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Note: I'm not asking how. I've found nice tutorials on how to do this and will try it myself and I'll dig some more or ask questions about it after my first attempt.

Background: I installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on my machine to dual boot with Windows 8. It's a ThinkPad machine so the disk is pre-partitioned for recovery and other stuff. I decided to do assign the mount points to the different partitions myself.

Stupidly, a friend of mine suggested to use one partition to mount / and /boot (swap is on a different partition of course!!).

So after doing some reading, it's clearly safer to have the two mount points on two separate partitions. I've decided to separate them and put /booton a different partition.

The thing is, I don't think I have unallocated space nor a free partition on my disk right now.

Finally: So my question is: How safe is it to shrink the root partition to have some unallocated space on my disk, and use that space as a dedicated partition for /boot?

Thanks in advance.

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  • 2
    Reasons for a dedicated /boot partition are few and far between these days, so unless you have a good reason to add one, best to let sleeping dogs lie.
    – psusi
    Feb 23, 2013 at 1:56

2 Answers 2

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It's extremely safe - as long as you've backed up so you can restore your important data if anything should be lost. Moving partitions around always has some risk, but as long as you have a good backup you won't likely lose anything but time. With that warning in mind:

It is usually quite safe. I've resized and/or moved ext4 partitions many times (I use gparted) and have never had the slightest problem; it's always worked just as it should. And you appear to have good intructions on how to do it all, so I'd recommend you give it a go.

If you plan to do anything with Windows partitions, however, I'd recommend that Windows partitions be moved or resized from within Windows using Windows tools. Windows doesn't always play nicely with others; the only time I've ever had problems with moving/resizing partitions has been with Windows.

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  • Hey thanks for the response! Yeah I've done it without any issues! :) Stupid Lenovo though... The way they partition my disk is just awful. Now I have one unallocated space (19GB) between my Linux partitions and Windows partition! Reached my max partitions, so that 19GB of free space is wasted for now (until I can find something to do to solve this)!
    – oaskamay
    Feb 25, 2013 at 7:00
  • Good job! I'm glad it worked out so well.
    – Kelley
    Feb 25, 2013 at 18:48
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Safe is always a matter of opinion. It works most of the time, failure and data loss are rare, but can happen.

A better strategy is to consider this - it is not a matter of if the hardware will fail, but when.

Best to back up your data first, then if there is a problem, you can always restore from backup. You never know when you will need a backup.

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  • Thanks for your input. I've never done system backups in a Linux system before, and Googling suggests different methods. To your knowledge, what's the best or most conventional way of backing up a Linux system (Ubuntu specifically)? Thanks once again!
    – oaskamay
    Feb 25, 2013 at 7:02
  • Personally I just back up my personal data, usually all of /home. See also - help.ubuntu.com/community/BackupYourSystem/SimpleBackupSuite and help.ubuntu.com/community/BackupYourSystem
    – Panther
    Feb 25, 2013 at 14:09
  • My strategy too. And keeping a text file with what I've entered/configured (gui settings, apt install stuff and much more) so I can repeat it when necessary. Jul 8, 2020 at 11:41

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