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I've been going through the Arch Linux beginner's guide and I'm a bit confused on partitioning the OS. It says I can either have just a root partition or a root and /home partition.

What are the pros/cons of one versus the other? Also, if I have a windows 7 repair disk and I want to dual boot Win7 and Arch, can I safely delete the OEM partition and still be able to use the repair disk if I mess up?

closed as too broad by jasonwryan, Anthon, Ramesh, Karlson, Braiam Jul 7 '14 at 19:50

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Confirm that you've created a full restore disk. It could be simply a repair/boot disk. I recently created restore disks from my laptop (and I know they works as I've used them) and they came to 3 DVDs.

With a Windows full restore disk set you'll completely overwrite the HDD (wiping your Arch install), reinstating your Windows and OEM partitions. That laptop will be as it was when you bought it. Although you may get other options when you boot the DVDs remember that Windows is quite greedy when it comes to installing/repairing and doesn't generally grasp the concept that there may be other OSes installed. In fact, it won't understand your XFS/BTRFS/Ext4/LVM etc partition and simply overwrite it.

So to answer your question - yes you can delete the OEM partition as long as you check that your restore disks are complete beforehand, but you won't be able to restore the OEM partition or Windows without overwriting your Arch install.

As well as the answer by @schaiba you can use a separate home directory if you triple (or even quadruple) boot. If you point each distro to the same home directory and keep all your settings, emails between distros.

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The /home partition is useful if, for example, at one point you want to reinstall Arch or install another distribution, because thus you will save your personal settings, browser history, etc.

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