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I am new to Linux. I have a machine with two hard drives, the first one has 80GB and the second has 120GB. I am about to format this machine and install Linux.

I want to install all the main partitions (/,/boot,/usr/, etc..) on the first HD (sda) and mount the /home and /var partition on second disk (sdb). Is this possible by specifying the partitions manually (if so, how?) or is this done automatically?

I am installing Ubuntu 12.04. Also, I won't do it but there is any problem to place /boot on the second HD?

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There's no point in breaking down your system into so many different partitions. Unless you have a very good reason, put / (including /var) on one disk and /home on the other disk. –  Gilles Sep 21 '12 at 0:06
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2 Answers

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I am assuming you're installing Ubuntu Desktop with Graphical Install

If you look at the graphical install Step #6 you will notice that one of the options in the radio buttons is:

enter image description here

Specify partitions manually (advanced)

You can select that and specify partitions as you see fit. One suggestion: if you haven't done manual partitioning for Linux or any other OS to get someone to hold your hand while you do it the first time. Otherwise it may take you a few tries to get this right.

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I believe this should be doable with the Ubuntu alternate installer.

The Alternative installation CD provides an installer that is text-based rather than graphical. It is needed for installation on computers with less than 384 megabytes of RAM. It also has a number of custom installation options that are not available in the standard Desktop version, and it can often be used for installation, if the standard CD does not work.

Alternatively (proposed in this Ask Ubuntu question: How to move /usr to a new partition), you could install with the default CD and then use a Live-CD to move those partitions to another hard drive; after this, edit the /etc/fstab to reflect this modification.

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