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I have one partition with Ubuntu 9.10, and another with Windows Vista.

I am trying to upgrade Ubuntu to 12.04 since 9.10 is no longer supported. I understand I need to do a fresh install with a disc (rather than just updating from synaptic, since it's such a big jump).

When I do this, will my data on the Windows partition be affected?

I don't have much space to back things up, so I thought I'd just move any unbacked-up data from the Ubuntu partition onto the Windows partition. Then, I'll wipe the Ubuntu partition and install 12.04 on it.

Is this a bad idea?

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Are you having windows and ubuntu on same partitions? –  ashutosh May 8 '12 at 3:29
    
they are two separate partitions. One runs Ubuntu, the other runs Windows. –  Becky R May 8 '12 at 3:30
    
This question appears to be abandoned. Voting to close –  Ringtail Dec 24 '12 at 21:00

4 Answers 4

You could in fact just do the clean install over the existing 9.10 install rather than remove partitions and then start the installer.

When the partition part of the installer starts - choose Something Else

This will then show you a list of your partitions, you say you only have one partition for Ubuntu, this will show as a linux partition, there will also be a linux-swap - you can ignore that. Ignore the NTFS partition.

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Select the linux partition - then select the Change button underneath the listing

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In the new window - Use As Ext4 - mark for formatting, and use / for the mount point.

Exit that back to the partition listing, check there is a tick mark in the Mount point box against the partition and carry on with the install.

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There won't be any problem. Just be careful while wiping out using GParted. Double check you are doing it for the right partition.

Good Luck, :)

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As long as you don't actually touch the Windows partition in gparted, you'll be fine. You'll recognize it by its file system being NTFS, while the Linux partitions most likely are ext3, swap and so on. If you want to wipe your Ubuntu install completely, simply format the ext3 partition. You can use the same swap space as before.

When Ubuntu is done installing, it will recognize that Windows is installed alongside it and GRUB (the boot manager) will add it to the startup menu. In this sense, Ubuntu is a lot more multi-os friendly than Windows, because in the same situation Windows would just override GRUB and boot Windows instantly, without the choice to go into the existing Linux partition :)

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Your Windows partition should not be touched by an upgrade but depending on your individual setup Grub Legacy may be replaced by Grub2 on the boot partition. Here some things you have to watch out for

  • double check that your Windows partition will not be overwritten
  • don't install Grub on a partition boot record (e.g. use /sda rather than /sda1 when asked)
  • backup your Ubuntu data in a way that preserves permissions (e.g. put them in a Tarball)

Reconsider running a full backup of all data on an external drive if this is any possible.

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