Help formatting a HDD for Linux

By resu ยท 7 replies
Jun 18, 2009
  1. Right,

    I have an Acer Aspire laptop running the following specs:
    1.6 turion 64bit CPU
    1gb RAM
    x1300 ati gfx card 128 (exclusive memory)
    120gb hdd

    I've been looking at various linux distros and couldn't decide so I did a walkthrough test to find 'the best distro for me'

    anyway top of the list was the 64 bit release of openSUSE

    so i've promtly downloaded it and have got a Live CD with KDE 4

    anyway some of you may know that acer split their drives into 3... 2 visable partitions: 1 for windows and the other for extras
    and finally one hidden one that contains the factory restore files.

    now ive been in two minds whether just to install OpenSUSE on one of the partitions and leaving the rest to windows etc

    but then i dunno if i shoudl just use the whole HDD for Linux

    if i go for the option of using the whole HDD .. how can I format the whole HDD? the installer for linux allows me to view every partition and i can delete partitions.
    now does that mean I can remove them and format them later? or do i have to format out side of the installer.

    my only experience of formatting has been by plugging an old HDD in my machine an formatting it as a secondary drive...

    shall i just rip out my laptops HDD and plug it into my desktop?

    sorry if it sounds totally noobish .. and your probably thinking "if he can't format a HDD then he shouldn't be running linux" but im usually fine with PCs it just formatting this HDD that has got me stumped
    mental blockage n all that

    Thanks in advance :)


    oh an also what shall I format it to?
    I've read Linux doesn't get on with NTFS so FAT32 ftw>? or does it have its own format?

    thanks again
  2. There are no real advantages to 64bit especially on your system which is relatively low end and has only 1GB of system RAM. I would strongly advise that you download the 32 bit distribution. This is often called "i386" or "i686".

    Seriously do not choose the "use entire disk" option. Do you want to lose your existing Windows partition and all data?!

    The installer usually formats the partitions once you've created them and then installs the system.

    Why would you do that?

    I think you need to read up a lot on this before you attempt it. I'm serious, get yourself over to OpenSUSE forums and register an account there. You're asking this question in the wrong place. Ubuntu is also an option that is ok for beginners and it has a large support forum, but no Linux is as user friendly as some would have you believe. Laptop hardware is always problematic so expect a few set backs.

    Linux filesystems vary but the most common is ext3 or ext4.
  3. resu

    resu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 172

    cheers for you reply!

    As its only an old laptop I'm not fussed about loosing window ... and all my data is on my other laptop and desktop so im not bothered from taht respect.

    thanks for the advice .. i'll ge myself over to an openSUSE forum.

    I tried ubuntu for a while and just didnt get on with it :(

    with regards to removing my laptop HDD and plugging it into my desktop ... I would do that to completely format that drive and then I could have a fresh drive to install on...

    thanks again
  4. Ahhh... I see. Hose it then if you feel ready. It will probably be a little simpler for you to partition and install then anyway.

    Using the distro specific forums is a good idea. This site is mainly Windows based so you could be waiting a while for a reply.

    It would be interesting to know what your problems were with Ubuntu, because people may be able to offer you guidance before making the jump to OpenSUSE. If it's KDE that you prefer over gnome then there is also Mandriva so if OpenSUSE is not your thing for whatever reason then Mandriva is probably the next logical step.

    Well there's no need for that. The partitioner will allow you to resize partitions and format them. There is usually a guided install that will automate a lot of this and format the partitions once you're done. If you're still stuck though search through the OpenSUSE forums and you will find threads like this:
  5. resu

    resu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 172

    sounds good to me.

    ive been looking at ubuntu again. and i think that I may give it another go.
    Last time i tried it, it was on a much older machine so it may have had issues with teh specs...

    thanks again for the advice :)
  6. AndrestheBean

    AndrestheBean TS Rookie Posts: 207

    haha your laptop might be able to handle leopard.

    linux is complicated,
  7. Anything you don't understand or have no experience with can seem complicated. Also it's worth remembering that though Linux obviously didn't work for you, it does not necessarily mean that it won't work for others.
  8. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Yes it does. Ext2, ext3, ext4 ,etc... Linux can read NTFS and FAT16/32 though it needs a native filesystem to boot.
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