Partitioning without formating
May 9, 2006 3:10 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to partition a hard drive without reinstalling windows or formatting the drive? I have a 60 gig HD and would like to partition part of it to install ubuntu linux on.

Is special software required to do this? If so, is there any out there for free?
posted by nosophoros to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Partition Magic will do exactly what you want.
posted by jedrek at 3:15 AM on May 9, 2006

Knoppix, a Linux Live CD, has a graphical interface to a partition editor. It's called QtPartEd. It will do what Partition Magic would do, but free. Be sure to get the latest version of Knoppix though. Older versions had software that didn't support NTFS too well. It's the same problem on a number of other live CDs, and why I don't use my System Rescue CD (another live CD) anymore.
posted by splice at 3:56 AM on May 9, 2006

Note that it will work MUCH BETTER if you defrag your hard drive first. If your files are scattered all over the hard drive, it will take WAY WAY WAY longer to repartition. I can't stress this enough - seriously, defrag first.
posted by antifuse at 4:35 AM on May 9, 2006

The Ubuntu installation CDs have partitioning software on them which can resize your Windows partition to be smaller, add additional partitions for Ubuntu, and then install grub. grub is a bootloader that comes up before Windows or Linux boots and lets you choose between the two each time you boot the system.

This should not damage your current Windows installation.

So no, you don't need any extra software, just the Ubuntu installation CD (you might want to wait a few weeks for the next version of Ubuntu). Defragging your current Windows partition is always useful but not required.

You should also try the Ubuntu Live CD version before you do the installation, make sure you really want to do it. :)
posted by jellicle at 5:27 AM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

All good answers. I'd also like to recommend the GParted Live CD.

I keep a copy of this around at work. It's never given me any problems.
This is a stand-alone copy of the tool that comes on the Ubuntu CD.
posted by Eddie Mars at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2006

Since no one else has said it yet...

just in case, back up your system first.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2006

What Zed Sed!
posted by Good Brain at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2006

I did exactly that with my laptop, but I lucked up there and had 2 partitions already. I just wanted to recomend to you, when you do install Ubuntu, make 2 partitions out of it. One large and in Windows readable format and one smaller for the Ubuntu OS. Then you can use the large one as a shared disc and can even move your "My Documents" folder onto it and use it as your save folder for both OS's.
posted by slavlin at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2006

I've installed Mandrake on my windows computer using its native partitioner and everything went well. Ubuntu's partition options are a little less intuitive than Mandrake's but they don't seem to be any more likely to destroy your data.

1. Defrag.
2. Back-up (better safe than sorry)
3. Go to EasyUbuntu once you're done installing and updating.
posted by oddman at 11:19 AM on May 9, 2006

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