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How to merge a Windows HPFS/NTFS partition with a Linux partition in Linux?

I have a large partition left on my hard drive after my previous Vista installation. Now I use Ubuntu and want to utilize the whole disk under one file system. I guess I should not only merge the partitions but also extend the existing Linux file system onto the new partition.

What tools should I use to ensure safe transition?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would mount the NTFS read-only partition and, assuming there's enough space inside the partition being used for Ubuntu, copy all of the data that you're interested in keeping out of the NTFS partition into the Ubuntu partition.

Once that's done, I'd any one of the various LiveCD distributions such as the GParted LiveCD to resize the Ubuntu partition (which I'm assuming is probably formatted with the ext3 filesystem).

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This NTFS Resize FAQ might be useful.

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If you don't have enough space on you Linux partition, I would minimize the Windows partition first. You could do this from inside your current installation, just make sure it is not mounted. When you do this, make sure that while you are minimizing you move it away from your Linux partition.

Then you would increase the size of your Linux partition. If this is the partition you boot from, you're going to have to boot from a live CD. I have used an Ubuntu Live-CD for this, but you can use any that have a disk partition editor. Again make sure that it is not mounted. I haven't ever resized a NTFS partition, under Linux, you will have to look else-ware for information about that.

If you have enough room on your Linux partition, you can start from here.

Now you have to mount both partitions, you can usually do this without having to reboot your computer. Your going to have to make a decision as to where on you Linux disk you're going to place the files from your Windows partition, It doesn't have to be it's permanent location, just somewhere to hold it while deleting your windows partition.

Now unmount your windows partition, and delete it, I would just use GParted for this. If you booted from the Linux partition you're going to have to boot into a Live-CD. Resize your Linux partition, and you're done.

If you want, you can now start moving the files to where you want/need them to be located.

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If you want to share a partition between Windows and Linux, the easiest way is to make it an NTFS partition. You "merge" it by copying Linux data onto it. Some permissions and ownership metadata will not transfer.

Another option is a load a Windows driver that reads (for example) Ext3 partitions. Here is a link:

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Previously I prefered QTParted. It is a very simple menu driven program you can use to remove NTFS partition as well as resize ext3 one. I am sure that it is available from Ubuntu repositories.

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