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My machine is currently split into 3 user partitions (plus however many Windows and Linux have decided to slyly create) Which are C: Windows 7, D: Data, and E(?): Ubuntu. I'm considering wiping my Windows 7 Install (stupid Skyrim not installing) and restructuring the way my machine operates.

I want the partitions for the Windows and Linux install to be as small as possible while still able to function well, and be able to install games on my Windows C: drive. I then want to link from both Win7 and Linux drives to the middle D drive so that the in built My Documents (and etc on windows) folder and my Home folder (linux) share a common location, rather than my current situation which is 3 separate file locations.

Something like this:

enter image description here

I have 1 TB to play with and I want to know the 'best' sizes to make these partitions when I reinstall Windows (which I need to do anyway) and re-jig everything.

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This is specific to what you wish to do. There are minimum space requirements for both Windows and whatever Linux distro you're using, but how big they actually need to be depends on how much you are planning to install on them and how much space you need for your data. – Bob May 31 '12 at 10:09
@Bob Yup, but there is a lower limit, assuming I only need a few gigs for games. Assume I want AS MUCH ROOM FOR DATA as possible. – Pureferret May 31 '12 at 10:18
You want to install games (and other apps?) on the same partition as Windows OS? – w3dk May 31 '12 at 10:26
@w3d Yes I do, 99% of my games are on steam so I only need a few installed at once to save HDD space, and the other apps are roughly 50GB but that will go down when I get rid of all the junk I have. If I know the minimum I need I can then adjust according to my specific needs. – Pureferret May 31 '12 at 10:48
In that case there is no "lower limit". To be honest, even if you are installing apps on other partitions, Windows will still insist on installing core files on its OS partition and overtime this can be a problem if the size of this partition is unnecessarily restricted. I think @DevSolar's answer is the best you're going to get I'm afraid. – w3dk May 31 '12 at 11:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This massively depends on the games you will install on C:\ and the applications you will install under Linux.

Moreover, Windows tends to accumulate additional fluff over times (downloaded patches, service packs etc.). Linux does this, too, but usually to a lesser extend. A partition that is "just big enough" today can become awkwardly cramped over time.

The general rule of thumb is: Make the partitions bigger than you need 'em. Resizing partitions on an already cramped system is a major pain, and risky too. Better have enough space for the operating systems right from the start.

Because, if you run out of space for data, you can just plug in a second hard drive.

Edit: The most useful dual-boot setup I have found so far is to have the "data" partition formatted as ext3fs, mounted as /home/username under Linux, and using ext2fsd under Windows. I found that to be more transparent and comfortable than working with data on a NTFS partition under Linux. Then again, I'm primarily a Linux user, so your mileage may vary.

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+1 I agree. I once tried to have a small (but plenty big enough at the time) OS partition, with the view to installing the bulk of applications elsewhere. This worked OK to begin with, but overtime the OS partition eventually filled up. It is far easier to expand your file store in the future. – w3dk May 31 '12 at 12:09
Ok, but what is the normal foot print of a windows install before I add stuff to it? That would be really useful, as your're saying I should just wing it and make it bigger than I need it, but how big do I need it? – Pureferret May 31 '12 at 15:36
About 6 GB installed size. I wouldn't go for anything below 10 GB for a Windows partition holding nothing but Windows. Seeing how that's a meager 1% of your 1 TB disk, that shouldn't hurt. – DevSolar Jun 1 '12 at 6:58
I just noted your comment and your edit, definitely worth the accept now. – Pureferret Jul 29 '12 at 11:10

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