Linux partitions

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Linux partitions can be confusing for people new to Linux.

Mount point Name recomended
Description priority
/ root ext4 8 GB minimum,

20 GB recomended

main partition, for the OS, like C:\ drive for windows 1
/boot boot kernel and bootloader 3
/var Var 3
Swap Swap size of RAM extension of RAM into physical disk space, like virtual memory in Windows 2
Boot loader Hard drive required for boot loader installation, cannot be installed onto a virtual partition. 1
/home ext4 Home rest of the free unpartitioned diskspace 2
/usr User 3
/data or /media shared partition

NTFS :Windows native, HFS+ :Mac native, ext4 :Linux native, Fat32 :DOS native, max compatibility but 4 GB max filesize, exFAT :flash memory native, max compatibility, Microsoft litigation prone


Single root partitionEdit

This scheme is the simplest and should be enough for most use cases. A swapfile can be created and easily resized as needed. It usually makes sense to start by considering a single / partition and then separate out others based on specific use cases like RAID, encryption, a shared media partition, etc. Note that installing GRUB on a BIOS system partitioned with GPT requires an additional BIOS boot partition. Discrete partitions

Separating out a path as a partition allows for the choice of a different filesystem and mount options. In some cases like a media partition, they can also be shared between operating systems.

Root partitionEdit

The root directory is the top of the hierarchy, the point where the primary filesystem is mounted and from which all other filesystems stem. All files and directories appear under the root directory /, even if they are stored on different physical devices. The contents of the root filesystem must be adequate to boot, restore, recover, and/or repair the system. Therefore, certain directories under / are not candidates for separate partitions.


The /boot directory contains the kernel and ramdisk images as well as the bootloader configuration file and bootloader stages. It also stores data that is used before the kernel begins executing user-space programs. /boot is not required for normal system operation, but only during boot and kernel upgrades (when regenerating the initial ramdisk).

A separate /boot partition is needed if installing a software RAID0 (stripe) system.


The /home directory contains user-specific configuration files, caches, application data and media files.

You should not share home directories between users on different distributions, because they use incompatible software versions and patches. Instead, consider sharing a media partition or at least using different home directories on the same /home partition.


The /var directory stores variable data such as spool directories and files, administrative and logging data, etc. It is used, for example, for caching and logging, and hence frequently read or written. Keeping it in a separate partition avoids running out of disk space due to flunky logs, etc.

It exists to make it possible to mount /usr as read-only. Everything that historically went into /usr that is written to during system operation (as opposed to installation and software maintenance) must reside under /var.

Referenced LinksEdit

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