Multiboot Disk Partition Layout

As stated on other pages (re: Fix Broken Bootloader), my primary computer (laptop) has a multiboot setup; a triple boot using Xubuntu, LMDE, and Crunchbang. This article discusses the partition layout I use for this setup, actually my partition layout is more or less a generic linux disk layout multiplied by three due to the three OSes.

General Disk Layout

For a general linux disk layout, I use the following partition setup (in the order specified):

 Partition FS Type  Size Partition Type
/boot ext4
 120mb primary
/ ext4  7.5gb primary
swap swap  4gb primary
ext4  1.5gb extended
ext4  * extended

I generally put boot first as I rarely need to change the size/location of this partition, followed by root for the same reason. I also like to keep boot, root, and swap as primary partitions and leave tmp and home for extended. On most installs, I put all remaining disk space to the home partition and put this partition last as I like to be able to grow/move it if needed (e.g. copy partitions to a larger hard drive and expand space).

The Multiboot Partition Layout

When adding multiple OSes, you can reuse some (or even all) partitions. Due to complexity and/or my risk averse nature, I tend to only reuse the /tmp and swap partitions (note: if anyone has successfully shared an encrypted home partition between multiple OSes let me know how).

To add a new OS, I simply create a new /boot, /, and /home partition and allocate the existing /tmp and swap partitions during the install of the new OS. Its really that simple. My complete disk layout for the triple boot laptop is as follows:

 Partition #
 OS  Partition
 1  Xubuntu /boot
 2  Xubuntu /
 3  all swap
 4  n/a Extended
 5  all /tmp
 6  Xubuntu /home
 7  Crunchbang /
 8  Crunchbang /boot
 9  LMDE /boot
 10  LMDE /
 11  Crunchbang /home
 12  LMDE /home

Notice that I deviate slightly from my above guide in that I try to put the home partitions toward the end of the disk as growing the partitions will be quicker/easier.