Partitioning for 2*250GB drives with Linux and Windows XP Pro

I am building a new System, I got my self two 250GB drives. My original plan was to split the first drive 70-30 between Windows XP and Slackware Linux (in case you care to know the distro).
And have the second drive as a giant Fat32 partion so that I have got access from both windows and linux to my shared files no matter what OS I am in.

However now I heard that you can't have larger the 128GB NTFS partions under Windows and only 32GB partion under FAT32 or something along those lines, please tell me if I am ill informed.

*UPDATE* Just got the news that with SP2 you can have larger NTFS partions, but does that also apply to FAT32?

Do you have any better ideas, to give me a better solution for having a dual boot system? With a giant shared partion or something similar.

Many Thanks
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Yes, it works with FAT32 also.

- Travis
Also, I'd suggest going with partitions around 30 Gigs each for the operating systems.  This should be plenty for a full-monty installation of each.  Then take the remaining space from the first drive and put FAT32 on that also.  You probably know that Linux can read NTFS, but when you write from Linux to NTFS with the current development support, you can totally nuke the NTFS partition.  But there's no reason FAT32 won't work.  It just has poor support for security when compared with Linux-specific file systems and NTFS.

- Travis
semITAuthor Commented:
I am just planning to use windows primarily for gaming so that is why I wanted to dedicate a large space to it - especially in NTFS for preformance reasons.
Do you think it is a better idea to have a large windows partion say 150 odd gigs in NTFS or have one 30gig for windows and then another seperate NTFS partion for all games and software say 120gig odd gig?
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Actually that's a smart plan to use NTFS for performance.  You'll want a ton of space for games.  It's also smart to go with a 30 gig NTFS for just windows, then have a big NTFS partition for games.  If you just have games on that partition, there's no reason the Linux OS will need to write to it anyways.  So...  This is just my opinion, but I'd make one of the drives windows-only, with a small and a big NTFS partition.  Then I'd make the second drive Linux and shared with a small Linux-native partition like Reiser which is pretty cool and a big FAT32 partition that both OSes can share for data.  

Why is Reiser cool?  I don't know all of the tech mumbo jumbo, but I know some.  It's fast, it is very efficient with it's allocation and management of files and blocks, and it's a 'journaling' filesystem.  Which means, in my limited smartness, that it tracks all the reads/writes and is easier to recover if someone yanks the power cord out of your machine while a write operation was occurring.

Good Luck, sounds like you have it figured out.


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Oh, and put your windows swap file on the shared partition on the second drive, only keeping a small, 64 megs or so, swap file on the windows system partition.  This is one good way to speed things up.  And... ram ram ram, you can never have enough!  And one more thing:  If you make your windows OS partition small enough, you can image it to the shared partition while booted in Linux and you have a perfect, super high performance backup strategy!

...because there is a boatload of open source imaging solutions and techniques, similar to what Symantec Ghost does,  pretty much built-in to most current Linux distributions.

- Travis
Somebody stop me!  You can also download, for free, VMWare Server from 

That way you can build your Linux box inside VMWare and just keep it virtual.  Since you were gonna dual boot anyways it doesn't look like you want the Linux nailed up all the time.  Why not make it a virtual Linux box?  I'm running a Linux mail server and a Linux backup server inside virtual machines right now for a pretty large school district.

- Travis
semITAuthor Commented:
So to some up:

Drive One:
20GB - NTFS - Windows OS
Rest - NTFS - For Win Games

Drive Two:
20GB - ReiserFS/Reiser - Linux partion
Rest - FAT32 for shared file storage

What exactly do you mean by swap file space, do you meant to actually set asside 2GB partion on Drive Two for swap (virtual memory in MS lingu)?

Swap file - can you explain this to me.
I'd go 30 gig on the os partitions, but that's me.  For swap I meant in Windows' virtual memory settings under Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance, Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory-Change you can set where Windows keeps the paging file.  If you move this off the system/boot drive (usually C:) to another partition on another physical drive (the FAT32 partition on your 2nd drive) it will speed up how fast Windows runs.  It's just a file, usually in the root of C:, called pagefile.sys.  But the above settings control what drive Windows puts it on.

- Travis
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