I am planning to move from Windows to Ubuntu but I want to keep all my files of Windows. How can I do that?

closed as too broad by Zanna, Eric Carvalho, Kevin Bowen, mikewhatever, Ravexina Aug 5 '17 at 6:51

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  • 3
    The easiest way is to connect an external storage device, copy/paste the files, then disconnect the device. – mikewhatever Jul 29 '17 at 18:36
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    You can shrink your windows partition, then install Ubuntu alongside Windows. After that you'll be able to reboot and choose to use Ubuntu or Windows (called dual-boot). Whilst in Ubuntu you can still read your Windows files through a file manager. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 29 '17 at 18:39
  • Boot Linux from a USB, and see if you can open the Windows files you really care about. There exist secret Microsoft format files that Linux can't open. Find out First! – waltinator Jul 30 '17 at 0:17
  • There are good answers from karel and Marc (which are elaborations on mikewhatever's comment). I also want to add that using NTFS in an Ubuntu-only installation is a bad idea, which is part of why the backup-and-restore approach is best. See my answer to this question for why this is the case. – Rod Smith Jul 31 '17 at 14:11

Backup all the Windows files that you want to keep to an external hard drive before you install Ubuntu. Backing up the Windows files by copy/pasting them is the best way to do it, because backup utilities sometimes create their own directory structure, but copy/pasting the files preserves the original directory structure which makes the Windows files much easier to find on the external hard drive. Depending on what Windows file synchronization application you have installed, your Windows file synchronization application may have a feature in it that allows you to make a backup of your Windows files that preserves their original directory structure.

After Ubuntu is installed you can either access the Windows files from the external hard drive or copy them from the external hard drive to your computer's internal hard drive so that you can access those files even if the external hard drive is not connected to your computer.


It's not clear to me whether you are planning to move entirely to Ubuntu and never use Windows on this computer again, or if you'd like to add Ubuntu to the computer so you can select either at boot. The first step is the same in either case: perform a backup of all your user files on your now Windows-only computer just like you do every week. (You do backup all your user files every week, right?)

If you want to nuke Windows and move to Ubuntu exclusively, you can install Ubuntu over the top of Windows by making that choice when you install Ubuntu, then copy your user files back onto your hard drive in the correct places (pictures to ~/Pictures, Music to ~/Music, etc.). This is pretty easy.

If you want to have access to Windows and Ubuntu, you'll need to "Dual Boot". There are many good tutorials on this, so I won't write another. The basic steps are to use the Windows disk utility to resize your Windows partition to make room for Ubuntu, then use an Ubuntu Live USB to install Ubuntu into that space and install a boot loader that gives you the option to boot into Windows or Ubuntu. If you choose the dual boot option, I wouldn't access data from the Windows side directly from Ubuntu, nor would I access the Ubuntu data from Windows. You can, but you can also screw things up and make one or the other unbootable. I'd just copy my user data from my Windows backup into my Ubuntu user space exactly as If I were nuking Windows.


Make a backup of all the information you want to save. I used to make my backups in a flash drive but now I use some cloud services like google drive.

You can make a partition of Ubuntu and have the two O.S in the same computer.

Good Luck

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