My previous question is at Data rescue mission: Ubuntu, Wubi, and Windows. While I understand the concept of what I'm trying to do, I don't fully understand the details of shrinking partitions, and I really don't want to screw things up!

My goal:

  • One partition for Windows 7, of perhaps 60G (or smaller).
  • One partition of Ubuntu, of perhaps 60G. (Does it matter that I'm programming here, hence I'll install all sorts of packages?)
  • I read that if I re-partition the drive, the Lenovo partitions (which I gather are for system recovery) become unusable, and so presumably I should merge those into other partitions?
  • Appropriate swap partitions
  • The rest is a shared Data partition, and since I'll work with large video files, I understand that I want NTFS

Currently, the Disk Utility tells me I've got this:

Ubuntu's Disk Utility description of my current partitions

Thing is, I don't understand the labels. When I installed Ubuntu, I looked at the Manual Partitioning option, but since the labels were all sdaN (or something), I couldn't tell what was which. My original question got the concept across, but I'm not clear on the precise details of resizing and editing partitions without screwing up my other operating system.

  • create backup disks before you do anything - from experience the specialised bootloader used for recovery is a pain to fix up otherwise – Journeyman Geek Oct 3 '11 at 1:04
  • I'm not sure what your goal is, however, my suggestion if you really want a dual boot configuration, is to put W7 & Ubuntu on separate hard drives - ideally with the opposing drive disconnected during OS installation. Beyond that, I suggest running your secondary OS using VirtualBox or VMWare player. Lastly, W7 will fill a 60GB drive in short order. Unless you don't plan on using it for much, you'll need more space. – Joe Internet Oct 3 '11 at 5:23
  • A primary partition of 60 GB for Windows 7 is reasonable. You could make it smaller (say 40 GB) if you don't plan to install too many application programs.

  • A partition for Ubuntu is possible; that is use one Extended Partition for the Ubuntu installation. Within that extended partition, Ubuntu can create logical partitions for swap, root and (optionally) any dedicated directories (e.g. /home for user data). A size of 60 GB is workable for one project involving just source code, text files and no video or imaging. But if you tend to accumulate a lot of archives and logs, it could get a bit tight after a couple of years.

  • An NTFS partition for data sharing between Win7 and Ubuntu is possible. I would recommend that this shared partition be allocated as a primary partition, and not as a logical partition as shown in your screenshot. Either way will probably work okay, but as a rule, I dislike allowing Windows to go near non-Windows filesystems, simply because MS software tends to be Windows-centric.

To achieve these 3 partitions, you will have to decide to either:

a. keep the 210MB boot partition for Win7 (so that you do not have to re-install Win7), and delete the 16 GB recovery partition;


b. keep the 16 GB recovery partition, delete the 210 MB partition, and re-install Win7 into a pre-existing 60 GB (or whatever) partition. (This really is not a reasonable choice due to the restricted capabilities of the "recovery partition". That is, the new custom disk layout does not match what the recovery programs expect to see, a disk dedicated entirely to Win7.) If you properly burn recovery DVDs, then you can safely delete this partition.

A choice has to be made in order to use no more than four (4) partitions as allocated by the MBR partition table.

The explanation for the Linux sdaN disk partition names is:

  • the "sd" stands for "SCSI disk", i.e. an ATA or SCSI hard disk drive.
  • the next letter represents the disk drive number. The first drive uses "a", so it has the name sda. The second disk drive uses the letter "b", so it has the name sdb.
  • if the disk name has no appended number, then the name refers to the entire disk volume, i.e. /dev/sda refers to the (first) whole physical disk drive. Otherwise an appended "1" (e.g. sdb1) refers to the first partition (of the second drive in the example), "2" refers to the second partition, "3" refers to the third partition, and "4" refers to the fourth partition. Numbers greater than four (>=5) refer to logical partitions within the one Extended partition of the drive: an appended "5" refers to the first logical partition, "6" refers to the second logical partition, etc.

BTW the 210MB partition is a bit weird. Usually this boot partition is 100MB.)

Here's how I have a dual-boot system setup. Originally this had WinXP, which was upgraded to Win7 (hence there's no 100MB boot partition). The recovery partition is now useless, since it would restore the entire disk to WinXP. enter image description here

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