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enter image description here

The image describes the current HD on my laptop. Its a dual booting system with Linux Mint - primary OS, and a backup Windows 7 (rarely used, but required.)

While creating the ext4 partition I made a mistake and allotted only 12GB. This is now becoming a bottleneck, I have to frequently move many installation folders and symlink to the ntfs partition.

I want to increase the 12GB ext4 to maybe 20GB --- meaning the /dev/sda2 (ntfs) will reduce in size and ext4 will increase in size.

What's the safest way to do it without screwing up the existing installation?

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    I don't think there's a safer way. Moving/shrinking/expand partitions is always a risky business. Backup your data, and if you can, clone the disk to an external drive, so if any problem accurs you can clone back. – schrodigerscatcuriosity Nov 29 '19 at 15:43
  • Suggest you shrink /dev/sda2 and expand /dev/sda3 after cloning your disk and use an application such as R-Studio Disk Manager. – fpmurphy Nov 29 '19 at 15:48
  • Windows NTFS needs 30% free to work well. At 10% you have so little working room a defrag can take forever even for smaller drive. You are at 20% free, or time to do major housecleaning or new larger drive. Also Windows 7 is EOL - end of life in Jan 2020, so time to move on from Windows 7. – oldfred Nov 29 '19 at 19:14
  • Thank you to all commentators. Much appreciated. – AverageJoe Dec 1 '19 at 16:10
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I would suggest:

  1. from Win7 itself, unfragment and then shrink the disk. (diskmgmt.msc)
  2. download clonezilla and boot on it (USB or CD) to save the exuisting ext4 partition
  3. download a live CD of Mint and boot on it to use gparted to move/resize your partitions

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