Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I view my disk space in Windows, it just looks like I have one big drive for all the usual stuff, plus a second little guy for recovery files. However, the Ubuntu installation and GParted reveal this:

why are there so many partitions? do you really need all of those, windows?

"System" and "Recovery" don't sound like things I want to delete, and I Googled HP Tools and it sounds like it has something to do with BIOS. I considered creating a set of recovery disks and deleting the recovery partition, but I can't find the option to do this -- whenever I go to the menu where the internet tells me I should find the option to create recovery disks, it isn't there!

Even if I did do this, I'd only have one free partition, and I'd have to reformat the entire thing as an extended partition just to run Ubuntu -- would that even work? Or would Windows and Ubuntu be upset having to share an extended partition?

I'm feeling a bit down, I was rather looking forward to installing Ubuntu... :c

share|improve this question

So you have 4 partitions and all of them are primary so you can't create an extended partition, right?

I think, apart from a second HDD, the only option would be to find a partition you can sacrifice in order to free up an entry for the extended partition (or install a second hard drive, it it's possible)

One option would be to completely remove the recovery partition and then shrink the /dev/sda2 partition - Windows should continue to work but you won't be able to re-install it if it suddenly stops.

Another option is to remove the /dev/sda2 partition (provided you don't have anything valuable there), create an extended partition in its place, create an ntfs partition inside of the extended partition and check if the recovery thingie is able to install to that. If it fails you should be able to delete the extended partition and re-create the primary one.

Regarding your question of Windows an Ubuntu "sharing" an extended partition - this is totally possible, actually nothing is really "shared" in this case.

One thing to consider before doing anything is creating a per-sector disk image dump - this may take a while but you may be able to restore partitions in case things go bad.

The best option, IMO, is wiping all this windows stuff and going Ubuntu-only :)

share|improve this answer

Well, first u have to figure out which primary partition windows resides on, so boot into the ubuntu livecd if you can, or boot into any other linux distro that supports windows drive mounting (FAT32/NTFS) and mount the four detected partitions (i believe ubuntu automatically does that for u, there should be drive icons on ur desktop that says "xGB filesystem", double click on the icons and u'll mount the partitions and open them with nautilus), then use nautilus or whatever your favourite file browser to locate the partition where u see all the windows system files (i.e. WINDOWS, system32), mark down that particular partition (/dev/sdax or /dev/hdax), then backup all your data (or just stuff u wanna keep) on the other partitions and then u can safely re-partition ALL the other drives EXCEPT for the marked down windows drive, you can delete all the other primary drives and create new extended partitions (i suggest u do that in windows, linux formatted extended drives sometimes don't get recognized in windows) and a second primary partition for ubuntu and perhaps additional swap space. Once the partitions are setup, u can proceed to installing ubuntu on the second primary drive. Remember to install the grub bootloader to MBR (i wouldn't suggest u to do this if ur installing other distros, but since ubuntu's bootloader is pretty good AND ur just dual booting Windows and Ubuntu, u can safely do this without causing problems booting other OSes or corrupting partitions), it should configure grub for ur system so theres NO tweaking needed. And yeah, that should be it. Hope this helps u. BTW i used to own hp PCs that have four primary partitions as well, but i never had the problem where windows would display one big drive instead of four separate partitions... P.S. No u cannot install ubuntu onto an extended partition, in fact, u cannot install ANY OSes on an extended partition, even windows, all OSes must reside in primary partitions in order for the BIOS to boot them. P.P.S No, don't mess with the HP Tools, you don't need to mess with the BIOS to edit partitions, u'll risk bricking ur computer if u stuff up editing the BIOS.

share|improve this answer

So I assume that u see one big drive when logged into Windows 7. One solution is to shrink that big partition and make some space for Ubuntu.

Here's how u shrink your drive.

  1. Go to Control Panel, change the View By to Large Icons
  2. Click on Administrative Tools and double click on Computer Management.
  3. Select Disk Management which is under Storage.
  4. Right click on the partition and select SHRINK VOLUME
  5. Make about 30GB of space for Ubuntu.

Shrinking a Partition

Once U have 30GB u can go ahead with Ubuntu installation in this way.

During Installation Select Specify Partitions Manually. To begin creating partitions, select the free space(30GB Part) and click on the Add… button. Manual Partitioning

  • Click on the “Add” button. In the new window, type 2048 in the “New partition size in megabytes” field and select the “swap area” option from the “Use as:” list. Click the OK button.enter image description here
  • Now, click on the “Add” button. In the new window, select the “Primary” option, input a value between 8,000 and 20,000 in the “New partition size in megabytes” field and select / as the “Mount point.” Click the OK button.enter image description here
  • Click on the “Add” button again and from the new window and select the “Primary” option, type in whatever space you have left in your hard disk in the “New partition size in megabytes” field. And select /home as the “Mount point.” Click the OK button. You are done with the hard part.

Click “Install Now” to proceed with the installation process.

(The System, Recovery etc.. are not visible inside Windows. Is it?)


There's also another wonderful Propitiatory Software for windows with which u can literally control Ur NTFS/FAT Partitions. Its called EASEUS Partition Master v5.5 Pro, U can use this to partition any Drive without loosing ur data.

share|improve this answer

I have the same problem. It will not let me shrink the c: drive no more than 6gb. So I am defragmenting. I have windows 7 and it has the recovery option as well. So defragmenting and shrinking seems to work. It is just taking longer. I have been trying to partition this for 24 hours. I tried wubi and it was slow. My specs are 2gb of ram, dual core processor, AMD, Compaq CQ57 which btw is a useless laptop. It is cheap but useless for stuff like this. From my experience this will work. As long as you have patience. Windows doesnt make it easy to do this.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.