since I will be doing an internship for which i need to use Windows software, I have decided to ruin my day trying to remove my Ubuntu 12.04, install Win XP SP3 (since the DualBoot theme from ubuntu suggests to first install Windows and then Ubuntu, for problems with the bootloader if you do it the other way around) and then reinstall Ubuntu 12.04 since I would like to keep using it as my primary operating system, using WinXP exclusively for the internship. Other than that, I would like to have a partition for the data, which can be used by both Ubuntu and Windows.

So now,

  1. I have used the disk utility run from an ubuntu-live cd to format my drive with Master Boot Record (being conscious of the fact that this way I will lose all my data, which I have saved on an external drive before, and that my Ubuntu won't work anymore afterwards), creating partitions for

    • Windows (NTFS),
    • personal data (FAT, since as far as I know both Ubuntu and Windows can deal with this),
    • a Swap partition for Linux,
    • and one partition for Ubuntu (ext4);
  2. trying to install Win XP from cd gives me a blue screen, which stops the setup and telling me to remove all recently installed drives and to run CHKDSK.

So I thought, that maybe Windows doesn't like pre-partitioned drives for its installation and thus I need to re-format my hard drive in order to have a completely "new" drive, which I can then, during the Windows-installation, partition in order to create the partitions I need. Trying to do this, though, the disk-utility run from the live-CD gives me this warning:

Error creating partition table: helper exited with exit code 1: In part_create_partition_table: device_file=/dev/sda, scheme=0
got it
got disk
committed to disk
BLKRRPART ioctl failed for /dev/sda: Device or resource busy

I do not understand why it tells me that the hard-drive is busy, because, as stated above, I am doing all this from a live-CD.

Thus, my questions are:

How can I resolve the error given by the disk utility?

Does it make sense to use four partitions in the way mentioned above? And if not so, which partitions should I create?

Can I, theoretically, partition my drive from an Ubuntu live-cd in order to create the partitions I want and to install first Windows and then Ubuntu?


Well.. I wasn't aware that I could do that. But anyhow.. I will have to use Matlab (which I know exists also for Ubuntu, but I need to get the Windows version for the internship) to analyze neuroimaging data, which needs a lot of system resources. So I wonder if running a virtualized Windows on Ubuntu and using Matlab at the same time won't exceed my laptop's capabilities?

4GB Ram, i3-2310M CPU @ 2.10 GHz x 4, Intel HD3000 integrated graphics

What do you mean?

Thx for the answer!

Edit: Just saw the second answer right now. Thanks a lot!! Taking a working backup of my ubuntu would have been pretty elegant, I guess! Next time, In case I ever have to do this again, I will certainly consider this solution! So now, I will try to create those two NTFS partitions and follow the steps you mentioned..

To be more clear: I was using the disk utility before installing windows, since with my original drive partitioning and formatting, the Windows setup gave me the mentioned blue screen (who knows why... unfortunately, I am not sure anymore how they were partitioned when I tried the Windows installation first, so I can't give any hints..). So I tried to change the formats and drive partitions from the live-cd (since i did not have any os installed at the time) in order to be able to install Windows.

  • You could have directly installed windows alongside and later just recovered grub. Its far easier than wiping and doing a doubleinstall. – Mahesh Jun 17 '12 at 7:24

Why don't virtualize your Windows, I used a full fledged XP will all office stuff installed on top of VirtualBox, Also it will run flawlessly in a full screen, so it won't make any difference if you have to use it for some days.


You need to be more clear. Are you using the disk utility after installing windows or before? Actually there could have been a more simpler solution to your problem without you requiring to delete ubuntu and then again install it (and all its softwares). See my answer at the end for this. Below is the answer for your current problem.

Since you have formatted your laptop hdd, simple way would be to install windows first on a clean hdd with 2 simple ntfs partitions (1 small for windows and other for rest), then boot into windows to create more partitions as desired (for swap, ubuntu, commonarea, etc) using windows' own partitioning utility, although still in NTFS format. Finally install ubuntu from live cd, manually stating the partitions (it will automatically format the req. drives to swap and ext4 format). Don't create any partitions from the live cd. Also, ubuntu will automatically install its own boot loader in the MBR, which means ubuntu would be your primary OS.

4 partitions would be good enough - windows (NTFS), ubuntu(EXT4), swap(SWAP) and commonarea(NTFS). Also avoid using FAT filesystem. Ubuntu can understand every filesystem which windows can, so NTFS would be better.

Find more info here - https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

P.S.: Next time you wish to do something like this, no need to delete ubuntu os completely. You can actually take an entire working backup of your ubuntu os on an external drive (external drive should be in ext4 format), then completely format and install whatever you want in your laptop hdd and finally copy back the entire ubuntu os to a separate new parition on your hdd. This would save you from installing all the softwares again and doing all the configuration manually. Find complete info here - https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Partitioning/Home/Moving.

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