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During installation from a bootable USB, Ubuntu installer does not present the option of "installing alongside" Windows 7, but only "erase HD completely" or "Do something else". I am concerned that this is an indication that if I go ahead with a manual partition of the disk, I may have problems dual booting into Windows 7 - grub may not recognize W7 OS.

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Don't choose "Erase HD completely" (it will delete your Windows).

The problem here is that Ubuntu does not detect your Windows.

Please indicate your Boot-Info URL if you want further advice.

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