Re-partitioning your hard disk for Linux

With the increasing popularity of Linux, a lot of people are installing it as a second OS on their primarily-Windows systems. Only problem is, every OS on your hard disk needs its own partition, and chances are good that your hard disk is already filled with one big Windows partition.

It is this awkward situation (which would normally require backing up, re-partitioning, and then reformatting your HD) that gave rise to partition-splitting programs. Of these, the two most popular are FIPS and Partition Resizer (PRESIZER). You can also split a partition with a more general-purpose partition utility like the famous Partition Magic from Power Quest (PQ).

These are the steps to follow when shrinking your existing Windows partition to make room for a Linux one:

1. Download the latest version of one of the programs mentioned above. FIPS and PRESIZER are free, Partition Magic is a commercial program which you pay money for.

2. Read ALL of the manuals and documentation for the program you are using.

3. Run Scandisk or a similar disk-checking program on the hard disk you wish to re-partition. This is not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended.

4. Defragment the hard disk. You MUST do a FULL defrag of your hard disk, moving all files to the beginning of it.

5. Create a DOS boot floppy, then copy the program you are using (like FIPS or PRESIZER) to it.

6. Boot from this floppy. You MUST boot from a floppy, NOT the hard disk you are re-partitioning.

7. Run the re-partitioning program. When it's done, reboot.

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