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I have a few questions regarding the Linux Ubuntu v.11.04 64-bit's /home partition?

Posted on 2012-03-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-03-28
Hello. I have a few questions to ask you.

When installing Linux Ubuntu v.11.04 64-bit on a hard disk drive manually, that is setting up the partitions each manually when setting up Ubuntu on a single physical hard drive, one of the partitions you setup is the /home partition. This is the partition where the Ubuntu user files are kept on a separate partition.

My first question (1): Does the /home partition HAVE TO BE on the same physical hard drive as the rest of the manually created partitions or not?

My reason is if I had 'instant' failure of the physical hard drive that is unexpected, my user files would be lost if they were setup on a different partition, but the SAME physical hard drive.

My Second question (2): Does the /home partition INDEED CONTAIN the folders to my: /home/<username> folders like “Desktop”, “Documents”, “Downloads”, “Music”, “Pictures”, “Public”, “Templates”, “Video”, and “Examples” I see from my “Home Folder” in my Launcher too?

My Third Question (3): Inside the /home directory (or partition), I see a folder called “lost+found” besides my “<username>” folder. What 'exactly' is a “lost+found” folder function? How does it work? Are there settings inherent to Ubuntu for this folder directory that can be customized? Please explain.    

Please reply to all my questions above.

Thank you!
Question by:Bazingeroo
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 400 total points
ID: 37754568
You can put /home on any disk or partition you like, and as long as you define this during the installation it will contain your /home and user's folders
LVL 10

Accepted Solution

Pierre François earned 1600 total points
ID: 37756350
Please reply to all my questions above.
Hm. It should be better to post one item for each question...

Your first question is answered by rindi.

At your second question: by default, the home partition contains one directory for each user, which the home directory of the user. Don't mix these concepts. You can redefine this default behaviour if you want: putting the home directory of some users on another drive, on another computer, on the cloud, on a memory stick, on your Android phone, etc...

At your third question: You have a lost+found directory in the root of each (partition) mounted on your file system. This is for the case you have a crash and you want to recover at least some parts of lost files. In twenty years I am using heavily Linux, I never had a crash that corrupted my file system. You just have to hope this directory will remain empty for ever.

Author Comment

ID: 37770014
@ rindi and pfrancois:

Hello. Nice to see you again.

Thank you for your comments.

Yes, I now see from pfrancois that 'home partition', 'home folder'/ 'home directory' DO INDEED *DIFFERENT* things. Thank you for the clarity. I was confusing them into one! They are separate!

...but to further get this concept correct in my words...

A 'home partition' can have many 'home directories' (or 'home folders') if the settings are remain at default. 'Each user' (user account) has his or her own 'home directories' (or 'home folders'). Is this correct or not?

Please clarify if not correct.

Please reply.

Thank you!
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Pierre François
Pierre François earned 1600 total points
ID: 37770290
It is recommended to ask one question by thread, and when a question is answered, to open a new thread with the new question. Otherwise you discourage the experts by not rewarding all their efforts, asking several questions "for the price of one", or when these questions are answered, by making new questions.

This will also make it easier to retreive archived answers.

Anyway, I am ready to you an answer: each user has only one home directory (= home folder). That folder is defined in the file /etc/passwd and can be any file system you can imagine, also a network file system or external drive.

However, there is a case where you can have several home directories: in the case some external process tries to mount a network directory on your (local) home directory defined in /etc/passwd: if the mount operation succeeds, your home directory will be the mounted file system. If the mount operation fails, the home directory will be the one defined in /etc/passwd. Both can never be accessed at the same time. So better to mount an external file system on a subdirectory of your home directory.

If you want this to be clarified, you are welcome. But don't ask a new question inside of this thread, please.

Author Comment

ID: 37774843
@ pfrancois:

Hello. Thank you for your comment.

Regarding your comment concerning creating a new thread for each new question I raise... … when I receive an answer, it often needs further clarification – especially when I am a newbie to Linux. There are a couple of scenarios why I have learned not to do consistently create a new question/thread. If I end the question/thread without clarification, it really has no meaning or merit to me with an answer that is not explained or defined I can understand. If it is not further explained and I create another question/thread for further questions, it becomes a loose string of short question/answer sessions that are not congealing together 'for me'. However, I can try to connect my own question database. Now 'for you', it becomes a bigger problem too – I have tired that in the past with Windows experts from my doing and it failed miserably. We went in complete circles since the background knowledge or the foundation for the concept I was initially addressing was missing (one, two, or three questions/threads removed) and the expert has not idea what the basis of my further question(s) are and I get the most inaccurate answers); so any of my further question(s) was lost in translation each time – often resulting in superfluous or redundant answers from the experts. It took several comments to get the expert back on track why and how come I was asking these 'further' questions. Then the expert may develop a bad attitude with me when 'I am correcting him or her' so to speak (Yes, been there!) in my further comments I post for clarity! I do understand where you are coming from however. In most 'other forums', you will find a long string of comments and questions from many users interjecting their responses or the same user 'working out' a problem with others to the topic at hand where the thought evolves (since all experts have been reading the string of comments) which will meet some sort of logical, sensible, and reasonable conclusion. I think this is a better means and way to work together and rationalize a logical, sensible, and reasonable conclusion. (Part of the reason why I am interested and respect Linux because of the open source philosophy where a community work together for the most part.) I know the manner and purpose at which Experts Exchange works is contradictory to that thought process method since it is points driven and the fewer the comments per thread/question, the better for the expert. I completely understand. This is one of the main negative aspects about Experts Exchange, being a questioner. However, I use Experts Exchange because it is an excellent tech resource full of intelligent and experienced experts.  

I will try to break them up for you and others, it is going to be harder on both of us. We will see what happens. However, there are times when I will continue with additional comments, because if I feel I am going to 'lose the expert' if start a separate question/thread.

Anyways, thank you for explaining my latest question concerning this issue, I do understand that now!

Question/thread complete.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37774862
@ rindi & pfrancois:

Hello again. I am awarding pfrancois the Accepted Solution to this question/thread because he provided me the greater share of answers I was looking for. I awarded 100 points for each answer. I also awarded  pfrancois another 200 points for the clarity to my further question I had raised since pfrancois has went into great explanation in his last comment.

Again, thank you both.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Pierre François
ID: 37775469
I understand your point of view. I have the same problem in other forums where I am not an expert, as it is the case about the stuff regarding my Android phone, where I am turning into circles in the way you describe.

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