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I just got a new laptop with Windows 8 and I am ready to install Ubuntu. I see the hard drive already has quite a few partitions, most of which seem related to Windows recovery.

See capture: I am not allowed to post images, so I am including a link to the capture instead. Partitions on my computer

I think I should probably avoid touching those partitions, if I want to keep the factory system recovery options. Any comments on this?

I see there is a partition marked as Active & Boot, a 300 MB FAT32 partition with type EFI System Partition. Is anyone familiar with this type of partition? When installing UBUNTU should I somehow use this partition for grub or something like that? If so, how would I do that?

The disk has 1000GB. I am thinking I would like to:

  • Resize the main partition (Acer/NTFS) with Windows. Not sure what the minimum size should be. Is 80GB OK? Too small? Too large?
  • Use the freed up space to create the rest of partitions... But I think I will need to create an extended partition, because there are already too many partitions, am I right?

  • Create a Windows data partition (NTFS) with maybe 200-300 GB

  • Create an UBUNTU OS partition. EXT4 ok? Or is there a better filesystem for the OS? What about size? Maybe 50 GB? 100 GB?
  • Create a swap partition, maybe 16GB because that's the maximum RAM allowed in the system. Or maybe I can set it to exactly 8GB as the current size of RAM and resize later if needed?
  • Create a data partition for /home, with the remaining space (probably around 500-600 GB).

NOW, I am thinking I would like the /home partition to be visible to Windows. To do so I believe I would need to use NTFS as filesystem for that partition. Does this make sense at all? Maybe UBUNTU is more comfortable (faster access, etc) with EXT4 or other Linux filesystem and I would sacrificing performance? If a linux filesystem should be used is EXT4 the best or other?

  • You cannot have NTFS for home partition. I use an NTFS partition to keep by data visible by Ubuntu and Windows. – To Do Mar 4 '14 at 22:29
  • just before you continue check this also this and about partitions – JoKeR Mar 4 '14 at 22:35
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You don't need to -- and in fact can't -- create an extended partition. This is because the disk uses the GUID Partition Table (GPT).

Using NTFS for /home is a bad idea at best, and impossible at worst, because you must be able to use Unix/Linux filesystem features in /home that NTFS doesn't provide. Instead, you should either use a Windows filesystem driver for a Linux filesystem or create some other non-/home partition for sharing files. (You could mount that partition within your home directory -- say, /home/user254803/shared -- if you wanted to.) I believe there are some decent ext2/3fs drivers for Windows, but I don't know how well they cope with ext4fs. Windows drivers for other filesystems are much more primitive or non-existent, AFAIK.

The 300MB FAT partition is an EFI System Partition (ESP), which holds boot loaders. Ubuntu should detect and use it automatically. (The Ubuntu installer refers to it as an "EFI boot partition" and treats it a little differently from other partitions.)

You may want to check my Web page on EFI installations and/or the Ubuntu community wiki on EFI to learn more on the subject. EFI is very different from BIOS in the boot stage, and the differences between MBR and GPT have implications (mainly no logical partitions), but in terms of Linux partitions and how to make room for Linux, it's pretty similar to any other installation -- the arguments for and against a separate /home partition, sizing issues, etc., are all the same as they are on a BIOS-based computer.

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I finally succeeded in installing and booting both Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 12.04.

This is what I did:

Partitions
I converted the large 913GB NTFS partition with Windows 8.1 into:
- NTFS Windows 8.1: 118 GB
- NTFS Windows Data: 188 GB
- EXT4 Ubuntu 12.04: 118 GB
- EXT4 Ubuntu Data: 481 GB
- Linux Swap: 8 GB

This is what it looks like after all these changes. http://www.freeimagehosting.net/newuploads/qw25t.png

Ubuntu installation did not leave everything ready. I could boot into Windows 8.1 but not Ubuntu. I had to run the Boot Repair and that did it. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the exact options I chose.

Other Settings
In the BIOS I had to turn the UEFI Boot Mode off, as it was forcing Secure boot. I had to set the boot mode to Legacy. Secure boot was giving me all kinds of problems, such as not being able to boot from CD/DVD.

Also, In Windows 8.1 I had to turn off the Turn on Fast Startup option, as it was keeping the computer from shutting down completely in Windows, and creating problems with booting in general after installing Ubuntu. I cannot enter more than 2 links per post, so I will add another reply with a link to show what I mean.

Error Before Boot Menu
Even though I can boot into both Ubuntu and Windows, I am getting an error message right before the grub menu, that reads: Error: efidisk read error. It is shown for just one second and then I get the boot menu.

Not sure whether this is a serious issue. I am thinking maybe I should run Boot Repair again, but since I am able to boot without problems I have refrained. I thought I would post the report from Boot Repair here, in case someone with experience can tell me whether to attempt to fix that and point me in the right direction.

For instance, should I turn UEFI boot mode (and thus secure boot) back on? What is the problem if I keep it turned off?

This is the Boot Repair report: http://paste.ubuntu.com/7063312/

As you can see the boot menu has a lot of options. For some reason Windows 8.1 has two options, but they boot the same...

Thanks!
Juan

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I cannot call this a full answer yet. .. Uefi and even secure boot which is the idea of a signed kernel are good ideas. That said the "secure boot" you are referring to is a very closed Microsoft implementation of the more general uefi and secure boot standards. Microsoft s key and verification mechanism is the one pre-configured by the oem. Somehow you must get your kernel's signature into the system database or it won't load. All of the solutions to date rely upon Microsoft and Verisign and are seemingly opposed by the FSF. I am trying to use uefi (the efi partition) without secure boot on a hp laptop. My first attempt I accidentally over wrote the efi partition and made Windows unbootable. The idea is to get grub listed as a uuid entry. Ideally I would like win8/fedora/kubuntu. Both are supposed to be usable with secure boot on, as they have purchased keys. I got just fedora to boot and have not tried again, however I am working it backwards, turning things on one at a time.

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