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I know that similar questions have been asked, and I've researched all over the net for a concise, clear answer to this, but I have not been able to find a suitable solution.

I just built a new desktop with a 120GB SSD and a 2T HDD, and I installed a trial WIN7 on the front half of the SSD (OS) and the half 2T drive (Data) as UEFI/GPT, and tried to install Ubuntu on the remaining disk space, but ran into all kinds of problems. First off, I had to create a UEFI 3.0 USB stick for the WIN7 install because it would not recognize the SSD. I understand I could have changed that requirement in the BIOS so I would be booting into Legacy (MBR) format, but I went with the newer default settings. From what I've read so far, it seems that Ubuntu doesn't do an 'auto install' on a UEFI/GPT formatted disk, even though I am using a UEFI 3.0 USB ISO for that... it doesn't recognize the WIN7 OS, and I would need to manually format and install it, and then hope I can get the boot repaired afterwards.

This is what i want to do, and would like some feedback as to the best way to get it done: I want to install WIN7 and Ubuntu OS on the SSD (half each), and split the HDD for each system to store its own data. I will mostly be using the PC for video editing, and may need both OS, depending on what software I end up using. Here are my questions:

1) Is there enough of an advantage to using the UEFI/GPT partition/format scheme to be worth the trouble, as compared with doing the whole install in legacy/MBR mode? Will I lose much functionality or efficiency if I simply switch the bios to legacy and do everything that way, which seems to be much easier?

2) depending on which way I go (UEFI vs Legacy), what would be the best way to format the drives for a seamless install of both OS. If I go with UEFI, would it be best to format one primary partition on each drive as NTFS, or just leave it all 'unformatted', or ????... and,

3)what would be the best way to set up the drives for a clean install? maybe use Gpartd from the live USB Ubuntu stick to reformat everything, or ????

I do have some data and apps on the WIN7 installation that i would like to save and restore after I have everything running properly. I plan on using half the HDD as the D:/ drive for all my data and some apps for WIN7, which will probably end up being a NTFS partition which will be accessible from Ubuntu, but not vice versa. I can live with that. The other half of the HDD would be Ubuntu data, and I suppose that would be my '/' partition... thanks in advance for all your help.

  • I do suggest UEFI with gpt, and use gpt on data drive. I also suggest an efi partition at beginning of data drive just in case you want to install a test version of Ubuntu. I suggest letting Windows do its thing and use Windows to shrink its main partition and reboot so it can run chkdsk. Then create / (root) partition with gparted on SSD and partition for /home or data (what I use) on hard drive. I keep /home inside / but have all data on hard drive using links. askubuntu.com/questions/524943/… – oldfred Dec 23 '14 at 16:23
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If you have successfully installed Windows 7 with UEFI then everything should be in place. You would just need to boot the Ubuntu media the same way for installation and it should provide you the install alongside option.

1) Will I lose much functionality or efficiency if I simply switch the bios to legacy and do everything that way, which seems to be much easier?

In theory UEFI is actually easier. This mostly depends on the firmware, some laptops have issue but desktop boards should be fine. A mix of connected GPT and MBR disks causes problems during Windows (re-)installation. Also with GPT the limitation of only up to 4 primary partitions is gone. The best thing of all: no more bootloaders overwriting each other! A broken Linux bootloader (configuration) doesn't result in a broken Windows and vice versa. UEFI is much more flexible.

2) would it be best to format one primary partition on each drive as NTFS

I don't understand. Why would you want to format a partition for Linux with NTFS before installing?

3) what would be the best way to set up the drives for a clean install?

If you have installed Windows 7 properly in UEFI mode Ubuntu would just need to create a root partition and a swap partition, it would install it's bootloader to the existing EFI System Partition. If that is not the case and you don't see the install alongside option, we need to find out why.

The other half of the HDD would be Ubuntu data, and I suppose that would be my '/' partition

I thought you were going to install Ubuntu to the SSD, so to use it for operating systems and the larger drive for data, or am I mistaken?

  • Thank you, but to be clear, I was only able to successfully install WIN7 as UEFI/GPT, and I had to reformat the USB 3.0 drive to UEFI format to get it to install (since the BIOS was set to that as a default). I've tried every configuration of the Ubuntu ISO on another 3.0 USB drive, and it WILL NOT recognize the Win7 OS... there is no "install alongside" option available. A quick Google search for 'UEFI Ubuntu dual boot' will bring up tons of (conflicting) articles about it being difficult and highly unrecommended. There are many workarounds suggested (which I'm trying to avoid) thus the NTFS. – Frank C Dec 23 '14 at 20:28
  • I don't want to sound stubborn, but I have to assume that there is something still not quite right. I hope the following questions help you to get one step closer to a solution: askubuntu.com/q/395879/40581 askubuntu.com/q/163962/40581 As you seem to have media for installing Windows 7, why not install Ubuntu first and Windows afterwards? As I said in my answer the UEFI bootloaders will not overwrite each other. – LiveWireBT Dec 24 '14 at 16:49

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