Whenever I startup from the LinuxLive USB, and try to install Ubuntu 12.04, it only gives me two options instead of the usual 3 or 4. My options are "Replace Windows 7 with Ubuntu" and "Something Else". Whenever I go into "Something else", it looks extremely confusing. How do I install it side-by-side while using the "Something else" section? These are my partitions.

/dev/sda1 ntfs (104Mb, System Required Partition)
/dev/sda2 ntfs (1000097Mb, Windows 7 Partition)

Or should I try reinstalling my installer on a CD rather than USB and maybe then it will have the "Install alongside" function?


5 Answers 5


Usually, Ubuntu's installer gives you the option to shrink your Windows partition and install alongside it. In your case, that option did not appear. This sometimes happens, and possible causes include:

  • Windows was hibernated rather then shut down.
  • Windows was not properly shut down. (Perhaps there was a power failure, or it bluescreened last time it ran?)
  • The Windows partition is damaged, and should be fixed with chkdsk in Windows.
  • The Windows partition is too full to be shrunk.
  • The Windows partition cannot be shrunk because the files in it are too badly fragmented, preventing them from being constrained to exist only within the new boundaries.
  • The Windows partition cannot be shrunk because of immovable files near the boundary.
  • The drive has been formatted as a "Windows Dynamic Disk" - Ubuntu can not be installed on a Dynamic Disk, you will need to convert the drive to a Basic Disk.

Since you're running Windows 7 (this also applies to Windows Vista, and to the corresponding Server versions, and will apply to Windows 8 as well), you can try to shrink the Windows partition using Windows, and then try again to install Ubuntu.

To do this, right click My Computer (sometimes just Computer) on the desktop or Start Menu in Windows and click Manage. Go to Disk Management.

(Alternatively, enter diskmgmt.msc into the text box in the Start Menu and press enter.)

Then you can use Disk Management to attempt to shrink your Windows partition. It will schedule the operation for when the system is shut down, so that even files that are in use when the system is running can be moved.

However, system files marked immovable still usually will not be moved in this way. So you may need to disable hibernation, and even disable swap (i.e., the page file), in order to make this succeed. (You can re-enable them afterwards.)

As Mitch says, it's advisable to ensure all backups of documents and other important files are current, before dynamically resizing a partition (no matter how you do it).

  • 1
    Thank you! This worked for me. I can now install Ubuntu on the shrunken (unallocated) partition. The thing here is that whenever you right-click and click "shrink", the integer you put in will be the amount you want to REMOVE, not keep. I have the unallocated amount to install Ubuntu on now! EDIT: This still does not tell me how to chose the unallocated space as the install location using "Something Else" Jul 15, 2012 at 19:45
  • 1
    Okay, I attempted "Install Alongside" with Ubuntu 12.04, but it gave me error code 5, so I decided "screw this" and used an old, 11.04 disk and it gave me the option to "Install Over 12.04" so I am doing that now, I guess I can always just update once I get inside the OS. Don't have to deal with partitions after that [phew] Jul 15, 2012 at 19:58
  • 1
    @tacozmeister I think that's an input/output error, suggesting that you may have a bad ISO or a bad burn/write. You should try MD5 testing the ISO you downloaded, and verifying the installation media created from it (whether it's a CD/DVD or USB flash drive, this applies). Jul 15, 2012 at 20:03
  • Thanks! I just finished installing 11.04 though, so I'm just gonna update using the Update Manager. Would take just about as much time to verify, repair/reformat the installer, and reinstall as to update. Hopefully all this stuff will help someone else, though! Jul 15, 2012 at 20:15
  • There's also another reason why "Install alongside" doesn't appear; I think it's a bug. You shrink the partition in gparted, leave unformatted space, then launch the installer and no option to install alongside. Then you create 2 new partitions in the unformatted space, one for swap, one ext4; you launch again the installer and the Install alongside option is there!
    – Attilio
    Oct 29, 2014 at 11:33

For "something else", this link is quite helpful. How to use manual partitioning during installation?

To summarize, a few points to remember:

  1. Create partition for root, / (the size is the total free space minus size for swap);
  2. Create partition for SWAP (the size is at least the size of RAM);
  3. Make sure you have an EFI partition which is usually there if your PC is pre-installed with Windows 8;

This link provide a detailed partition setup. Thanks to the contributors there.


You don't have an empty space(partition) to install Ubuntu. Try to shrink your partition, or use Wubi. If you decide to resize your partition to create an empty partition for Ubuntu, Take a look at this.

I would recommend Wubi, that gives you the ability to play with Ubuntu, since it installs just like any other windows application.

Once you have an empty space (partition), and you want to explore the Something Else option, Take a look at my answer here

NOTE: When dealing with partitions, always make sure that a backup is available in case something goes wrong.

Keep in mind that anytime you deal with partitions, there is risk involved in doing so.

  • The link with the "Something Else" option would help a lot if I took that route, thanks! Jul 15, 2012 at 20:01
  • Just trying to help:)
    – Mitch
    Jul 15, 2012 at 20:02

What you have to do is - allocate the complete hard drive space to windows. After allocating use Disk Management to free some space (in which you want to install ubuntu) from allocated space . Then reboot the system and when you will try to install ubuntu then it will show you the option "Install ubuntu alongside Windows boot manager".


Try to read the Ubuntu Install guide. There are steps by step instructions on the "Something else" option.

In a Nutshell: Because you have Windows installed on the entire hdd, you will need to resize your /dev/sda2 partition to make some free space for Ubuntu.

cheers, and good luck.

  • 1
    That's a great link, however, the website's images are out of date and are of no help D: The GUI is different for 12.04, for example, there's no slider. Jul 15, 2012 at 19:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .