In this post, I will walk you through creating a separate home partition in Ubuntu 12.04 during installation. The advantage of doing this is that you can keep personal data separate from system data. This comes in handy with non-rolling release distributions like Ubuntu. You can preserve the home partition while formatting and doing a fresh install on the root partition.
In my Linux experience, I typically have 3 partitions for a distribution.
- root - location for system files
- home - location for user files
- swap - swap space
You will want to use the ext4 journaling system for root and home.
During installation, you will come to a point where the installer asks you how you want to partition.
**Important: Note that I am doing this using VirtualBox, so no other operating systems were detected. The Ubuntu installer detects other operating systems if they are present.
We select "Something Else" to manually specify partitions.
Highlight /dev/sda and click "New Partition Table"
Notice that it now shows how much free space is available. Again, this example is on VirtualBox and shows an 8 GB space. Most modern computers will definitely have more than 8 GB of hard drive space. Now, we can add partitions.
Click on "Add" and add the three partitions
root ("/") - primary, beginning, ext4
home ("/home") - logical, ext4
swap - the general rule for swap is to set it proportional to your RAM. For example, I have 8 GB of memory so I set 512 MB as swap. There is no hard rule and it is up to you to decide how much.
If you want to install a fresh copy of Ubuntu in the future, you can use the same partitioning scheme and simply format the root partition. DO NOT format the home partition if you want to preserve your personal data.
There you have it, now you are ready to continue installing Ubuntu!
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