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Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

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Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Now been using Ubuntu via Wubi but am using it more and Vista less so I think it is time to do a proper install. I am therefore plucking up courage and need a bit of advice please.
Managed alright with Mint on the other laptop but that had an empty 10GB partition so no problems.
This one has C drive of 99.17GB and a recovery D drive of 10GB.
I have spoken to Dell CS and have been told I can safely delete the files in D because I have the disk but despite following all the instructions I could find on the web I couldn't complete the deletion because of permissions (just a small number of files were left).
I want more than 10GB for Ubuntu anyway, especially as I want to do as advised on here and create a separate bit for Home so that in future I can upgrade the OS with no problems. 
In particular I would like to delete D, extend C and then repartition but I think that I can't do this because D on my machine (as I look at it) is to the left of C. Might have got this wrong, but according to what I have read, this makes a difference with disk management.
What I need to know is can I do anything with the Windows disk management or should I be thinking of purchasing a commercial disk management tool?  If so, which one, and what is the best way to proceed?
Don't want to mess up the Vista bit if possible because don't fancy a reinstall, especially as it is running well and doesn't need it.
22 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

all i know of vista is that you must use the windows partition tool to shrink the partition.  it will only shrink it to half its size, so if you want more you then have to use a different partitioner.  some recommend gparted.
after that you can make more partitions for your linux install if you want to.  these days i usually make a / partition, another for /home and yet another for /data.  that way, if i need to reinstall, i get to keep all my settings in /home and /data is not interfered with.  how much room you have will determine how you set yours up.
N/A

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

I did think of shrinking the main C partition because there is enough room but I can't do this as I think that there will then be too many partitions. 
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

how many partitions do you have?
how big is the hard drive?
how much do you need to keep for vista?
do you have a recovery partition?
you really only need one partition of (i'd say) at least 10gb for linux.  some users only ever have one partition for both the operating system and /home.  they may keep a separate partition for /data, but many now shunt larger files straight to external storage.
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Can you be more specific about the permissions problem on D: (t'would be a shame not to be able to delete what's left and remove the partition)?
I believe It's also considered A Good Thing TM to defrag C: before attempting to resize it.
if I understand you correctly your drive is partitioned something like this:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|          |                                                                                                                  |
|          |                                                                                                                  |
|  D    |                                      C                                                                          |
|          |                                                                                                                  |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
and after deleting D:and shrinking C: would give you something like this:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|          |                                                                  |                                            |
|          |                                                                  |                                            |
|          |                                      C                        |                                            |
|          |                                                                  |                                            |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
with free space either side of C:
Refering back to the Mint partitions thread, it's almost certain, if you want to go the multiple partitions route (/(root), /home, & swap for example), you'll need to choose manual partitioning rather than letting Ubuntu do it for you. That gives you full control over the partitionimg process and should, I think, allow you to use the free space either side of C:.
You might want to read the Wikipedia article on disk partitioning; you're limited to a maximum of 4 primary partitions but can have up to 3 primary and an extended partition inside which you can have multiple logical partitions.
You therefore have a number of possibilities...
A primary partition that replaces D: (could be used for / or /home for example) and two primary partitions in the space freed by shrinking C: (used for swap and either / or /home)
  ----------------------------------- ditto -----------------------------------------------      and an extended partition containing two logical partitions for use as above
In a worst case scenario, (where you can't delete DSmiley you could simply shrink C: and create an extended partition with three logical partitions.
I should point out I've never installed any Linux distro alongside Vista so usual caveat applies.....if any of the above breaks your system you get to keep all the parts  Smiley
N/A

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

The first diagram is what I am seeing but have added a snip of the arrangement. Have also bookmarked the Wiki page and will study it later. Am also going to have another go at deleting the recovery files but will have to find the information again as I have forgotten the full procedure that I tried at the last attempt. If I can clear the D partition this would be the best option I think.
My C partition is defragged weekly but I don't see how I can partition any of that because I have four partitions and as I understand it, Windows won't let you have five. It has loads of space and will have more when I take off Wubi because this is using 17.1GB
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Sandra have you checked the properties of the files you cant delete?, are they read only if so change them
Community Veteran
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Ok, deep breath:-
1. BACK UP Any files you want to keep from your Vista partition
2. Boot from the Ubuntu cd
3. Start the installation
4. Choose MANUAL partition
5. resize the vista partition to whatever 30Gb? (you may have to reboot after this)
6. Set the 10Gb partition as /  and format to ext3
7. Your free space click on it and choose create new partition (leave about 2Gb free)
8. mark this as /home and format as ext3
9. The free space you have at the end format as swap/
10. Install grub in the boot sector (default)
so you end up with:-
|---Ubuntu boot 10Gb----|Vista|----Home partition-----|---swap---|

You don't actually need to delete the files on D as you will be formatting it with Ubuntu.
(OR you could use the Vista partition manager to resize the C drive, and then continue from 4 ignoring step 5)
Hope that helps.
N/A

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Yes, Pierre, they are Read Only but won't be changed due to the permission problem (even though I am administrator and have disabled UAC). If I remember correctly from last time I tried it is something to do with taking ownership of the folder.
Biker - thanks for advice, which I am 'getting my head around'.
I did wonder if it really mattered about deleting the files because Ubuntu would override them - sounds good as I won't have to mess around with the folders anymore.
As I currently see it, I will have the 10GB D partition (now known as ext3) just for the Ubuntu operating system all nicely on its own so that I can easily reformat later when another version comes along or I want to change to another distro without disturbing anything else (like that idea).
I prefer your idea of allowing Windows to resize the C drive (know from previous efforts that Windows doesn't like partitions other than its own). I thought to hive off about 10GB as this would allow 6GB for Home (don't store stuff on the computer as a rule) plus 4GB Swap (computer has 2GB RAM). Will have to see if Windows would allow it - only way to find out is to try it of course. Judging by Wubi this would be enough because in total it will be 20GB - Wubi at the moment takes 17GB.
Not sure about Grub because when I did the installation for Mint I can't remember that. It just boots up into Mint as soon as I switch on because it is first in the queue. If you have chance, please could you just clarify that? Also get a bit mixed up with the ext 3, / and mount points but you did explain this in a previous thread so will recap on that.
I am just wondering if it would be easier to put the whole thing on the 10GB partition  but not sure if it is enough. Gloria is happily housed in her 10GB so maybe I should just do that again. Only thing is, there are things I like about Mint and the same goes for Ubuntu - it's nice to have the experience of both I suppose.
Your advice is very much appreciated and gives me confidence to find a way forward without messing my computer up.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,644
Thanks: 204
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

If you get another version of Ubuntu (a later version), the recommended way to install is to "upgrade".
You don't have to delete and re-install like you would in Windows Smiley

Community Veteran
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Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Quote from: Crucibleofevil
You don't have to delete and re-install like you would in Windows Smiley

Yes you do, I had to reinstall because the upgrade failed. So I have kept my other linux box on 8.10 because I don't want the hassle of format, reinstall and set up of 9.04.
Poppy, if I was in your position I would format the drive and start again. Install Vista in a partition size of your choice and create a separate partition for vista data.
Then use your linux cd to manually create your linux partitions as you require.
N/A

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Reformatting the whole thing has crossed my mind because it would enable me to split it just as I like and start afresh. If I do this, I would like to learn how to slipstream the updates onto a disk because I don't want the hassle of starting again.
That would take some thinking about but has advantages.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

poppy, i made two attempts to slipstream sp2 into xp and succeeded on the second try.  if you have endless patience and don't allow yourself to get cross at the wretchedly slow process, go for it.  otherwise think of an alternative approach.
always wanting to dive in and get on with it, i've learned the painful lesson of 'read, mark, learn and inwardly digest' first, on occasion.  slipstreaming is one of those occasions.
wherever possible, i always see if i can use what i've got successfully, before embarking on a solo flight with no parachute, so to speak.
if that does not work, only then do i consider the even riskier proposition of wiping a working windows install, with all the fart-arseing that entails.
is there any real hurry on this project?  if you can take your time, you can read up first, ask any questions that may occur and take it all in a leisurely manner.
do you have another machine you can use while the laptop is being rearranged?
N/A

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

No, there is absolutely no rush at all. This is just a hobby - I am enjoying the learning process and feel that I am achieving something so will take my time.
I think that I first tried Wubi at the end of last year, packed it in as a bad job, then some months later had another try, then had another break, but then this time have had more success. We have two laptops and as mentioned, the second one is now working fine with Vista and Mint.
For that matter, I could just keep on using Wubi - just that it would be better to have Ubuntu installed properly.
I do have a lot of patience with regards to a reinstall but it would merely be for the sake of it because Vista is working very well - luckily, no problems whatsoever.
Glad to know about the slip streaming thingy though. Every time I have reformatted friends' computers I have always reloaded them with a fresh install of updates - don't mind the wait because my speeds are good but wondered if there was a better way - seems not.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,644
Thanks: 204
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Getting ready to install (dual-boot)

Quote from: Santiago
Quote from: Crucibleofevil
You don't have to delete and re-install like you would in Windows Smiley

Yes you do, I had to reinstall because the upgrade failed. So I have kept my other linux box on 8.10 because I don't want the hassle of format, reinstall and set up of 9.04.

You shouldn't have to Smiley
I've upgraded from 6.06 -> 6.10 -> 7.04 -> 7.10 -> 8.04 -> 8.10 -> 9.04 without any serious problems.
Certainly never needed to reformat anything.