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I currently have Windows 7 installed on my PC. However, I just tried out Ubuntu via booting from a disc and I love it. I want to install it onto my HDD, but I don't want to get rid of Windows 7. I know HOW to do this, but I am a little unsure what the consequences might be. What does it mean to install Ubuntu alongside Windows? Do they share the same resources? Also, I have my HDD already partitioned into two sections, a 70 GB section where Windows is installed and then another 400 GB section where all my data is stored. There is currently 26 GB free on the 70GB partition. I know Ubuntu doesn't take up much space. However, if I install Ubuntu in that space, will I still be able to install programs on Windows in the future? My main concern is that I am going to short-change my hard drive space for future installations.

EDIT: I guess another big question I have is if I install a program on one OS, will the other be able to use it?

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Although you almost certainly won't need it, make sure you back up your Windows installation, including all data, before installing Ubuntu. – ChrisInEdmonton Jun 28 '13 at 12:33
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Actually, Ubuntu can be installed along side Windows (in the same partition) as a program (refer to the Wubi Install Guide); however, you will have to use an older version of Ubuntu such as 12.04 LTS.

In Learning Linux in my opinion the best option would be to partition your larger drive to make a smaller one and install Ubuntu on it.

And No programs installed in one OS cannot be accessed by the other; however you can run Windows programs in Ubuntu using Wine.

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What would be a recommended partition size for Ubuntu? – Josh Jun 28 '13 at 15:04
@Josh If you're just wanting to play around and get your feet wet, 5-10GB is plenty. If it's something you plan to actively use going forward, ~30GB. It's possible (though a bit tedious) to expand the partition later, and it's not that painful to reinstall if you later choose you want to reorganize your harddrive and create a bigger partition for it. – Darth Android Jun 28 '13 at 15:22
@DarthAndroid, Thanks for the info. I do plan to actively pursue it so I will probably do 30 GB. I do have another question though. Does the position of the partitions on the disc matter much? Currently, Windows 7 is in the "front" of the HDD, and my data contains the rest. Would it be bad to have my data between the two OS's? – Josh Jun 28 '13 at 15:48
Position does not particularly matter, as long as you don't change the order after you install the OS. It would be bad to install Windows, then Ubuntu, and then add a partition between them (because the boot loader would look for Ubuntu in the second partition, and not find it, requiring you to rewrite the boot loader. Not hard, but confusing if you don't understand how it works). It would be just fine to shrink your data partition by 30GB and add Ubuntu on the end. – Darth Android Jun 28 '13 at 15:52
Also note, Ubuntu will read, but not write NTFS (Windows) partitions by default. You will need to learn about linux filesystem drivers a bit and look into activating the ntfs-3g driver and configuring it to mount your partitions to write to your Windows and data partitions. – Darth Android Jun 28 '13 at 15:55

As long as you got 2 seperate partitions, 1 for windows and 1 for ubuntu you shouldn't ever encounter any problems that come from running 2 operating systems on the same machine.

Do not install them on the same partition, that's just asking for trouble. I'm not even sure if you're at all able to do that. I believe installing an OS formats your partition in the process.

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Installing an OS generally does not format the partition. However, you often need to create that partition first, which does require formatting afterwards. Another case is when the filesystem has to change, e.g. going from Windows/NTFS to Linux/ext3. – MSalters Jun 28 '13 at 12:11

The feature is called dual booting.

It is a method of installing 2 OS on one computer, without tampering with each others data.

By partitioning a drive, it allows each to see the partitions as different drives, allowing you to install a OS on each partition.

As long as you don't command files being installed on one or the other to be installed on the others partition, they won't interfere with each other in any way.

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