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I ordered a Lenovo laptop, and it has 500GB of hard drive space. It is coming without an OS. I want to install Ubuntu and Windows 7 x64. However, I still want access to shared files, such as my music and videos. What would you suggest for partioning lengths?

The windows machine will be used for games, visual studio and general stuff. Ubuntu will be used for.. well I don't know, I just really want to try linux =) I guess programming in everything except Direct-X stuff (XNA, xbox, etc.)

Also, I could get an external HDD, but I'd prefer to keep it all on the laptop - 500gb should be enough, right?

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You can always add to your partitions if you need too. I would not worry so much about it. Start with a 4:1 ratio Windows to linux (as you will have a lot more data on there it seems), and then if you start to run out of space, just resize. – soandos May 29 '11 at 19:11
will I be able to access, read, write to the files on the windows partion? – Caleb Jares May 29 '11 at 19:12
Yes. Ubuntu can read/write to NTFS partitions – soandos May 29 '11 at 19:16
up vote 2 down vote accepted

To be honest with you, so many people (such as yourself) say they want to "try" another Operating system such as Linux and end up dual booting such as what you are asking, then hardly use it.

Dual Booting is a big step, requires serious thought and planning in advance.

Unless you really know that you are going to be using Linux, I really would not bother.

Unless you know for sure you are going to be doing graphically intensive stuff in Linux, I would personally just install Windows and go for virtualising Linux. This has many benefits - snapshotting being the main one, so as you are learning Linux, you can do what you want without the fear of screwing anything up.

However, if I really can't tempt you to do this, then, whilst Linux can read from NTFS, by far the easiest thing you can do is to have, a ~50GB drive for Linux (Again, if you won't be using it seriously, this should be ample), a ~5GB drive formatted as Fat so you can exchange files and the rest as NTFS for Windows.

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Might I add that, while visualization is a great way to try Linux, do keep in mind it requires some processing power. Another option you may want is to use an older PC and do a full install on there (or try dual booting, then you won't mess up anything) – Simon Sheehan May 29 '11 at 19:21
@Simon Sheehan - +1 and whilst technically true, pretty much most (good) machines in the last few years can virtualise at near native speed - the only time I have seen problems is when the host is running demanding programs... But, Dual/Quad core FTW! – William Hilsum May 29 '11 at 19:26
Quad core's run it beautifully, so i think dual core will be no issue. Although luckily for me, i got to spend time on linux with a 10 year old machine (beautifully run!), before a little hard drive flat line. Even a full out distro such as Fedora or Ubuntu demands little to run – Simon Sheehan May 29 '11 at 19:29
Honestly, the only reason I still have windows is because games (warcraft III and league of legends, along with development for the xbox 360). So it's just a dependency to be running windows. It's not my first choice OS :P – Caleb Jares May 29 '11 at 19:38

Install windows. Install linux - since windows will overwrite the linux bootloader - use ext3 or 4 as your filesystem.

The linux system will read NTFS fine. Install ext2fsd so that windows can read the linux partition.

Partition size wise, windows XP should be 10gb + data, 7 should be 20gb + data. Linux should be about 8 + data.

I'd probably suggest having a 20 gb partition for linux and the rest as a single large windows partition.

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Will this have any problems compared to creating a seperate shared NTFS partion (is it possible it could corrupt anything)? Also, can I resize the partions safely once I've already made them? – Caleb Jares May 29 '11 at 19:45
Well, I have never had any corruption with ntfs-3g on linux. In theory you can resize partitions safely with a livecd (gparted) or various tools on windows that do it at boot time (easus partition manager works for me). If possible i suggest backing up the system before resizing partitions, just in case, however. – Journeyman Geek May 29 '11 at 23:36

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