I currently have Windows XP installed on my system. I wish to install Ubuntu as the second OS. I want that at startup I am prompted to select the OS I wish to boot my system with. However, I am facing problems while creating the new partitions. My hard drive is presently partitioned into two drives, both of which contain data although there is 30GB of free space available in both the partitions.

I am a little apprehensive about losing my data if I partition my drive incorrectly during Ubuntu installation.

Kindly guide me through the installation procedure, especially the partitioning part of it. Which option would be best suited?

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    I suggest to buy a second hard disk, if your system and data has only 30 GB left each. Taking away 30 GB from both partitions will give you 60 GB of free space, however, then your Windows partitions ARE full! 10 GB would of course be sufficient for Linux, but you cannot install much on it in that case. If you only intend to test Ubuntu, boot it from an USB stick instead, this is easier and you can adopt ubuntu also on the usb bar. If you intend to switch over to ubuntu, the investment for a second hard drive is worth it. – Michael K Jan 11 '12 at 10:05
  • You can also try Ubuntu through a Wubi install. It is fast and very easy, just like installing another Windows app. On reboot you will be presented with a choice of booting to Windows or Ubuntu. Again, this is recommended for testing, but I agree with user above in that a second hard disk is the safest. When I first started with Linux, I always had 2 disks, then I unplugged the data cable to my Windows disk during installation just to be sure I am installing to the correct disk. – Marky Jan 11 '12 at 11:41

I think you just need to take a look at these two official guides here, to easily install Ubuntu after Windows XP:

  1. Installing Ubuntu after Windows
  2. How to resize Windows partitions

Or you can use this complete guide for Ubuntu 11.10. When you finish the installation, Ubuntu will automatically generate the boot options to let you choose which operating system to start, Windows or Ubuntu. If you are apprehensive about losing your data, you can backup them into an external hard disk before starting the installation.

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Installing Ubuntu will automatically create a dual-boot menu (GRand Unified Bootloader - GRUB2) that will allow you to select between Ubuntu and XP.

You can easily install Ubuntu into the area of free space on one of your hard disks. One way to do this, and specify the disk/free space with certainty, is to set up the root and swap areas manually. Some details on how to do so are provided at http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/manual-partitioning/. The posting also includes references to related sources of information, including video tutorials.

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