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I have a partition windows 7 400GB and 200GB, I want to install ubuntu 12.04 on the 200GB using a USB but am not sure how to identify 200GB when the installation process because it never shows a hard drive with that exact available space. I am not sure what to do, and I am not very familiar with ubuntu. Help please

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Are they patitions or physical disks? What disks are shown? Remember you can always use the "Something Else" option. – hexafraction Oct 13 '12 at 21:39
they are partitioned already... windows 7 is on the 400GB so I want to install ubuntu on the 200GB – Juila Oct 13 '12 at 22:00
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Based on the information you gave:

  • /dev/sda1 is a Windows 7 bootloader
  • /dev/sda2 is probably an OEM recovery partition
  • /dev/sda3 is The 400GB Windows 7 paritition
  • /dev/sda4 is the 200GB extra partition where you can install Ubuntu

Under Windows this is probably accessed as D: drive. Only proceed if you have not used it and there is nothing in the drive, else backup whatever data you have put there.

You can then proceed as Robert has said in his answer.

If you want to have a swap partition however, things are a little more complicated because the manufacturer (OEM) has already used up all four primary partitions that it is possible to have. The way around this is to delete /dev/sda4 completely and create an extended partition in its place. You can then have two logical partitions within this extended partition - One for Ubuntu / (root) and one for the swap file.

Two reasons why a swap partition is desirable:

  1. Swap partitions are used for hibernation. If the computer is a laptop and you want to be able to hibernate rather than suspend, you'll need a swap partition. Hibernation saves the current state of the computer on the swap partition and then powers down completely. Suspending only powers down peripherals but maintains the computer state in RAM, therefore it still uses some power. It's possible to suspend your computer and leave it longer than expected, only to find that the battery has gone flat. Hibernation is suitable for when you want to leave the computer for longer periods, or if you are not sure how long you will be away from it.
  2. Swap partitions can be used as RAM if things get tight. If you only have a small amount of RAM (usually 1GB or less) then a swap partition can be helpful, to keep a bit more RAM available for system use.

I have the following suggestion which will get you installed in the easiest manner, with a swap file.

  1. Boot off the LiveCD or LiveUSB and Select "Try Ubuntu"
  2. When booted, run Gparted and delete the /dev/sda4 partition. Make sure you click the button to commit the change to disk otherwise it will not actually delete the partition.
  3. Click "install" to start the installation
  4. When asked, select "install alongside Windows"

Since there will be blank unformatted space Ubiquity (the installer) will make an extended partition on which it will then make the / partition and a swap partition and install Ubuntu accordingly. If you want to do a more manual operation you can create the Extended partition, and then create the logical main partition and swap partition inside it if you wish, but the end result will really be the same.

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Thanks for the insight. This is definitely how it appears, now I will just have to select the /dev/sda4 and install Ubuntu there. Right now there is nothing in that partition, but as you suggested I will need to delete it completely and create a new one. To delete do I need to it in windows and restart to installation or can I do it within the installation process and create a new partition for Ubuntu – Juila Oct 13 '12 at 23:39
You can do either. I'll add some instructions to my answer which will do what you want in the easiest possible way. – fabricator4 Oct 14 '12 at 0:23
fabricator4 thanks for the information. I tried to run Gparted from my LiveUSB after boot but its not allowing me to, saying I need to be "root" to be able to run Gparted. That's the only issue holding me now... – Juila Oct 16 '12 at 15:10

You will want to use the Something Else option. On the choice on how you want to use your disks, pick Something Else.

Find the 200 GB partition and click Edit after highliting it by clicking it. In the Use As field, set it as Ext4, and check the Format checkbox. Set the Mount Point to /. You will be confronted with a warning about swap. I rarely use it, but if you have little RAM, you may want to make your 200GB partition a bit smaller and add a partition in the free space with the Use As option set as Linux Swap.

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+1 This is the answer. – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Oct 13 '12 at 22:29
This is were am confused: when I get to the partition selection I have sda1 1.0MB, sda 2(ntfs) 208.7MB, sda 3(ntfs) 410.2GB sda 4(ntfs) 229.7GB. So is it the /dev/sda 4 that I am supposed to select? and follow the steps you said – Juila Oct 13 '12 at 22:36
@Juila Yes. Use /dev/sda4. – hexafraction Oct 13 '12 at 23:11
Thank for the help – Juila Oct 16 '12 at 15:11

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