I have zero actual experience with configuring disk partitions and the stuff I have read for the past few hours have been confusing me a bit, so please bear with me.

First of all, I'd like to explain what I'm setting to achieve:

Windows 7 with:

  • C:\ Windows 7 (pre-existing installation)
  • D:\ Data (Already exists and has files already)

Ubuntu 11 - Does not exist yet, but I already have a LiveCD in hand.

  • \root directory for Ubuntu
  • \home on its own partition I plan
  • \swap on its own partition with around 8GB

Here is the current situation:

I have a single 500 GB hard-disk with Windows 7 x64 installed, and the current partition schemes is as follows:

  • System Reserved: 100 MB (Primary, Active)
  • C: 100 GB - Where Windows 7 is installed (Primary)
  • D: 365 GB - Where my files are located, LOTS of free space (Primary)

Now, I would like to shrink my D: drive and create around 40 GB of unallocated disk space for the Ubuntu installation, but here what's confusing me a bit:

I'm thinking I would create an extended partition and subdivide it into 3 logical partitions for the Ubuntu setup I had in mind. (If you think my setup is a bad idea, please let me know & why. I also hope you can suggest a better one...)

I am aware that I can only have up to 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary partitions with 1 extended parition max. Now, does the System Recovery portion count as one primary partition? I'm really new to these things and it is totally unclear to me.

In shrinking my D: drive using Windows 7's Disk Management tool, I would get an unallocated free space which I don't know how to make an extended partition from. It seems like I can only create a primary partition from it, not an extended one. How do I go about it?

(I'd also like to note, if it is of any importance, that I am trying to avoid using the option to install Ubuntu alongside Windows, and much rather prefer using the custom install where I can specify which drives I wish to use and stuff. Somehow I feel its safer that way.)

2 Answers 2


Your understanding is correct. Go ahead and make the space by reducing the size of your D: partition. Leave the space an unallocated.

The ubuntu installer will do the rest of the partitioning for you.

install 1

On the next screen, select "specify partitions manually"

install 2

See : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/GraphicalInstall

Alternately , gparted is on the live CD and you can make partitions before you run the installer.

  • Thanks for the response. You agree that it is better to position the swap partition towards the end instead of in between / and /home? Mar 28, 2012 at 16:07

More details of how to use the manual partitoning feature in the Ubuntu install process can be found at: http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/manual-partitioning/. The post also includes links to other relevant web pages and video tutorials. In particular, there are a couple of references to the use of GParted which should help you establish the unallocated space that you need. Once you have created this unallocated space, the installation process is relatively straightforward.

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