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My dual-boot system crashed again - the Windows part, Ubuntu still worked fine - so I decided to erase the disk and install only Ubuntu Studio. First, I thought my hard disk was failing, but that can hardly be the case, if Ubuntu was still running fine? That is not the question, I might ask about that in another question.

As is evident from the output of Fdisk below, I only have Linux on my 1 TB disk (SDA) and in two partitions, root(ext4) and linux-swap. The SDB is an SSD, with Windows 10, cloned from the HDD on SDA. So in essence I have a dual-boot Windows-Ubuntu, but with each system on it's own disk.

I want to dedicate at least half of the disk space, 500 GB, to a storage partition, for both systems, but also for backing up old documents.

I know I can create an NTFS partition, but is it a bad idea to rearrange partitions, after I have installed Ubuntu? Is it better to do it before install, that is, choose Something else, delete all partitions and make new ones, before installing.

You may wonder what's the use of asking about this, if I have already installed Ubuntu. The answer is, I will probably reinstall anyway when Ubuntu Studio 16.04 is realeased late April. I can manage with cross-platform storage through other means, if beforehand partitioning is a wiser option.

sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 232,9 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x8f922bbe

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/sda1 * 2048 206847 204800 100M 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT /dev/sda2 206848 488397167 488190320 232,8G 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

Disk /dev/sdb: 931,5 GiB, 1000204886016 bytes, 1953525168 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x1f8d01b4

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/sdb1 2048 1937324031 1937321984 923,8G 83 Linux /dev/sdb2 1937326078 1953523711 16197634 7,7G 5 Extended /dev/sdb5 1937326080 1953523711 16197632 7,7G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Partition 2 does not start on physical sector boundary.

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but is it a bad idea to rearrange partitions

No. You can rearrange partitions whenever you want.

Resizing though can take a lot of time when a partition is full. All your data needs to be moved to a place on the disk that is free to move it to create the partitions you want. That is easy when you have empty disks, more difficult if the disks are used more then 80%.

As noted in comments: a power outage is the worst that can happen during a re-partitioning. And a resize will take longer the more filled a disk is so more chance for a power outage. Yes, it is a bit more risky than partitioning an empty disk if you can not trust your electricity provider.

but also for backing up old documents.

Using an internal disk to store copies of documents is just that: storing a copy of documents. It is NOT a backup. A backup should be made such that the system the originals are on can not affect the backup. Preferably that backup should also be stored outside your direct environment (ie. not inside your house).

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While the chance is small, you should still note that power failure or similar during partitioning can indeed wreck your entire hard drive. I would always rather partition on an empty disk than one containing data I care about. – TheSchwa Mar 10 at 9:16
    
Good to know that, we've had a few power-outs here, but not while partitioning, as far as I remember. – theodorn Mar 10 at 9:25
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@theodorn true true. added it :) – Rinzwind Mar 10 at 9:38
    
@theodorn power outage should be covered by a backup though ;-) – Rinzwind Mar 10 at 9:47
    
Yes, I have an external disk. I try to keep all user files on at least two media, the external disk and on my computer. – theodorn Mar 10 at 10:12

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