I'm planning to buy a laptop without a preinstalled OS.I want to install a Linux distro first, then later dual boot it with linux and windows 10 once I purchase a licence. What is the best way to partition the hard drive and still be able keep a separate partition for all my media and data files without formatting it when I install windows? Also, what are the chances of driver and uefi problems if I dual boot with ubuntu and windows 10?

  • Very simple actually Install Linux first with Linux create a second partition for windows and then a third for your data. I have done this before and I didn't get any problems. However I do recommend just buying a separate drive for your data. If the drive fails you will still have your data. – Dylan Rz Oct 4 '16 at 8:59
  • @DylanRz: Doesn't Windows overwrite the master boot sector/ grub? For me, I always used to install windows first and keep however much I wanted unformatted. Followed up with installing linux and merrily formatting however I wanted. – Spandan Oct 4 '16 at 11:28

Installing Linux to then in the future install dual boot with windows 10 will give you some headaches, because Windows will create its own boot partition and will overwrite your current boot. So what you might have to do is to reinstall grub once Windows 10 is installed using your Ubuntu LiveCD.

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/sdX

The best partition?

Leave a portion of your HD without partition, this is more up to you how much space you want for Windows.

Linux: This is very personal, people might have others opinions

/boot 512Mb

/root 10Gb

/home the rest of space (keep all your media and documents here)

/swap (Is your Disk a Solid state drive? SSD? don't use swap, otherwise use double your RAM 6Gb RAM -> 12Gb swap)

it will look like this

sda XXG 0 disk

├─sda1 XXXG 0 part (free partition for windows)

├─sda2 512M 0 part /boot

├─sda3 10,0G 0 part /root

└─sda4 XXXG 0 part /home

Further recommendations:

  1. Start using encryption. Make this an every day routine. Encrypt your /root and /home partition. Take your privacy seriously.
  2. Linux will fulfill all your needs. No need for Windows. Install Linux as the only OS and if you happen to need windows, just go for a Virtual Machine.
  3. Give Arch Linux a shoot. A bit complicated at the beginning but totally worth it and stable.
  4. Use Logic volumes LMV so you can change the sizes later.
  • Thanks for the answer. I'm not ready to take that next big step with arch yet and I prefer lubuntu actually(the repos and LTS prevents me from trying others, lol). The laptop is an i3 and I plan to run xp on virtual box for the time being; but I'm not sure how well that will go. I don't mind formatting the linux partition when installing windows, but just to be specific, i want to create a primary partition for the OSs and an extended partition for my data. Is that the right way to go when setting up the partition tables? – fr33c0untry Oct 4 '16 at 13:13
  • Use a primary partition for the OS and extended for the rest (though it doesn't really matter now a days since Ubuntu can boot from a extended partition). Don't forget to mark this as the answer if I was helpful. – Joe Oct 5 '16 at 0:41
  • hey @fr33c0untry could you mark this as your answer? thanks. – Joe Mar 3 '17 at 1:11

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