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Here are the facts and my use cases.

  1. Hard Drive has a 1TB (terabytes) capacity.

On Windows, I will use the computer for:

  • Developing Software. I will need to have installed Mercurial, Visual Studio 2010, SQL Server 2008 Express.

  • Gaming. I will install Steam and with it my games.

On Linux, I will use the computer for:

  • Developing Rails 3 applications.

  • General usage and viewing of media (music, videos, movies, etc).

I'm thinking I would first install Windows 7 and set my Drive C to about 40GB.

But how should I partition the rest of it? I'm afraid that if I tell Ubuntu to "use the rest of the disk" I won't be able to view the contents of the "linuxy" partitions. I think they use EXT right? Can windows view files in EXT4?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

i used to solve it with my 1 TB HDD as the following

  • first format and install windows 7 on 100 GB (40 is not enough for developer but you are free to choose)

  • from windows 7 right click on "computer" then "manage" then "disk management" then create a second 100 GB partition.

  • install Linux on the second partition (format it as EXT3 or EXT2 i don't prefer EXT4 because i always try to avoid compatibility hell).

  • format the rest of the partition (1 TB-200 GB) as NTFS. why NTFS? because you can use it on both systems with no one problem(windows CANT view files on EXT file system). auto-mount it on Linux if you like(personally i like to use ntfs-3g tool).

PS: don't install Linux then windows because windows will erase the Linux's boot loader(like grub) and so you will run to a problem and you will have to re-install your boot loader.

PPS: you can modify your boot loader configuration to choose your default operating system.

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Very simple to follow PRECISE answer, thanks a bunch! :D –  Only Bolivian Here May 24 '12 at 1:40

If your machine has the horsepower, consider installing one OS on the entire drive, and installing the other OS in a virtual machine. VirtualBox is free, and there are other free choices. VMs are nice because they let you run both OS's at the same time. There may be issues running games in a VM, so you might be better running Windoze as the host, and Linux in the VM. VM's also make it easy to experiment with OS's. Have you tried Ubuntu, but you're curious about Mint Kubuntu? Just install it in another VM, and experiment away.

This option also eliminates the disk size/partition issue. The host can use the entire drive, and the VMs can grow as needed. Another benefit to VMs is that you can back up your entire guest OS by backing up the disk image/file to external media.

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