A Partition Plan Concept

menguin

Geek
Pinoy Techie
It is always a good idea to keep a separate copy of all that valuable data. A separate external drive is the way to go, even two external drives is better as one can fail.
I really prefer using a second internal disk. Hard drives are cheap, and most desktops have space inside to mount them and a place to plug it in. Even some laptops have the facility to install a second hard drive.

Now on to migration: most windows installs have lots of unused disk space. Linux only needs about 10GB to do everything you need to do. Gparted can be used to shrink an existing partition and capture some new free area for your install.
Most installer programs have the facility to install "side by side" (dual boot). This is a great option even if you have no intent to use Windows again, both as a safety-net (if the Linux program does not run) and as a way to store data.

One glitch many don't anticipate: Windows can not "see" the Linux partition. Windows uses NTFS file format, Linux typically uses ext4. Windows does not see ext4 and thinks either the hard drive is smaller than it really is or things that area is unused free space. Not a big deal but don't expect to use Windows to find your files and move them over to your Linux partition.
But!Linux can see your Windows partition and all the directories and files in it...
You need to figure out where Windows stores those files in their directory structure, and find them using Linux.

Now form a plan. My preference is two Data only Partitions. One formated ext4 and another formatted NTFS. The NTFS partition can be read by Windows... kind of a shared area. The ext4 Partition is a place to keep 90% of your data (old photos, recipes, etc.)

Then of course you need the Windows Partition, and the Linux Partition(s).
Remember, all those partition boundaries can be moved by Gparted. Yes, that can be dangerous (fumble fingers) and time consuming. But if you have data backed up off of your working hard drive not all that dangerous at all.

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I prefer multi boot. When I installed Mint 17 RC I created two separate partitions (one for root, another for home) and did the install there. After the install and adding/installing my list of favorite apps I copied the data folders and files and some of the hidden files and folders.

the following have worked for me several times with no issues, brings over settings, preferences, addons, etc.

.thunderbird folder
.mozilla folder
.Skype folder
.googleearth folder
.luckyBackup folder
.conkyrc file

I also do the same with fresh installs on other computers, saves a lot of drudge work.
 

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