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Chapter 5. Disk Partitioning

Fedora Core creates and uses several partitions on the available hard drives. You may customize both the partitions, and how the drives on your system are managed. Section 5.1, “General Information on Partitions” explains drive partitions in more detail.

[Important] Configuring RAID Devices

RAID facilities enable a group, or array, of drives to act as a single device. Configure any RAID functions provided by the mainboard of your computer, or attached controller cards, before you begin the installation process. Each active RAID array appears as one drive within Fedora.

On systems with more than one hard drive you may configure Fedora Core to operate several of the drives as a Linux RAID array without requiring any additional hardware. Linux software RAID arrays are explained in Section 5.2, “Disk Druid”.

[Note] Changing Your Mind

The installation process makes no changes to your system until package installation begins. You may use Back to return to previous screens and change your selections at any time.

partitioning options screen

Figure 5.1. Partitioning Options Screen

The box on the screen lists the available drives. By default, the installation process may affect all of the drives on your computer. To ensure that specific drives are not repartitioned, clear the check box next to those drives on this list.

The installation process erases any existing Linux partitions on the selected drives, and replaces them with the default set of partitions for Fedora Core. All other types of partitions remain unchanged. For example, partitions used by Microsoft Windows, and system recovery partitions created by the computer manufacturer, are both left intact. You may choose an alternative from the drop-down list:

Remove all partitions on selected drives and create default layout

Avoid this option, unless you wish to erase all of the existing operating systems and data on the selected drives.

Use free space on selected drives and create default layout

If the selected drives have capacity that has not been assigned to a partition, this option installs Fedora Core into the free space. This ensures that no existing partition is modified by the installation process.

Create custom layout

You manually specify the partitioning on the selected drives. The next screen enables you to configure the drives and partitions for your computer. If you choose this option, Fedora Core creates no partitions by default.

Select Review and modify partitioning layout to customize the set of partitions that Fedora Core creates, to configure your system to use drives in RAID arrays, or to modify the boot options for your computer. If you choose one of the alternative partitioning options, this is automatically selected.

Choose a partitioning option, and select Next to proceed.

[Note] The Next Screen

The next screen is Network Devices , explained Chapter 7, Network Configuration , unless you select an option to customize the partition layout. If you choose to either Create custom layout , or Review and modify partitioning layout , proceed to Section 5.1, “General Information on Partitions”.

5.1. General Information on Partitions

A Fedora Core system has at least three partitions:

  • A data partition mounted at /boot

  • A data partition mounted at /

  • A swap partition

Many systems have more partitions than the minimum listed above. Choose partitions based on your particular system needs. If you are not sure how best to configure the partitions for your computer, accept the default partition layout.

Data partitions have a mount point. The mount point indicates the directory whose contents reside on that partition. A partition with no mount point is not accessible by users. Data not located on any other partition resides in the / (or root) partition.

[Important] Root and /root

The / (or root) partition is the top of the directory structure. The /root (sometimes pronounced "slash-root") directory is the home directory of the user account for system administration.

In the minimum configuration shown above:

  • All data under the /boot/ directory resides on the /boot partition. For example, the file /boot/grub/grub.conf resides on the /boot partition.

  • Any file outside of the /boot partition, such as /etc/passwd, resides on the / partition.

Subdirectories may be assigned to partitions as well. Some administrators create both /usr and /usr/local partitions. In that case, files under /usr/local, such as /usr/local/bin/foo, are on the /usr/local partition. Any other files in /usr/, such as /usr/bin/foo, are in the /usr partition.

If you create many partitions instead of one large / partition, upgrades become easier. Refer to the description of Disk Druid's Edit option for more information.

[Tip] Leave Excess Capacity Unallocated

Only assign storage capacity to partitions that you require immediately. You may allocate free space at any time, to meet needs as they arise.

5.1.1. Partition Types

Every partition has a partition type, to indicate the format of the file system on that partition. The file system enables Linux to organize, search, and retrieve files stored on that partition. Use the ext3 file system for data partitions that are not part of LVM, unless you have specific needs that require another type of file system.

5.1.2. Understanding LVM

LVM (Logical Volume Management) partitions provide a number of advantages over standard partitions. LVM partitions are formatted as physical volumes. One or more physical volumes are combined to form a volume group. Each volume group's total storage is then divided into one or more logical volumes. The logical volumes function much like standard data partitions. They have a file system type, such as ext3, and a mount point.

An administrator may grow or shrink logical volumes without destroying data, unlike standard disk partitions. If the physical volumes in a volume group are on separate drives or RAID arrays then administrators may also spread a logical volume across the storage devices.

You may lose data if you shrink a logical volume to a smaller capacity than the data on the volume requires. For this reason, create logical volumes to meet your current needs, and leave excess storage capacity unallocated. You may safely grow logical volumes to use unallocated space, as your needs dictate.

[Note] LVM and the Default Partition Layout

By default, the installation process creates partitions within LVM volumes.

5.1.3. Creating a /home Partition

If you expect that you or other users will store data on the system, create a separate partition for the /home directory within an LVM volume. With a separate /home partition, you may upgrade or reinstall Fedora Core without erasing user data files. LVM provides you with the ability to add more storage capacity for the user data at a later time.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire