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I have a few machines I'd want to dual boot different OSs with but also maximise the lifetime of the SSD fitted to them.

I am aware that over-provisioning can help maximise the life of the SSD as it provides space for the SSD to conduct its internal housekeeping.

What is over-provisioning in terms of what space is reserved on the SSD? Is it just creating another (physical type) standard partition? And is it possible to also setup a partitioned dual boot a machine (using the standard procedure) using an over-provisioned SSD?

Example setup: A Lenovo X201S Thinkpad with 256Gb Samsung 840 Pro SSD I fitted myself. This machine is currently single boot Windows 8 Pro 64bit and I intend to dual boot it with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, say W8: 128Gb Ubuntu: 32Gb and a 64Gb shared partition.

Assuming that over-provisioning is creating a partition, or at least, just allocating unreserved space, then presumably I should have at least 3 physical type partitions available to support dual boot. (4 physical partitions is supported by a standard boot-loader, though a partition can contain multiple logical partitions). Thoughts?

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Yes it is. run the overprovisioning first then use a partition manager to divide up the space you need for the 2 OSs, being sure to keep the unpartitioned space intact. I'll post this as answer shortly. –  therobyouknow Mar 28 at 10:26

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Yes it is:

For Windows with Ubuntu dual boot:

  • Assuming that you had installed Ubuntu after installing Windows, such that Ubuntu is on the upper end of this disk, you would therefore want to reduce the size of your Ubuntu partition to provide free unused space for the overprovisioning. GPartEd free tool that comes with Ubuntu is ideal for this.
  • If you need to also resize the Windows partition to give Ubuntu some more space after freeing up the space, you may need to deal with unmoveable files before you adjust the partition size, guide here: - If necessary, temporarily disable some functionality to remove unmovable files that may prevent resizing, see guide here: http://www.brandonchecketts.com/archives/how-to-shrink-a-partition-with-unmovable-files-in-windows-7 (includes how to turn off restore point files, and swap file, which you'd need to re-enable after)

(I did all of the above)

Also, if interested: For Mac OS and Windows (via Bootcamp):

  • Resize the Windows partition using Windows built-in Disk Manager, so that there is some spare unused space at the end of the disk, this is for the overprovisioning, a rule of thumb is to allocate 10% of the disk
  • If necessary, temporarily disable some functionality to remove unmovable files that may prevent resizing, see guide here: http://www.brandonchecketts.com/archives/how-to-shrink-a-partition-with-unmovable-files-in-windows-7 (includes how to turn off restore point files, and swap file, which you'd need to re-enable after)
  • If necessary, Use CampTune (purchased tool) to increase the Windows partition if you need more space after

(I did all of the above)

I wrote to Samsung on 2 separate occasions and in both they confirmed that overprovisioning is just unallocated space at the end of the drive. There are no vendor unique/specific commands that configure the drive here. Their Samsung Magician software that comes with the SSD has a facility to setup overprovisioning but it is no more sophisticated than setting this up yourself as described, it is just an easier user interface. If this UI approach in the Magician doesn't work, then allocating unused space at the end of the disk has the same effect.

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