Manual Partioning Two Hard Drives

I am getting ready to install Zorin Pro 16 on my Alienware m15r1. I have two hard drives, a 500GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, with 32GB RAM. I want to put my /home on my HDD and the rest of the OS on the SSD. I know that I am going to have to manually partition in order to accomplish that.

That said, I have read a number of guides on how to do this, however I am a bit confused on the size of a couple partitions and if some are actually needed.

My system is UFEI, so I am assuming that I need to create /boot first. But I see values varying between 512MB up to 2 GB. How large does that partition need to be?

Also, SWAP...again I have read a number of articles that vary between double my current RAM, to just 4GB. After everything that I read (I have 32GB RAM) it appears that I need to set aside 38GB for SWAP if I want to use hibernation, is that correct? Is hibernation even used in Zorin?

Lastly /var, what is that, do I need it, and what size should I use?

Also, is it possible to use LUKS on both hard drives from the installer during manual partioning? I see that there is CLI to accomplish that, but I am not too comfortable with that yet outside of sudo apt-get update and upgrade.


512megs is more than enough.

Hibernation is not enabled by default in Zorin OS (or in most distros). If you want hibernation, then you will need to set that up, including a Swap partition. In your case, 8 gigs would be more than sufficient. If not using hibernate, then the swap file automatically created by the Zorin OS installation on your system will probably serve your needs. Otherwise, if you would like to set your own size for swap... It really depends on your usage. If you think that you probably will not really need swap even, then why bother making a big swap file with lots of swappiness?
The default file is fine.
If you think that your existing 32 gigs will be struggling, then an additional or even double is within reason. But it is best advised to not create a larger swap file than double. If you need that much RAM - Get RAM. Many guides pointing out double RAM also are thinking back to the 4 gig and 8 gig days. I would personally suggest that more than 16gigs in swap is a bit much.

The Directory /var is created by the installation of Zorin. You may reference it for setting things up - but need have no involvement in its creation or installation.

Yes, it is. It is also, as you note, complex and unless you are a secret agent or working for the FBI or CocaCola, probably is not worth the hassle for you.

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Thank you for the information, I will set up my partitions as you outlined.

I have gone back and forth on FDE, when I used MacOS I used Filevault, on Win10 I contemplated using Bitlocker, but never felt like paying for a Pro license just for that. I'll just continue to use Veracrypt for files I want additional security for.

You can also compress sensitive files in a password encrypted .tar.gz on a case by case basis if you do not want your entire drive encrypted.

Zorin OS installer offers an option during the installation to Encrypt The Drive.

One last question I just thought seems like you state that the installer will take care of the /var and /swap, is that correct?

So I should just need to create partitions for /, /boot, and /home, then the rest will automatically be created?

Yes, correct.

As I am not fully sure of what your aim is... I am going to give a Very General Answer.
You only need to set / as the mount point. Beyond that, setting /boot or /home on separate partitions is a User Choice. Setting /Home on a seperate partition allows for your home directory with videos, docs, photos and configs to be safe if the os installation needs reinstalling but not if there is Disk Failure. It also will not protect Root Installed Software- those would need to be reinstalled.
Some swear by it... I don't do it... It's easier on me (and a lot less cluttered!) to back up only the portions of /home that I care about - onto an external drive. But it has its 'pros more than cons.
Installing a separate /boot is not necessary but has benefits in that it reduces read/write complexity in the main file system for init. At boot, all boot needs to deal with is /boot and not get around all your other stuff.

It sounds like you have a Well organized plan; now all you need is to Launch :slight_smile:

My main concern is keeping all of my docs/photos/videos on my larger HDD which is why I want to manually partition to have the /home folder on that drive.

I'll just get in there and give it a shot, worse thing that happens is I get to start over :smile:

Thanks for the quick responses and help!


You may want to set a completely seperate partition for data storage, backups and the like. You can format it in nfs, efat, ntfs or fat32 to be seen from any device and sharable between all of them. I've done this with mine on an ntfs partition to share movies and music with multiple devices.