Partitioning Your System Manually

If you chose automatic partitioning and did not select Review, please skip ahead to the “Network Configuration” section.

If you chose to partition manually with Disk Druid, see the “Partitioning with Disk Druid” section a bit later in this chapter. If you chose to manually partition with fdisk, please skip ahead to the “Partitioning with fdisk” section.

Recommended Partitioning Scheme

Whether you use Disk Druid or fdisk, Red Hat recommends that you create the following partitions:

  • A swap partition (at least 32MB) — Swap partitions are used to support virtual memory. In other words, data is written to a swap partition when there is not enough RAM to store the data your system is processing. The size of your swap partition should be equal to twice your computer's RAM, or 32MB, whichever amount is larger.

  • For example, if you have 1GB of RAM or less, your swap partition should be at least equal to the amount of RAM on your system, up to two times the RAM. For more than 1GB of RAM, a maximum of 2GB of swap is recommended.

  • A /boot partition (100MB) — The partition mounted on /boot contains the operating system kernel (which allows your system to boot Red Hat Linux), along with files used during the bootstrap process. Due to the limitations of most PC BIOSes, creating a small partition to hold these files is a good idea. For most users, a 100MB boot partition is sufficient.


    Do not create your /boot partition as an LVM partition type. The boot loaders included with Red Hat Linux cannot read LVM partitions and you will not be able to boot your Red Hat Linux system.

    If your hard drive is more than 1024 cylinders (and your system was manufactured more than two years ago), you may need to create a /boot partition if you want the root > /) partition to use all of the remaining space on your hard drive.

  • A root (/) partition (1.5-4.5GB) — This is where the root (/) directory will be located. In this setup, all files (except those stored in /boot) are on the root partition. A 1.5GB root partition will permit the equivalent of a personal desktop or workstation installation (with very little free space), while a 4.5GB root partition will let you install every package.

Partitioning with Disk Druid

The partitioning tool used by the installation program is Disk Druid. With the exception of certain esoteric situations, Disk Druid can handle the partitioning requirements for a typical installation. If you chose automatic partitioning and selected Review, you can either accept the current partition settings (click Next), or modify the setup using Disk Druid.

At this point you must tell the installation program where to install Red Hat Linux. This is done by defining mount points for one or more disk partitions in which Red Hat Linux will be installed. You may also need to create and/or delete partitions at this time (see Figure 2-14).


As you plan how to set up your partitions, keep in mind that at a bare minimum you need an appropriately-sized root partition, and a swap partition equal to twice the amount of RAM you have on the system. See Chapter 1 for space requirements; see the “Recommended Partitioning Scheme” section later in this chapter if you want some suggestions on how to set up your partitions.

click to expand
Figure 2-14. Partitioning with Disk Druid

Graphical Display of Hard Drive(s)

Disk Druid offers a graphical representation of your hard drive(s). Using your mouse, click once to highlight a particular field in the graphical display. Double-click to edit an existing partition or to create a partition out of existing free space.

Above the display, you will see the drive name (such as /dev/hda), the geom (which shows the hard disk's geometry and consists of three numbers representing the number of cylinders, heads, and sectors as reported by the hard disk), and the model of the hard drive as detected by the installation program.

Disk Druid's Buttons

Disk Druid’s buttons control the utility’s actions. These buttons are used to change the attributes of a partition (for example the file system type and mount point) and also to create RAID devices. Buttons on this screen are also used to accept the changes you have made, or to exit Disk Druid. For further explanation, take a look at each button in order:

  • New — Used to request a new partition. When selected, a dialog box appears containing fields (such as mount point and size) that must be filled in.

  • Edit — Used to modify attributes of the partition currently selected in the Partitions section. Selecting Edit opens a dialog box. Some or all of the fields can be edited, depending on whether the partition information has already been written to disk. You can also edit free space as represented in the graphical display to create a new partition within that space. To do so, either highlight the free space and then select the Edit button or double-click on the free space to edit it.

  • Delete — Used to remove the partition currently highlighted in the Current Disk Partitions section. You will be asked to confirm the deletion of any partition.

  • Reset — Used to restore Disk Druid to its original state. All changes made will be lost if you reset the partitions.

  • RAID — Used to provide redundancy to any or all disk partitions. It should only be used if you have experience using RAID. To read more about RAID, refer to the Official Red Hat Linux Administrator’s Guide from Red Hat Press. To make a RAID device, you must first create software RAID partitions. After you have created two or more software RAID partitions, select RAID to join the software RAID partitions into a RAID device.

  • LVM — Allows you to create an LVM logical volume. The role of LVM (Logical Volume Manager) is to present a simple logical view of underlying physical storage space, such as a hard drive(s). LVM manages individual physical disks — or to be more precise, the individual partitions present on them. It should only be used if you have experience using LVM. To create an LVM logical volume, you must first create partitions of type physical volume (LVM). Once you have created one or more physical volume (LVM) partitions, select LVM to create an LVM logical volume.

Partition Fields

Above the partition hierarchy are labels that display information about the partitions you are creating.

The labels are defined as follows:

  • Device — This field displays the partition's device name.

  • Mount Point/RAID/Volume — A mount point is the location within the directory hierarchy at which a volume exists; the volume is "mounted" at this location. This field indicates where the partition will be mounted. If a partition exists, but is not set, then you need to define its mount point. To do so, double-click on the partition or click the Edit button.

  • Type — This field shows the partition's type (for example, ext2, ext3, or vfat).

  • Format — This field shows if the partition being created will be formatted.

  • Size (MB) — This field shows the partition's size in megabytes.

  • Start — This field shows the sector on your hard drive where the partition begins.

  • End — This field shows the sector on your hard drive where the partition ends.

  • Hide RAID device/LVM Volume Group members — Select this option if you do not want to view any RAID device or LVM Volume Group members that have been created.

Adding Partitions

To add a new partition, select the New button. A dialog box appears.

Figure 2-15. Creating a New Partition

The following list describes the major elements of the dialog box (refer to Figure 2-15).

  • Mount Point — Enter the partition's mount point. For example, if this partition should be the root partition, enter /; enter /boot for the /boot partition, and so on. You can also use the pull-down menu to choose the correct mount point for your partition.

  • File System Type — Using the pull-down menu, select the appropriate file system type for this partition. For more information on file system types, see the "File System Types" sidebar in this section.

  • Allowable Drives — This field contains a list of the hard disks installed on your system. If a hard disk's box is highlighted, then a desired partition can be created on that hard disk. If the box is not checked, then the partition will never be created on that hard disk. By using different checkbox settings, you can have Disk Druid place partitions as you see fit, or let Disk Druid decide where partitions should go.


    Size (Megs) — Enter the size (in megabytes) of the partition. Note that this field starts with 100MB; unless changed, only a 100MB partition will be created.

  • Additional Size Options — Choose whether to keep this partition at a fixed size, to allow it to grow (that is, fill up the available hard drive space) to a certain point, or to allow it to grow to fill any remaining hard drive space available. If you choose Fill all space up to (MB), you must give size constraints in the field to the right of this option. This allows you to keep a certain amount of space free on your hard drive for future use.

  • Force to be a primary partition — Select whether the partition you are creating should be one of the first four partitions on the hard drive. If unselected, the partition created will be a logical partition. See Appendix D for more information.

  • Check for bad blocks — Checking for bad blocks can help prevent data loss by locating the bad blocks on a drive and making a list of them to prevent using them in the future. If you wish to check for bad blocks while formatting each file system, please make sure to select this option.


    Because most newer hard drives are quite large in size, checking for bad blocks may take a long time; the length of time depends on the size of your hard drive. If you choose to check for bad blocks, you can monitor your progress on virtual console #6.

  • OK — Select OK once you are satisfied with the settings and wish to create the partition.

  • Cancel — Select Cancel if you do not want to create the partition.

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File System Types

Red Hat Linux allows you to create different partition types, based on the file system they will use. The following is a brief description of the different file systems available and how they can be utilized.

ext2 — An ext2 file system supports standard Unix file types (regular files, directories, symbolic links, etc). It provides the ability to assign long file names, up to 255 characters. Versions prior to Red Hat Linux 7.2 used ext2 file systems by default.

ext3 — The ext3 file system is based on the ext2 file system and has one main advantage — journaling. Using a journaling file system reduces time spent recovering a file system after a crash as there is no need to fsck the file system (the fsck utility is used to check the file system for metadata consistency and optionally repair one or more Linux file systems). The ext3 file system will be selected by default and is highly recommended.

physical volume (LVM) — Creating one or more physical volume (LVM) partitions allows you to create an LVM logical volume.

software RAID — Creating two or more software RAID partitions allows you to create a RAID device. For more information regarding RAID, see the Official Red Hat Linux Administrator’s Guide from Red Hat Press.

swap — Swap partitions are used to support virtual memory. In other words, data is written to a swap partition when there is not enough RAM to store the data your system is processing.

vfat — The VFAT file system is a Linux file system that is compatible with Windows long filenames on the FAT file system.

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Editing Partitions

To edit a partition, select the Edit button or double-click on the existing partition.


If the partition already exists on your hard disk, you will only be able to change the partition's mount point. If you want to make any other changes, you will need to delete the partition and recreate it.

Deleting a Partition

To delete a partition, highlight it in the Partitions section and click the Delete button. You will be asked to confirm the deletion.

Partitioning with fdisk

This section applies only if you chose to use fdisk to partition your system.

To partition your system without using fdisk, see the “Automatic Partitioning” or “Partitioning with Disk Druid” sections earlier in this chapter.

If you have already completed disk partitioning, skip to the “Boot Loader Configuration” section later in this chapter for further installation instructions.


Unless you have previously used fdisk and understand how it works, we do not recommend that you use it if you have any data on your computer that you do not want to lose. It is much easier for new users to accidentally corrupt or lose data using fdisk.

Disk Druid is easier to understand than fdisk. To exit fdisk, click Back to return to the previous screen, deselect fdisk, and then click Next.

If you have chosen to use fdisk, the next screen will prompt you to select a drive to partition using fdisk. After choosing which drive to partition, you will be presented with the fdisk command screen. If you do not know what command to use, type m at the prompt for help.

When you are finished making partitions, type w to save your changes and quit. You will be taken back to the original fdisk screen where you can partition another drive or continue the installation.


None of the changes you make will take effect until you save them and exit fdisk using the w command. You can quit fdisk at any time without saving changes by using the q command.

After you have partitioned your drive(s), click Next. You will need to use Disk Druid to assign mount points to the partitions you just created with fdisk.

You will not be able to add new partitions using Disk Druid, but you can edit mount points for the partitions you have already created. For each partition created with fdisk, click on the Edit button, choose the appropriate mount point for that partition from the pull-down menu, and click OK.

The Red Hat Documentation Team - Official Red Hat Linux User's Guide
The Red Hat Documentation Team - Official Red Hat Linux User's Guide
Year: 2002
Pages: 223 © 2008-2017.
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