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I've installed dual-boot setups of Ubuntu before and have never run into any major problems (with the installation) until now.

It started when I tried to run the "Install Ubuntu" option from the Live USB I created. It didn't recognize the Win 7 OS already installed (I just did a clean install yesterday) so it didn't give me the option to "Install Alongside". I did some searching on this site and the Ubuntu Forums and just Google in general, but most of it applied to UEFI systems (which I do not have).

The best option seems to be to shrink the main C: drive (/dev/sda5 in the screenshot below), then install Ubuntu on the newly freed up space. My question, though, is can I get rid of the Recovery (sda1), System Reserved (sda2) and Hibernation (sda6) partitions as well? This is a desktop so I don't need hibernation and I have recovery disks that work fine. But will the deletion of these prevent me from using my Win 7 partition?

Screenshot: GParted Screenshot
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Screenshot: fdisk Output
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Other questions related to mine: is it necessary to delete the recovery partition? (Really? I can't delete it? Other answers seem to disagree) Deleting recovery partition on dual boot machine and resizing window 7 partition (I only have OEM supplied recovery disks, without the extra options that the Microsoft-supplied ones have)

What is the best way to set all this up? If I shrink then install will GRUB be able to find my Win 7 installation?

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  • You do need to have some free space to install Ubuntu! /dev/sda5 is not the primary partition, however. It is a subpartition in /dev/sda2, and both will need to be shrunk if possible. Do this only in Windows - they do some funny business with the partitions, and if you do this using gparted, your windows system may become unstable. Sep 4 '14 at 23:45
  • @Charles - sda2 or sda3? GParted shows them both part of sda3. Also, how should I shrink both of them at the same time? In the Windows Disk Management tool, it does not allow me to shrink the Hibernation Partition (the only context menu item is "Help"). Screenshot from Disk Management: imgur.com/MWjgXzs Sep 5 '14 at 2:00
  • Sorry - my prior coment should have read /dev/sda3. I would start by shrinking the windows disk from within windows, and seeing where free space is left. It may be that Ubuntu can install into a partition inside an extended partition. Sep 5 '14 at 3:34
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Alright, figured it out. I kept the Recovery but I deleted the Hibernation Partition.

In Windows, I turned hibernation off with the "powercfg.exe -h off" command in the terminal. Then, in Disk Management, I deleted the Hibernation Partition then extended the Acer partition into it. The problem, though, was that it was still an extended partition and when I tried to shrink it it would give me "Free Space" within the extended partition instead of the coveted "Unallocated Space" outside the extended partition.

Rebooted Windows to make sure everything was still working.

Then, I booted up my Live USB of Ubuntu and brought up GParted. First, I changed the size of the Acer partition "sda5" (within the extended partition "sda3") to give me about 500GB of free space. Then, I changed the size of the extended partition "sda3" to free up the free space into the unallocated space I needed.

Rebooted Windows to make sure everything was still working (again).

Then, I used the Live USB to install Ubuntu onto that unallocated space. I chose the "Something Else" option, created a 484GB "/" partition and a 16GB "Swap" (I know, too big, but I wasn't thinking clearly). I installed and then rebooted.

It booted right into Ubuntu without giving me the GRUB screen. Followed the directions from "GRUB does not detect Windows" and now it works like a charm!

Hope this helps someone else!

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