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I have just bought a brand new Dell computer and have been trying to get it set up to my needs. But I seem to have run in to a bit of a problem.

I am going to use this computer for mostly programming. However, I am also going to need it for schoolwork as well. To meet both requirements, I have decided to do a dual boot with both windows and Ubuntu. But when I went to set up my disk partitions, the disk manager only let me cut my windows partition in half.

A quick google search told me that this was because windows put some really important files that are required to boot windows in the middle of their disk space. Not the way I would have done it.

Anyway, a simple solution would be to just do what windows wants and simply cut the drive in half. With a 1 terabyte hard drive, I'm sure I would have plenty for Ubuntu.

But it seems wasteful doesn't it, setting aside more than half of your hard drive to an operating system you will use a lot less than half the time. Plus, I'm sure there are other people who would benefit from knowing the answer to this question.

All that I've found so far as to solutions that don't involve sketchy third-party software, is I could make a recovery disk of windows, install Ubuntu over windows, set up my partitions, reinstall windows with the recovery disk, and finally update grub. This solution could, in theory, work. Or go terribly wrong and ruin my brand new computer.

If anyone can think of any other, better ways to accomplish this goal, your advice would be hugely appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

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Using Defraggler to defragment will allow you to move the files Windows places at the end of its disk space to make all files contiguous at the beginning. After using Defraggler, you will then be able to make the Windows partition much smaller. https://www.piriform.com/defraggler/download

I have done this before, and it worked.

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  • This could also work, in theory. However, I am naturally suspicious of all third-party software, and I would hate to have it mess something up. If I make a recovery disk of windows, can I be sure that I will always be able to restore my computer after using this software? i.e. will it ever permanently ruin my hard drive?
    – Evan
    Aug 23, 2015 at 3:28
  • I would just research about the software if you are concerned, or post a defragmenting question to another forum (given it is about Windows) if needed.
    – jbrock
    Aug 23, 2015 at 3:36
  • Besides defraging on even a new install, you need to turn off some of the settings that lock files in place. But good back ups are important with any partition change. Typically you can temporarily turn off pagefile & hibernation. Possibly also system restore. Vista, but same issues now. howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/…
    – oldfred
    Aug 23, 2015 at 3:42
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I have followed the instructions found at this link in Windows 10 computers to shrink volumes beyond the point Windows initially shows. This part has to be done from the Windows side. It doesn't require third party software. The link contains very detailed instructions and screenshots that are easy to follow.

Basically, as @oldfred mentioned, you have to disable hibernation, disable pagefile, and disable system protection. (It seems to me that the link he provides gives instructions for Windows Vista. The link I provide works for windows 8 and 10). Then you have to restart your computer and resize the partition using Windows. You should be able to shrink the volume containing Windows beyond the point that you mentioned.

You can shrink the Windows volume even if Ubuntu is already installed and take advantage of the extra space. Backup all your files and use GParted to move the partition that contains Ubuntu to the starting point of the space you have just made, and then extend the partition to use all the remaining space at the end.

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