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I'm not familiar with how dual boot systems work. I was told I had to defrag my hard drive so that when I installed ubuntu it would have it's own virtual space. This raises the question: If I delete files on Vista (my other operating system), will I be opening up space that I can use for files while running Ubuntu?

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3 Answers

You don't need to do anything ,just run the ubuntu installer and it will do everything for you , did that on Windows 7 without any problem

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No.

Each OS is installed on its own partition.

Paritions are fixed-size logical subsections of a physical subsection; they do not shrink or expand automtically.

Before installing Ubuntu, you will need to shrink the Windows partition to make room in the physical hard disk for a separate partition for Ubuntu. (probably at least 10GB)
The Ubuntu installer will do this for you.

To shrink a partition, you need to have free space at the end of that partition's space on disk.
If your Windows partition has been very crowded, you may need to defragment to get enough cintiguous free space.

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In most cases, you will actually have to shrink the Windows partition to make room for Ubuntu, unless you left room when you initially formatted the drive. There are several tools that allow you to resize partitions. –  user55325 Jul 14 '11 at 2:49
    
@user: I assumed that he's asking about after splitting the disk –  SLaks Jul 14 '11 at 2:52
    
Clarified​​​​​​. –  SLaks Jul 14 '11 at 2:54
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You have two options for dual-booting Ubuntu: you can use the Windows installer (Wubi) to install Ubuntu to a file on the Windows partition, or you can install Ubuntu to its own partition. I recommend this option, as I have had fewer problems with it.

If you do decide to create a partition for Ubuntu, the existing Windows partition will need to be resized. Again, the installer will do this for you. In the past, in order to resize the Windows partition, contiguous free space had to exist at the end of the drive in which to create the new partition. To create this space, the drive had to be defragmented.

However, this is no longer the case (and has not been for some time, I think). EDIT: maybe still true? I haven't had a problem with it in years, though. So you do notmight not need to defragment, and you will not need to delete files unless your hard drive is already full.

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I don't feel my question has been answered: I have already successfully installed Ubuntu, it wasn't a problem. I'm just wondering about, if I delete, movies for instance, from my vista account, will I be freeing up space on my harddrive that I can use while logged into Ubuntu? I ask because I'm getting a "disk full" warning on ubuntu, but the vast majority of files I can delete is on my vista operating system. I guess this goes back to whether the partition is strict or dynamic, yeah? david –  dlitwak Jul 14 '11 at 3:18
    
Okay, I see what you mean. If you create free space on the Vista partition, you can shrink it again and actually expand the Linux filesystem, but it's a bit more complicated: see howtoforge.com/linux_resizing_ext3_partitions for an ext3 partition, for example. –  user55325 Jul 14 '11 at 4:54
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