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I would like to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 7 on a HP G62 Notebook. Although I have installed Ubuntu in a dual-boot many times before, I found out that this model has already four partitions.

GParted Screenshot


  1. SYSTEM (NTFS, 199MB, used 66.59MB)
  2. Partition without any tag: NTFS (579GM, used 129GB)
  3. RECOVERY (NTFS 16.74 GB, used 2.42GB)
  4. HP_TOOLS (FAT32, 103.34 MB, used 13.23MB)

Since I am not an expert with partitions I would like to get advice on how to do this.

My first idea is this one:

  • Free some space from /dev/sda2 (I don't know if could also free some other space)
  • delete the HP_Tools partition (I have already created a backup)
  • create an extended partition with the free space in #1 containing three parititions: swap (1gb); / (EXT4, 30GB); /home (EXT4, 120GB)

Another option is to use wubi instead.

What do you think? Is there any other way to achieve this?

PS: I really think this HP policy of using 4 partitions is not a coincidence

PS: I tried using gparted from the live CD and I got a warning message saying that if I freed some space from /dev/sda2 I could create serious issues in the system

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Another option would be to install ubuntu on a flash drive. 8 to 16GB is a lot of space for an ubuntu installation and you can mount your NTFS data partition so you can access your data files from either boot. –  Elder Geek May 17 '14 at 14:49

7 Answers 7

up vote 22 down vote accepted

My sister and I have HP laptops that are set up the same way. Here's how I did it for both of us with a dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 system:

Step 1. Delete HP_TOOLS since its small and can easily be recreated on USB/DVD

The easiest solution is to delete the HP_TOOLS partition, since it's usually only 100 MB or so and it can be easily recreated on a USB flash drive if/when you need it. Or you could back it up to DVD before deleting it.

  • This approach is approved by HP Support, and you can download the HP_TOOLS installer for a USB flash drive from here

Step 2. Shrink the Windows C drive, and use Ubuntu installer to create an extended partition there

Once you delete that partition, shrink the Windows partition to create free unallocated space for Ubuntu. You can do this from Windows (disk management), or from the Ubuntu LiveCD with gparted (use "Try Ubuntu..." when booting).

After that, you can use the Ubuntu Installer to create an extended partition in the freed-space, on which it will put all the Ubuntu (logical) partitions.

Note: You can use gparted to try to move the Recovery partition to the right or left to utilize the 100MB or so of space freed by the HP_TOOLS partition, but I don't recommend it unless you are really desperate for that much space, since the move can take quite a bit of time.

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Thanks a whole lot @jrg! You just saved me from owning an all Windows Machine. I was struggling with this for the past few days. I should have checked for the gparter error message! Thanks again. –  tsega Oct 5 '12 at 10:03

Note: This was an answer to another post which had the same scenario but much less detail; I would have answered differently for this post, either way, hope this helps too.

Here's what you need to do.

  • Boot from the bootable Ubuntu USB or CD.

Ubuntu Installation page 1

  • Select Install Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Installation page 2

  • Click Continue.
  • Select the ”SOMETHING ELSE” option.

enter image description here

  • Click Continue.
  • The window below will appear. Select the partition (empty or without important data) wherein you want to install Ubuntu. In this example it is shown as free space, in your case, just select the partition you don't need or would like to put Ubuntu into. It doesn't matter if it is an NTFS partition because you can format it to another partition on the next screen. In the Device for boot loader installation, select your hard drive, not a partition.

enter image description here

  • After selecting the partition, click on Change. In the “Use as” option select “Ext4 journaling file system” and select mount point as "/". Press OK.

Ubuntu Installation page 5

  • Click on "Install Now".
  • Reboot and you should see the grub menu prompting you to choose which OS you want to boot into. By default, the last OS installed (Ubuntu) will be the default OS. You can press Enter to boot into Ubuntu or use the up or down arrow to select another OS (windows) to boot.
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The 4-partition limit no longer exists with disks that use the GUID Partition Table (GPT). GPT supports up to 128 partitions by default and does not include the concepts of primary, extended, or logical partitions (although many tools refer to all GPT partitions as "primary partitions," simply because those tools were written with the older MBR system in mind).

Intel-based Macs, the vast majority of computers that shipped with Windows 8, and some computers that shipped with Windows 7 (particularly beginning in mid-2011) all use GPT. Most PCs sold before mid-2011 use the older Master Boot Record (MBR) system, which is limited to four primary partitions, one of which may be an extended partition that can hold an arbitrary number of logical partitions. Thus, increasing numbers of readers of this question are likely to find that there is no problem; if the disk is partitioned using GPT, the 4-partition limit simply doesn't exist.

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I had a HP netbook cq10 and I deleted Recovery and HP_tools without problems. I think HP_tools is required for updating the BIOS but you can always reinstall it onto to a thumb drive ( find the exe at HP.com). Recovery partition I deleted because there are ways of creating a bootable windows USB drive in Ubuntu.

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Make a recovery disk - this should let you recover the original install if need be. Better yet, if you have the space, image the whole disk with clonezilla.

First, do NOT delete the first and second partitions - the first one is the boot partition, and the second is windows. I would recommend leaving the first partition completely alone

If you made a backup disk, it should have the same contents as the third partition. The 4th partition is likely used to boot the third partition. You should be able to remove both these partitions and reorganise the remaining partitions to your liking. I'd recommend a extended partition with logical volumes with the space for maximum flexibility - since you can have as many logical volumes as you want inside a extended partition.

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If the OP wants more than 16Gb of space they'll 'have' to resize the windows partition - never heard anyone say not to resize the windows partition before. –  Elfy Jun 12 '12 at 11:39
edited to reflect that –  Journeyman Geek Jun 12 '12 at 11:43

You are thinking correctly I would say.

As you have the tools backup I would remove that partition and resize the sda2 partition. All I would do differently is do the resize in windows. Then leave the space as unallocated. Create your extended and logicals in ubuntu livecd.

Then boot the livecd/usb and install.

You can create the necessary partitions either with the installer - choose the Something Else option or use gparted - that is available on the livecd/usb (if you do that you still need to use the Something Else option os set the / and /home mountpoints)

Whatever you do end up doing - make sure you have backups - if you lose power during the shrinking of the partition you'll be glad.

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Thanks for your reply (And thanks to the others too!) Is there any particular reason I should resize in windows instead of using gparted? (PS: Does Windows 7 have a partition manager?) –  Carlos Cámara Jun 12 '12 at 18:32
It does somewhere. I've seen a lot of problems caused by gparted on win7 in the past - better to not in my opinion. –  Elfy Jun 12 '12 at 19:00

Pardon the brief answer here, I just wanted to say that I have just added a extended partition to my HP g7-1150us that had 4 primary partitions as others have described, without losing anything. Here is how:

Since the laptop is limited to 100Mbps network connection, I took the 640GB HD out of the laptop and connected to a SATA port on my linux PC for the process. You could just use the network connection and boot linux from CD on the laptop instead.

First, I made a full backup image file of the laptop HD using the dd command.

Then using gparted I shrank the windows OS partition to make room for the new extended partition I want to install.

Then I made image files of the individual partitions and the MBR also using dd. I noted the start sector positions of each partition as indicated in gparted.

Then using gparted, I deleted the small HP_TOOLS partition from the laptop HD.

Then I created an extended partition using all of the free space with gparted.

Then I moved the RESTORE partition into the extended partition as a new logical partition all the way to the right within the extended partition using gparted again.

Then I resized the extended partition until the starting sector of the RESTORE logical position was the same as before. I am not sure if this was required or not.

Then I created a fat32 primary partition at the same starting sector that the HP_TOOLS partition was at before I deleted it, using gparted. Again I am not sure if lining up the starting sector is required for this to work.

Then I used dd to copy the HP_TOOLS backup image into the newly created fat32 partition.

I put the HD back into the laptop, checking windows boot, tools boot (F2) and restore boot (F11). They all worked just fine. No need for USB or permanently deleting potentially useful factory installed partitions.

To summarize, I just moved the RESTORE partition into a new extended partition and everything works.

What remains to be seen, is how GRUB will work with all of this after I install Linux within the extended partition. I am almost certain that the HP_TOOLS and RESTORE functions will stop working, but at least they are on the disk if needed. Additionally, in a serious crisis, I have a full image of the factory HD. Gparted and dd are excellent free tools to use for all of this.

UPDATE: Using a graphical Windows BCDeditor from neosmart.net I made Windows in control of the option to boot Linux. When I installed Ubuntu 12.04 from a USB drive (I used unetbootin to create the USB image from the 12.04 ISO image) I am now able to boot Windows, use F2 for tools, use F11 for restore and boot into Ubuntu. So if anyone was wondering, yes, it is possible to install Linux alongside Windows 7 on a HP laptop that was factory installed with 4 primary partitions, without losing any of the factory functionality and without having to burn DVD's and without having to keep a USB drive around for emergencies.

Happy hacking and cheers!

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