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I want to setup dual boot Ubuntu on my machine in a separate partition. Plus, ideally, I want to get another, 3rd, partition for further OS experimentation. The hard drive is huge, hundreds of gigs, and essentially unfilled. The machine runs Windows 7 Home.

Online I have seen mention of creation of partitions from inside Windows 7. But, I have also heard claims that to create the partition to house Ubuntu Windows has to be reinstalled, frying all the data on the machine.

So, which one of these claims are right? Can you create additional partitions for other OS on a big Windows 7 hard drive without reinstall?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You have first to reduce the W7 partition (from Windows Disk Management Console). After that, if you are installing Linux, most of the installation programs let you define your partitions. Just be sure not to delete the W7 partition.

Dual boot is another story. It works between Linux and Windows, but sometimes not from the very first time.

Usually you´ll be able to boot W7 again running W7 recover (installation disk) or just marking the partition as active with any disk partition program.

Just have in mind, is not very difficult, but an error could leave your system unusable having to reinstall the whole thing.

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The first claim is right. You don't need to remove other OS's to install Ubuntu; its installer will ask you for details.

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Yes, you don't need to remove Windows, just make sure you know what you're doing when partitioning, and back up important files, just in case. To make the partition, I would recommend making a LiveCD or LiveUSB of Ubuntu, then using GParted.

Good luck!

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The only thing to add is that if you ever want to upgrade Windows, you must back up your other partition(s) first, because Windows will format your hardrive and fry everything.

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