Sunday computer problems..... ahhh yeah.
June 22, 2008 9:29 AM   Subscribe

First time with formatting partitions or installing linux.

I bought a new 200gb harddrive for my laptop. I put it in, and created 3 partitions - Drive C: a 30 gb on which i installed xp, Drive D: a 30 gb on which i plan to install for the first time a linux (maybe ubuntu), and Drive E: a 126 gb partition which i intend to house files i will want to access from either OS. At this point, everything is fine except.... that 3rd (126 gb) partition is RAW and windows right-click to format doesn't give me an option to format in FAT -only in NTFS. Am I correct that if I want to use that drive to read and write files from with both ubuntu and xp i should probably (as a noob) make it be FAT? Should the xp partition be FAT ? (It's NTFS right now.) The one i plan on being for the ubuntu is FAT32. If that third large partition needs to be FAT, how can i do that? As with all computer-solution-needed situations, easy is great; free is best. Thank you so much. Long live metafilter.
posted by thatguyryan to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
XP, c: - use ntfs, formatted from Windows.
Ubuntu, /dev/hda2 - use ext3, formatted from Ubuntu. Windows will not see these files.
Both, likely d: to Windows - use fat, & Ubuntu can format that as well.
You might also want to throw in a swap partition for Ubuntu.
Oh yeah, install Ubuntu second. It will install a boot loader that lets you dual boot, but Windows won't.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:46 AM on June 22, 2008


If you're installing the latest version of Ubuntu( Hardy Heron) you should have no problem - it supports NTFS out of the box. I suggest that you use the hardy installer to format your new partitions. The Ubuntu installer plays well with windows and you can set up your partitions in the installer, which is much friendlier than windows.
posted by Zetetics at 9:48 AM on June 22, 2008


Though this isn't particularly part of the question you asked, you may want to consider using LVM when you do your Linux installation. Conceptually, this creates one partition for the Linux system inside of which virtual partitions reside.

Ubuntu will give you this option during the installation. I'd recommend you use LVM with ReiserFS as the filesystem. What this practically means is that should you decide to increase the size of your Linux partition, either by adding a hard drive or getting rid of your Windows partition, you can easily accomplish that without even shutting down the system. LVM allows you to grow virtual partitions on the fly, and ReiserFS will allow you to grow the filesystem to claim the new space.
posted by odinsdream at 10:21 AM on June 22, 2008


For a long time, writing to NTFS from Linux was dodgy, but recent distros with the current driver should be fine. (In the past, you'd often hear suggestions for formatting it as ext2, for which a Windows native driver exists, or as FAT32.) I doubt you could make the XP system partition anything but NTFS.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2008


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