Removing the Riff-Raff

Right… On my laptop, I had Window 8 installed but after a massive drive failure (and having it replaced with an SSD) I reinstalled with Windows and Linux.

I upgraded the Windows installation to 10 but having my favourite Linux distribution installed (Debian)  I thought I’d set my work “instance” up as a virtual machine. I then also ensured a large Data partition in NTFS to ensure both Win 10 and Debian could read & write to it.

I decided to go the more open source route and so used VirtualBox and installed it on both operating systems. I then created a virtual machine for work (very MS specific, hence not just finding open source alternatives) and made sure it ran in both Windows and Linux.

I might share the evolution of that VM separately but for now, it has no impact on the task at hand so I’ll spare those details. Long story short, I ended up never going onto the Win10 partition at all. That led me to where we are now… The decision to, instead of backing up and performing a whole new install, just removing Windows and updating the drive as a Linux only setup.

Of course the first step was still to backup… I used CloneZilla to create images of the partitions and also to clone the drive completely to an old HDD I had lying around. With the double backup to make me feel secure, I started with the remarkably simple task. As your environment can have an impact on these steps, the below ran on mine as follows:

Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 (jessie)
Release:    8.3
Codename:    jessie

It really is as simple as this:

  1. Ensure you have GParted in stalled (or something similar, but preferably GParted for the partition moving feature)
  2. Delete the Win partitions  (recovery and main alike) but keep the boot partition, main being the EFI partition
  3. If your root partition is now only separated by space from the start of your disc, move it to the start (0mb before) of the space and then resize it to take up the full space available
  4. Finally, open a terminal and sudo update-grub to automatically remove Windows from your boot menu
  5. Optional: To have the boot menu not even show, now that it’s not strictly needed any more, sudo gedit /etc/default/grub and find GRUB_TIMEOUT which will need to be set to 0

On my machine my root folder was on the end, after the NTFS data partition so instead I moved the EFI partition to the start of the disk, created a new ext4 partition in the space and finally moved my home file onto it so I could mount it as /home opening up the space it had been using on root. More detail on that here.

My partition table beforehand:

My partition table afterwards:

I know, not pretty, but for the small amount of effort, I think it was well worth it! At some point I’ll stop being lazy and reinstall from scratch… In fact, when I do, may as well post about all the tweaks and initial settings I prefer, in case anyone wants to do the same.

The thing now I see though is the EFI partition still has windows information (the update-grub command output made that evident)  so at some point I might have a look at cleaning that, otherwise it will be the clean install next. Lastly, the NTFS partition, but doing a backup and delete and copy… yes, I’m just feeling too darn lazy right now.

An example of my Debian installation

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