I'm about to build myself a new machine (to replace my old Celeron, yes you can laugh :P) and I want to be able to dual boot on Windows 7 (mostly for games) and Linux (development/programing). I'm a complete newbie in Linux installations - I have used Unix/Linux in the past but never installed it myself on my own machine.
I've found all the guides and warnings about partition alignment and think I have that covered correctly on how to calculate the sizes, offsets and offset of the first partition.
RAM = 16GB
Motherboard = ASUS Sabertooth 990FX (UEFI BIOS)
I plan the following SATA3 disks:
- 128GB SSD for Windows 7
- 64GB SSD for Linux (Mint Linux)
- 1TB HDD for Data/Media/Recovery OS Partition
I've seen guides that say that when you install an OS on an SSD that you should unplug everything else so that there are no problems.
1) After installing Windows 7 on the first SSD, is it safe to have it "online" when installing Linux on the second SSD?
I've seen some people post that you need to leave an empty space partition at the beginning of the Windows 7 SSD for the dual boot and install Windows 7 on the second partition.
2) Is this "space" first partition on the Windows 7 SSD required for dual boot?
I've seen some solutions on dual booting from separate disks that say boot from the Linux drive first and add a menu item in GRUB to boot Windows from that disk. And others saying edit the Windows boot loader to add a Linux entry? I think I prefer the first option since it doesn't mess with Windows which seems prone to messing up in updates and what not.
3) How does the dual boot from 2 separate disks work and what is the disk boot order I should setup in the BIOS? Is the above solution the best to dual boot from separate disks?
I find mixed advice on the Linux partitions and where to put them (SSD or HDD). Some recommend only having /, /swap and /home, while others suggest splitting further /usr and /usr/local (I don't plan on splitting /var as this won't be a server but a development workstation). Others even suggest putting /home on the HDD instead but some recommend leaving /home on the SSD but creating symlinks in /home to partitions/folders on the HDD for the media/data for example.
I've seen some suggest a /boot partition but I don't intend to use other flavors of Linux so I'm not sure I need this.
I will at least have a few partitions on the HDD for media/documents/other (NTFS to share with Windows) and some spare space to install a rescue os in case of disaster.
The /swap partition, if any required, will not be huge since I don't intend to hibernate/suspend.
4) Do I need a /swap partition and should I leave it on the SSD or shift it to the HDD? Or have 2, one on the SSD and one on the HDD but possibly setup so that the HDD /swap is used first and the SSD one is only used as fallback in case the HDD is not there?
The /tmp partition will be a RAM disk on Linux (same ramdisk on Windows to map temp and other temporary locations) - shutting down will clear anything in memory.
5) What's recommended for a Linux development workstation in terms of partitions and sizes?
6) Do I need to enable AHCI in the BIOS for all drives before installing anything?
Finally, I have found all the other posts about optimizations in each OS for SSDs so we don't need to cover this here.