When I installed Ubuntu onto my hard drive, I already had Windows installed. I had to allocate space for Ubuntu, and I did so using a cute little slider.

I made my Ubuntu partition a bit too big (Windows doesn't have much space left right now) so I want to expand Windows and shrink Ubuntu.

Is there any idiot-proof way to do this (preferably by getting the slider back)? GParted gave me tons of scary warnings, and I remember how there were no such hassles when I was resizing partitions during my initial Ubuntu install.

Here is a GParted screenshot, if it helps.

Thank you!

  • IMO it is best to resize your windows partitions from WITHIN WINDOWS before you run the Ubuntu installer. – Panther Jun 9 '15 at 0:43
  • @bodhi.zazen It doesn't seem to let me... – Tiwa Aina Jun 9 '15 at 1:59
  • You do not resize free space. howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/… – Panther Jun 9 '15 at 2:25
  • @bodhi.zazen I can't move the free space or shrink the partitions. What do I do? And thanks for everything so far! – Tiwa Aina Jun 9 '15 at 4:14
  • You should update your question as it is not clear what you are wanting to do. You can use gparted at this point to enlarge partitions adjacent to the free space, or you need to move your partitions. See gparted.org/… – Panther Jun 9 '15 at 4:25

Given your current state, and assuming the amount of free space is what you want to add to Windows, you must:

  1. Move your Ubuntu partition (/dev/sda5) to the right.
  2. Shrink your extended partition (/dev/sda4) to its smallest possible size. (You must shrink it from its left side.)
  3. Grow your Windows partition (/dev/sda2) to fill the free space.

Unfortunately, I know of no tool that lets you resize an already-installed system in as simple a way as the installer did. Also, these operations are not risk-free. Moving the Ubuntu partition is particularly risky, since a lot of data structures will have to be re-written. You might want to grow the Windows partition using Windows tools rather than GParted, since GParted relies on a reverse-engineered understanding of NTFS and might mess things up. To minimize the risks, back up all your important personal files before you begin.

An alternative that's much safer is to create a new partition in the free space. Make it FAT or NTFS and Windows will be able to use it. This is likely to be less convenient, but it has some other advantages. For instance, if you use that new partition to store all your personal files you might want to access from either OS, you can configure Ubuntu to not access the main Windows partition at all. This reduces risks to that partition, since it then becomes much less likely that an errant command in Ubuntu will wipe out Windows, or that a driver bug will do the same. OTOH, the configuration that you'll get from this will be less efficient, since when you're in Windows, the disk's head will have to seek over the Ubuntu partition when accessing both the original Windows partition and your new partition. The sizes also might not be optimal. Nonetheless, it's worth considering this approach. Given your unfamiliarity with the tools, I'd say it's the preferable solution.

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  • Your 3 steps are correct. And gparted should be able to handle them fine, given it is run from a Live CD/USB. Growing the windows partition incurs few technical problem. Gparted was able here to shrink my NTFS partition without problem... Growing should be fine.... Well at least do backup... – solsTiCe Jun 9 '15 at 13:33
  • Should, yes. Will definitely, no. Partition resizing operations are inherently risky, and taking steps to minimize that risk is worthwhile, given the costs of a failure (such as loss of all your files, or at least major hassles recovering them). – Rod Smith Jun 9 '15 at 15:17
  • Have you anything to back the "will definitely, no" ?? Gparted will not offer the possibility to do a grow if it mess the data. – solsTiCe Jun 9 '15 at 15:24
  • I'm not talking about features offered, I'm talking about their safety. There are plenty of reports of partition move and resize operations failing because of bugs, power failures, etc. I'm sure the number of failures is small as a percentage of attempts, but when a failure does occur, the results can be catastrophic, hence my suggestion to use the free space as a new partition -- that's much safer than moving and resizing partitions. – Rod Smith Jun 9 '15 at 18:21
  • I really appreciate the thoroughness of your answer and the reasons for/against each approach. Thank you! – Tiwa Aina Jun 9 '15 at 20:07

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