September 22, 2014
 
 
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How Do I Partition My Drive For Linux Use? - page 2

Introduction

  • May 29, 1999
  • By James Andrews
First, look at what is on your disk already. There are two situations you can find yourself in. First, if you want to keep existing data on the disk, or, second, if you scratch all the existing files and start from fresh. In the second case it is easy. Just skip down to the notes below about Linux fdisk! It is always a good idea to take a backup at this point, though, if you have a backup device as mistakes are easy to make. Accidental destruction of large quantities of data is easy when you press the wrong key in a disk partitioning program. If you want to keep existing data, some careful work is required. If you are blessed with owning a commercial program such as Partition Magic, then that will make sorting out your partitions easier. Also, if there are one or more entire partitions of disk space that you can afford to delete, then again things are much easier.

We will look at the worst case scenario first. No fancy programs like Partition Magic, no spare partitions, and you want to keep some data that is already on the disk. Let's say, for example, that you have a 1 GB disk with one partition on it containing an installation of Windows 95. You have tidied up and there is 500 MB of the disk space free which you hope to use for Linux. There are two things you should do next . First, run the Microsoft disk defragmenter. This should move all the used blocks to one end of the disk and all the unused blocks to the other end. Next you run fips and follow the on screen instructions to split 500 MB into its own partition.

Note that fips does not work easily with compressed partitions, or at all under MS Windows NT. It also has problems with the OSR2 FAT32 disk formatting scheme and some SCSI disk adapters. Check the fips documentation and the fips FAQ. If you have an unusual setup, it may be easier to back up all important data, use the MS-DOS or Windows fdisk program to partition the disk (thus wiping the data) and then reinstall MS Windows later.
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