Giving an OS the space it demands

My favourite CAD software used to run on at least ten different platforms, including my trusty SGI Indy. There was even a Linux student version. Evidently the market spoke, and for nearly twenty years the software has been Windows-only.

Between IRIX and Linux, I’ve never had a need to allow Windows across the threshold (not least because I could get my fill by going to work). Six years ago I needed to run the CAD software at home again, so I bit the bullet, bought a Windows DVD and started dual-booting it on a desktop machine.

Sensing the completion of the work, the hard drive died, and I dismantled the computer. When I needed to reinstall the CAD software this year for some freelance work, I used the DVD to install Windows into Boxes on my laptop. In the spirit of the Bill Gates quote that never happened, I specified twice as much disk space as I could ever imagine needing. Naturally, the OS and app together consumed the alotted disk space to within a few kilobytes. I needed to resize.

The Red Hat and Fedora Guest Resizing pages were nearly what I wanted, but my libguestfs tools are too new, the first partition is already a good size, and my second partition isn’t a logical volume. Here’s what worked (as usual, if there’s a better way please set me straight):

cd ~/.local/share/libvirt/images
mv Win7.qcow2 Win7.backup
qemu-img create -f qcow2 Win7.qcow2 100G
virt-df -h ./Win7.backup
virt-resize ./Win7.backup ./Win7.qcow2 --expand /dev/sda2

Since the drive resizing I’ve been able to downgrade the CAD software to an earlier version, so 40 GB probably would have been plenty. I think I’ll leave it, though, because my laptop is relatively new and has all the disk space I could ever need.

The lesson might appear to be Windows’ disinclination to be contained, but a licensing issue with the CAD software took a few weeks to resolve. In the interim I continued to do remarkable things with FreeCAD. I’ll use the proprietary software for details related to transferring the files, but FreeCAD is very close to keeping my CAD experience Windows-free.

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