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All popular Linux distributions now have some sort of simple (usually GUI) disk partitioning utility included. If you're going to devote an entire hard drive to Linux, you might as well go with your chosen distribution's default partition setup. But if you want to boot Windows and Linux on the same computer, you may be better off making your partitions with a specialized partitioning tool. Norton Commander is a pretty good one, although it is neither free of cost nor free in the free software sense. There are plenty of other proprietary partitioners out there, too, but free GPartEd is all we need to handle simple partition resizing.
I talk about Windows hard drive defragmentation. This is something you should do periodically even if you never move to Linux -- although if you do switch to Linux, you'll find that the equivalent Linux utility is much faster than the Windows defragmentation routine.
You can use GPartEd to make multiple Windows (NTFS or FAT) partitions on a hard drive. Or to make partitions for almost any popular operating system that runs on standard X86 PCs, not just Linux. It's a great tool to have around, Linux or no Linux.
I advocate using the ext3 file format. It's a proven journaling file system, compatible with all popular Linux distributions. Indeed, it's the default file system for most of them. Other file systems may be slightly faster or offer other advantages, but Ext3 does its job well enough on desktop PCs that you don't need to think about it at all or even learn how it works. Just use it and be happy.
Downloading from SourceForge.net is another good habit. SourceForge.net (owned by the same company that owns Linux.com) is chock-full of free, open source software for Linux, Windows, and other operating systems. Today's first video will show you how the SourceForge.net download process works, which is great to know even if you decide not to make Linux your primary operating system at this point in your life.
Your first Linux experiment.
Video #2: Defragmenting Windows -- a necessary step before you resize your Windows partition
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