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9.10. Storage and partitioning

Warning — Back up your data

It is always a good idea to back up any data that you have on your systems. For example, if you are upgrading or creating a dual-boot system, you should back up any data you wish to keep on your storage devices. Mistakes do happen and can result in the loss of all your data.

Important — Installing in text mode

If you install Fedora in text mode, you can only use the default partitioning schemes described in this section. You cannot add or remove partitions or file systems beyond those that the installer automatically adds or removes. If you require a customized layout at installation time, you should perform a graphical installation over a VNC connection or a kickstart installation.
Furthermore, advanced options such as LVM, encrypted filesystems, and resizable filesystems are available only in graphical mode and kickstart.

Important — Booting from RAIDs

If you have a RAID card, be aware that some BIOSes do not support booting from the RAID card. In cases such as these, the /boot/ partition must be created on a partition outside of the RAID array, such as on a separate hard drive. An internal hard drive is necessary to use for partition creation with problematic RAID cards.
A /boot/ partition is also necessary for software RAID setups.
If you have chosen to automatically partition your system, you should manually edit your /boot/ partition (refer to Section 9.13, “Creating a Custom Partition Layout”.
Select Installation Destination from the Installation Summary Menu to select and partition the disks Fedora will be installed on.
Partitioning allows you to divide your hard drive into isolated sections, where each section behaves as its own hard drive. Partitioning is particularly useful if you run multiple operating systems. If you are not sure how you want your system to be partitioned, read Appendix A, An Introduction to Disk Partitions for more information.
Disk Partitioning Setup
Choose automatic partitioning or manual partitioning.
Figure 9.14. Disk Partitioning Setup

On this screen you can choose to create the default partition layout automatically, or choose to partition storage devices manually to create a custom layout.
If you do not feel comfortable with partitioning your system, choose automatic partitioning and let the installation program partition the storage devices for you.
Choose the disks to install Fedora on by clicking their graphical representations from the pane at the top of the screen. Each disk is marked with its label and size. Hold down Ctrl or Shift while clicking on the disks to select or unselect multiple disks.
To encrypt all partitions except the /boot partition, select Encrypt my data. I'll set a passphrase later. Refer to Appendix C, Disk Encryption for information on encryption.
Click Continue once you have made your selections.
The Installation Options dialog now appears, informing you if there is enough space on the selected drive to install Fedora.
Installation Options dialog
Edit the partition configuration and select custom partitioning
Figure 9.15. Installation Options dialog

If there is sufficient space to install Fedora, choose from the following paths:
Installation Options dialog with option to reclaim space
There is not enough room to install Fedora, so the Installation Options dialog asks if you want to reclaim space from other partitions.
Figure 9.16. Installation Options dialog with option to reclaim space

If there is not enough space and there are existing filesystems on the selected disk, you will be informed how much space could be reclaimed by shrinking or deleting these filesystems. The potential space is presented in three categories:
Choose from the following paths to generate sufficient space to install Fedora:
If you chose to encrypt your data, you will be prompted to create a passphrase when you click Continue or Reclaim space (refer to Section 9.11, “ Encrypt Partitions ”).
Optionally, click Partition Scheme Configuration in the Installation Options dialog to choose a partitioning scheme. This will apply to both automated and manually-generated partitions, although individual partitions can later be modified during the manual partitioning process. Choose from:

Important — chain loading

To configure the Fedora boot loader to chain load from a different boot loader, you must specify the boot drive manually by selecting Full disk summary and options from the Installation Destination screen. Refer to Section 9.10.1, “x86, AMD64, and Intel 64 Boot Loader Installation” for instructions on specifying a boot drive.

Important — Mixing multipath and non-multipath devices

When you install Fedora on a system with multipath and non-multipath storage devices, the automatic partitioning layout in the installer might create volume groups that contain a mix of multipath and non-multipath devices. This defeats the purpose of multipath storage.
We advise that you select only multipath or only non-multipath devices on the Installation Destination screen. Alternatively, proceed to manual partitioning (refer to Section 9.13, “Creating a Custom Partition Layout”.

9.10.1. x86, AMD64, and Intel 64 Boot Loader Installation

To boot the system without boot media, you usually need to install a boot loader. A boot loader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the operating system kernel software. The kernel, in turn, initializes the rest of the operating system.
GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader), which is installed by default, is a very powerful boot loader. GRUB can load a variety of free operating systems, as well as proprietary operating systems with chain-loading (the mechanism for loading unsupported operating systems, such as Windows, by loading another boot loader). Note that Fedora 18 uses GRUB 2. GRUB Legacy is no longer actively developed.[2]
If there are no other operating systems on your computer, or you are completely removing any other operating systems the installation program will install GRUB as your boot loader without any intervention.
You may have a boot loader installed on your system already. An operating system may install its own preferred boot loader, or you may have installed a third-party boot loader. If your boot loader does not recognize Linux partitions, you may not be able to boot Fedora. Use GRUB as your boot loader to boot Linux and most other operating systems. Follow the directions in this chapter to install GRUB.

Installing GRUB

If you install GRUB, it may overwrite your existing boot loader.
The installation program installs GRUB in the master boot record, or MBR, of the device for the root file system.
If you have other operating systems already installed, Fedora attempts to automatically detect and configure GRUB to boot them. You may manually configure any additional operating systems if GRUB does not detect them.
Summary of selected disks
View a summary of selected disks, and specify one as the boot device
Figure 9.17. Summary of selected disks

To specify which device the bootloader should be installed on, select Full disk summary and options at the bottom of the Installation Destination screen. The Selected Disks dialog will appear. If you are partitioning the drive manually (refer to Section 9.13, “Creating a Custom Partition Layout”), this dialog can be reached by clicking Storage device/s selected on the Manual Partitioning screen.
In the boot column, a green tick will mark one of the devices as the intended boot device. To change the boot device, select a device from the list and click Set as Boot Device to install the boot loader there instead.
To decline installation of a new boot loader, select the ticked device and click Do not install bootloader. This will remove the tick and ensure GRUB is not installed on any device.

Warning

If you choose not to install GRUB for any reason, you will not be able to boot the system directly, and you must use another boot method (such as a commercial boot loader application). Use this option only if you are sure you have another way of booting the system!

Note

While partitioning your hard drive, keep in mind that the BIOS in some older systems cannot access more than the first 1024 cylinders on a hard drive. If this is the case, leave enough room for the /boot Linux partition on the first 1024 cylinders of your hard drive to boot Linux. The other Linux partitions can be after cylinder 1024.
In parted, 1024 cylinders equals 528MB. For more information, refer to:
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/sizeMB504-c.html

9.10.1.1. Alternative Boot Loaders

GRUB is the default bootloader for Fedora, but is not the only choice. A variety of open-source and proprietary alternatives to GRUB are available to load Fedora, including LILO, SYSLINUX, and Acronis Disk Director Suite.

Important

The Fedora Project does not support third-party boot loaders.