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Following is the layout of the current partitions of my single hard drive viewed from Windows 7:enter image description here.

As the figure shows, my current partitions are:

  • C: has Windows 7 system files and my personal data;
  • Q: for Lenovo recovery;
  • SYSTEM_DRV: for Windows boot files;

I would like to create another partition D: for my personal data, and dedicate C: for Windows system files and applications only.

My current C: partition has already been occupied with around 86 GB. If I want to shrink C: for storing Windows 7 system files and applications to a smaller size , such as 50 GB, must I move out some files on C: to drop its occupied size below 50 GB before I am able to shrink C: to 50 GB in Windows 7? Or it is not necessary to move anything out.

After shrinking C:, I would like to make the rest free space as one extended partition, within which one logical partition is for D: and other logical partitions are for Ubuntu to be installed. So how to create the partitions?

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The shrink feature in Windows is very limited and not very good, you are better off using a third party partitioning software such as Paragon or Easeus. I always suggest backing up important data before you manipulate partitions with any software. – Moab Feb 3 '11 at 20:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Must I move out some files on C: to drop its occupied size below 50 GB before I am able to shrink C: to 50 GB in Windows 7? Or it is not necessary to move anything out.

You need to make the space available before you can shrink it to your required size, by moving the data elsewhere.

After shrinking C:, I would like to make the rest free space as one extended partition, within which one logical partition is for D: and other logical partitions are for Ubuntu to be installed. So how to create the partitions?

You'll have approximately 160GB left over. So I'd go with rougly 80GB for the rest of your data in a D: drive, and then let Ubuntu utilise the rest of the space as it sees fit.

The installer decides based on what is available so you don't have to do very much as long as there's enough space.

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1  
Be aware that that SYSTEM_DRV actually has the bootloader for the Lenovo recovery partition on it as well, and the Ubuntu installer is likely to break it. (Shouldn't actually affect your Windows install, but you should make a set of recovery disks FIRST if you haven't already, because you probably won't be able to afterwards. That's what the Q partition is for - launch it and see! Bonus here is that after you do it, you can ditch the Q as well.) – Shinrai Feb 3 '11 at 21:44
    
Thanks for pointing that out. +1 for you. – user3463 Feb 3 '11 at 21:56

You have a few questions in there. To answer your first one, I don't think the partition managers will even allow you to shrink your C: partition to less than the amount of data on it.

To answer your second question, the Ubuntu installation does a great job at managing partitions. Check it out and see if it does what you need.

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MyDefrag has a Force Together script which allows you to perfectly shrink afterwards, please note that files that are in use can't be defragged so you might need to perform this from another installation.

And yes, you can't shrink more if there is data in the way.

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I'm late to the party, but would like to share my input anyway. The Windows Partition Manager does have the ability to shrink partitions. If you right click on "Disk 0 > OS (C:)", it should give you a Shrink Volume option, but it's not perfect. Even after uninstalling programs and moving data to get down to 50GB, You will probably have trouble going from 220GB to 50. Unfortunately, if files are located halfway through, or at the end of the C partition, the partition manager will only shrink the C partition to the end those files. Auslogics DiskDefrag can show you an infographic of where your data is located on the partition. I wasn't able to find a "Force Together" script, but if you find one, make sure to post it (MyDefrag doesn't state Win7 compatibility).

If you do have trouble shrinking the volume, I posted how I shrunk a Win7 volume with GParted in this post Shrinking a partition in windows 7

Ubuntu's GParted is great for creating, resizing, moving, and managing partitions. In Windows partition manager, just leave the extra space unallocated.

Also, as far as I know, there aren't partitions within partitions. At the end, you'll have 5 partitions, System DRV, C, Recovery, D/data, and Ubuntu OS.

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