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Following is the layout of the current partitions of my single hard drive viewed from Windows 7:

  • C: has Windows 7 system files and my personal data;
  • Q: for Lenovo recovery;
  • SYSTEM_DRV: for Windows boot files;

My goals are:

  • to create another partition D: for my personal data, and dedicate C: for Windows system files and applications only.
  • to install Ubuntu alongside Windows. D: will be shared between the two OSes.

My questions are:

  1. Is it correct that the free space generated from shrinking C: will only be able to create an extended partition, since there are already 3 primary partitions? So must D: be one logical partition on the extended partition, just as the partitions for Ubuntu will be? Will this be bad sometime? If yes, other better solutions?
  2. What are the good utilities to accomplish the partition tasks? Can Ubuntu installer solely handle them? Or better to have some of the jobs done in Windows with some recommended softwares?

Thanks and regards!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Since you have windows 7, you can even use windows native utilities to shrink C drive. It would be good if you go step by step. I would do like this.

  1. Use Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management -> Shrink Volume from windows 7 and free up needed space.
  2. From windows itself create a extended partition
  3. Select extended partition and create a required D drive and leave rest of the space as unused for installing Ubuntu.
  4. Do a reboot and confirm all looks good with windows drives including my new D drive and free space.
  5. While installing Ubuntu, use manual partitioning scheme to choose any number of partitions from the free space and install Ubuntu.

This way, you can separate freeing up space for Ubuntu and Ubuntu install. Advantage that you will get an intermediate validation point to confirm all looks good.

Here is a detailed reference on resizing partitions from windows:

Now, if you like to use D drive itself for Ubuntu along with windows, I believe wubi is the only option. Then, Ubuntu will co-exist inside windows as a program. On any other install, I believe Ubuntu expects to have root partition on an ext2/ext3/ext4 partition type.

Let me know if this helps.

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Thanks! I was wondering why "if you like to use D drive itself for Ubuntu along with windows, I believe wubi is the only option"? During installation of Ubuntu, can I specify D to be mounted automatically whenever Ubuntu starts? – Tim Feb 7 '11 at 0:37
Yes, D drive can be mounted when Ubuntu boots. But you cannot have Ubuntu's root files (installation files) to co-exist on D drive which would be an NTFS filesystem. So you will need a Linux Partition to 'install' Ubuntu and D drive can be mounted. For that matter, any NTFS drives (that includes C or any other drive on same system) can be mounted at will from Ubuntu. – Jamess Feb 7 '11 at 3:06

You haven't gotten an answer for a while... On #1: Yes: (maximum of 4 primary partitions) and after you shrink C:, the remainder of the disk can be used as an extended partition, with many logical partitions within it. On #2, the Ubuntu installer is awesome and can handle it all.

If I were you, I'd just boot from the Ubuntu CD and use the manual partitioning method. You can't really share the location of your data files without losing filesystem-specific benefits. (Yes, we could imagine network filesystem exceptions.) But neither Windows nor Linux are going to be happy on a single system if you try to use one file system for all your personal data. Better to just make an extra FAT32 partition for sharing files between both systems. (In fact, you don't really even need to do that because Ubuntu Linux can read/write NTFS. But, if you want Windows to be able to read a Linux filesystem, right now you need to make sure that you use EXT3 filesystem on Ubuntu, because the tools available don't work with EXT4 right this minute.)

Have you considered running Ubuntu as a virtual machine?

There's a great Windows defrag utility called dirms that can move files to the front of the a NTFS partition. There are so many answers to this quesion... Does this help at all?

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