I'm reading a lot these days in order to make a clean a safe partitioning of my single drive. I have Windows 10 installed already on a 60Gb partition. Now I'd like to use the rest of the space for Ubuntu and one more distro (let's say Debian). Here is my plan so far.


Windows has already created an extra 500Mb partition for the system (don't ask me more about it, I have no clue), so, currently my drive looks like this:

  • 500 Mb ntfs for "the system"
  • 60 Gb ntfs for Windows 10
  • 240 Gb of free space for whatever I want

As far as I know, I can't add more than 2 partitions. Here is what I would do:

  • 1 primary ext4 partition dedicated to Grub
  • 1 extended ext4 partition for swap, distros and storage

Then, the extended partition would be divided into 4 parts:

  • 1 ext4 partition for swap
  • 1 ntfs partition for storage shared by all OSs (including Windows)
  • 1 ext4 partition for Ubuntu (20 Gb)
  • 1 ext4 partition for Debian (20 Gb)


I will have to bind the OSs to the storage partition. I've found something close to what I would do here https://askubuntu.com/a/223670/392225. Though, I'd like to divide the storage folder into multiple users like so.


Thus, the global map would look like this:

Windows : C:/[user]    -> storage/[user]
Ubuntu  : /home/[user] -> storage/[user]
Debian  : /home/[user] -> storage/[user]

Given a couple of symlinks like /home/[user]/Downloads -> /media/storage/[user]/Downloads, I assume that Linux is able to allow access to /home/[user] (that is to say to linked folders located at /media/storage/[user]), and deny access to the root of the partition mounted at /media/storage.

Questions :-)

  1. What do you think of this partitioning? As a beginner, I guess there are some details I'm not aware of. It would be great if you could show me the potential pitfalls and improvements.
  2. Is it safe? I'd like to prevent user A from accessing the folder of user B. I have a little idea of how to deal with permissions on Linux (chmod I guess), but no experience at all on Windows.
  3. Have you got a better solution? If your own PC currently uses such a structure, would you mind to share some details about your own choices?
  4. Regarding Linux permissions on mounted drives, is my assumption correct?



https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/Installing seems to say that installing Grub on a dedicated partition is a bad idea. I'm not sure to get it right, but if so, is it to say that Grub can't be installed without installing Linux first?

  • 1
    If your HD is a MBR formated device! If it is the new GPT format there is no restrictions on the number of primary partitions, and you can avoid the slower extended partition!! – Ken Mollerup Jan 17 '16 at 12:15

1) This partitioning should work just fine, though be sure to read up on how and where to install GRUB to ensure it can be found during booting. More information about that here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

2) With the storage partition being an NTFS partition any access control will not work in both Linux and Windows.

3) I use a structure with 2 SSDs (1 for Ubuntu and 1 for Windows) and some shared HDDs. The shared HDDs are formated as NTFS and do not use any sort of access control. Most of my data is on there and as this machine is just used by me, I do not need any way to limit access to those from either OS.

  • "any access control will not work", that's why I would keep the /home/[user] folder into Ubuntu. From Ubuntu, given user A and a couple of symlinks in the form of /home/userA/Downloads -> /media/storage/userA/Downloads, I believe I can allow access to /home/userA, that is to say to linked folders at /media/storage/userA, but deny access to the root of the mounted partition at /media/storage. What do you think? – leaf Jan 17 '16 at 9:50
  • As long as something is located inside the home folder and not symlinked it will be "protected" (depending on the settings of your home folder). Anything on the shared drive will likely be accessible from Windows. Do multiple people use this computer or just you? – mpkossen Jan 17 '16 at 13:28

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