jparks ... Might be better to start your own thread.
Maddawg, helps when you clearly describe more about your problem. If people have to play a game of 20 questions to help ya, many won't bother doing it. Though a bunch will try too, just makes it easier for everybody when you help them, help you. By clearly describing your problem or what you're trying to do. Also one question/thing at a time imo applies for you too. Tweaking whichever Mint someone has and a partition problem is two diff issues after all.
Now for some of my patent pending babbling and attempt to help or share some stuff Ive learned that might interest somebody.
Try downloading gparted live, or parted magic ( which has gparted live on it.) You can also do it with the install disk for Mint you have, which no doubt has gparted on it too. Though, then there's mounting/unmounting partition/disk ... blahblah involved. Mint can see the partition, but gparted likely won't touch it, because the disk is in use at the time ( mounted). Gparted live and parted magic run from RAM, thus you can do whatever ya like to the partitions on a hard drive. Using the live disk to do it from what I've seen isn't hard either, though haven't done it myself. Have always just done it the lazy way and used Parted Magic to mess with partitions.
Does help to know how your partitions are laid out. In LM ( gnome ), you can fire up gparted, maximize the window and hit the PrtScn ( print screen) key to take a screenshot. Unless somethings changed, dunno. Then post the screenshot for people to see how your drive is laid out. Many progs to take screenshots, likely one already installed on your Mint OS. With a default shortcut to take a screenshot.
Ya can also open a terminal and type
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sudo fdisk -l
( that's a lowercase L there.) Will list info about your partitions and can post that for people to look over.
If I'm getting what you're saying, you want to turn that windows partition into a data partition ( a place to store stuff for LM) and o course access it when using Mint. With gparted live, parted magic any decent disk util ... fire them up. Select the partition you want, format it in a linux file system, ext3, ext4 ... etc. There you have it ... done. That's assuming you don't wanna resize it or do this and that. Which also isn't rocket science, gparted is extremely easy to use if someone looks around the controls for a couple mins.
You likely want that data partition to automount when you boot Mint. Of course you could also mount it manually in a couple secs when ya wanna use it, but that's a PITA. So how to automount a partition when your pc boots ?
Fred and this thread he started, covers that pretty well.viewtopic.php?f=42&t=22093