I would really like to install ububtu on my Mac using bootcamp but it requires me to reformat my disk first. I have programs with license keys that I don't want to loose, or buy another copy of, and also just don't want to go through the trouble of reformatting.

Is there a way I could do this?


Boot Camp doesn't require you to reformat your drive. HFS+ partitions can be live-resized by the Boot Camp Assistant or the Disk Utility without going through the trouble of erasing everything. No file on your Mac OS partition will be affected.

There is, however, the case where you've had your computer for long and Mac OS has written files all across your drive. In this case, you will need to defragment your drive, in order to put all your files in a nice contiguous space on your hard drive, so that all the remaining space is contiguous too and a partition can be made there. As far as I know, iDefrag can do this for about $15. (Disclaimer: I never did it and can't guarantee it will work. But it should. Can someone confirm?)

The other way, if you have an external drive, is to copy all your files to this external drive using a software like Carbon Copy Cloner (free), reformat your drive, then copy them all back to your drive. Everything should be like before and you'll have no hassle except the time required to copy back and forth (your programs and your serial numbers and the such will be intact).

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    I can contribute a data point: I had a volume that couldn't be shrunk, and running iDefrag on it (in its default mode) did the trick. – Gordon Davisson Aug 30 '10 at 17:06
  • @Gordon Davisson: then iDefrag does put all your files one after the other. This is good news. – zneak Aug 31 '10 at 3:23
  • I bought iDefrag, did a compact defrag and then tried using bootcamp again. It still gave me the message to back up and then use disk utility to format my drive as a single journaled volume and then restore / try bootcamp again. I have 143GB avail and tried to partition 32GB – TrentEllingsen Sep 3 '10 at 0:20
  • @TrentEllingsen Is your disk indeed formatted as "Mac OS Journaled", and do you have a single partition? – zneak Sep 3 '10 at 0:40
  • When I go into the Disk Utility and look at the partition tab for my hard drive it says that it is formatted as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" and I do only have a single partition. – TrentEllingsen Sep 4 '10 at 20:15

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