How To Setup Your Computer For Dual Booting Windows And Linux

Shrink a partition
Shrink a partition


Many people who are new to Linux like to dual boot with Windows the first time because it gives them the security that they can always go back to something they already know.

Dual booting is also sensible if you have applications that are only available for Windows and that you need to use on a regular basis.

You may wonder why you would bother with Linux at all if you can’t run all of your applications on it but consider the fact that Linux doesn’t require you to wait whilst updates are installed, has better security and generally runs faster than Windows.

This guide shows you how to partition your drives in preparation for installing Linux.

Before you follow this guide I recommend backing up your computer using this guide:

How To Set Up Your Computer For Dual Booting

Step 1 – Create Space on your hard drive

In order to install Zorin you will need to make space for it on your hard drive.

If you are using Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 click the start button and start typing “diskmgmt.msc”. A result will appear with the words “Create and format hard drive partitions”. Click on this link.

Windows 7 users should click on Start and then Run and type the word “diskmgmt.msc” into the box.

Disk Management
Disk Management

There is no fixed rule which determines how a disk has been partitioned or indeed how many disks a computer has.

On older computers you might have a single drive with 2 partitions, 1 for Windows and 1 for the recovery drive, on more modern computers you might have an SSD with an EFI, Windows and recovery partition and then a further hard drive for storing data. The possibilities are endless.

In the image above you can see the disk layout on my computer prior to Linux being installed. I have a 120 gigabyte SSD with three partitions on it and a separate 1 terabyte drive with 2 partitions on it.

Ideally in the above situation I would put the operating system on the SSD because it will boot more quickly and so that is what I am going to do. If you don’t have an SSD don’t worry the process will be the same.

Notice that there is a C drive which says “Windows”. To make space for Linux right click on the “C:” drive and choose “Shrink Volume”.

Shrink a partition
Shrink a partition

The amount of space that the Windows drive can be shrunk by will be displayed in the “Size of available shrink space in MB” and in “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB”.

You can choose to shrink by any amount up to the value of “Size of available shrink space in MB”. If you enter a number higher than this value then you could destroy Windows.

Ideally you will need 20 gigabytes free to install and use Linux without limitations. To shrink by 20 gigabytes you would enter 20000 into the box “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB”.

Shrink the partition
Shrink the partition

A new section of unallocated space will now be available on the drive. You are now ready to install Linux.


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