April 22, 2010

Understanding the disk utility

Forums: 

I'm just looking for a little clarification of what I'm looking at on my disk utility so I can be sure I'm utilising all of my HDD.
My machine has a 320 GB HDD and came preloaded with Windows Vista. The HDD was divided into two partitions but they didn't quite add up to 320GB. There seemed to be a bit of swap space etc.
I've now loaded Linux Mint and it's a dual boot system but I'm looking at the disk utility and I can't quite understand what I'm looking at.
I can see 103GB dedicated to Vista.
Then there's a 153 GB Extended partition (whatever that means?) which contains three further logical partitions - I don't quite understand what they are either? - I'm guessing that they're just further partitions within this so called 'Extended partition'.
They are:
DATA - 64GB NTFS which I'm assuming is something to do with Vista. However, I think any data on windows is saved in the same partition as the OS is loaded.
Then there's 85GB Linux Ext4 - OK this must be where Linux is installed
3.7GB Swap space - is this only to do with Vista or does Linux use it too?
Finally, there is a 64GB partition of the HDD free (Unallocated Space). Is this something I can format as Ext4 and use for data storage or would I be better off deleting it and increasing the size of the current 85GB Linux is installed on?
I'm new to Linux and would like to think I'll be using it exclusively in no time but I'm just hedging my bets by keeping it dual boot for now.
Can anyone enlighten me and give me a bit of advice please?