[SOLVED] Should I re-install to create a /Home partition?

I am very new to Linux. A friend suggested Ubuntu MATE because my computer is an i5 2nd generation with 4 GBs of RAM. I installed today and am thus far loving the speed of the system. Before installing I had read several tutorials (some a couple of years old). Most said that you should create a minimum of 3 partitions for Linux (/, /home and swap). I attempted to do that but then the installer said I needed a /boot one (with EFI I think?). So I went with the let Ubuntu MATE handle everything.

I installed gparted and then noticed that there was no /home partition but rather a 2.7 TB root directory and a 4 GB swap directory (and a boot directory of 512 MB as boot/efi with flags of boot/esp).

Is a separate /home partition a big bonus or is that more of an outdated theory/practice for linux? I haven’t copied any files from my external HD (which is where I backed my stuff up to before install Ubuntu MATE) so I have no problem at all reinstalling the OS. I really want to get it set up properly the first time and that way I don’t have to worry about stuff later on.

As I said, I am new to linux and some of the tutorials were a couple of years old. I don’t know. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. I am fine leaving it the way it is and also fine with reinstalling.

Thank you in advance for any idea’s/suggestions/etc.

I don’t run with a separate home partition, but everyone’s usecases and needs are different.

I don’t keep a lot of data on my machine. I average about 3GB of long-term Documents, Photos and backups and it is all mirrored on Google Drive at present, though I may well move it to some self-hosted sync service in the future. I have another 70GB or so of stuff on Google Drive that isn’t sync’d to my local machine.

Everything else is transient (comics I download, read and delete, movies and TV shows I download and pass through to my home server, and video projects before I upload them to Youtube). I stream my music, so my local data storage is actually pretty thin.

I use a service called Insync that basically gives me a local folder for Google Drive on Linux, much like Dropbox does. My home directory’s Documents, Pictures and other folders are actually just symlinks to folders inside the Insync folder. That way stuff is always sync’d offsite without me having to think about it.

So in my case, a separate /home partition is completely unnecessary as it takes about 30 minutes for me to do a complete restore of my data from Google’s servers. I run thin mostly because I used to distro-hop a lot and old habits die hard :smiley:

Edit: A couple of other things. With a spinning drive, you could argue that sticking /home as the first partition on the drive could give ever-so-slightly better performance due to the nature of how they read and write, but that isn’t a factor with SSDs (which I am using).

The only other reason I can see for a separate /home partition on a desktop machine would be easier data recovery if you make the machine un-bootable, but you can use a Live CD to extract data from /sda1 as easily as /sda2… but if you are relying on a separate /home in and of itself for data recovery you are playing with fire anyway :smiley:

Actually… I guess if you had a crapload of stuff you store on your desktop and you distro-hopped a lot and didn’t want to mess with syncing hundreds of gigs of data every time you jumped distros, that’d likely be a good reason for a separate home. You could just use a Live CD to wipe the hidden files in /home before loading up a new distro.

electragician -

thank you for the response. I will probably do something similar to that once I’m comfortable enough with Linux to have it on my main machine. The machine I’m testing it on right now is for eventually going to be a home media server. So I’ll have a lot of tv show and movies and music stored on here. This machine started off as a Win 7 machine (sooooo am not fond of Winblows) and now I’m using it to learn my way around. Once I am comfortable I’ll be moving (hopefully completely) to the linux universe. At that point this machine will be a media server (I’ll have to update the RAM and the video card at that point).

I’ve read a lot about distro hoppers. I think that is a little far for me (at least at this point). I would like to learn one system and be confident in my ability to handle most things that happen within that distro. If I get very comfortable I might have to try other distros but for now I’m looking for one that is rock solid ad stable and, for this machine, not uber memory-intensive.

Sounds like you are going to be fine, I’d say :smile:

I’d do some reading on OpenELEC for the potential media server (assuming it’s also connected to a TV for playback and has supported hardware).

I have an older HP RP5700 corporate computer that connected to my TV via a VGA cable. It’s far from a powerful machine, but it runs OpenELEC / Kodi like a champ. It also automagically creates a SMB (windows) share for any drive plugged into it that every machine on your network can also access. It also self-updates.


See this link also as I use 3 partitions myself:

@wolfman and @electragician -

Thank you. The post was very helpful. Only issue I ran into while re-installing was the boot/efi partition. For some reason UM told me that Fat32 wouldn’t work and it would use the old BIOS approach. I eventually went with it but then when I logged back in I had boot/efi (the label I used) was showing up under Devices in my Home panel. I fixed that by going into gparted and then changing the flags (it was listed as msdosft (or something like that)). By changing the flags to boot and esp that fixed the problem or it showing up in my file manager.

So now I have 4 partitions:
boot/efi = 512MB
root = 50GB
home = 270TB
swap = 12 GB

I figure with those settings I should be good when I opt to move this to being a media center (fingers crossed). I know I’ll be adding some RAM and an video card when I have to do that.

Thanks again to everyone for the help. It is mucho appreciated and a great indication of the awesomeness of this community.

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