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I want to install Windows 7 on my laptop in such a way that it will be relatively easily to install Linux some time later as a 2nd OS.

How should I make HD partitioning? What software should I use for that?

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5 Answers 5

If you aren't planning on installing Linux soon, I wouldn't worry too much about partitions: any decent Linux installer will have tools to shrink your Windows partition without damaging it. Then you can create all the partitions you need, again with tools the Linux installer will provide to you. So no need to special planning.

I used to create a second NTFS partition to keep all the data and documents to be shared between the two OSs, but I found it to be more damage than good: Linux is perfectly capable of accessing your Windows partitions.

Just one last piece of advice: before you start with Linux, be sure to read the docs: Linux has become very easy to install and use, but it's still quite different from Windows so you have to have some knowledge first or you'll feel a bit lost. Virtual Machines and Live distros are very helpful to get acquainted with the OS.

Have fun!

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I usually slice a new harddrive with linux fdisk with manner below:

  1. create and preserve one primary partition for each win copy you need: some guy has mentioned windows needs primary ones for system partation. I haven't been in a need for more than 2 windows copy at the same time. just use them as you need as system part or data part.

  2. (when speak on the linux side) Linux can be installed on extend/logical or primary partation, so of all the partitions, i set at least one to be extended. then when I want to try a new linux dist, I just resize the old one and use the slice to create a logical partition.

The sequence of install does not matter, since it is easy to use windows disc or a linux liveCD to "repair" corresponding boot manager. I am using grub for my OSes.

I have never used LVM or other complex volume manager in win or linux.

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+1 for fdisk. It's much better than stuff which comes with windows. –  AndrejaKo Aug 15 '10 at 8:53

I use VMWare Workstation (ver 7) to do exactly what you are asking. I love it. VMware Workstation

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Here's my advice: First get one small partition for booting. You'll need to mount it under /boot. I don't know exact sizes, but 1 GiB would be more than enough. I'll explain later why this is important.

Next, get one partition which should be between 1.5-2 times your amount of RAM. This one should be used as swap partition. Search this site for the term, there are few really nice explanations why it's needed.

Next, you'd need at least one partition for GNU/Linux root. I don't know how much space you'll need for this one. Probably as much as you are going to use GNU/Linux. I have about 100GiB, but you may need less.

And last you'll need one partition for windows.

This way no logical and extended partitions are used. If you are going to use more partitions, use logical partitions for data storage and primary partitions to install operating systems. If I remember correctly, windows won't install on extended partition. I you are going to use more partitions, it would be nice to make a separate /home partition for GNU/Linux. All user related data is stored in /home/username directory, so if /home is on separate partition, you can save all data there if you reinstall GNU/Linux. Also I recommended separate boot partition in case you decide to remove GNU/Linux. That is because it uses a boot loader of which one part is installed in HDD's master boot record and other is installed on hard drive itself. If you delete GNU/Linux, you won't be able to boot until you repair boot loader from windows installation disk. If you have separate /boot partition, you can leave it standing, and you'll be able to boot normally into windows using GNU/Linux boot loader.

And keep in mind that it is easier to first install windows and later GNU/Linux.

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I have found the Ubuntu Wubi installer for Windows to be the fastest way to try out Linux.

You basically download the little app and run it. It will install Ubuntu and the next time you boot up, you will see Ubuntu in OS selection list. Choose Ubuntu and the install will completed.

It gives you the full native power of Ubuntu (unlike running in a VM) without all the hassle of partitioning etc. When you are tired of Ubuntu, just boot up Windows and go to your programs list and uninstall Ubuntu.

Easy as 1,2,3! :)

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