How should I distribute space among different partitions in Ubuntu?

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Wrichik Basu
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I have had enough with my Windows PC. I have decided to create a dual boot PC with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

I am doing a dual-boot system because I need Windows for:
  • Amazon prime video app
  • MS office
Here is a view of the partitions of the HDD:

1610055685804.png


I have a lot of programs to install:
  • MATLAB
  • Android Studio
  • MySQL
  • Java (JDK)
  • Python
  • Git
  • Intellij IDEA
  • MikTex
  • TeXmaker
  • Arduino
  • Fritzing
  • Softmaker Free Office 2018
  • OBS Studio
  • Zoom
I was thinking of doing the following:
  • Shrink C: drive by 100 GB (or maybe more).
  • Shrink D: and E: drives by 54 GB each.
On Ubuntu, I will mount D: and E:. These are the places where I will save all my files — media, documents, etc. I will reserve 8 GB for the swap area. My question is, how should I distribute the other 200 GB space in Ubuntu? Should I allocate all the space to / (root), or should I create a separate /home partition?

A few other questions:
  • In Windows, it is possible to shrink and extend partitions. At a later stage, can I shrink and extend partitions in Ubuntu?
  • I was seeing this video on how to set up Linux to automatically mount NTFS drives at boot using the GNOME disks utility rather than modifying fstab manually. Some people are saying that this mounts the drive read-only. How do I provide read and write permissions to the mount?
This will be my first time on Ubuntu, so any other advice (in general) is also appreciated.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Is this windows 10?

If so there’s the WSL software product that allows you to run ubuntu within windows and interoperate with windows.

The VS Code Editor can edit files in either windows or Linux space on your machine.

It’s a pretty cool feature of windows much as I hate windows I really like this feature.

You can choose what distro of Linux you want although ubuntu is the favored one from what I can tell.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/

Alternatively you could create a bootable usb stick rather than muck with dual boot. I remember having issues with dual boot some years ago where I almost lost access to my files.
 
  • #3
Wrichik Basu
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Is this windows 10?
Yes. Build 1909.
If so there’s the WSL software product that allows you to run ubuntu within windows and interoperate with windows.
I want to shift to Ubuntu from Windows. Recently, Windows was bugging me for upgrading to v1909 because v1803 is about to reach end-of-life. After I upgraded, here is what I am left with:
  • No option to change brightness. Neither through hardware buttons nor through software.
  • Group policies completely corrupt.
  • Intel Integrated graphics driver missing.
  • Video controller (VGA compatible) driver corrupt.
  • Can't update/re-install drivers as Group policies are corrupt.
  • No option to rollback.
I can still restore the system from the recovery CD, but I will move to Ubuntu instead. I am fed up with this nonsense; I need a stable system where I can run my applications and not fight with the OS for existence.
I remember having issues with dual boot some years ago where I almost lost access to my files.
No problem. I have backed up my whole hard drive.
 
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Some office versions works pretty well under Wine.
Just saying since it's better to put all productivity tools in one basket.

Amazon video might work under Wine too. Worth checking.
 
  • #7
Wrichik Basu
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Some office versions works pretty well under Wine.
Just saying since it's better to put all productivity tools in one basket.
I am currently testing the Softmaker FreeOffice 2018, and it seems to have quite a good interface, much like MS Office. I mostly need Excel only, because LaTeX is a good enough replacement for Word and PowerPoint. On the other hand, I have seen LibreOffice in college, and I am not fond of its UI. I want to keep MS Office because I paid for it.
Amazon video might work under Wine too. Worth checking.
Nope. It has to be downloaded from the Microsoft Store and works only on Windows. See this Reddit page.
 
  • #8
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I want to keep MS Office because I paid for it.
Sorry for the confusion. I meant some MS Office versions running under Wine :)

It has to be downloaded from the Microsoft Store and works only on Windows.
I'm not really familiar with that thing/service, but I believe it should be available through browser too?
 
  • #9
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Here is another option that I am currently implementing. Buy a 128GB USB memory drive ($20) and run Ubuntu from the memory drive. Set boot order to USB and when you don't want Ubuntu to boot, just unplug it. It's so fast, clean and works.
 
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  • #10
Wrichik Basu
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Sorry for the confusion. I meant some MS Office versions running under Wine :)
Oh, ok. I will check it out.
I'm not really familiar with that thing/service, but I believe it should be available through browser too?
Yes, of course. It is available through browser, but I like to download the movies to prevent buffering problem while watching them. And that is where their official app is useful; without it, you cannot download the DRM-protected video files.
 
  • #11
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Here is another option that I am currently implementing. Buy a 128GB USB memory drive ($20) and run Ubuntu from the memory drive. Set boot order to USB and when you don't want Ubuntu to boot, just unplug it. It's so fast, clean and works.
I can do that, but I am going to make Ubuntu the main OS that I will run on the computer. If I run it from a USB drive, I will have to always carry it around, and there are chances of losing it too. I can, instead, install Windows on such a drive and use it when required.
 
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  • #12
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I like to download the movies to prevent buffering problem while watching them. And that is where their official app is useful...
I see. Can your computer host a virtual machine? If that's the only app requiring Windows, then maybe a VM would be a more efficient solution than making a double-boot system.
I don't know if MS store would work in VM, though.
 
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I see. Can your computer host a virtual machine? If that's the only app requiring Windows, then maybe a VM would be a more efficient solution than making a double-boot system.
I don't know if MS store would work in VM, though.
Of course, it can. I have that in mind - once I install Ubuntu, I will check if it works with virtualbox.
 
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  • #14
pbuk
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Here is a view of the partitions of the HDD:
...
I haven't seen a setup like that for a long time: why do you have 3 partitions?

I have a lot of programs to install:
I wouldn't call that a lot of programs :D

I was thinking of doing the following:
  • Shrink C: drive by 100 GB (or maybe more).
  • Shrink D: and E: drives by 54 GB each.
On Ubuntu, I will mount D: and E:. These are the places where I will save all my files — media, documents, etc. I will reserve 8 GB for the swap area. My question is, how should I distribute the other 200 GB space in Ubuntu? Should I allocate all the space to / (root), or should I create a separate /home partition?
I've got a better idea: spend a few quid on an SSD - it doesn't need to be huge (256MB is enough) but get the best you can afford - and if you can't afford Samsung then only go as far as 2nd tier (Kingston, SanDisk etc), stay away from no-name brands.

Install a clean copy of Windows on the SSD, then your chosen Linux distro. I would aim for the following structure:

Windows: 160GB
Linux: 80GB

Any excess you have, split evenly between the 2.

Consolidate your HD into 1 partition, formatted as NTFS. Use this just for media files which you can load from either OS (although if you want to edit them I would recommend copying over and back to the SSD).

I wouldn't recommend sharing data files between OSs, keep them separate (in the main partitions).

The main advantage with having a separate /home partition is that it makes it easier to dual boot between different Debian-based distributions. If you think you might want to switch around, you could do this (but see my recommendation on trying out VMs first below), otherwise there is no point.

A few other questions:
  • In Windows, it is possible to shrink and extend partitions. At a later stage, can I shrink and extend partitions in Ubuntu?
Yes, install 'gparted'. Be careful if using this on the Windows boot partition though - Windows must be shut down WITHOUT fast boot enabled otherwise things will break.

This will be my first time on Ubuntu, so any other advice (in general) is also appreciated.
There are many different flavours of Ububtu with the most obvious difference being in the desktop UI. Ubuntu itself is designed to appeal to Mac users and you might find a different distro easier to transition to: my personal favourite is Mint MATE.

The easiest way to try out different distros is to install them as virtual machines under Windows using VirtualBox or VMWare. If you have a day or two to spare, spend it installing a few different distros with your office suite and development apps and see which works best for you.

Is this windows 10?

If so there’s the WSL software product that allows you to run ubuntu within windows and interoperate with windows.

The VS Code Editor can edit files in either windows or Linux space on your machine.

It’s a pretty cool feature of windows much as I hate windows I really like this feature.

You can choose what distro of Linux you want although ubuntu is the favored one from what I can tell.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/
This works up to a point, but many of the useful plugins for VS Code, particularly for Git workflows and diffing don't work well unless they can 'see' the whole folder tree natively.

Alternatively you could create a bootable usb stick rather than muck with dual boot. I remember having issues with dual boot some years ago where I almost lost access to my files.
This sounds like a problem with Fast Boot or similar: this can often result in needing to repair Windows before it will work (but shouldn't result in any data loss if dealt with properly).

Running a distro from a USB stick is OK for trying things out or patching a broken filesystem but is not a good idea for long-term use.

I want to shift to Ubuntu from Windows. Recently, Windows was bugging me for upgrading to v1909 because v1803 is about to reach end-of-life. After I upgraded, here is what I am left with:
Why were you still on 1803? You are going to have to be a lot more efficient at keeping things up to date if you are managing two OSs!

  • Group policies completely corrupt.
  • Can't update/re-install drivers as Group policies are corrupt.
Group policies? Is this a genuine copy of Windows with an end-user licence?

I can't update to v20H2 (build 19042) until Windows update service allows me to do so.
As above, you should have upgraded before 1803 - 1809 -1903 - 1909 in order to isolate problems.
 
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  • #15
Wrichik Basu
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I haven't seen a setup like that for a long time: why do you have 3 partitions?
I find it easier not to store too many files on C: drive.
I've got a better idea: spend a few quid on an SSD - it doesn't need to be huge (256MB is enough) but get the best you can afford - and if you can't afford Samsung then only go as far as 2nd tier (Kingston, SanDisk etc), stay away from no-name brands.

Install a clean copy of Windows on the SSD, then your chosen Linux distro.
I have a laptop. Carrying an SSD will only add to my troubles (same reason as in post #11).
Why were you still on 1803?
I had upgraded to 1909 one year back, but rolled back when I found that brightness and some other features were not working. This time, I had no choice.
Group policies? Is this a genuine copy of Windows with an end-user licence?
Yes.
As above, you should have upgraded before 1803 - 1809 -1903 - 1909 in order to isolate problems.
Windows update service never presented me with that option.
 
  • #16
pbuk
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I have a laptop. Carrying an SSD will only add to my troubles (same reason as in post #11).
Didn't realise it was a laptop. I wasn't suggesting an external SSD, so if you only have one internal bay then I'd still replace the HD with an SSD and live with the fact that my media files are not local - in fact this is exactly how my laptop is set up: dual boot on a 512GB Samsung M2 SSD, most of my media files in the 1TB of cloud storage that comes with Office 365 and/or a big NAS so I can stream them to any device in the house.

As above, you should have upgraded before 1803 - 1809 -1903 - 1909 in order to isolate problems.
Windows update service never presented me with that option.
I meant you should have upgraded 1803-1809 in late 2018/early 2019, 1809-1903 in mid 2019 etc.

When you update your OS it updates the drivers for all your hardware. If you 'update' to a non-current version then you are depending on Windows selecting the correct non-current (possibly 3rd party) driver that works with that version of Windows. Once things get out of step enough for something to break the only solution is a 'bare metal' install (i.e. a clean install of the current version). There's no point complaining something doesn't work properly if you aren't going to maintain it properly.
 
  • #17
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New problem: Even though I have 150 GB free in C: drive, I cannot shrink the partition:

1610165770227.png


Following online tutorials, I cleaned up the disk, de-fragmented it (using Windows and third-party contig.exe software), and got only 46 GB. I believe it's time to completely replace Windows.
 
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Update: This is me writing from Chrome on Ubuntu. 🙋‍♂️ The installation was successful; completely wiped the hard disk. Now I have to install all the software.
 
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  • #19
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Update: This is me writing from Chrome on Ubuntu. 🙋‍♂️ The installation was successful; completely wiped the hard disk. Now I have to install all the software.
Did you reinstall Windows first, or have you abandoned dual-booting?
 
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Did you reinstall Windows first, or have you abandoned dual-booting?
Abandoned Windows completely. Only Ubuntu.
 
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  • #21
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Abandoned Windows completely. Only Ubuntu.
You can grab a free copy of Windows 10 to run the programs you mentioned, install it in a VM. You won't be able to change the background and probably other little things, but who cares, if you only need Windows for very specific tasks, then it's good enough.

You don't need to spend a day or weeks testing out Linux distributions. You can go much faster browsing Youtube for it, there are tons of videos by distro hoppers and they love to show everything they can about any distro. My opinion is that Ubuntu is likely "good enough" to begin with (and even for the long term). I personally use Arch Linux, I got used to the AUR, it is very hard to go back to Ubuntu for me (but I have installed it in my mom's computer recently, because it is so easy to use). So if you're ok with Ubuntu, no need to lose time searching for something else, IMO.
 
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You can grab a free copy of Windows 10 to run the programs you mentioned, install it in a VM. You won't be able to change the background and probably other little things, but who cares, if you only need Windows for very specific tasks, then it's good enough.
Even though I paid for it, I believe I won't be requiring MS Office any more. Regarding the Prime video app, I will have to test it whether it works on VM.
You don't need to spend a day or weeks testing out Linux distributions. You can go much faster browsing Youtube for it, there are tons of videos by distro hoppers and they love to show everything they can about any distro. My opinion is that Ubuntu is likely "good enough" to begin with (and even for the long term). I personally use Arch Linux, I got used to the AUR, it is very hard to go back to Ubuntu for me (but I have installed it in my mom's computer recently, because it is so easy to use). So if you're ok with Ubuntu, no need to lose time searching for something else, IMO.
Actually I was not very comfortable with Linux systems earlier, so I decided in favour of Ubuntu because there is a lot of help available for it online. I am not into OS programming either, so I installed the 20.04 LTS version so that it doesn't go out of service very soon. And YouTube offered a lot of help before and after the installation.

Some immediate benefits are a system-wide dark theme, and even pdf documents can be viewed in a black background, which reduces strain on my eyes since all my books are on the laptop, and I have complete control over the OS.

There are some things that I still have to figure out. For example, there are small lights on the speaker and microphone mute keys in my laptop; they don't light up any more. Instead, the light on the flight mode key is always on. The brightness up/down buttons control the microphone instead of system brightness. Not much of an issue, and I can live with it if I get a stable OS in return.
 
  • #23
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There are some things that I still have to figure out. For example, there are small lights on the speaker and microphone mute keys in my laptop; they don't light up any more. Instead, the light on the flight mode key is always on. The brightness up/down buttons control the microphone instead of system brightness. Not much of an issue, and I can live with it if I get a stable OS in return.
I'm sure there is a fix, you might get help on their forums. No need to suffer in any way.

Wise choice about your Linux distro. Even when 20.04 LTS goes out of business, upgrading to a more recent LTS will probably be a piece of cake as just pressing a few buttons and wait for a few.
 
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  • #24
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I'm sure there is a fix, you might get help on their forums. No need to suffer in any way.
For some of them, I have seen fixes, but they require me to make changes in grub, which I am afraid of doing because I am pretty sure that I might screw up something and then end up with a bricked laptop.
 

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