I have a Toshiba Satellite L855-150 and I would like to install Ubuntu without erasing my Windows8.1 Installation.

The problem is I have four primary partitions on my laptop which are:

enter image description here

How do I proceed to install Ubuntu next to Win8.1 on my Laptop?

Which one of the four primary partitions can I erase to install Ubuntu?

  • In future, click the edit link under your question instead of adding details with a new question.
    – kiri
    Jan 9, 2014 at 21:15
  • oh there is an edit button you're right sorry Jan 9, 2014 at 21:16
  • If you have a UEFI booting system, then you have gpt partitioning and can have up to 128 partitions by default. There are no primary or logical partitions with gpt or they all are primary in effect. The 4 primary partition limit is with MBR(msdos) partitioning and one primary then needs to be the extended partition to have an unlimited number of logical partitions inside it.
    – oldfred
    Jan 9, 2014 at 23:43
  • 1
    possible duplicate of My laptop already has 4 primary partitions: how can I install Ubuntu?
    – Braiam
    Jan 10, 2014 at 0:06
  • 3
    @Braiam I think we should not close this as a duplicate of the "already has 4 primary partitions" question, and I'd encourage close-voters to retract their votes. Those are not "traditional" primary partitions and the limit of 4 does not apply to this user's partition table. The advice in that question will not help; this user almost certainly has no need to remove any partitions. Jan 10, 2014 at 1:43

3 Answers 3


You have more than 4 partitions, and none is contained in an extended partition. GParted shows six partitions. If any of them were logical partitions, GParted would show an extended partition container for them and, in the horizontal bar that graphically represents the disk, would show them physically inside that container. If this were a traditional partition layout, it would be invalid/impossible because it would mean you already have more than 4 primary partitions.

This indicates that this is not a traditional "msdos" partition layout--most likely it is a GPT partition layout, which is associated with UEFI as oldfred mentions.

In that situation, you are not limited to four.

So, go ahead and install Ubuntu.

  • I did not know that existed. I guess you never stop learning. Thank you Jan 10, 2014 at 12:19

AT YOUR OWN RISK -- I cannot under-state that

(option (a)) I see two partitions in the drive, /dev/sda5 and /dev/sda6. /dev/sda6 is probably for recovering Windows if it chokes -- as it is hidden. You could use that. It's pretty small but large enough to install ubuntu.

(option (b)) Boot with a Live CD and shrink that 585gb partition down (to half, maybe?) and install ubuntu in the unallocated space.

(option (c)) Get a larger drive (2tb?), copy the contents of your existing drive to it, and then install ubuntu.

  • I thought I had to install Ubuntu on a primary Partition? I could allocate 100gb for Ubuntu and I would not have any issues so that is not the problem. My problem is that I don't know which of the four primary partitions to erase so I can install Ubuntu. I'm going to edit my question. I'm sorry for the confusion. Jan 9, 2014 at 22:04
  • Your nice image doesnt indicate which are primaries and which are not. You can have up to four primaries.
    – Xavier J
    Jan 9, 2014 at 22:17
  • @NDTS, codenoire: This is because the traditional primary/logical distinction doesn't apply to this type of disk; here, many more than 4 "primary" partitions can exist on the disk without any problems. Jan 10, 2014 at 1:45
  • Eliah, thanks. I had the nagging feeling exactly about what you wrote, but I wasn't 100% sure. We're a long way from those DOS limitations!
    – Xavier J
    Jan 10, 2014 at 6:03

Windows only ever allows 4 primary partitions, because the phrase "primary partition" is only applicable to MBR partition tables and MBR partition tables only allow four primary partitions.

In the above screenshot it was clearly shown that you had 6 partitions which exceeds 4,so it's not MBR.

In GPT partition table (available since Windows Server 2003 on 64-bit versions of Windows) you can have up to 128 partitions and do not need to distinguish between "primary" and "extended" partitions.

So you can erase any one of the partition other than the Windows partition and install Ubuntu on it.

  • Wow thanks a lot. I'm going to try that out. Is it also possible to take space from msftdata which is the biggest partition and create a new one out of the free unused space? This way I wouldn't have to erase any of the partitions I already have right? Jan 10, 2014 at 12:15
  • yes get the space from msfdata and create a new ext4 partition where ubuntu is going to be installed. Jan 10, 2014 at 12:41
  • to check whether your disk has GPT or MBR partition table,see this askubuntu.com/questions/387351/…. Jan 10, 2014 at 12:43

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