SSD 1 partition, how to shrink?
January 30, 2014 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a windows laptop with only 128G SSD hard drive, which is not partitioned, only with one partition C: . I want to install Linux aside from the original windows 7 so I can have double OS. There are about 15G empty space I gues it's enough. I think I need at least two partitions in order to do this. So I went to Computer Manage storage trying to shrink the C:, however, it shows 0 shrinkable space. Why is this? Should I run Disk Defragment? Anyone can help me out? And it's appreciated if you can give me some detailed step by step instructions, ie, how to mount partitions. I'm a newbie to linux and what I'm trying to install is elementary OS Luna. if you can share with me some introductory articles on the basics of the system adminiatraion, OS install stuff it will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!
posted by pack2themoon to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
15GB is really small. I would clear up some space.

Also, instead of dual booting, use a virtualization technology which is much more convenient, such as VirtualBox

If you're really set on dual-boot. Use the GParted Live CD
posted by Sonic_Molson at 9:26 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks a lot for your answer! It helps a lot.

What are the difference and advantage/disadvantages between VM and Dual-Boots?

Can I install all Linux development tools on VM? and should I use VirtualBox or VMware which I heard of.

Thank you!
posted by pack2themoon at 9:47 PM on January 30, 2014

Don't use a VM if you actually want performance out of it; it's not worth the hit from the virtualization and the drastically worse graphics performance.

If Elementary's live environment is anything like Ubuntu's or Linux Mint's, (and it should be, given its heritage,) you should be able to get GParted up in there without having to use a dedicated GParted livecd - dig around in the applications folder in the live environment.

As to the mystery missing space: 15G of phantom room is a suspicious number to me. Would you happen to have forgotten to disable hibernate yet, and by chance have about 15-16GB of RAM? If so, I would wager hiberfil.sys is your culprit. (And if it isn't, and you haven't disabled hibernation, you should do that anyway. It's a small enough SSD without wasting a tenth of it on that BS.)
posted by fifthrider at 10:21 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Off the top of my had the major pros/cons from my POV/experience (I use VirtualBox Linux Mint for website development):

-both machines available at once, no restarts
-you can "thin provision" a virtual drive. Say, set it for "50GB" thin provision, and if the VM only uses 5GB then only 5GB is taken on your physical disk, it will grow up to 50GB as necessary.

-slight performance decrease (not noticeable unless heavy on motion graphics or GPU tasks)
-copy/paste between host and guest can be annoying - although this can apply to dual-boot too

I wouldn't say performance is a big issue, assuming you have enough memory. 1GB of memory for a VM is a good start. Gaming is probably not recommended.

You can install everything just as if it were a dual-boot install, the OS really doesn't know the difference.

I use VirtualBox. I've used both. Try both, see which you like more. Not sure of the current licensing with VMWare (does it have a free version?). VirtualBox is 100% free.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 11:17 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really recommend virtual box, apart from being awesome, it allows you to try different flavours of linux in different virtual boxes. 15Gb isn't huge, but nor is linux
posted by mattoxic at 5:19 AM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

> Can I install all Linux development tools on VM? and should I use VirtualBox or VMware which I heard of

There is a free version of VMWare - but really, virtual box is pretty darn good. Please don't use HyperV
posted by mattoxic at 5:20 AM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi fifthrider, the 15G space is visible from My computer.
The problem is when I try to shrink C disk(120G with 15G free space available), the windows manger tool told me 0 shrinkable after a short calculation. Does this mean my SSD need defragmentation? Thanks!
posted by pack2themoon at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2014

Don't even think about trying to defrag an SSD, or you'll be in a world of hurt. Flash storage isn't like platter storage; defragging it will just put it through unnecessary write-cycles to no end.

I'm unfamiliar with Windows' built-in partition tool - the last time I used Windows as a primary OS, it didn't even have right-to-left repartitioning as an option. Have you checked to see whether GParted will let you do it? I would also not be surprised if Windows is unable to change the size of the current operating system partition - conventionally, you have to unmount a partition to resize it.

My advice would be to try GParted and, if that doesn't turn out to be practical, to use something like Clonezilla to make a bootable clone of your Windows partition on a larger drive, wipe the SSD, resize the cloned partition, and put it back on the SSD that way. (That is, take advantage of the surplus space on a larger drive to make the partition resizing simpler.)

Alternatively: since moving a bootable operating system around is a pain, don't. Instead, move all of your portable files - documents, photos, videos, etc. - onto another drive. You should be backing them up before even considering resizing, after all; freeing the space before resizing will have the added benefit of making that process easier.

That said, if all you're doing is coding on this system, Virtualbox works okay. Setting up file sharing with your host OS can be a pain, and network stuff is a real headache, but it's less risky than doing a proper dual-boot. I'm mostly just biased around using Windows as a primary OS, because after spending five years or so on Linux it just feels kind of chintzy and inhumane by comparison.
posted by fifthrider at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2014

oh thank you fifthrider! really helpful knowledge! I will try to follow your suggestions.
posted by pack2themoon at 9:56 PM on February 3, 2014

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