Desktop Linux For The Windows Power User

Preparing The Hard Drive

Step 4 of 7, Part A

This step involves two sets of tasks: first, preparing (making room) for Linux partitions and second, creating Linux partitions.

First, you will be given a few options depending on what (if anything) is currently on your hard drive. We will check the Manual option and click Forward, no matter what is currently on the disk.


Note: If you want to install Ubuntu to a second hard drive with Windows on the first, just follow the directions for a blank hard drive.

  • For disks completely partitioned for Windows, follow step A.
  • For disks that are totally blank, follow step B.
  • For disks with Windows and un-partitioned free space, skip to step C.

A. If your hard disk is completely partitioned for Windows, select your Windows partition and click "Edit partition."

In the first box, enter the size to which you want the Windows partition to be resized (in megabytes) and select "do not use the partition" in the second box, then click OK.

For example, let's say you have a 60 GB hard drive with just Windows and you want Windows and Ubuntu to share the hard drive equally. You'd change the size of the Windows partition to 30 GB (30,000 MB) and you will be left with 30 GB of free space for Ubuntu.   

A dialog box will appear asking you to confirm changes to the disk. This is the last chance you will have to back out before committing the changes. When ready, click Continue.

B. If you have a single hard disk that is completely empty, the first step will be to create a new partition table. Do this by selecting your empty device, which is usually labeled HDA (for IDE) or SDA (for SATA, SCSI, and USB), and then clicking "New partition table." If you are installing Ubuntu to a second hard drive with Windows occupying the first, the second drive will most likely be labeled “HDB” or “SDB.”

A disclaimer warning of data loss will appear. If you have multiple drives, verify that you have chosen the correct one and click Continue.

C. Select the entry marked "free space" and then click "New partition" to create a new partition.

  • jgv115
    An easier way of installing programs is in the terminal


    sudo apt-get install *app name here*

  • DjEaZy
    ... i'm a n00b in LINUX, but UBUNTU... it iz a nice start... the GUI iz easy to pick up... the rest iz reading forums... i got even crysis to work in Ubuntu... just the problem waz, that there waz no textures... with WINE and DX instaled the need for speed series runs pretty fine... all OpenGL games, that i played, run fine too... the interesting thing where you can consider using Ubuntu iz a old computer for internet browsing... if tha CPU iz approx 1Ghz, tha RAM 256Mb, and a 5 series GeForce or 9 Series Radeon to do the COMPIZ eyecandy... then YOU have a better-than-Vista visual and browsing experience...
  • wicko
    Meh, I've killed my XP install and I use Windows 7, which I actually like. Ubuntu doesn't cut it for me due to the lack of games.. otherwise I'd be all for alternatives.
  • arpikusz
    Great article. Really like that you outlined how to install all the "good little stuff" and not just the OS it self. Thumbs up!
  • thepinkpanther
    as soon as ubuntu can run .exe without a hitch, windows is out the...ugh...window.
  • Sir you are wrong. GoogleEarth and AdobeFlash is fully 64-bit compatible.

    One issue that you may encounter is GoogleGears that is 32bit only, but you can easily find Gears for 64 bit (without Google trade mark).
  • fordry06
    Ya, I have multiple games that will not work no matter what i do. I have tried configuring WINE manually and Play on Linux and Steam games will not function properly for me, neither does Trackmania. Im not sure if its becuse i have SLI or what but it simply doesn't work. I would love to use Linux as my primary OS, but when i install Windows 7 and ALL of my drivers are installed and working correctly automatically without any hassle, even nvidia video drivers, that is something that Linux is not capable of yet with alot of systems. Until the majority of programs and drivers work natively with Linux, it will just be a niche OS on desktop computers.
  • ahmshaegar
    Well, let's get this out of the way first: Linux is my primary OS. And I realize it's a kernel, so piss off you pedantic bastards.

    @thepinkpanther: Linux ain't Windows. Linux is Linux, so if your goal is to run Windows apps all day, I don't think choosing Linux as your primary OS makes the most sense.

    @fordry06: That certainly is a problem. Now, most hardware manufacturers don't disclose all the information about their hardware, so it's quite hard to write perfectly working drivers for OSes other than Windows. Although it's not Red Hat/SuSE/Ubuntu/(Insert Linux vendor here)'s fault, as a user, you don't really care about that, do you? Basically, for a lot of hardware out there, you have to fight to get it to work in Linux. For me, I got a bog standard laptop. In Ubuntu 9.04, pretty much everything I use worked out of the box. Now, certain things aren't working as well, such as my card reader only reading SD and MMC cards in Ubuntu... but I don't use anything other than SD cards. So for me, it's working just fine. For others... not so much. And regarding your games in Linux, see what I said above to thepinkpanther. Linux ain't Windows.

    Well, having gravitated away from games, and not being particularly loyal to any company or OS or anything, I really honestly don't care if I'm on *gasp* a Mac or Windows or Linux. So it all works out for me. Hey, if you really want me to get philosophical then let me just say that I think you can enjoy life best when you stop caring about all the trivial things. Why should I care what Microsoft has to say about Apple or vice versa? Why should I care when a Linux zealot declares the start of the nineteenth Crusade against Sata- er, Bill Gates?

    Flame on! or not.
  • Great article Adam! You are a man after my own heart! I rule over my computer with an iron fist and judiciously gut every MS OS I've own. I also drink no one's kool-aid (XP: 1.5GB Disk space, 19 running processes; Vista: 10GB Disk Space; 30 running processes). Ubuntu 9.04 is my primary OS and I absolutely love the amount of control I have. I now have no use for vista except for games. (Still working on that). :p
  • SpadeM
    If you need your hand held, then go buy a Mac.
    = Epic Win!
    Summed it up quite nicely