Increasing Your Ubuntu Partition (Dual Boot with Windows)

April 19, 2020 - 4 minutes
Educational linux ubuntu

Increasing Your Ubuntu Partition (Dual Boot with Windows)

Why Dual Boot?

I’ve been dual-booting Windows and Linux for nearly a decade now. I couldn’t afford a fancy Macbook for Unix-based development as is ubiquitous these days, so getting a cheap Windows machine and dual-booting Linux on it was my best option. (It is a universal truth that VMs are god-awful for developing in.)

These days, there are more options than ever for cross-platform development:

Dual booting can be a pain to set up (my current Dell XPS laptop has very annoying driver and BIOS issues that were annoying to get around when installing Ubuntu). I personally find it worth it, since I use Windows primarily for gaming and Linux for coding/hardware hacking/everything else. That being said, I also get the advantage of using a free Macbook for my full-time development job. Macbooks are a great option for development if you can afford it, so if you don’t need Windows or Linux for something particular you’re probably better off just getting a Macbook.

A consistent issue I (and many others) run into with dual booting is misestimating how much size the Linux partition will need. I get a new laptop or desktop every few years, and my needs for programs change with time. So it’s common to need to shrink or grow your Linux partition at some point. I just went through the process of increasing the Ubuntu partition on my laptop, so that’s what this blog post focuses on. However, the process is similar for shrinking as well.

How To Increase Your Ubuntu Partition Size


You should be safe and backup Windows and Ubuntu first. I have a lot of experience with dual booting, so I threw caution to the wind and didn’t back anything up this time. It worked out fine but things can happen, so at the very least make sure any important files are saved to the cloud first, especially in your Ubuntu partition.

Create Unallocated Space in Windows

First, make sure you have unallocated space available. You’ll want to do this in Windows (with dual boots, Windows is always the “primary” because it is very greedy and doesn’t like to share) so boot into that.

Grow Your Linux Partition in Ubuntu

To grow your Linux partition, you now need to reboot into Ubuntu. But not the normal mount - instead, boot up from the live USB/disc you used to install Ubuntu. You can’t do the next step on your normal Ubuntu partition even if you install GParted onto it; GParted won’t allow you, because it could wreak havoc if you repartitioned from within the mounted volume.

Howtogeek has a pretty good step-by-step guide with pictures for doing this part of the process:


Dual booting can be a great option, depending on your operating system needs. Resizing your Linux partition takes a little extra care, but it’s not difficult.