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I just installed Mandrake 9.2 it partitioned my drive into 3 parts 2x ext2 and the swap

Why did it split the space and how do I use the second logical drive?

I am new to Linux but let me try to answer you. Anyone is welcome to comment on this reply and correct if necessary.

First ext2 partition is your Linux root partition and it is required to succesfully run Linux. What goes in there? All system files and applications that are necessary for Linux to function.

Swap is like Windows page file, kind of virtual RAM memory on your hard-drive. When you run a lot of applications at the same time or process a memory-intensive files (image, video or sound but not only) RAM may fill up completely and then Linux starts storing data in the Swap partition. Reading and writing to Swap (and page file in Windows) is much much slower than using RAM, so it never hurts to have quite a lot of RAM installed. Swap is a separate partition because you do not want to mix users' files with whatever system stores in Swap.

The other ext2 partition that was created is called /home and that is where Linux stores all users' data files(images, MP3s, downloaded files, etc.) When you create a user in Linux, the system adds a new directory in the /home partition named the same as the user you created. This way data files for different users are kept separate and make it easier for them to find their stuff.

So every time you go to your /home directory, you are using the second logical drive.

This is the best I can explain it, hope you find it helpful.

Grzegorz L.
Hmm, so for a 10 gig drive my /home partition is 4.9gigs and that means linux is using the other 5 gigs for system operations... Thats even more space than even windows needs to allocate to itself
You can resize these partitions at will, I believe that about 2-3 GB is OK for the root (it is marked as /), them Swap should be twice the size of your RAM. As far as I know, you can only resize the partitions at install, I do not think there is Partition Magic-type software for Linux that woould let you partition hrd-drive from within the system.

With most installations, a lot of software packages get install along the system, so about 4-5GB for a fully functional, stable and secure system seems reasonable. With Windows, you would have to buy and install quite a bunch of software to get the same functionality as with Linux. And you would need antivirus, firewall, anti-spyware on top of it to make Windows more or less secure. But is all subjective of course to determine howmuch space should an OS occupy. However, hard-drive prices are so low that it should not be so difficult to add a 40-60GB drive to your system if you need more space

You can also give up Swap, but only if you have lots of RAM, otherwise your system will slow down to a crawl. Better leave it alone.

Grzegorz L.


The root partition needs to be about 500MB, not 2-3GB.

I recommend you read this:

Linux Guide

Check the section about partitioning, this is a very good read.
the 4-5 gig install is a COMPLETE install...
it will install stuff you would probably NEVER use
and it would cause more problems then its work

a normal workstation/personal installation would
be about 2 gig...ya its seems like alot but there
is more stuff there than in a windows
which you would have to go buy the extra stuff
just to put it on windows....
"However, hard-drive prices are so low that it should not be so difficult to add a 40-60GB drive to your system if you need more space" It's a laptop
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