I bought a new laptop which had ubuntu installed in it and now I want to install windows8 on it along side ubuntu with dual boot, so I need separate partitions for windows, ubuntu and my data. I want to split my 443.76GB drive in to three drives, one for win8 OS and two equal size drives for data.

But before that I dont know what drive does the ubuntu OS is using for its files (i guess the 3GB drive ), should I increase its size ? Will I be able to use the ubuntu OS without any storage problems?

Please help me in a but of detail as I am new to linux, ubuntu.

Here is the current state of my HD...

  1. Partition = /dev/sda1, File System = fat 32, Mount Point = , Label = Dell Utility, Size = 300MB, Used = 4.12MB, flag = diag

  2. Partition = /dev/sda2, File System = fat 32, Mount Point = , Label = OS, Size = 3GB, Used = 1.84GB, flag = lba

  3. Partition = /dev/sda3, File System = ext4, Mount Point = / , Label = , Size = 454.71GB, Used = 10.96GB, flag = boot

  4. Partition = /dev/sda4, File System = extented, Mount Point = , Label = , Size = 7.75GB, Used = --, flag = --

  5. Partition = /dev/sda5, File System = linux-swap, Mount Point = , Label = , Size = 7.75GB, Used = -- , flag = --

sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 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
Disk identifier: 0x12c561d1

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048      616447      307200   de  Dell Utility
/dev/sda2          616448     6907903     3145728    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda3   *     6907904   960507903   476800000   83  Linux
/dev/sda4       960509950   976771071     8130561    5  Extended
Partition 4 does not start on physical sector boundary.
/dev/sda5       960509952   976771071     8130560   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Thank you.

  • upload the gparted screenshot to imgur.com and then post the link here. Jan 3, 2014 at 17:47
  • You can use the same partition for data on Windows and Ubuntu. Ubuntu can read and write to an NTFS partition if you mount it. However, things work a little differently than you expect. Ubuntu has two partitions, one for / (root) and one for swap. So, you do end up with three partitions: (1) the C: drive for Windows as NTFS (including the C:\Users\YOURNAME\My Documents folder for data), (2) the root partition of Ubuntu and (3) the swap partition of Ubuntu. --- Normally, new laptops have much larger drives than 3GB. What is the make and model number from the sticker on the bottom?
    – K7AAY
    Jan 3, 2014 at 17:48
  • dell I5 Inspiron 3521, 4GB ram, 500GB HDD.
    – user231398
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:03
  • Edit your question and include the output of sudo fdisk -l.
    – Braiam
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:12

2 Answers 2

  1. Download and install Ubuntu on a live CD/USB.
  2. Boot up the CD/USB and choose try it out.
  3. Start gparted on the Live-USB/CD and choose the size of your partitions. You don't want to have a partition mounted that you want to change.

If you boot with a Live-CD/USB and don't mount(use) the partition you want to shrink and divide then you wont have the danger of writing to some part of a partition that you just divided into a smaller one, which will give an error. So to be on the safe side. Use a Live-USB/CD.

I would use NTFS or FAT32 for the file storage drives, since they can be accessed from both Ubuntu and Windows.


  • What do you mean by "You dont want to have a partition mounted that you want to change" ? what does mounted means?
    – user231398
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:05
  • Do you mean that i have to unmount a partition that I want to split in to many? and then mount it?
    – user231398
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:05
  • @user231398 You don't want to use the partition you want to shrink, that can cause problems. That's why you are booting a live-cd/USB which makes the whole operation safe.
    – Alvar
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:06
  • 1
    gparted is "pre-installed"/included in Ubuntu Live image.
    – NickTux
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:12

Ubuntu is installed to /dev/sda3. I have no idea what that 3 GB partition is, but based on the fact that it is named "OS" and you have a dell recovery partition, I would say that it was where you had Windows installed at one point, and you must have deleted most of the files there and shrank the partition to install Ubuntu.

  • OP says it is a new Dell with Ubuntu preinstalled. This is at best a comment, not an answer. -1.
    – user68186
    Jan 3, 2014 at 20:05
  • @user68186, it is an answer because the question was where is Ubuntu installed, and he thought it was on the 3 GB partition.
    – psusi
    Jan 3, 2014 at 20:19
  • This is not a very good answer. You assume sda2 was where Windows were installed. You don't mention why it can't be the place where Ubuntu is installed, namely it is formatted FAT32, and it is too small for a full install of Ubuntu (or Windows for that matter). Then you tell OP that s/he must have done something when question says it came preinstalled with Ubuntu.
    – user68186
    Jan 3, 2014 at 20:47

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