.

What you need to do is this:

Linux requires minumum 2 partitions, a data partition (format EXT3) and a swap partition (Linux Swap). Most Linux distros recommend 3 partitions so data and OS are kept seperate, up to you there.
Partition Magic will allow you to resize your existing NTFS (WinXP) partition down and create both/all three of those partitions natively. Partition Magic has a nice simple GUI interface from inside windows you just make the changes you want, hit apply, and let it run.

Now there are ways to do this without paying for Partition Magic, however besides being more technical, they have greater risks for data loss (you said this was your work computer so that would be a very bad thing). Most distros of Ubuntu have a partition manager built into the installer for example, but its more difficult to use and you need to understand what it needs to do.

If you are going to do this, these 3 things are important to remember:

1> Any data that is really vital backup to another source (CD-R, USB Drive, etc)
2> Run disk maintenance (Checkdisk and Disk Defragmenter) before proceeding.
3> Make sure you have time to let it run. Making partition changes is not a 5 minute job, depending on how much data is on your partitions it might take 2-3 hours.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:46 am

RE: Partitioning + Formatting A Hard Drive For Ubuntu

Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:04 pm

I use a program called QTParted, it's a free clone of Partition Magic, and works well. It's a Linux program so you can't run it from within Windows, but fortunately it's included on many Linux LiveCDs, including Knoppix. You can download and burn the image to a CD-R, then boot from it to repartition, then reboot and install Ubuntu.

I don't know if the Ubuntu installer includes this type of functionality to resize a partition, but it would be nice.

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