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Yet another simple question I'm trying to break down. In GParted, what is the linux-swap partition and what does it do?

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It defines the partition id as linux swap. The entry of the partition in the master boot record of the device contains the hex value of that partition type. In that case it would be 0x82.

The problem is every operating system interprets them different. It is theoretically possible that if you use two operating systems with the same harddisk, the same code might be used to designate two different partition types.

For example in linux operating system the id 0x82 means swap and in solaris it defines a normal partition.

However the partition type just marks the partition. You can create a linux swap space in such a partition with mkswap.

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That is a separate partition intended to be used as swap space (which can also be used for hibernating the system). Although you can have swap in a regular file, a separate partition is usually preferred, since it includes less overhead - which obviously is something undesirable especially for swap.

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