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I am currently running Ubuntu 19.04 on my Surface Pro 3 and I have decided to move onto Arch Linux. Reading each installation guide, I keep coming across "partitioning" and I want to know why. What I basically want to do is to wipe my disk and only have Arch on it. I don't want to share my disk with anything else. I will not be dual booting. I only just want to have Arch on my disk. So do I still need to partition?

Also, what is a recommended Arch Linux installation guide for SP3, given that these machines come with keyboard covers.

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Hi @Androis A disk needs to be partitioned even if you have only one OS running. After wiping your disk it will have un-allocated space which can be taken as a single partition.

But I would recommend that you have two partitions:
1. /root -- to keep your installation of packages
2. /home -- to have your files and documents here
This has quite a number or advantages.

This is easier to do during installation of an OS; or else you can have this workaround.

  • So during installation, how do I make sure that my installation of packages and my personal files are in their designated partition? I am against multiple partitioning because I don't know how much space I need to allocate just for the installation partition and I'd like to have as much space available to me as possible. – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 9:51
  • "Installation of packages and my personal files are in their designated partition." They are always so, automatically. If you have a 1 Tb disk the go for around 300 GB for /root & 600 GB for /home. – Joe May 29 at 9:56
  • I have 252GB of disk – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 10:07
  • But out of curiosity, what if I just have only 1 partition? What happens then? Will it still work? – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 10:09
  • It will, but as you said its only 252 GB if the disk gets filled due to "your files" (not just other sofware packages) it may crash the system, so make a 65 GB for root and rest for your personal files, which will avoid the crash. Your system will boot even if the second partition is full! – Joe May 29 at 10:14
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There's a difference between having one partition and having what's called a superfloppy (no partition table). If you plan on booting from the disk, then you need a partition table and possibly extra partitions.

If you're booting using EFI, then you will need to have a EFI System Partition. If you're booting using BIOS interface, then you may need a BIOS reserved area partition to store the rest of the boot loader from (you will need this with GPT, most tools leave some room after the master boot record with MBR so you won't need this for MBR).

It's also common to put /boot on it's own partition, which may be necessary if you plan on using LUKS2 for your root partition, since GRUB doesn't yet support LUKS2 headers.

Usually I would allocate 250MB for /boot and format the rest of the free space for LVM or /.

  • I'm booting from the USB – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 10:49
  • As in you're booting from a different device than the disk in question or the disk in question is USB? – Torin May 29 at 10:51
  • Booting from a different device – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 11:20
  • In that case you don't need multiple partitions or even a partition table. You may still want to use one or even use LVM in the case that you decide to resize and add multiple partitions in the future – Torin May 29 at 11:26
  • Yea I think I'll go with only 1 partition. – Andros Adrianopolos May 29 at 11:30

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