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I am new to Ubuntu but I am totally in love with Linux and want to keep it as the only OS on my laptop. I want to keep two of my partitions intact and use all the others (Windows boot partition, recovery partition, and system partition). While installing Ubuntu do I need to keep the recovery and system partition? Like what is done with Windows? Sorry for multiple questions in a single post.

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When you boot Ubuntu (either from an USB stick or DVD), you can select from three installation methods: Erase everything, Split current OS partition, or a custom setup. In your case, you'll have to go the custom setup route (Select the "Something else..." option). You should make a backup before doing anything else. Partitioning can result in the corruption of some partitions and you may lose data. Now do your partitioning like this:

  • Find out whether you're using UEFI or not. This is easily found out when the Live System is started. If a GRUB menu shows up, it's UEFI. If a purple screen with keyboard and a man shows up, it's BIOS.
  • Delete the Windows partition
  • Create a swap partition about the size of your RAM (if you want to, needed for storage of RAM content, e.g. hibernation)
  • Fill the remaining space with a new EXT4 partition and set its mount point to /.
  • If you're using UEFI: Set the boot partition's mount point to /boot/efi
  • In the selection box below, mark the device you're operating on (most likely /dev/sda) as MBR partition (if on a Legacy BIOS system). If you're running an UEFI system, select the boot partition (probably /dev/sda1, the one with the boot mount point)

After this is done, you can install your system. Afterwards, you could make access to your data partition a lot easier by automounting it. For this you can add an entry into /etc/fstab (open with a text editor using sudo or as root):

UUID=<enter partition UUID here>    /path/to/mountpoint    partition type    options    0    0

You commented that you're using FAT and exFAT for your data partition. If you really don't want to change this to some linux-native, like EXT4, as you're booting Linux only, use something like the following line. You can get the partition UUID with the command sudo blkid:

#ExFAT
UUID=xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx    /mnt/exfatfiles    exfat-fuse    defaults,umask=0000    0    0
#FAT
UUID=xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx    /mnt/fatfiles    vfat    defaults,umask=0000    0    0

After a reboot or sudo mount -a, the partition should be mounted at /mnt/files.

  • Thanks for the detailed answer. Though i have a couple of clarifications more to make. First, how to check if my system has a legacy bios or its a UEFI system? Second, my my media partitions are Fat and ex-fat both. How to go about that for auto mounting. – Himanshu Sachdeva Dec 1 '14 at 3:18
  • Best not to use FAT32, it has no journal and cannot store a file over 4GB. And ex-fat is still proprietary to Windows support in Linux is just being developed, better to use Linux format if not also dual booting with Windows. And make a Windows repair disk if you keep Windows formats as you need that to run chkdsk. You cannot run chkdsk from Linux. – oldfred Dec 1 '14 at 4:50
  • We should always recommend to make a backup before we change partition layouts. – Takkat Dec 1 '14 at 7:44
  • I updated it accordingly. – s3lph Dec 1 '14 at 12:46
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You have to use "Something else" option when installing and set up partitions for installation yourself.
I found a good article about installing GNU/Linux, especially there is a good guide on how to keep some of your partitions and doing custom installation.
Don't get confused with the fact that article is about dual booting Linux and Windows, it contains information you need.

http://www.freeyourselffrommicrosoftandthensa.org/06-dual-boot/6-3-dual-boot-linux-mint-with-windows-xp-or-windows-7

  • I completely agree with Aibara. Though thanks for the link. – Himanshu Sachdeva Dec 1 '14 at 4:23

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