During the initial installation of Fedora on my laptop, I created three different partitions for ‘/boot’, ‘/’ and ‘/home’ (since I read somewhere that this was the way to go). I’ve now noticed that almost all programs get installed on the partition where ‘/’ is, which leaves me with a full partition where ‘/’ is mounted and a ‘/home’ partition that has plenty of space.
How do I mount ‘/’ and ‘/home’ on one single big partition without losing my data and settings? Can I easily transfer ‘/’ to the same partition where ‘/home’ lives without problems? If so, how would I do this?
(some additional details)
I can’t directly mount ‘/home’ to the partition where ‘/’ is mounted since this partition is full atm.
I have a small USB which can run Gparted live to modify the partitions on my main disk.
You might simply boot the live install media, download and install gparted into that environment (easily done with dnf), then use gparted to resize the partitions. Shrink /home and leave the free space next to /, then expand / into the newlly available space. You cannot shrink a partition while the file system is mounted, but booting to the live install media avoids those issues.
This is one action that gparted is very good at performing. It resizes the partition and file system and relocates the data as needed.
We probably could give more detailed answers if you were to post the output of lsblk -f so we could see the device, partitions, and file systems involved.
Most people find that /home continues to grow while the root partition doesn’t grow a lot after the original installation. If there is a problem causing the root partition to use excessive space, we need to identify it rather than just treating a symptom.
If the document that suggested separate partitions also recommended sizes, it was probably based on typical user experience, so it would help to know if your space requirements are atypical. Note that users who habitually install 3rd party software and data as “root” may end up with a lot of data in the /root directory. Some 3rd party software is intended to install under /opt.
Resizing partitions is a high-risk activity due to possibility of “user error” (even experienced users make mistakes – I started with Unix over 30 years ago and still make mistakes) and higher than normal stress on filesystems and other components which can result in a hardware failure (one that was going to occur in the future). Make sure important files are backed up (preferably to more than one device).
Did you mean move /home into /? Home is normally mounted on “/”, and the terminology is: “root partition is mounted as /”.
Full partitions place stress on the hardware. Inexperienced users often end up with data in odd locations. Please post the output from running df -lTH / /home in a terminal (as text, using the </> button. This will give us a starting point. Then post the output of sudo du -sm /boot /etc /home /lib /lib64 /media /opt /root /usr /var (also as text) so we understand how space in the root partition is being used.
The first step is to understand why your root partition is full. The advantage of having a separate /home partition is ease of backing it up and preserving it across updates.
Is there a particular reason why you followed what you “read somewhere” rather than the Fedora defaults? This is not meant to criticize your decision but to find out what (if) we can do to better communicate our defaults in the installer.
I used to have the exact same woes that you had, but jumped onto the btrfs train when it seemed stable, and couldn’t be happier. btrfs is the default nowadays. In particular, our default creates “partitions” for / and /home, or rather (in btrfs terms): subvolumes. So you have the same separation as before, can mount them separately if needs be, take separate snapshots etc. But we create only one disk partition for the btrfs “volume”, and consequently the available space is available for all subvolumes without any restriction (unless you want to set up quota).
Now, I don’t know whether you’re in a situation where you can or want to recreate your installation from scratch and copy home over from a backup. But depending on how complicated (tight space) and risky (file system extension in place) your ext4 partition reorganization is, opting for a btrfs default layout from scratch might be the same amount of work if not less, and certainly is more future proof (against new partition size woes).
FIrst of all, thank you for your exstensive answer!
To be clear, I’m trying to put ‘/home’ and ‘/’ together on the same partition.
The /root directory only takes up about 300 MB, so this shouldn’t be the problem. The problem seems to be that all Flatpak, Snap and normal programs get installed on the sda6 partition (under var), which is considerably smaller than the /home partition.
The output from df -lTH / /home:
Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda6 ext4 32G 30G 423M 99% /
/dev/sda7 ext4 217G 23G 184G 11% /home
The output from sudo du -sm /boot /etc /home /lib /lib64 /media /opt /root /usr /var:
To be honest, I don’t quite remember the installation clearly anymore. I do remember that I had the option to mount different directories on different partitions instead of having everything on the same partition, which is why I searched the internet for if and how I should do this.
As a Linux-semi-noob, it would be helpful to have a small explenation during this partitioning part of the installation where it would give a small explenation on the partitioning itself (why you should or should not mount directories on different partitions, which file system is best for you, etc). I feel like Fedora is a pretty accessible distro for new Linux users, but as a Windows user who barely ever has had to deal with partitioning, this process during the installation can be quite confusing.
Since I’ve had this problem, btrfs seems like a dream. Unfortunately, I’m emotionally not ready to fully reinstall my Fedora yet as I’ve put a lot of work into the setup and customization :').
There is ample space to carry out the steps given by @computersavvy. You might consider just moving the large /var directories with flatpak and Snap data to sda7. Then you can use symbolic links in /var to recreate the original directory structure. This minimizes the amount of
data being moved around.
Understandable. I keep notes of customizations and avoid making changes that aren’t really necessary. This makes it easier to reinstall, but also means that discussing any issues that I encounter is easier because other users will have a similar configuration. If a customization is
really necessary it should be reported to upstream so everyone can benefit.
As for btrfs versus ext4 – there are many negative comments based on earlier versions of btrfs that scare people off. Btrfs is very different from traditional filesystems, so some issues may exist, but the vast majority of filesystem issues these days are due to drive failures. Storage is now cheap, so it is not unreasonable to have multiple backups and be prepared to restore the filesystem to new hardware if the media fails or the existing hardware if btrfs glitches.
This is what the default ‘automatic’ partitioning is used for. It makes creation of the drive partitions and their use totally automatic and the user has no need to follow often outdated, and sometimes just wrong, posts and suggestions as to how the file systems should be structured.
The intent has always been moving from the original ‘it takes an experienced user to do things right’ to the current ‘installation is almost easy enough for a total novice’. The old and outdated tutorials still cause problems.