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Advice for Hard Drive Partitions with Multiple Drives and Operating Systems

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#1 renegade_117


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Posted 07 September 2014 - 06:58 PM

Hello everyone!

I am about a month away from building a new desktop system for various purposes (gaming, programming, learning/experimentation, rendering, editing, etc.) and I am in process of planning my storage layout. I desire to quad-boot Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, Windows 7, and Solaris, and utilise two hard drives, a 256GB SSD for the operating systems ONLY and a 4TB HDD for data, swap, and programs. Before continuing, I must apologise for the length of this post, as describing my theoretical layout might take a bit to get through. I also must note that some things (such as the desire to quad-boot rather than create virtual machines) is intentional and for a reason, thus posting that I should consider virtual machines instead (or posts similar to) is not helpful to me unless it is absolutely impossible to accomplish. And finally, I also am aware that installing an Apple OS on non-Apple hardware (the Hackintosh concept) is technically not allowed, but I am not interested in paying for a pre-built system of any kind or brand, nor interested in stealing the OS or passing the system off as anything but that of my own. I would also like to point out that without walking on or crossing certain lines, there would be no such thing as knowledge. Steve Jobs himself said that without creating and selling blue boxes (previously used to hack phones to make free long distance calls), there would have been no Apple. Therefore, such posts are also not helpful. Anyways, continuing on:

The SSD would be partitioned four ways using the default file systems for the operating system. I know 256GB might be a bit overkill for having four operating systems, but this is to ensure they will always have enough space for updates, system restore files, etc. and will not nag me for being in a low-storage situation. This would also be useful if ever I needed to add another operating system.

As for the HDD, I would love to have used one single partition for my data so it could be shared with every operating system, but the best file system I could find for that would be UDF, which would be limited to 2TB. I am aware that programs and drivers exist to make various file systems compatible with the operating systems, but I would prefer to use the native file explorer to read and write files rather than having to load some random program or app every time I want to browse my files. I also do not really care for NTFS or exFAT, which would at least have native support in Ubuntu, but would suffer from limits and instability in OS X. Therefore, I decided that I should partition the HDD five ways; one for each operating system again with their default file systems, and one shared partition using UDF. This way, I could store programs/pictures/music/movies in each operating system (which is not as crucial to me to share, and if I needed to, I wouldn't mind using some disk reader/writer software or move it to the shared partition), and use the shared partition to store my workspace for my programming projects and virtual machines which I would absolutely want shared.
My questions are as follows:

Does anyone have advice for the order of installation of these operating systems?
Would there be any negative consequences of installing programs to a disk different than that of the operating system?

Would UDF be reliable for the purposes of storing shared data? Would reading/writing be fast?

Is there any other advice or knowledge relevant to this setup?
Thank you much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you guys!

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