I would like to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 7 on a HP G62 Notebook. Although I have installed Ubuntu in a dual-boot many times before, I found out that this model has already four partitions.

GParted Screenshot


  1. SYSTEM (NTFS, 199MB, used 66.59MB)
  2. Partition without any tag: NTFS (579GM, used 129GB)
  3. RECOVERY (NTFS 16.74 GB, used 2.42GB)
  4. HP_TOOLS (FAT32, 103.34 MB, used 13.23MB)

Since I am not an expert with partitions I would like to get advice on how to do this.

My first idea is this one:

  • Free some space from /dev/sda2 (I don't know if could also free some other space)
  • delete the HP_Tools partition (I have already created a backup)
  • create an extended partition with the free space in #1 containing three parititions: swap (1gb); / (EXT4, 30GB); /home (EXT4, 120GB)

Another option is to use wubi instead.

What do you think? Is there any other way to achieve this?

PS: I really think this HP policy of using 4 partitions is not a coincidence

PS: I tried using gparted from the live CD and I got a warning message saying that if I freed some space from /dev/sda2 I could create serious issues in the system

  • Another option would be to install ubuntu on a flash drive. 8 to 16GB is a lot of space for an ubuntu installation and you can mount your NTFS data partition so you can access your data files from either boot.
    – Elder Geek
    May 17, 2014 at 14:49
  • Backup a partition and create a logical partition out of it. Then you could have over 4 partitions in a MS-DOS partition table. Nov 24, 2019 at 10:57

9 Answers 9


My sister and I have HP laptops that are set up the same way. Here's how I did it for both of us with a dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 system:

Step 1. Delete HP_TOOLS since its small and can easily be recreated on USB/DVD

The easiest solution is to delete the HP_TOOLS partition, since it's usually only 100 MB or so and it can be easily recreated on a USB flash drive if/when you need it. Or you could back it up to DVD before deleting it.

  • This approach is approved by HP Support, and you can download the HP_TOOLS installer for a USB flash drive from here

Step 2. Shrink the Windows C drive, and use Ubuntu installer LiveCD(or on USB) to create an extended partition there

Once you delete that partition, shrink the Windows partition to create free unallocated space for Ubuntu. You can do this from Windows (disk management), or from the Ubuntu LiveCD with gparted (use "Try Ubuntu..." when booting).

After that, you can use the Ubuntu Installer to create an extended partition in the freed-space, on which it will put all the Ubuntu (logical) partitions.

Note: You can use gparted to try to move the Recovery partition to the right or left to utilize the 100MB or so of space freed by the HP_TOOLS partition, but I don't recommend it unless you are really desperate for that much space, since the move can take quite a bit of time.

  • Thanks a whole lot @jrg! You just saved me from owning an all Windows Machine. I was struggling with this for the past few days. I should have checked for the gparter error message! Thanks again.
    – tsega
    Oct 5, 2012 at 10:03

Note: This was an answer to another post which had the same scenario but much less detail; I would have answered differently for this post, either way, hope this helps too.

Here's what you need to do.

  • Boot from the bootable Ubuntu USB or CD.

Ubuntu Installation page 1

  • Select Install Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Installation page 2

  • Click Continue.
  • Select the ”SOMETHING ELSE” option.

enter image description here

  • Click Continue.
  • The window below will appear. Select the partition (empty or without important data) wherein you want to install Ubuntu. In this example it is shown as free space, in your case, just select the partition you don't need or would like to put Ubuntu into. It doesn't matter if it is an NTFS partition because you can format it to another partition on the next screen. In the Device for boot loader installation, select your hard drive, not a partition.

enter image description here

  • After selecting the partition, click on Change. In the “Use as” option select “Ext4 journaling file system” and select mount point as "/". Press OK.

Ubuntu Installation page 5

  • Click on "Install Now".
  • Reboot and you should see the grub menu prompting you to choose which OS you want to boot into. By default, the last OS installed (Ubuntu) will be the default OS. You can press Enter to boot into Ubuntu or use the up or down arrow to select another OS (windows) to boot.

The 4-partition limit no longer exists with disks that use the GUID Partition Table (GPT). GPT supports up to 128 partitions by default and does not include the concepts of primary, extended, or logical partitions (although many tools refer to all GPT partitions as "primary partitions," simply because those tools were written with the older MBR system in mind).

Intel-based Macs, the vast majority of computers that shipped with Windows 8, and some computers that shipped with Windows 7 (particularly beginning in mid-2011) all use GPT. Most PCs sold before mid-2011 use the older Master Boot Record (MBR) system, which is limited to four primary partitions, one of which may be an extended partition that can hold an arbitrary number of logical partitions. Thus, increasing numbers of readers of this question are likely to find that there is no problem; if the disk is partitioned using GPT, the 4-partition limit simply doesn't exist.


You are thinking correctly I would say.

As you have the tools backup I would remove that partition and resize the sda2 partition. All I would do differently is do the resize in windows. Then leave the space as unallocated. Create your extended and logicals in ubuntu livecd.

Then boot the livecd/usb and install.

You can create the necessary partitions either with the installer - choose the Something Else option or use gparted - that is available on the livecd/usb (if you do that you still need to use the Something Else option os set the / and /home mountpoints)

Whatever you do end up doing - make sure you have backups - if you lose power during the shrinking of the partition you'll be glad.

  • Thanks for your reply (And thanks to the others too!) Is there any particular reason I should resize in windows instead of using gparted? (PS: Does Windows 7 have a partition manager?)
    – ccamara
    Jun 12, 2012 at 18:32
  • It does somewhere. I've seen a lot of problems caused by gparted on win7 in the past - better to not in my opinion. Jun 12, 2012 at 19:00

An extended partition cannot store any data but it can contain multiple subpartitions inside it, or in Windows it is referred to as a logical drive. An extended partition is needed to overcome the limit of MBR disks, which only allow 4 primary partitions to be created.1 As mentioned in other answers GPT is the new standard and is gradually replacing MBR, and a GPT drive can contain up to 128 partitions.

By making an extended partition instead of a primary partition on a disk with 4 primary partitions you end up with 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition. An extended partition can have more than one partition in it including an ntfs partition for storing Windows files. You can install Ubuntu on any of the partitions including the partitions in the extended partition. You can also grow and shrink extended partitions using GParted partition editor.

Changing the partition type requires changing how exactly the partition is aligned due to how logical partitions work internally. So just changing the partition type from primary to extended (which in fact would be deleting the primary partition, creating an extended partition and then creating the logical partition within the extended partition) would cause you to lose all the data.2 If you want to save the data on a partition please backup the data before changing the partition type from primary to extended. In order to backup all the data on a partition you will need a something like an external hard drive that has enough disk space to store all the data that is being backed up.

Creating an extended partition

Creating an extended partition in GParted is done the same way as creating a primary partition.

  1. Select an unallocated space on the disk device.
  2. Choose: PartitionNew. GParted will open a new Create new Partition window.
  3. Specify the size and the location for the partition.
  4. Specify the alignment for the partition.
  5. Specify the type of partition.
  6. Specify the name of the partition when the field is enabled.
  7. Specify the type of file system for the partition.
  8. Specify the label of the file system for the partition.
  9. Click the Add button to add the create partition operation to the operation queue. GParted will display the pending create partition operation at the bottom of the GParted window.3

enter image description here

Notice the dropdown menu selection in the "Create As" box where Extended Partition is selected. When Extended Partition is selected, all the file types in the menu below will be greyed out. There is no file type associated with an extended partition. An extended partition is basically a container for any number of logical partitions, which can be of any file system format.

enter image description here

The created extended partition is shown in the above screenshot. You would normally cover the entire remaining free space with this partition unless you intend to install another operating system which requires free space to be installed into. The extended partition is represented by a box in the graphics portion surrounding the remaining free space. The extended partition can be resized to create room for expansion of the existing primary partition or the creation of an additional primary partition(s).

You will notice a third partition type option in the "Create As" dropdown menu. This option is to create a logical partition inside of an extended partition.

When you click on a free space, which type of partition that may be created depends on the location of the free space you are selecting. If it is outside of an extended partition, you will only be able to create a primary or an extended partition. If the free space resides within an extended partition, you will only be allowed to create a logical partition. Creating a logical partition is otherwise exactly the same as creating a primary partition.

Below all the partitions except for one primary NTFS partition (which would normally contain the Windows operating system) have been deleted and replaced with an extended partition covering the rest of the free space. There are a number of logical partitions inside of it to demonstrate how an extended partition works.

enter image description here

Notice that there are the original Linux partitions and 5 more partitions, called logical partitions, of various filesystems within the extended partition that demonstrate how an extended partition works. Note also the order of the list of partitions in the screenshot. Any partition that precedes the extended partition is a primary partition. Those that follow it in the list are logical partitions. You can create any number of logical partitions of any file type and any size within this extended partition.4

Sources: 1 2 3 4


I had a HP netbook cq10 and I deleted Recovery and HP_tools without problems. I think HP_tools is required for updating the BIOS but you can always reinstall it onto to a thumb drive ( find the exe at HP.com). Recovery partition I deleted because there are ways of creating a bootable windows USB drive in Ubuntu.


Make a recovery disk - this should let you recover the original install if need be. Better yet, if you have the space, image the whole disk with clonezilla.

First, do NOT delete the first and second partitions - the first one is the boot partition, and the second is windows. I would recommend leaving the first partition completely alone

If you made a backup disk, it should have the same contents as the third partition. The 4th partition is likely used to boot the third partition. You should be able to remove both these partitions and reorganise the remaining partitions to your liking. I'd recommend a extended partition with logical volumes with the space for maximum flexibility - since you can have as many logical volumes as you want inside a extended partition.

  • If the OP wants more than 16Gb of space they'll 'have' to resize the windows partition - never heard anyone say not to resize the windows partition before. Jun 12, 2012 at 11:39
  • edited to reflect that Jun 12, 2012 at 11:43

I ran into this problem too.

HP TOOLS and RECOVERY have saved my computer from turning into a brick. Thanks to these partitions, after 6 years my HP Pavilion dm4 is still running fast and smooth. I strongly recommend keeping these.

Obviously SYSTEM and your NTFS partition has what you need for Windows so you can't get rid of those.

In the end, you really want to keep all 4!

So here's what I did to dual boot Ubuntu alongside Windows 7:

  • Backup all my files from Windows.
  • Figure out Windows recovery options in case of horrible failure (recovery DVD/recovery image...whatever you use to return to that fresh clean out-of-box state).
  • Download Ubuntu 16.04 iso (so a couple years passed, but the problem persists right?) and put it in a bootable USB.
  • Prepare to lose my Windows and all my files.
  • Boot the USB with Ubuntu but just Try Ubuntu, don't install.
  • Unmount partition drives (Click on the drive and choose unmount--otherwise GParted will yell at you).
  • Open GParted Partitioner (type gpart... in the finder search).
  • Delete my NTFS (C: or untitled) partition. It will become unallocated.
  • Create a new Extended partition in the unallocated slot.
  • Within the Extended partition, make a new Logical partition aligned to Cylinder instead of MiB and with file system NTFS. This will be my Windows partition. I made this 100GB and left 350GB free space following for Ubuntu.
  • Make another Logical partition in the unallocated region following the NTFS I made, all within the Extended partition. Make this ext4 or whatever filesystem. This can be changed later but this will be where I can install Ubuntu after reinstalling Windows.
  • Then hit the green check-mark and make these partitions. (If you messed up, just clear all or undo before hitting the check-mark.) Now I've effectively screwed up my Windows partition.
  • Shutdown and start up my laptop and I see that Windows fails to load and startup repair keeps coming up. Since my HP TOOLS and RECOVERY are intact (which they should be) I can now perform a Minimized Recovery of Windows. This will install Windows into that NTFS partition within my Extended partition section. Do this and go get some coffee while my laptop reboots several times.
  • Now that my have Windows again (yay!) I shut down and grab my bootable USB and install Ubuntu. This time, I can safely Install Alongside Windows into that remaining slot of the Extended partition--and mess around more with partitioning.

Best of luck,

Sad Edit: Factory Image Recovery or Minimized Image Recovery after having installed Ubuntu does not work well. I sadly lost both my SYSTEM and HP_TOOLS. However, System Restore seemed to work fine. In the end, since I lost HP_TOOLS, I just made that as my fourth primary partition. Technically RECOVERY is good enough...(weeps softly in a corner)

  • Uhhhhh.... these partitions are not needed.
    – Star OS
    May 23, 2016 at 10:31

Pardon the brief answer here, I just wanted to say that I have just added a extended partition to my HP g7-1150us that had 4 primary partitions as others have described, without losing anything. Here is how:

Since the laptop is limited to 100Mbps network connection, I took the 640GB HD out of the laptop and connected to a SATA port on my linux PC for the process. You could just use the network connection and boot linux from CD on the laptop instead.

First, I made a full backup image file of the laptop HD using the dd command.

Then using gparted I shrank the windows OS partition to make room for the new extended partition I want to install.

Then I made image files of the individual partitions and the MBR also using dd. I noted the start sector positions of each partition as indicated in gparted.

Then using gparted, I deleted the small HP_TOOLS partition from the laptop HD.

Then I created an extended partition using all of the free space with gparted.

Then I moved the RESTORE partition into the extended partition as a new logical partition all the way to the right within the extended partition using gparted again.

Then I resized the extended partition until the starting sector of the RESTORE logical position was the same as before. I am not sure if this was required or not.

Then I created a fat32 primary partition at the same starting sector that the HP_TOOLS partition was at before I deleted it, using gparted. Again I am not sure if lining up the starting sector is required for this to work.

Then I used dd to copy the HP_TOOLS backup image into the newly created fat32 partition.

I put the HD back into the laptop, checking windows boot, tools boot (F2) and restore boot (F11). They all worked just fine. No need for USB or permanently deleting potentially useful factory installed partitions.

To summarize, I just moved the RESTORE partition into a new extended partition and everything works.

What remains to be seen, is how GRUB will work with all of this after I install Linux within the extended partition. I am almost certain that the HP_TOOLS and RESTORE functions will stop working, but at least they are on the disk if needed. Additionally, in a serious crisis, I have a full image of the factory HD. Gparted and dd are excellent free tools to use for all of this.

UPDATE: Using a graphical Windows BCDeditor from neosmart.net I made Windows in control of the option to boot Linux. When I installed Ubuntu 12.04 from a USB drive (I used unetbootin to create the USB image from the 12.04 ISO image) I am now able to boot Windows, use F2 for tools, use F11 for restore and boot into Ubuntu. So if anyone was wondering, yes, it is possible to install Linux alongside Windows 7 on a HP laptop that was factory installed with 4 primary partitions, without losing any of the factory functionality and without having to burn DVD's and without having to keep a USB drive around for emergencies.

Happy hacking and cheers!

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