Many dual boot tutorials talk about freeing up space through the disk manager in Windows before attempting a dual boot with Linux --

Out of curiosity I decided to skip this step and just run the Mint installer and let it decide what to do ( Mint 12 / Win 7 ). Results? I'm missing 8 gigabytes of space on the Windows side. Not complaining here ...I deliberately took the risk to see what would happen.

So what's your explanation for why this happened and how you would recover the space?

This is a Toshiba laptop. Started with 3 primary partitions. There is the Toshiba recovery partition, the Win 7 recovery partition and the Win 7 OS partition. Is this due to the MBR primary partition limitation? An issue with parted?

UPDATE df -h shows the following:

Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5             108G  3.7G   99G   4% /
udev                  898M  4.0K  898M   1% /dev
tmpfs                 362M  1.1M  361M   1% /run
none                  5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none                  905M  136K  905M   1% /run/shm

Using the disk utility in Mint I see the following:

  • System: 1.6 GB NTFS
  • Tl1...etc: 119 GB NTFS
  • Extended: 119 GB
  • 117 GB ext4
  • 1.9 GB swap

So the drive is 250 GB -- Windows 7 Disk Manager shows the following:

  • Disk 0 Basic - 232.89 GB

Divided as follows:

  • 1.46 GB Active, Recovery - Simple - Basic
  • 111.21 GB NTFS Boot - Simple - Basic
  • 109.10 GB Primary - Simple - Basic
  • 1.80 GB Primary - Simple - Basic
  • 9.32 GB Primary - Simple - Basic

So if we subtract the 10 GB recovery partition we get 240 GB. What happened to 7 approx. Gigabytes?

My question has been answered -- thanks. So now I owe an explanation. I am researching this for a new Linux user who'd like a dual-boot config but is having issues with all the tutorials suggesting 'shrinking' partitions in Windows first. Why bother? It's an added step and it's way easier without. Can anyone offer an explanation as to what the advantage is -- ? Seems like a wasted and confusing step for would-be converts.

  • Possible that the Mint installer resized your existing Windows partition and reserved that space for the Mint install.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 17:51
  • Run df -h on Mint to determine the partition size allocated for the Mint install. (Not all telling, but will provide clues)
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 17:51
  • df -h shows 108 GB.
    – Bubnoff
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 18:02
  • See update for more info
    – Bubnoff
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 18:04
  • What do you mean it is missing? You'll have to be more clear.
    – psusi
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


You are suffering from classic base10 vs base2 confusion. Windows is showing units of GiB ( 1024 * 1024 * 1024 bytes ) and the gnome disk utility is showing GB ( 1,000,000,000 bytes ).

  • OK. Thanks! Please see my latest update. Why is everyone bothering with shrinking the partition in Windows for? Added confusion for newbies?
    – Bubnoff
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 20:47
  • @Bubnoff, I haven't seen any such tutorials, and yes, it is a pointless step since the installer will do that for you.
    – psusi
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 23:08
  • @Bubnoff: My guess would be that if you resize manually first, you have a chance to verify that it worked correctly before sitting through the installation procedure.
    – tdammers
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 17:27

Windows is displaying its output in gibibytes (2^30 bytes), whereas the disk utility is displaying its output in gigabytes (10^9 bytes). The actual space reported is the same, just in different units.

  • Which brings me to my initial question with regards to dual boot: Why are people going through the bother of shrinking partitions in Windows before installing Mint? Why add this complexity for beginning Linux users -- it seriously adds a scare-factor and confusion layer.
    – Bubnoff
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 20:40
  • You got beat by a minute, I upvoted you instead.
    – Bubnoff
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 20:53

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