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I switched from Windows to Ubuntu 4 months ago and I am really happy with it. I set up a dual-boot system (since I wasn´t sure how it will end up with me and Ubuntu).

After merging from Citavi to Zotero I need windows only for my scanner. The problem I have now is, that the windows partition is so big with lots of unused space and the Ubuntu partition are quite small - I should have though about this problem 4 months ago...

My partitions look like this: enter image description here

Where sda3 is the windows partition, sda5 is Ubuntu and sda7 is a data partition. I want to shrink sda3 and free some space for sda5 and sda7.

How can this be done safely (and easily)?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

This shouldn't be too much of a problem. Things will work best if you boot from a LiveCD (or LiveDVD), choose to Try Ubuntu, and once it reaches the default Ubuntu desktop you can open the Dash and open GParted. (You're going to be doing things with partitions, which is best done from a Live desktop so the drives are unmounted.)

First, you can shrink sda3 to free up some space. I would suggest that you not mess with sda1 and sda2; Windows will likely not like that and might respond by making it difficult to get back into Windows. Similarly, don't move sda3; just shrink it in size by the amount you want to give to Ubuntu.

You can then expand the Extended - sda4 - partition into the free (unallocated) space you created. Then you can expand sda5 to the left to grab the available space.

You might find that you'll get an error message telling you that you can't do it because some drive - probably sda6, the Linux Swap partition - is still mounted. If that happens, you can right-click it and unmount it without causing any problems, and then just proceed.

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It should also be noted that to do this, you'll need to move the (beginning of the) partition containing Ubuntu's boot information. GParted usually gives a warning message about this, but it's worth point out that this can, in some scenarios, lead to problems booting into Ubuntu. I've done it many times, though, and only once or twice had problems (which were solved by reinstalling Grub2 - the default boot loader that comes with the Ubuntu installation - from the Live CD). – Tomas Lycken Apr 9 '12 at 23:27
Thanks Kelley and thanks Tomas for the hint with Grub2. Will try it tommorow and report. – EDi Apr 9 '12 at 23:49
Good luck! We look forward to hearing how it goes. – Kelley Apr 10 '12 at 2:59

It can be done pretty much just like you said: shrink sda3, then extend sda5 to use that space. First you will need to extend sda4 since sda5 is an logical partition contained in the extended partition, and you will need to boot from the livecd so the partitions are not mounted ( and thus locked ).

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first you have to download the Gparted application and burn it to a CD or move it to USB and boot from it. you can download it from this link :

then after booting a window will open and all you have to do is:

1) create some free space from the sda3 partition (windows) .
2) reboot to Windows, because you have to make a test to the ntfs partition before making any other changes (the test will start automatically, dont cancel it).
3) boot to Gparted again and right click on the sda5 partition (ubuntu) then click on resize or move and add the free space to it.

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