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I am trying to install Ubuntu on a Windows 7 64bit laptop. The installer didn't recognise Windows. The partitions, according to Windows Disk Management are 1) 100MB NTFS System, Active, Primary Partition 2) (C:) 220 GB Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition 3) 220.66 GB Unallocated 4) 25 GB Recovery Partition.

Could I install Ubuntu in the Unallocated Partition - I think it was called Free Space in the Installer - and then just use the BIOS to boot - at the moment I want to carry on using Windows most of the time, while I learn how to use Linux.

Andrew

P.S. I got this boot-info report: http://paste.ubuntu.com/7409913/

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Depends if you are using UEFI mode on Windows 7...if you are, then sure
-----The main reason I have found Ubuntu to not recognize a windows partition is either because encryption software like true-crypt is installed or quick-boot mode is enabled where each time you shutdown windows it is really only hibernating.
There are thousands of posts all over AskUbuntu and google that detail how to disable all of that. Just make sure you know your laptop vendors button to select which loader you want to use in the uefi. (an "f") key...

----Otherwise if you aren't using uefi, then you should be able to chainload either grub then windows boot loader or vice versa. When you install Ubuntu just make sure you install grub to the "unallocated partition" you have been speaking of. If you install grub to sda (no number) you will make the windows boot loader mad and have to do lots of extra work to get everything back to normal...

  • Thanks a lot. According to C:\Windows\Panther\setupact.log my 'detected boot environment' is BIOS. I will watch where I put grub as you advise. Andrew – user5412 May 8 '14 at 10:18
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Create a new ext4 partition from that unallocated space through gparted and install Ubuntu on it by choosing something else option in the Ubuntu installer.

You don't need to run boot-repair before installing Ubuntu. It have to be runned after installing Ubuntu on a Windows pc only if the options for both Os's are not appears in the grub menu.

  • Thanks a lot. If the option for Windows does not show in the Grub menu, am I reliant on the boot-repair working? Would there be another way of getting into Windows if it doesn't work. The user below says I should be sure to put grub in the ext4 partition - presumably it asks me where I want to put it at some stage? Andrew – user5412 May 8 '14 at 10:23
  • just try my answer. If your windows failed to boot or windows option doesn't appears on the grub list after installing Ubuntu then ping me. I will help you. – Avinash Raj May 8 '14 at 10:40
  • Thanks, right now I am using Windows for work. By the way, I installed this Windows from USB after laptop failed to boot, and Recovery options didn't work. – user5412 May 8 '14 at 10:51
  • I can't able to understand your point. – Avinash Raj May 8 '14 at 10:54
  • It was just to say that I might have done something unusual to my system, as it is not the Windows that came with the laptop. I downloaded it from the offical digitalriver site and installed it from a USB and added the missing drivers from the Samsung site, to get it working again. Would appreciate it if you could have a look at the boot-info. For example, why does it say 'Error: Can't have a partition outside the disk!' ? Thanks for your help, Andrew – user5412 May 8 '14 at 11:42
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just for clarification:

no, you can't install Ubuntu to a partition to select booting it from the BIOS.

This is mainly because to boot your computer needs a master boot record (MBR) on your hard disk (which is not the same than a partition). At present this is the Windows boot loader. On installing Ubuntu this boot loader has to be replaced by Grub. Different to the Windows boot loader Grub is able to boot both, Ubuntu and Windows. The Windows boot loader refuses to boot Ubuntu.

It is possible to use a boot loader other than Grub and direct it ("chainload") to Grub located on a paritition boot record but this is a special case and probably not what you want.

To be able to recognize a Windows partition on installing Ubuntu you need to take care of the following:

  • do not use Windows "dynamic" disk format.
  • do not hibernate Windows.
  • disable "fast boot" option from Windows.
  • do not have your Windows boot partition encrypted.
  • do not install Ubuntu when its installer does not see your Windows. All your data will be deleted then. If in doubt better ask somebody (e.g. here in chat) before you proceed.

In case you want to select the booting hard drive (not the partition!) from BIOS you will need another, separate hard disk.

  • Thanks, Takkat, you're right, I was half remembering what I was planning to do years ago, when I had a desktop with two hard drives. I can see now that it won't work with my laptop. Andrew – user5412 May 8 '14 at 12:48

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