This is what I see in the Computers directory on my Windows 7 partition. http://i.imgur.com/U2RctVK.png

This is what I see in the partitioning menu on Ubuntu, which I am running off of a 4gb SanDisk USB drive.

enter image description here

GParted: enter image description here

I want to keep the Lenovo_Recovery partition so that I can boot into it and reinstall Windows 7 if need be. I know I have to format /dev/sda2 since that is obviously Windows 7. But what is /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda4? I don't want to accidentally format the USB drive.

  • You don't need to delete your /dev/sda2 partition for Ubuntu installation.Just exist the Ubuntu installer and get into the Ubuntu desktop.Open gparted from dash and take a scrnshot and then post it here. – Avinash Raj Apr 6 '14 at 7:31
  • @AvinashRaj Added screen of GParted. I don't know what the 8Gb partition is. Can I format everything, except the partition with the label Lenovo_Recovery? – Quaxton Hale Apr 6 '14 at 7:34

The USB device is not in the list. So you won't format it. It will be recognized as sdb (or sdc)

sda1 is the first partition created by windows to store boot loader there.Let it be as it is.

sda4, I really don't know what it is. Possibly 8GB of hard disk in unused state? You can see in windows by running diskmgmt.msc. You can keep it as it is or create a new 8GB partition or extend lenevo recovery partition by 8GB. (You can't merge the portion to any other partition as it resides after Recovery partition)

Regarding formatting.. here are some simple instruction. Hope this helps (the following considers you are replacing windows with ubuntu, not dual booting. This also delete all data in the C drive, so backup before you do anything),

  • Choose Something Else when installing ubuntu and selecting where to install it.(As you already did in screenshot)

  • Select sda2, click delete.

  • Now you will get a free partition, select that, click on new. Select partition file system as SWAP. Enter the required size. (A SWAP partition should be 1.5 x Sizeof RAM.) If you have large RAM like 4-6GB, you may skip this part. However, hibernation will not work without swap partition.

  • Click on rest of the free space, click on new, select file system type as ext4 / ext3 and mount point /

  • Make sure device for instllaing bootloader is set to sda (your hard disk)

  • Click on install to install ubuntu on that partition.

  • @Web-E Thank you for the detailed answer! – Quaxton Hale Apr 6 '14 at 7:49

You do not need to wipe /dev/sda2 to install Ubuntu. The last partition /dev/sda4 has sufficient space to hold it. This is what I would do:

  1. Optional but a live saver when needed: If you have an external drive available, make a full image copy of the internal notebook drive /dev/sda. You can use the dd command to backup the full disk. If you are short on external drive space, a combination of dd and ntfsclone is workable as well. If things go wrong, you can restore the complete drive to the current status very easily.
  2. Using dd, make an image backup of /dev/sda4. If you do not have an external drive to store it, use /dev/sda2 to hold it. This means you do not erase /dev/sda2, but mount it and use it's free space to hold the image copy.
  3. Tell the installer to use /dev/sda4 for Ubuntu. I would not delete the partition but just format it. If your laptop has more than 1GB of RAM, I would not use a swap partition (which requires re-partitioning in your case) so it is very easy to go back and restore /dev/sda4.

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