Sascha Güthling guethling at
Tue May 12 13:34:57 UTC 2009

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 11:21 PM, Steven Vollom
<stevenvollom at> wrote:
> I believe I understand now.  What I plan, at this moment, subject to change
> until the last moment, is to use the new 1TB SATA with a boot/OS partition, a
> swap partition and a /home partition.  Once data is copied to the new drive, I
> will format/back-up, and exclusively use my 500gb SATA for Back-up.  Then I
> will install a 200gb IDE 133 that I have and create virtual machines, to
> install and learn the use of other Linux OS's; I will also  install in Virtual
> a separate Jaunty current for the experimentation I always seem to get myself
> into.
> The only part I am not completely confident in doing is to set up the OS and
> applications so that when data is saved it always automatically goes to the
> storage partitions.  I don't want the boot partition to contain any important
> savable data that can be placed on drives that are not subject to application
> crashes and loss of data.  I don't mind if doing this causes a little more
> work to set up the configuration, as long as it doesn't slow the machine, or
> open a new kettle of worms that I don't anticipate.  If I understand
> correctly, this is a simple setup and perhaps the fastest too.
> Most cordially,
> Steven
Hi Steven,

I basically have the same setup that you intend to go for, without the
extra hard drives. I have a system partition, a swap and a home
partition. And that works great for me. My user data is save in the
home partition, even if I install everything new, I still have my
music and pictures where they used to be.

Here a short explanation how that works (since I think you did not yet
FULLY understand what you are going to do, no offense, correct me if
I'm wrong):
The /home folder is where every user on the system has its own folder
for his own data. In your case the folder /home/Steven. There could be
others if you had more users.
If you setup your system only using one partition (plus maybe swap)
the home folder is really just a folder within that partition. Now
Linux has the very cool feature, that you can mount a partition in any
folder on another partition. Usually partitions are mounted in
/mnt/PutInANameHere. Removable media are mounted automatically in
/media/... The cool thing about the possibility to mount a partition
in any folder is, that you can have data on different partitions or
even hdds without having to change your or the system behavior.
When you now mount a partition under /home your data gets
automatically stored there in a folder named /Steven. If you mount
that same partition under /mnt/test afterwards the folder /Steven
appears now under /mnt/test but not under /home (THIS is just and
example, please don't do that because it will prevent you from logging
in to your system) I guess you get the message, by mounting something
elsewhere you can move the data logically without moving it
Also you can use the same /Steven folder in a different Linux
installation. You could have any number of systems on different
partitions and mount your home partition in each one under /home and
would see the folder /Steven in each one of them.

So here is how you do it:
When you have your new disk, put your system physically together.
Start from a CD and start installing the system. When you get to the
point where it asks you where to install the system don't use any of
the suggestions but go to advanced (or so). Now it will scan your
disks and show you what you currently have. Choose your new 1TB disk
and create your /root partition on it. Don't make it too small or too
big. Then create your swap space (should be at least as big as your
RAM if you want to use Suspend to Disk). Now create another partition
and choose /home as mount point in the dialog. With that done, your
system now will create your user folder under /home and all your data
will be stored there. Automatically.

For your old 500GB disk create a mount point under /mnt, for example
/mnt/backup (since you want to use it as that later). I don't know
what the button is called but don't delete any partition or create a
new one. You should be able to click on the partition and change the
mount point somehow. Make sure, better check twice, that this
partition does NOT get formatted. If there is a swap partition on that
disk, leave it unmounted for now. This will mount your old disk under
/mnt/backup and all your data will still be there. After transferring
the data to your new /home folder you can repartition and format this
disk and make it one big backup partition.

Delete all partitions on your old 200GB disk (if they don't contain
any data you want to keep). Create a new partition with a mount point
under /mnt, for example /mnt/virtual. Once you start creating virtual
machines you can just tell the virtualization program to store the
machines under /mnt/virtual and you have your virtual machines on your
virtual machines disk.

If you think you screwed something up in the process, you can always
go one step back in the installation process and start all over again.
The physical changes are not made until you go to the next step in the
installation process.

Good luck.


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