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I found several answers regarding that issue but I'd still like to get some confirmation on how to behave in this situation. I bought a quite recent laptop with a pre-installed Windows 8 on a 128Gb SSD primary hard-drive . As I use it as a working gear, I need to install Ubuntu on it. While launching the Ubuntu installer from a USB flash drive (after deactivating the quick start, the graphic acceleration etc. in the Bios) a finally get there but another problem showed up as Ubuntu installer does not detect my windows 8 partition. The "other option" can be selected but I'd rather not as I do not want to break my windows 8 partition (and I saw several posts on forums where the grub-repair or boot-repair or magic-boot-repair) failed. It clearly seems related to the GPT partition aspect.

Because of the GPT partition on my primary hard drive (where windows 8 is installed), Ubuntu installer fails to detect Windows 8. The only solution I found for now appears to be the removal of the GPT partition (using fixparts or gdisk). My problem is the following:

  1. If I do delete the GPT partition, will my windows 8 partition remain intact and be able to boot (since apparently the different BIOS can or cannot handle disk with or without GPT partition)

  2. I want to install Ubuntu on my other hard drive (which is a 1Tb classic hard drive) and let the primary hard drive only for windows 8 (which is a 128Gb SSD hard drive) so do I need to do so or should I just install Ubuntu by making my own partitions manually and then restore grub (using boot-repair for example) to go back to the classical dual-boot menu?

A long story short, the option I'd like to take is the "Install Ubuntu alongside windows 8" and no more questions asked and get everything working/launching without restoring or modifying the MBR or moving it to another hard-drive to preserve my neat and working windows partition but I am not sure this is actually possible.

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance.

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Do not delete gpt. Windows only boots from gpt partitioned drives with UEFI. You would have to reinstall Windows in MBR mode. Ubuntu works just fine with gpt partitioning in either UEFI or BIOS boot modes if you have supporting partition. Post this from live installer. sudo parted -l –  oldfred Nov 25 '13 at 23:42
    

3 Answers 3

There's no such thing as a "GPT partition" in quite the sense that you seem to be suggesting. The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a partition table -- that is, it's a data structure that defines partitions. The entire disk must be either GPT or something else, such as the older Master Boot Record (MBR) partition table. Thus, deleting the GPT data would delete all the partitions on the disk, which you probably don't want to do.

That said, some disks are actually MBR disks but they have leftover GPT data from an earlier partitioning of the disk. This situation can cause parted, GParted, the Ubuntu installer, and some other tools to mistakenly believe that the disk is empty. The FixParts program that you mentioned can detect and correct this problem. I don't believe this is your problem, though; computers that ship with Windows 8 almost always use GPT, so unless you re-installed Windows using MBR, your disk should legitimately be GPT. You can test this by running FixParts on the disk; if it terminates with a message to the effect that the disk is a GPT disk, then that's what it is.

I haven't researched the issue in detail, but the Ubuntu installer seems to have a bug that causes it to not provide the "install alongside" option for many computers that ship with Windows 8 pre-installed. I suspect that this is the issue you're seeing. Unfortunately, the only solution I know of is to use the "something else" option. Note that you'll almost certainly need to correctly identify your EFI System Partition (ESP) to the installer. It's a FAT32 partition, typically 100-1000MB in size, and you tell the installer to use it as an "EFI boot partition." (Why the developers chose too change "system" to "boot" is beyond me. Such changes just create confusion; but I digress....)

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Thank you very much for the answer. I waited a long time thinking that I would get an email once an answer to my question has benne posted (but apparently it is not the case). It is much clearer thanks to your explanation. My disk is a legit GPT disk so I believe my best option would be to reinstall from scratch a MBR windows 8 (which is not such a big deal, I generally do that with new computers. However, this pre-installed windows 8 was rather clean and I wanted to save some time this time =) –  Nathan Dec 3 '13 at 16:24

I've had this issue as well and after experimenting for a while, in found out that it's not windows 8 causing the problem at all. I set up a dual boot with windows 7 and ubuntu 13.10 too and I faced the same problem.

The solution is very simple if you know what's causing it. The reason that ubuntu does not detect your windows installation is because you have a new laptop, newer systems usually use a UEFI, it looks like ubuntu isn't really optimised for this. In your bios settings, you have to search for an option to set it from UEFI to Legacy. After doing that you should be able to install ubuntu alongside windows 8 without a problem.

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I had the same issue. I installed Windows 8 on a GPT formatted disk and when I tried to install Ubuntu 13.10 it didn't even recognize Windows existed. You must format your disk to the mbr format to have Ubuntu recognize windows. This is because the GPT partition format does not gel with Ubuntu that well though you can install it. Here's what I did that worked:

NOTE: Back up all necessary files. You are about to lose EVERYTHING. You are about to do a fresh install of BOTH Windows 8 and whichever Ubuntu version.

1) Have a bootable Windows 8 on a CD, USB or whatever

2) Turn on the machine and press F2 or whichever button brings up your UEFI menu (some of us refer to this as the BIOS menu)

3) Under the boot tab change the setting from "UEFI" to "Legacy Support"

4) Save and exit then bring up your boot device selection menu by pressing F10, F11 or F12 (whichever your laptop brand requires)

5) Select the device with Windows 8 from the menu

6) You will be given two options. A big button for installing Windows 8 and a smaller, underlined string to the bottom left to repair your PC.

7) Press Shift+F10 to bring up command prompt

8) Type "diskpart" to be brought to the DISKPART command section

9) Type "list disk" to show your disks and relevant info

10) Type "select disk #" to select the disk you want to convert. For example, mine was disk 0 so I typed "select disk 0". It's always the one with the biggest space

11) After being informed that the disk is now selected type "clean". This may or may not take a while

12) After being informed that the operation was successful type "convert mbr".

13) After a successful confirmation message, close the command prompt and proceed to install Windows 8

14) You may then install Ubuntu after restart.

NOTE: DON NOT USE WUBI TO INSTALL UBUNTU ALONGSIDE WINDOWS 8

Instead of selecting "Install Ubuntu alongside Windows 8" I recommend selecting the "Something Else" option and adjusting your partitions yourself.

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Nice and detailed answer. I finally went through that problem by reinstalling everything indeed. However I've tried this solution using diskpart but it didn't work out for me and what finally worked was to replace windows 8 by windows 7 which took care of converting into a classical MBR partition. –  Nathan Apr 21 at 15:53

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