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I want to install Ubuntu alongside my Windows 7 operation system.

During installation I have three options:

  1. Install alongside the existing OS.
  2. Remove everything and install Ubuntu.
  3. Manual partitioning (advanced).

The above list is not precise (I do not remember what exactly was written there and I just write options as I have understood them).

I know that option 2 is not mine. So, I need to choose either 1 or 3. I do not know which one I need to choose. I want to have a possibility to manually specify space assigned to Windows and Ubuntu (for example 40% for Windows and 60% for Ubuntu).

I chose the 1st option and I saw a window with the following information.

Allocate drive space by dragging the drive bellow.
File (48.1 GB)             Ubuntu
/dev/sda2 (ntfs)           /dev/sda3 (ext4)
286.6 GB                   241.7 GB

2 small partitions are hidden, use the advanced partitioning tool for more control.

[use entire partition]     [use entire disk]

                                         [Quit]   [Back]   [Install Now]

My problem is that I do not understand what I see. In particular I can press [use entire partition] or [use entire disk] and I do not know what is the difference. Moreover, as far as I understand, I can even press [Install Now] without pressing one of the two above mentioned buttons. So, I have 3 options. What is the difference between them?

The most important thing for me is not to delete the old operation system with all the data stored there.

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As an aside, it might be worth using VirtualBox and installing Ubuntu or whatever inside a virtual machine in Windows. This is nice solution and well worth considering –  user11458 Feb 25 '11 at 16:28
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2 Answers 2

[use entire partition] uses your currently selected partition and automatically creates partitions for Linux (root and swap, at least).

[use entire disk] is your option 2: remove everything and install Ubuntu, using whole disk. This will also automatically create partitions for Ubuntu. Difference is that it'll first remove all old partitions.

[Install now] is possible, if you already configured (manually or automatically) partitions (sizes, filesystems and mount points). If you didn't, it'll complain and tell what's missing.

Before making changes to your disk, remember to backup important files. There's always risk you'll choose wrong and delete important things.

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You want neither option and they should not be there. This is a known defect in 10.10. When you choose install along side, it shows you a slider so you can set the relative size of the two halves of your existing windows partition, which will be split in two: one for Windows, and one for Ubuntu. Use entire partition means to take over the Windows partition, and replace it, instead of splitting the partition. Use entire disk should be obvious.

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