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I am trying to install Ubuntu 11.10 alongside Windows XP. When I am prompted where I want to install Ubuntu, the three options to select from are:

  1. Install Ubuntu alongside Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  2. Overwrite Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Ubuntu
  3. Something else

When I selection option 1, by default Ubuntu Installer selects the 1TB external hard drive that I have connected to the computer. There appears to be an option to select another hard drive, however, I cannot use it to change to another drive. In other words, the drop down list does not work.

What I want to be able to do is to install Ubuntu on another (internal) 320GB hard drive that I have purchased for this very reason. My problem here is that I am not certain how to partition it for Ubuntu using option 3. I know that I will require a / partition and a /boot partition, however, I am not sure how much to allocate to each. Furthermore, there appears to be more file systems to select from. Which one do I use for each partition I create? Also, the intended target drive is currently formatted with NTFS. Do I need to manually delete and re-create the partition to ext2 before I am able to install Ubuntu?

FYI - My current configuration is as follows:

  /dev/sda1   fat16    32MB
  /dev/sda2   ntfs    160GB
  /dev/sdb1   ntfs    320GB
  /dev/sdc5   fat32  1000GB

Note that the /dev/sda1 is the partition reserved for EISA (whatever that is), /dev/sda2 is the partition that contains the Windows XP Home Edition, /dev/sdb1 is the new internal hard drive that I intend to install Ubuntu, and /dev/sdc5 is the external drive which is used as a backup drive only. For some reason, Windows XP uses this external drive to store temporary/configuration files for software that is installed on /dev/sd2.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I found Illustrated Dual Boot guide to Installing Ubuntu in Hard Disk Two quite informative, and it helped me set up a dual boot on two separate drives on my main PC.

It references 10.10 but the steps are no different for 11.10.

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Thanks for that. I am currently installing Ubuntu on my system. Mind you, I had a few minor hiccups, like not being able to unmount the ntfs file system, but I overcame this by rebooting the system, and selecting the second option of installing Ubuntu. I'll let you know how I go. – Bill Oct 26 '11 at 13:02
Installation completed successfully! Once again, thank you for your support. Sincerely. – Bill Oct 26 '11 at 13:57

Start Ubuntu from a Live CD/USB. Start gparted, then make sure that you've got one partition set as 'unallocated. That should be the partition /dev/sdb1 in your case. You can easily unallocate it by just removing it. When that is done, you can easily start 'Install Ubuntu 11.10' without restarting your computer. Do that, and there will be an option to install Ubuntu alongside Windows.

EDIT: You don't need to set the partition types manually, by the way. Ubuntu will do that for you, as well as setting / and /boot/ etcetera.

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Isn't gedit a text editor? If so, what file should I be modifying? – Bill Oct 26 '11 at 9:19
I guess he meant gparted, the partition editor. – daniel kullmann Oct 26 '11 at 10:11
He meant gparted. You must select your drive and delete the partition, otherwise it won't let you install Ubuntu on it unless it's how Ubuntu likes it (the option 3 above). – Theo Scholiadis Oct 26 '11 at 10:20
Thanks for that Daniel, Theo. I am currently looking at the documentation on how to do this. – Bill Oct 26 '11 at 10:28
@Exeleration-G - Thanks for your help Exeleration-G but, even deleting the partition using GPartEd still results in the Ubuntu Installer selecting the external drive for installation. And, using option 3 still requires manually creating a root and boot partition. – Bill Oct 26 '11 at 11:28

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