[Techtalk] getting rid of windows on a dual boot machine

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Sat Sep 18 00:37:53 UTC 2010

Anne Wainwright <anotheranne at fables.co.za> writes:

G'day Anne.

> I have a dual boot machine, I'd like to get rid of the windows side as
> (happy happy day) it is never used now. I want the old Windows space for a
> bigger ~/ directory and want to include the space of the old ~/ directory
> into the existing / directory. I can see that this will involve some careful
> planning. My basic scheme is to follow the steps below.
> 1  delete the Windows partition
> 2  create a new linux partition in the space freed up
> 3  install file system on new partition
> 4  edit fstab to see & mount new partition as home
> 5  move all the old data over to the new ~/ filesystem
> 6  delete the old home partition
> 7  expand the root partition to allow more system space
> 8  make the root partition bootable
> 9  edit grub so we can avoid the unneeded boot menu.
> I'm not asking for a step by step, but rather what have I forgotten?

Nothing.  Your plan is sound.  The one thing I would double-check is if the
root and old home partitions are next to each other (or you use LVM), just to
make absolutely sure a second time.  (...but you probably already did.)

> I so seriously do not want a disaster. If I get the major steps planned then
> I can look at the issues involved with each more carefully.

The two things you didn't write out, but probably have in mind, are:

Step 0: Make sure your backups are up to date, so that if things /do/ go wrong
you can still get your data back.

You also didn't write down how you planned to check after each step that the
one before had worked correctly and all.  I bet that is what you plan to do,
but since you didn't mention it. :)

> Presumably if we do 8 then in fact we do not need grub at all, but I am very
> hazy about this part of the plan.

No, you still need it.  Grub does two main jobs: one, select the kernel (or
other OS) that is going to boot.  That is where the menu comes in.

The second, and more important, job is that it actually loads the kernel and
initramfs data into memory and starts it running.[1]

So, you do still need it.  (Also, most distributions have a "recovery" option
on the grub menu next to the regular kernels, which it is sad to loose.)

Anyway, your plan is great: better than some of my staff manage when they are
doing this on production stuff as part of their daily work.  Good on you. :)


[1]  Any boot loader does this; Windows NT uses 'NTLDR.EXE' to do exactly the
     same job while it is booting.

✣ Daniel Pittman            ✉ daniel at rimspace.net            ☎ +61 401 155 707
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