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I have been using Ubuntu for 5 years now and had no problem with dual-booting with Windows XP.

I got a new laptop with preinstalled Windows 7 partitions. The problem is that although there are plenty of space on it, there are already 4 primary partitions on my system. I tried allocating free space on the 2nd large partition but GParted and Ubuntu installer won't let me create a 4th partition.

I am wondering how I should re partition in order to install ubuntu alongside Win7. If it involves removing a partition or merging, if possible, can you go through explaining the possible consequences involved?

Thanks very much and any help at all is appreciated.

The following is a screen-shot of my existing partitions:


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Is there anything on the 4th (10GB) partition? If not I'd suggest you delete it and create the ubuntu system and swap partition in the free space. That would be the simplest way.

Otherwise you could shrink the 100GB partition and create the ubuntu partitions between the 100GB and the 4GB partition, but that would take a long time and you would probably have to tell windows where it's hibernation partition went...

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Hi, thanks for answering. Seems like something is on that partition. Here's what it looks like on gparted – ItsAllLinux Dec 23 '12 at 14:32
The 4th partition is the windows recovery partition (to reinstall win7 to initial state). If you want to keep it, I think the only alternative is to shrink the 100GB and kill the 4GB one to create an extended partition so you can create more than 4 partitions. – laurent Dec 23 '12 at 15:12
obs: if you delete the 10GB partition, create an extended partition instead of a primary so you can make more logical partitions in it. – laurent Dec 23 '12 at 15:20
The 4GB is the hibernate partition, wouldn't Windows cry if that's gone? The problem with recreating new partitions is that i would first have to delete existing ones and therefore wouldn't be able to recover existing files inside them right? As in, none of them are blank partitions with nothing in it.I might just delete the recovery partition (first partition according to the first picture), but would Windows also cry when that's gone? – ItsAllLinux Dec 23 '12 at 15:22
Woops, so are you saying that the primary partition (4th one) can be replaced by ext? – ItsAllLinux Dec 23 '12 at 15:24

From what I see you have a system partition and a Windows partition followed by a small 4Gb partition and a Windows recovery partition.

To get Ubuntu on this machine you will need to remove one partition, replace it with an extended partition. Then, in the extended partition, you may create your Ubuntu (mount point /) and swap partitions.

I have never done this but one possible solution is to use an Ubuntu live CD or live USB, to:

  1. Do a backup of one of the partitions, say the small 4Gb one with dd -if /dev/sda3 > partitionimage.dd. Modify thr path of the partitionimage.dd file to an external disk (ex. /media/Data/partitionimage.dd)
  2. Delete that partition.
  3. Reduce the Windows partition by say 30Gb.
  4. Create an extended partition in the empty space left by the two partitions.
  5. Create your two Ubuntu partitions in the extended partition and another 4Gb one.
  6. Restore the backup of your original 4Gb partition in this new partition by navigating in a terminal to the folder where the backup file is and type dd -if partitionimage.dd -of /dev/sda3. Change /dev/sda3 with your new reference for the new partition (ex. /dev/sda6)

WARNING: I never did the backup and restore bit of this procedure so I would wait for someone to review it before going through it.

WARNING 2: This is a MAJOR OPERATION and if something went wrong you could loose everything. Be sure to have a Windows recovery disk and an external backup of your data just in case.

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