Fedora's automatic disk partitioning

Good day to all !

Beginner here. I find Gnome on Fedora intuitive and in-sync with me, it’s now my new OS! (I’ve just moved out of Windows, toleration level reached).

Question about partitions: During my first installation of Fedora Workstation I opted for “Custom” partitioning, I also marked the “create automatic mount points”, and I chose ext4.

The result was four different partitions, and I’m not sure if I’ve done something wrong. Here is a screenshot:

The first partition (marked in blue) is: FAT (32-bit version) — Mounted at /boot/efi
The second: Ext4 (version 1.0) — Mounted at /boot
Third: Ext4 (version 1.0) — Mounted at Filesystem Root
Fourth: Ext4 (version 1.0) — Mounted at /home

(The other partitions that you’ve noticed missing belong to a small Windows installation).

My question is regarding the two big partitions (the 75GB one and the other 252GB). Which one has Fedora set aside for me and my stuff, my photos, documents, videos, etc…? And if it has set aside only one, then why must I miss out on the space that the other one has? Both are pretty big (for me anyway :slight_smile: ). Oh, and there’s another partition that is 1GB in size. It seems to me that I’m losing space, I’m a bit concerned.

Thanks in advance, sorry about the beginner question!

It is just a limitation of how partitioning works – some space is allocated for one use and some space is allocated for another use and never the twain shall mix. The reason for the partitioning is so that the OS can (easily) be reinstalled without worry of deleting the user’s data. There is a newer filesystem called Btrfs that allows a form of partitioning where the available space can be allocated dynamically to whichever partition (subvolume) needs it. But since you’ve already opted for ext4, converting from your existing setup to Btrfs will be a little trickier than it would have been if you went with Btrfs from the beginning.

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Oh, heck. I specifically decided against btrfs because someone told me that ext4 was more reliable… but I don’t want open up a debate about something I have no idea about.

Supposing I continue on with ext4 though. It’s still early days, I have the option of formatting again, can I reduce the size of one of those big partitions in favour of the other one (the one that’s dedicated to my stuff) ? I don’t want the system to hog everything, I need all the space I can get.

Resizing partitions is possible (with ext4). But it has to be done manually and the commands might be a little difficult for a beginner. Also, there is a risk of losing your data if you enter those commands incorrectly. There are tradeoffs to the different filesystems and it isn’t always clear which is the best choice.

You can tell which partition is used for your data (/home) and which is used for the system (/) by running the command lsblk -f.
Post that output here by copy-n-paste the text using the </> button to keep on-screen formatting and we can assist in understanding it.

I suspect the larger partition (partition 7) is actually the one designated and mounted at /home.

The root partition is for your Fedora installation, and the home partition is for your personal files. There’s nothing wrong with using ext4, and there’s nothing wrong with how you’ve partitioned your disk. It’s fine. Your computer, your choice. But the downside to splitting root and home without btrfs is you do have to guess how much space you’ll need on each partition.

It’s actually really hard to recommend default partition sizes. In general, you can try guessing the amount of space you’ll need on root and then reserve the rest of the space for home. For some users, 20 GB will be sufficient for a root partition. But other users will run out of space there even with 50 GB (which was our previous default before it got raised to 75 GB). Still other users will complain that they’ve run out of space in home but have plenty of wasted unused space in root. That’s why we default to btrfs subvolumes nowadays, since they function as separate partitions but still share the same underlying space, so users don’t have to guess how much space they need in advance anymore.

75 GB is probably a pretty decent default root partition size for users who don’t know how much space they need. But your disk is relatively small, so if you find yourself running out of space in home but not on root, then it’s probably not the right choice for you.

I’m confident btrfs is the best default for most users; it has many other advantages over ext4, such as data integrity protections (other filesystems protect only metadata) and transparent compression (so you can store more stuff on your disk). Fedora has defaulted to btrfs successfully for a few years now. But ext4 has been around much longer and is known to be extremely reliable, so it’s good too.


Thanks, excellent answer! You’ve given me something to think about. Oh, if in future I should run out of space on one of those two (root or home partitions), would Gparted be a reliable tool for modifying these partitions?