I prefer Ubuntu for the UX, but I do need to keep Windows around for one or two applications. I originally installed by way of Wubi. Eventually I broke something by attempting to install some things when my drive was too full, and started getting complaints about GNOME Power Manager.

At this very moment, I've successfully booted from a Ubuntu LiveUSB, and I have mounted the root.disk where my important data is. I'm wondering if I should take the opportunity to set things up more intelligently.

Important note: I don't really understand partitions! But here's what I want: I need Windows to have access to some video files so I can use my Windows video editing software. I suppose it should have access to music files as well. (Can it just read my home directory from ubuntu? I don't know.) Otherwise, I'd prefer my machine think/act/feel like it's an Ubuntu machine, including default booting to Ubuntu instead of surprising me with Windows when I'm slow on the boot screen.

Thank you for any advice you can give.


First get a backup of your system to make sure there is no data loss. You can have a look at this Ubuntu LINK. Specifically scroll down to "Install Ubuntu After Windows." By the way, this is part of the trick, setup Windows first, then install Ubuntu for your desired setup.

This will let you repartition drives as needed. The Ubuntu install should set itsel as the Primary OS to start and giving 10 seconds to choose something else.

For your partitions, you can setup one small one for grub (250MB is more then enough.) One partition for Linux, one for Windows, and one for shared data.

The shared data drive most people format as FAT32. But it has a limit to both in size of partition and size of file. Movie files larger then 4GB are the main reason to use the next option. Format the Data partition as NTFS while in Windows. After you setup Ubuntu (or any other nix) install the NTFS-3g package to can read/write access from Linux.

  • What are appropriate sizes for the Linux and Windows partitions? From what you describe, it sounds like I'd want most of the partition to be the Data partition, but then again, I'll want to be able to install various packages for Linux to use. – tom Sep 30 '11 at 22:34
  • This depends on your needs. You need enough for logs and installing your apps. After that you just need to be diligent to make sure all data resides on the shared data partition. I usually like 60GB for each Linux and Windows, it usually gives me plenty to work with after the fact. – cwheeler33 Oct 1 '11 at 0:50

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