Partitioning is the single most crucial element of the installation. Therefore, I will dedicate quite a few moments to this part. Again, there's nothing to worry about. Like most Linux installers, Mandriva offers a simple and intuitive interface that will allow you to naturally proceed from one step to another.
The first step after starting the installation is the partitioning. Mandriva uses the DrakX Partitioning Wizard. The best way to configure the layout of your hard drive is by custom selection. This is what you should choose.
You are advised to backup your data. If your hard disks are not empty and contain valuable information, you should indeed make sure it is safely backed up before you alter (and possibly format) the partitions.
You will notice that the partitioning tool is not very different from the one used in (K)ubuntu. Like I have said and repeated on many occasions before - once you master one of the distributions, you will be able to easily handle them all.
Note: I have maximized the partition wizard on the screen to make all of the options more easily readable.
You can see there's one hard disk hda, 6GB in size - and empty, as indicated by the white color. If not readily apparent, the legend of Filesystem types should tell you that. For more information about Linux hard disk and partition notation, please refer to the other installation tutorials.
You have several choices:
- Auto allocate the partitions (the easiest option, which we will not use).
- Manually edit the partition table using the expert mode (what we intend to do).
First, switch to the expert mode by clicking on the Toggle to expert mode button. You will notice that the amount of information regarding the partition table has changed.
To create a partition, again, you have two options:
- The colored legend icons are actually clickable. Clicking any one of them will instantly open a configuration window for a partition of the selected type (for example ext2 or swap).
- You can instead click on the hard disk color bar, anywhere on the white (empty) space. This action will allow you to create a partition of any type you wish. This is our preferred choice.
You will know you have selected the empty space by two indicators:
- The empty space will be marked with a dashed borderline.
- You will be presented with a Create button under Choose action menu below the hard disk color bar.
Click on the Create button to create a new partition.
In the best of Dedoimedo tradition, I will make three partitions: swap first, root (/) next and home (/home) last. The important factors that you need to remember are:
- Size in MB - the physical hard disk size that you want to allocate to your partition.
- Filesystem type - swap should be of the Linux swap type, root and home of the journalised FS: ext3 type.
- Preference - you can choose primary or logical, depending on your needs. Bear in mind that you can have no more than four primary partitions on a hard disk, therefore if you have to boot multiple operating systems or must use boot loaders from certain partitions, make your choices accordingly.
Since our system is going to host Mandriva Linux only, I will make the partitions as primary. First, the swap:
Again, click on the empty space, click Create to create the root partition.
The same applies to the home partition. Notice the colored bars indicating created partitions - and their respective filesystem types.
Please bear in mind:
- You can always undo your selections by clicking Undo.
- You can clear the partition table by clicking Clear all.
- You can cancel the installation by closing the wizard.
Furthermore, you have the option to resize the partitions, change the type or the mount point, label them, and more. I will not go into details regarding some of the other advanced options available. If you know you need these options, you probably do not need this tutorial.
We now have the three partitions created. It's time to format them. You can format any partition by selecting it and choosing Format from the Choose action menu. For the sake of the exercise, I will only format the home partition at this moment.
If you forget to format all of all your partitions, you will be given a chance to do so after you finish editing the Partition Table. This redundancy is apparent through the entire process; you can do the same task by several different approaches, whether it is the creation of partitions or the formatting.
Once you click the Format button, you will be presented with a warning message.
You can also check for bad blocks during the formatting.
Once you are satisfied with your choices, click Done. You will be asked to format any unformatted partition.
After you click Next, the remaining partitions will be formatted and the installer will begin copying files. This will happen rather abruptly and without any confirmation message. So do not be surprised.