Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am about to install Ubuntu and I have two choices, delete XP or allocate memory to each operating system. I have about 160GB on my hard drive, sda1 is the Dell Utility Partition, sda2 is Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, and sda3 doesn't have a name. So how do I do this allocation so that there is enough memory for both OSs?

Right now sda1 has 57.7 MB, sda2 has 156.5 GB, and sda3 has 3.4GB.

share|improve this question

migrated from Jun 6 '11 at 1:20

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

That's disk space, not memory. – SLaks Jun 6 '11 at 1:20
Christ on a cracker. If you can't get your words straight then you're going to find Linux an uphill climb. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 6 '11 at 1:23
Can I save stuff in Virtualbox? And what's a virtual machine? – user84581 Jun 6 '11 at 1:33
@SLaks: Well, in 2020, we could very well have 1 TiB memory sticks. – Hello71 Jun 6 '11 at 2:42

Since you're new to Linux, I suggest that you install VirtualBox, and install Ubuntu in a virtual machine. You can create a virtual disk of any size, but I recommend 20-30GB. Since you have more space available on your sda3 partition, you can have VBox create the disk there.

The reason that I suggest VirtualBox is that you will be less likely to mess up your Windows install, it's easy to work with, and if you mess up with Linux, it's easy to start over.

share|improve this answer

Yes you can save all your stuff, basically you pick a virtual HDD of a set size, which will be a file in your windows filesystem. A virtual machine is exactly what it sounds like, it emulates a machine. I highly recommend it to new comers to linux.

share|improve this answer
He's talking about partitions, not VMs. – SLaks Jun 6 '11 at 13:04

All though hard disk is a form of memory, the data capacity on a hard disk is by tradition referred as space, not memory. Data capacity on a RAM modules is referred as memory.

A hard disk can have 1 to 4 "primary" partitions.

One of these partitions can be an "extended" partition, which is special type of partition in which you can create any number of constituent "logical" partitions

  1. I suggest you leave the Dell utility partition as it is. It probably is a primary partition.
  2. Delete the sda2 and sda3 and create a massive extended partition in the remaining space. Create logical partitions inside your new sda2 extended partitions like this.
    1. sda3 - NTFS 50 GB for Windows XP
    2. sda4 - NTFS 4 MB for Windows swap (create custom page file here)
    3. sda5 - Ext4 50 GB for Linux root.
    4. sda6 - Swap 4 GB for Linux swap
    5. sda7 - NTFS 30 GB for Windows data (move your My Documents here)
    6. sda8 - Ext4 30 GB for Linux data (mount /home here)
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.