Posts Tagged 'partitioning'


If this post is difficult to read, that’s because I started writing it before the installation and finished it today. And because I was a bit frustrated, but you’ll read about that…

So here I am, starting off with the Ubuntu installation on my mother’s PC.

As I described in The Partition Table I want to resize her current Windows partition in order to make room for a /boot partition.

Since I was not sure whether Ubuntu’s partition resizing in the installer (after “Manual partitioning”) would also keep existing data safe, I’d decided to play safe and resize it with an application explicitly meant for the task. In Windows, since that’s what already was installed, and I also figured that would be the safest bet when trying to resize and NTFS partition.

So I did a search and found guide on “Resizing An Existing Partition On A Single Hard Drive”. That guide recommended Acronis Disk Director Suite. That application unfortunately wasn’t open source (hey, it’s a Windows application – what d’you expect?) but I figured I’d give it a try. It was a 15-day trial (a trial, how long has it been since I encountered those…) but since I just needed it for this one job, that didn’t really matter.

During this little adventure back in the Windows world, for me, Ubuntu had already won. As I said, the Acronis Disk Director Suite, apart from having a painfully long name, was just a free trial. What struck me the most, however, was the installation. I already knew that installation in Windows isn’t as easy as it is in Ubuntu, but the following screen was really awful:

(Oh, and the checkbox at the bottom was checked by default)

I certainly hope I haven’t delivered my mother some spyware, as I notice I’ve become a bit careless in the Linux world 😉

Then the installation file for the application was bigger than the application itself, and after I had completed the installation, I received the following screen:

But of course, I shouldn’t be judging Windows – my mother should. So, I fired up Acronis…

Now I was really getting tired. OK, a reboot then. After the reboot the application finally worked, so I went on an configured it to resize the main partition. However, when I wanted it to apply the changes I made, I got the following:


OK, if I couldn’t do it in Windows, I’d do it using the installer and assume that the developers have taken enough care to make sure it won’t erase data, comforted a bit by Ubuntu’s partitioning guide.

My problems weren’t over yet, however. The external hard drive, an HP Personal Media Drive, didn’t get recognized at first. After a lot of reviews I figured I’d try connecting it to my own computer. As soon as I did that, Xubuntu presented me with an error message saying the drive had been unmounted incorrectly, and gave me a terminal command I could use to mount it again.

When I entered that command, I could correctly mount the drive on my own computer, so I unmounted it again and put it back in the in-built slot in my mother’s HP computer. No luck again. So I took it back to my own computer yet again, where I was told gain that it had been shut down incorrectly. After having executed the command again, I decided that this time, I would not put it in the slot HP made in the computer for its own external hard drives, but instead, I’d connect it through a USB cable like I did on my own computer.

Luckily, this worked. Now came the easy part: Ubuntu’s installation. I’m happy to be able to say that Ubuntu’s installer successfully chopped off 500 MB of the Windows partition to install /boot on, and that it also successfully installed onto the external hard drive.

After the installation, I encountered a few problems during configuration, and my mother encountered a few problems during use, but I’ll save that for the next post 😉


The partition table

With a bit of help from Sjors I devised the following partition table for my mother’s computer.

First of all, there’s the main hard drive that Windows is currently installed on. Resizing the NTFS partition using Ubuntu’s installer, I’ll make another, ext3, partition for /boot of 500MB, which might be bigger than needed, but it’s not like she can’t miss that space…

Then there’s the external 160GB hard drive which will be fully used for Ubuntu. I’ll create an ext3 partition of 30GB to store /, a swap-partition of 10 GB (yes, that is more than enough, too) and I’ll fill up the rest with an ext3 partition for /home.

The reasoning behind the /boot partition on the first hard drive is that it can now safely boot even when the external hard drive is disconnected, and if something would go wrong with the other Linux partitions, it would still be able to boot Windows.

Then there’s the /home partition. This might save me a lot of headaches – when there’s a problem I can do a fresh installation of Ubuntu without erasing all documents and settings my mother created. Of course, were this situation ever to occur it would be really shameful for Ubuntu, but on the other hand, it’s a plus that this is possible. And of course, another situation where it would be useful is when I want to install a newer version, though it might cause problems with outdated configuration files.

Of course, if anyone has any further suggestions for the partition table they are more than welcome. Let’s hope everything works out as expected tomorrow…