< Install
Revision as of 22:26, November 18, 2014 by Drobbins (Talk | contribs) (Prepare Hard Disk)


This is a template that is used as part of the Installation instructions which covers: the process of partitioning and filesystem creation. Templates are being used to allow multiple variant install guides that use most of the same re-usable parts.

Prepare Hard Disk


In earlier times, there was only one way to boot a PC-compatible computer. All of our desktops and servers had a standard BIOS, all our hard drives used Master Boot Records, and were partitioned using the MBR partition scheme. And we liked it that way!

Then, along came EFI and UEFI, which are new-style firmware designed to boot systems, along with GPT partition tables to support disks larger than 2.2TB. All of the sudden, we had a variety of options to boot Linux systems, turning what once was a one-method-fits-all approach into something a lot more complex.

Let's take a moment to review the boot options available to you. This Install Guide uses, and recommends, the old-school method of BIOS booting and using an MBR. It works. There's nothing wrong with it. If your system disk is 2TB or smaller in size, it won't prevent you from using all of your disk's capacity, either.

But, there are some situations where the old-school method isn't optimal. If you have a system disk >2TB in size, then MBR partitions won't allow you to access all your storage. So that's one reason. Another reason is that there are some so-called "PC" systems out there that don't support BIOS booting anymore, and force you to use UEFI to boot.

Our recommendation is still to go old-school unless you have reason not to. We call this method the BIOS + GRUB (MBR) method. It's the traditional method of setting up a PC-compatible system to boot Linux.

If you need to use UEFI to boot, we are supporting two options. One still uses the BIOS to boot, but with GPT partition tables to support system disks >2.2TB in size. We refer to this method as the BIOS + GRUB (GPT) method.

There is also another method, which avoids using the BIOS for booting at all. Instead, it uses UEFI, with GPT. We call this the UEFI + GRUB (GPT) method.


Funtoo Linux fully supports traditional MBR partitions, as well as newer GPT/GUID partition formats. See below to determine which partitioning scheme to use:

MBR Partitions
  • Recommended if your system disk is <=2TB in size
  • Legacy, DOS partitioning scheme
  • Only 4 primary partitions per disk; after that, you must use "logical" partitions
  • Does not support 2 TB+ disks for booting
  • Compatible with certain problematic systems (such as the HP ProBook 4520)
  • Dual-boot with Windows for BIOS systems (Windows handle GPT only on true EFI systems, whatever version it is)
  • Multiple boot loader options, e.g. GRUB 2, GRUB Legacy, lilo

Due to the fact that it is more widely supported on PC hardware, it is best to use MBR partitions if possible.

GPT Partitions
  • Recommended if your disk is >2TB in size
  • Newer format for Linux systems
  • Supports 2 TB+ hard drives for booting
  • Supports hundreds of partitions per disk of any size
  • Requires legacy BIOS boot partition (~32 MB) to be created if system does not use EFI
  • Requires bootloader with support for GPT such as GRUB 2, EXTLINUX, or a patched version of GRUB Legacy

If you have a system disk that is 2TB or greater and want to use the space beyond 2TB, you must partition using the GPT/GUID format. Otherwise, MBR is recommended as the most reliable boot method.

Filesystem Resources

Advanced users may be interested in the following topics:

Partitioning Recommendations

Below are our partitioning recommendations in table form. For MBR-based partitions, use the MBR Block Device and MBR code columns with fdisk. For GPT-based partitions, use the GPT Block Device and GPT Code columns with gdisk:

Partition Size MBR Block Device (fdisk) GPT Block Device (gdisk) Filesystem MBR Code GPT Code
/boot 512 MB /dev/sda1 /dev/sda1 ext2 83 8300
GRUB boot loader partition 1 MB not required for MBR /dev/sda2 For GPT/GUID only, skip for MBR - no filesystem. N/A EF02
swap 2x RAM for low-memory systems and production servers; otherwise 2GB. /dev/sda2 /dev/sda3 swap (default) 82 8200
/ (root) Rest of the disk, minimum of 10GB. Note: to compile the debian-sources kernel, as described later on this page, requires a minimum of 14GB free space in /tmp; consider a minimum of 20GB in this case. /dev/sda3 /dev/sda4 XFS recommended, alternatively ext4 83 8300
/home (optional) User storage and media. Typically most of the disk. /dev/sda4 (if created) /dev/sda5 (if created) XFS recommended, alternatively ext4 83 8300
LVM (optional) If you want to create an LVM volume. /dev/sda4 (PV, if created) /dev/sda5 (PV, if created) LVM PV 8E 8E00
Partitioning Using fdisk (MBR)

If you need to create a GPT partition table, see Partitioning using gdisk or Partitioning using parted.


These install instructions assume you are installing Funtoo Linux to an hard disk using Master Boot Record partition tables (MBR). If you are installing Funtoo Linux on a machine where another OS is installed, there is an existing Linux distribution on your system that you want to keep or any other scenario (such as differing swap size requirements), then you will need to adapt these instructions to suit your needs.

fdisk is the tool used to create an MBR partition table. MBR is well-supported on PCs and is recommended if your system disk is 2TB or smaller.


First, it's a good idea to make sure that you've found the correct hard disk to partition. Try this command and verify that /dev/sda is the disk that you want to partition:

# fdisk -l /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 640.1 GB, 640135028736 bytes, 1250263728 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk label type: gpt

#         Start          End    Size  Type            Name
 1         2048   1250263694  596.2G  Linux filesyste Linux filesystem

Now, it's recommended that you erase any existing MBR or GPT partition tables on the disk, which could confuse the system's BIOS at boot time. We do this using sgdisk:


This will make any existing partitions inaccessible! You are strongly cautioned and advised to backup any critical data before proceeding.

# sgdisk --zap-all /dev/sda

Creating new GPT entries.
GPT data structures destroyed! You may now partition the disk using fdisk or
other utilities.

This output is also nothing to worry about, as the command still succeded:

Found invalid GPT and valid MBR; converting MBR to GPT format
in memory. 

Now we will use fdisk to create the MBR partition table and partitions:

# fdisk /dev/sda

Within fdisk, follow these steps:

Empty the partition table:

Command (m for help): o ↵

Create Partition 1 (boot):

Command (m for help): n ↵
Partition type (default p): 
Partition number (1-4, default 1): 
First sector: 
Last sector: +128M ↵

Create Partition 2 (swap):

Command (m for help): n ↵
Partition type (default p): 
Partition number (2-4, default 2): 
First sector: 
Last sector: +2G ↵
Command (m for help): t ↵ 
Partition number (1,2, default 2): 
Hex code (type L to list all codes): 82 ↵

Create the root partition:

Command (m for help): n ↵
Partition type (default p): 
Partition number (3,4, default 3): 
First sector: 
Last sector: 

Verify the partition table:

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 298.1 GiB, 320072933376 bytes, 625142448 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x82abc9a6

Device    Boot     Start       End    Blocks  Id System
/dev/sda1           2048    264191    131072  83 Linux
/dev/sda2         264192   4458495   2097152  82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3        4458496 625142447 310341976  83 Linux

Write the parition table to disk:

Command (m for help): w

Your new MBR partition table will now be written to your system disk.

Creating filesystems

Before your newly-created partitions can be used, the block devices need to be initialized with filesystem metadata. This process is known as creating a filesystem on the block devices. After filesystems are created on the block devices, they can be mounted and used to store files.

You will not create a filesystem on your swap partition, but will initialize it using the mkswap command so that it can be used as disk-based virtual memory. Then we'll run the swapon command to make your newly-initialized swap space active within the live CD environment, in case it is needed during the rest of the install process.

Note that we will not create a filesystem on the GRUB boot loader partition, as GRUB writes binary data directly to that partition when the boot loader is installed, which we'll do later.

You can see the commands you will need to type below. Like the rest of this document, it assumes that you are using a GPT partitioning scheme. If you are using MBR, your root filesystem will likely be created on /dev/sda3 instead and you will need to adjust the target block devices. If you are following our recommendations, then simply do this:

We generally recommend XFS for root filesystems, although ext4 is also a good choice. This tutorial assumes the use of XFS. If you want to use ext4, then be sure that your /etc/fstab file reflects this.


When deploying an OpenVZ host, please use ext4 exclusively. The Parallels development team tests extensively with ext4, and modern versions of openvz-rhel6-stable are not compatible with XFS, and you may experience kernel bugs.

To use ext4 as your root filesystem:

# mke2fs -t ext2 /dev/sda1 
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda3
# mkswap /dev/sda2
# swapon /dev/sda2

To use XFS as your root filesystem:

# mke2fs -t ext2 /dev/sda1 
# mkfs.xfs /dev/sda3
# mkswap /dev/sda2
# swapon /dev/sda2

Mounting filesystems

Mount the newly-created filesystems as follows, creating /mnt/funtoo as the installation mount point:

# mkdir /mnt/funtoo
# mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/funtoo
# mkdir /mnt/funtoo/boot
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/funtoo/boot

Optionally, if you have a separate filesystem for /home or anything else:

# mkdir /mnt/funtoo/home
# mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/funtoo/home

If you have /tmp or /var/tmp on a separate filesystem, be sure to change the permissions of the mount point to be globally-writeable after mounting, as follows:

# chmod 1777 /mnt/funtoo/tmp