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I have a kinda complicated situation. I have two hard disks:

  • A 80 GB HD, with a single partition taken by Windows 7
  • A 300 GB HD, with 20 GB of empty space, a NTFS partition of about 200 GB meant to be used as home folder, and about 70 GB of more empty space. The deal with the empty space is that I had other OSes installed before and when I removed them I got this. I know it's messy, but it's what I have.

I want to install Ubuntu on the second hard disk. I was thinking about using the first empty 20 GB for the OS and the other, larger empty space for /usr. Does this make sense?

The other thing is that I want to dual boot with Windows 7. Will the Ubuntu installer deal with it? I have done this before, but never on more than one disk.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Ubuntu installer should automatically setup Grub to dual-boot windows 7. If for some reason it does not, it's pretty easy to edit the grub menu.lst file to add an entry for windows.

Don't forget you need a swap partition too. As justin says, 20GB is too much for ubuntu system files. 8GB is plenty even with extra packages. NTFS should be fine to share files between Windows/Linux though.

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And what do I do with the extra space? I'll be left with scattered partitions. – Javier Jan 2 '10 at 0:29
    
Use it for your swap file, enlarge the 200GB home folder, or use it for a backup partition. I'll add another answer with what I would do. – RJFalconer Jan 2 '10 at 1:01
    
Thank you. I guess I'll have to do really careful backups if I want to change partitions so much. – Javier Jan 2 '10 at 1:42

If you are dual booting, you would gain a performance benefit having all OS on the same drive. This way they share a common "large data drive", and the bandwidth to the OS drive is not shared with any bandwidth to the apps/downloads/music/films/videos/photos drive. (Plus when you are booted to ubuntu, the windows drive would be sitting there consuming power but not doing anything)

Drive 1 80GB

  • 50GB NTFS Windows 7 (I assume you have most of the 80 already used here)
  • 8GB ext3 Ubuntu
  • ~18GB ext3 home folder
  • ~4GB ubuntu swap*

Drive 2 300Gb

  • 300GB NTFS Media

*Swap size depends on how much ram you have, and whether or not you're going to be doing much video/large image editing or other tasks with a high-memory requirement. 2GB should be more than enough for most uses I think.

Having all OS on one drive will also make your boot process simpler, and easier to add more drives.

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20G is more than enough for ubuntu. Since you want to dual boot maybe something like

8G / 12G /home

and format the 70G partition as fat32 for sharing files between windows and linux?

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