Can I install Ubuntu without formatting any partitions on my hard drive?

I am already running Windows 7 and I want to install Ubuntu as well without formatting any of the partitions I have already created.


Of course you can. You just have to select the manual partitioning method and tell the installer not to format any partition you want to use.

However you'll have to create at least an empty ext3/ext4 partition where to install Ubuntu (you can choose also to create another empty partition of about 2Gb to be used as swapspace). You can repartition your hard drive, for example, using GParted livecd.

Ubuntu will also install grub2 for you, detecting your other Windows installation.

Good luck!

  • if I install ubuntu in the same partition with the previous installation, it is can be work? I mean is it overwrite previous installation data? – Mohammad Fajar Jan 20 '15 at 5:09
  • Yes, it should work because packages overwrite the previous configuration, but you cannot be sure that every package will work as expected. For example, if you (or someone else) added broken (or malicious) files/scripts inside something.d directories (e.g. /etc/apt/sources.list.d) the system won't be clean as with a new installation. So, if you are quite sure that your system is just broken and not compromised, you can quite safely overwrite (even if it's almost pointless IMHO), otherwise just do a clean install on an empty partition. – Avio Feb 11 '15 at 9:38
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    NOTE wubi is now deprecated and no longer recommended. This renders most of the answers here unusable. – Elder Geek Feb 20 '15 at 19:03
  • @Avio thx. But when I click manual partition the 'format partition' box is checked and also greed out. I can't uncheck it. Any solutions? – BKSpurgeon Jul 25 '18 at 4:54
  • Are you asking the installer to setup a filesystem that is different from the already existing one? E.g. the existing one is EXT3 and you're asking for a EXT4 partition? Can you please post a few screenshot somewhere? – Avio Jul 25 '18 at 13:03

I'm assuming you want to install Ubuntu on a physical disk (as opposed to the Wubi installation, which installs Ubuntu like a Windows software)

It depends on whether you have suitable Linux partitions (ext4, ext3, btrfs ..) on your computer already. If you have such partitions, you don't need to format that partition again. But also note, If the partition doesn't have enough free space, you have to delete some files from that partition to create room for Ubuntu installation.

But, if you want to install Ubuntu as like a Windows program, called Wubi method you don't need to format anything. But still you need to have enough room on the partition, you are going to install Ubuntu in.

But there are some limitations of this method, such as hibernation is not supported and slow disk performance etc.

  • 2
    +1 for a mention about the Linux partition types. A typical (non-WUBI) Ubuntu install will not run on an NTFS partition. – Aaron Sep 26 '12 at 15:25

Yes, you can install the Wubi version of Ubuntu, or you can install Ubuntu to a USB drive and boot off that instead.


yes sure, use wubi from ubuntu official site at the following link and that's a good tutorial step by step guide


The best option here would be to go with the Windows installer for Ubuntu Desktop (WUBI).

Here's a link where you can find the download and instructions:

Windows Installer | Ubuntu


Then you can go with WUBI..

Pls find the following guides below,


  • You can also use live cd if you want to test.
  • Or install virtualbox in windows and then install ubuntu in it.

You can install it with VMPlayer within windows 7.

  • 1
    Can you provide more information and/or links to explain how to do this? Also, and perhaps more importantly, I recommend editing this answer to explain the advantages and disadvantages of virtualization. Also, why is this answer specific to Windows 7? – Eliah Kagan Sep 26 '12 at 19:46
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    ...Or VirtualBox... – Lee Kowalkowski Sep 27 '12 at 9:11

WUBI is a good method. First download from the links provided in above replies.

Then you can either ask WUBI to download an .iso for you or you can download an Ubuntu .iso of your choice (this is if you want to test an older version of Ubuntu, cuz WUBI when prompted will download the latest version.)

After that run WUBI, and all steps are simple. Allocate space for Ubuntu as you want and according to what you will use it for.

Careful, at one step it will ask if you want to install Ubuntu "alongside" Windows or as an application.

Alongside option will install Ubuntu as a complete separate OS, it will reset MBR to call GRUB at boot-up and will result in a dual-boot.

Install as application will just install Ubuntu as any normal software inside Windows which can be deleted later.

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