I cannot seem to install the correct boot loader for a non-UEFI firmware system. I'm trying to install Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7 (64) which are technically compatible with GPT but for windows only if the firmware is UEFI enabled. My system uses the old BIOS system and does not support UEFI. Therefore, whenever I finish my Ubuntu install and try to install Windows I get a "cannot install to GPT partition type" error.

Even if I use Gparted to format a special NTFS file format for windows it can't handle the GPT partition style because it doesn't have UEFI. But my ubuntu install always forces GPT during installation and never asks if I want to install the old BIOS style MBR instead.

How do I resolve this? Both OS's will install fine on their own the problem is when I try to install the second OS it doesn't recognize any of the other's partitions and tries to rewrite it's own on top of the other. I've tried both OS's first and always run into the same problem. Since there is no way to make Windows recognize GPT without upgrading my Motherboard how do I tell Ubuntu to use the old BIOS MBR on install?

Do I have to download a special Ubuntu with a specific grub version? or should I manaually configure my partition somehow to force it not to use GPT?

Thank you,


You are making a mistake somewhere. The LiveCD does NOT use grub as a bootloader, it uses Syslinux.

  1. Boot from the Desktop Live CD and press the Down-Arrow when you see the below:

    enter image description here

  2. Press Enter and select English:

    enter image description here

  3. Press F6, go down to nomodeset, and press Enter. You will see an X next to it. Then press Esc, and "Try Ubuntu"

    enter image description here

  4. If the above doesn't work, repeat steps 1-2, but press F6 and then Esc to see the command-line. There, replace quiet splash with nomodeset and press Enter.

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  • In my question i say that I've already tried installing Windows first. The problem is when I then install Ubuntu it doesn't recognize the partitions that I've made. It only sees the hard drive as one device. SATA WD aTEE2342... 500GB FREE SPACE. Is there a way to make Ubuntu recognize the windows partitions? I'm guessing that it's looking for a GPT partition table and when it doesn't find it it just assumes it's empty and tries to install its own. I need to to recognize windows MBR table. I'm using the AMD64 Alternate install. – Randnum Jul 8 '12 at 3:22
  • @Randnum : No, Ubuntu should always look for an MBR PT. Please download/boot from the amd64 Desktop Live CD, and then share the content or output of the following commands/files to better help us troubleshoot your problem (instructions in this answer): file(s): commands dmesg, sudo fdisk -l – ish Jul 8 '12 at 3:27
  • Sorry, I edited the text I cut and pasted. See edited comment. Note that the CDs also maintain their own logs during installation. I asked you to use the Live CD because that will give you internet access/a browser, while the alternate CD may not. – ish Jul 8 '12 at 3:31
  • Ok, one problem though, I'm using internal graphics that the desktop install does not support. The only way I get it to work is with the text base install from the Alternate iso. – Randnum Jul 8 '12 at 3:33
  • It doesn't support it with the nomodeset boot parameter? That would be very unusual because that forces it to use standard VESA mode. If you can see the boot selection screen "Try Ubuntu, etc. etc.", then nomodeset should work. – ish Jul 8 '12 at 3:35

The first thing you should do is install Windows: During the installation, use the Windows CD to create a partition for windows and leave some unpartitioned / free space for Linux.

For example, on a 500GB HD, you could use 100 GB for a first windows partition and leave 400G of unpartitioned space.

According to what you said about your mother board, using the Windows CD to partition will automatically create an MBR partition.

After Windows is installed and working, boot with the Ubuntu CD and use GParted to create the necessary partition to receive Ubuntu.

Ubuntu (like Debian), can be installed in both kinds of partitioning systems, GPT and MBR. So no problem, just use GParted to add another partition. But pay attention not to touch the already created first partition (the one you created during the Windows install).

For example you could create an second partition type ext3 of 100G for your Ubuntu install, (there should remain 300GB of unpartitioned space on the disk).

And go on with the Ubuntu install. If you do everything correctly you will end with a dual boot HD install (Windows/Ubuntu). Good luck!

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