The next step is the most important part of your installation - the preparation of the hard disk for the installation. In fact, this step is a combination of several crucial procedures:
Creation of the Partition Table
Partition Table is a sector on the hard disk that will contain the information about partitions, their size, their file systems etc. Without the Partition Table, a hard disk is just a bunch of useless weight.
Creation of partitions
To properly install a Linux distribution, the hard disk will have to contain three partitions - the Swap partition (/swap), which is used by the system for various operations, the Root partition (/ or /root), which is used to install the kernel and core operating system files, and the Home partition (/home), which is used to store user data and custom programs and installations.
Mounting and formating of partitions
To make use of the created partitions, the installer will need to mount them (i.e. make them into drives) and format them to make them usable.
You will be asked to prepare your hard disk(s). You can decide to let the installer automatically configure your hard drives or perform a manual selection. In this case, We will make our own choices. Check mark the Manually edit partition table and then click Continue >.
Whether you choose to use the automatic selection or manual editing, if you have more than one hard disk / partition available, you will have to select the desired location to which you want to install Kubuntu. For more information about Linux notation and partitioning, you may like to refer to Installing SUSE Linux - Part 2.
If you are installing into empty space or an unformatted partition, you will have to create a Partition Table first. This table will be the ultimate arbiter to which the system will refer to, telling it where Linux and / or other operating systems are installed, how the partitions are arrayed, in terms of size, physical location on the hard disk, file system etc. For example, Windows writes this information on the 0th sector of a hard disk, called Master Boot Record.
If your computer has several hard disks with active partitions, they will be listed too. Make sure you do not overwrite an existing setup. You should know in advance which partition you want to use for the installation. Your cue should be the Status of the partition. Empty means that the selected space if free and unpartitioned and can be safely used. Alternatively, you might want to use a partition that has been previously used by another operating system, like Windows.
For instance, you might want to use drive H:\ (as seen in Windows). In Linux, drive H:\ will have a different notation, something like hda4, hdb1 or sda3. Please refer to the article above for more details. After understanding how Linux marks down the hard drives and the partitions, track down your choice and use it for the installation of Kubuntu. You will need to first delete the existing partition (e.g. formatted with NTFS) and then create a new set of partitions (swap, root, home) on the freed hard disk space.
If this step proves too difficult, I will install Windows and Kubuntu as a dual boot system and provide screenshot examples to this problem so far only verbally explained above. In this case, we have a single hard disk, previously unused. It is completely empty and has no information on it. In other words, all of the hard disk space is free. We need to create a partition table, first.
To create a new partition table, highlight the empty partition and right-click on it. Click Make a new Partition Table.
The installer will warn you about your choice. If you are absolutely sure the allocated space can safely be used to install Kubuntu, click Yes.
Now, we have the Partition Table. It's time to create our three partitions - swap, root and home.
As you can notice, the table now contains information about the hard disk. Furthermore, notice the gray bar above the table details. Before the Partition Table was made, the system had no information about the hard disk. Now, it is "mapped" and information can be written on.
Let's create the swap partition. Highlight the free space and either right-click on it, then choose Create or click the Create button in the menu.
You will now be asked to provide a more detailed information about the new partition you want to create. Under Create as choose Primary Partition (we need swap to be active). Under Partition Type choose linux-swap. Label the new partition swap. Give it a size that is at least equal the size of your RAM - in this case 512MB. Click OK to finish.
We have now successfully created the swap partition. Notice the changes in the table and the indicator bar above the table listing.
Now, we need to create the root partition. Highlight the free space and repeat the steps above. You will notice this is very similar to what we have done while installing Windows XP. This is also what we would have done while installing SUSE Linux had we not been satisfied with the default partitioning.
The root partition also has to be made primary. Windows users may find this a bit peculiar. Windows installs on just one primary partition, while Linux seems to install on two (swap and root, and we will see home also). This is because Linux separates the three partitions physically although together they form one operating system.
We will format the Partition (Partition Type) as ext3, although you can choose other formats. The size should be sufficient to install the system and then some, to allow for future upgrades and updates. As you may have noticed, the installer warns that the root partition should have a minimum size of 2GB. In our case, we allocate 3GB.
The root partition is created. We need to create the home partition now. Again, the procedure is similar.
It is time to commit our changes. Click Continue >.