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I have the following problem: I want to install Ubuntu, having already installed Windows 7 and the HD already partitioned. I do not want to erase my data. During the installation procedure I see the following partitions on my HD:

  • sda1 - 100 MB
  • sda2 - 190 GB (this is my windows C:)
  • sda5 - 285 GB (this is my D: windows partition with my data)
  • sda4 - 25MB

I guess I should resize the space of sda5 in order to leave nough space for ubuntu and swap memory on sda4. However, will this delete all my files on D:? I have also no understanding of the 'mounting directory' option (/windows or /home): what is it for?

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Update

New versions of Ubuntu requires only one partition. The default installation process now creates a swap file in the main Ubuntu systems partition /, rather than a separate swap partition described below.

Original Answer

Ubuntu need at least 2 partitions in formats that Windows does not understand and cannot create. You can shrink sda5 (D:) in Windows 7 and leave the empty space "Unallocated" and unformatted.

You should use Windows internal tools to defragment and then shrink or resize the D:. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg309169.aspx . and http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/quick-tip-shrink-a-hard-drive-volume-in-windows-7/3616 for detailed steps. Remember, do not create a new partition in the empty space. Leave it unallocated.

Ubuntu installation will then find the unallocated space and create sda6 (/) and sda7 (Swap) there during a "side by side" installation.

Ubuntu (and Linux in general) do not use C:, D: etc. to identify partitions. Partitions are mounted at various mount points that can be a folder or a directory. An important mount point is root denoted by /. This is the rough equivalent of C:\ where the OS will get installed. Other partitions are mounted to folders within /. By default /home is a folder in / in Ubuntu. However, one can devote a separate partition to /home by mounting the partition, say /dev/sda8, to that folder. In that case all sub-folders of /home will be in the partition dedicated to it.

Note: the Swap partition has its own format and no mount point, as it is not accessed by the user directly.

See I have formatted a partition for Ubuntu. How do I install it on that partition? and Dual Boot Installation with Win7 - Install Ubuntu in New Partition.

Hore general instructions for installation is at: How do I install Ubuntu?.

Hope this helps

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  • So, I should partition D: from windows (after the defragmentation). what software should I use? does windows 7 has already some program for this? – dave Oct 23 '12 at 12:57
  • In any case, I must admit I am a bit frightened from the Linux world... it looks like one needs a long initiation before to enter in the realm of happyness – dave Oct 23 '12 at 12:59
  • You are welcome. I have added new details to my answer. – user68186 Oct 23 '12 at 13:17
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Here is my suggestion:

  1. Start by defragmenting your drives in Windows. This means that all your Windows files will be in a right order and, more importantly, that your files will be all in the beginning of the drive. The result will be that the end of the partitions will have no more data.
  2. Make a backup of your data anyway. You probably will not loose anything. But it is "good practice".
  3. Partition your D:\ drive. That is to say, divide it into two. The first part will stay D:\ with your Windows data. The other part will host Ubuntu, let's call it "sda6" from now on, as I think it will be named this way.
  4. Increase the size of sda4, since the swap partition should be at least as big as your RAM (memory) capacity.
  5. Install Ubuntu. During the installation, select the option of selecting the partition on which you want it to install ; you will chose sda6, mounted as "/". Format sda4 as a swap partition.

Tip: once Ubuntu is installed, you can still have access to your Windows drives and their content, from Ubuntu.

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