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Hi I want to partition a hard drive with NTFS and ext3.

I was going to partition the drive all with primary partitions (don't need 5+ parts) in windows XP then change the last partitions to 83/Linux with fdisk.

then mkfs.ext4

I hear windows vista and up has good modern alinement for SSD's and the like and I have new 2TB drive which might work better with 4k optimization.

Is this the best strategy or should I use linux cfdisk etc to partition.

Or I could do the best of both maybe and sfdisk -d > to-file the disk after windows, destroy the table and write it back again. That would give me windows alinement but made by linux. I want to replicate the table to an identical drive later anyway so sfdisk sounds good.

I will not boot from the disk.

Why bother? I have seen people have alignment problems mounting ext partitions in vmware under windows and want to avoid as much problems as possible vmware or other wise.

Main objectives :

Avoid Windows Miss aligning NTFS ext4 partitions. Avoid Linux Miss aligning ext4 partitions.

I would like to know if windows 7 is any better in reading any alignment you slap together in windows also.


Update: https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_4_KiB_sector_issues#cite_ref-5 and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931760

Seems to imply that XPsp3 and windows vista/7 will read almost any partition you throw at it.

And the older version of XP likes to be aligned to cylinder boundary.

I would like to partition for the older XP if this is true (even if at a performance loss on my 2TB drive) to make it compatible with as many Windows OS's as possible.

Would cfdisk then be suitable as it partitions to the cylinder boundary by default (fdisk doesn't seem too)?

Could someone verify this understanding?

Ok http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-6.html states:

Since "disk geometry" is something without objective existence, different operating systems will invent different geometries for the same disk

So in which case I would have to make the partition with XP and optionally reproduce with sfdisk -d if I was in linux.

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Keep in mind that you generally need at least two partitions for Linux--one for your OS/files, and one for swap. If you're using LVM or anything else funky, you may need a third for /boot. –  Flimzy Jul 6 '11 at 6:27
    
no the drive is for backup no windows or linux OS will reside on the drive. –  sabgenton Jul 6 '11 at 6:43
    
Hm shivaranjan.com/2009/05/11/… –  sabgenton Jul 6 '11 at 6:50
    
This thread question is about making a partition table that won't break older versions of windows filesystems and linux filesystems on the same drive. –  sabgenton Jul 6 '11 at 13:47
    
And if it still matters after windows XPsp3. –  sabgenton Jul 6 '11 at 14:18

2 Answers 2

How do you plan to use linux partition(s)? Is it for system installation or just for data? If it's just for data then consider using ntfs (linux can easily access/write data on such partitions). That is of course if you don't need unix permissions/acls.

FTR: linux can be installed and run just fine on a single partition (swap, boot, user data and all). Swap partition is not necessary—swap can reside in single file/doesn't have to be used at all.

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ntfs-3g still fragments more and has some issues. It's not to bad but I do want acls as I'm going to rsync linux distros to the ext partion also will use sparse files from ntfsclone. –  sabgenton Jul 6 '11 at 12:19
    
ntfs-3g does support mapping NTFS ACLs to POSIX permissions and even POSIX ACLs. (The latter must be enabled at compile-time.) –  grawity Jul 6 '11 at 21:46
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The best I can see is that older pre SP3 versions of XP can have issue with CHS alignment. Windows vista/7 and linux dont care as much about the CHS values in the mbr so linux with xp is the only place where you have these problems I guess.

If you have UEFI on your mobo windows vista/7 64 bit edition can use GPT removing mbr and CHS from the argument completely. I don't know how well linux works with GPT and windows but you would think this would fix everything.

The problem with CHS/MBR seems to be differenct OSs and BIOS's can interpret CHS differently. GPT is pure LBA (LBA is one undebateable number CHS is 3 coordinates to your partition) so I will switch to that on all new hardware I get with vista +.

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