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I have 3 disk partions in my Windows 7 laptop. I would like to replace Windows with Ubuntu. But I want to save my data on other 2 partions. Is it possible for me to format C:/ Windows default partition and install Ubuntu on it? For so long I wanted to do this. Appreciate your help.

marked as duplicate by xangua, Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy, Terrance, David Foerster, Eric Carvalho Jan 31 '16 at 18:17

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  • To me this seems a little different because the OP wants to delete Windows and replace it with Linux in just one partition. I posted the answer because I thought there were extra considerations. – JimLohse Jan 30 '16 at 3:16

It's possible, but not advised, if you think you'll need to run Windows.

For example you may not find a printer driver for Linux and will need to reboot to Windows to print. There is very likely some reason you will want your Windows install back at some point.

Better to move your data to your C:/drive and delete one of those data partitions. Then you'll need to manually make multiple partitions where you deleted the one.

Typically Ubuntu (and all Linux) needs at least two or three partitions, at a minimum I mount / on one partition, /home on another, and use a third for swap.


1 -- Read this page thoroughly until you understand it, it's the page about installing Ubuntu in its own partition.

If you decide to go ahead and install Ubuntu in its own partition you will have a good idea of what to expect based on the link above.

Make sure you understand the part about Master Boot Record and Boot Manager. Not understanding MBR vs. Grub2 will cause a lot of potential headaches that can be avoided by using the Wubi install in the next link. If you want to be unable to boot your computer, messing with boot partitions without a full understanding is a sure ticket!

To install Ubuntu in your Windows partition, please review this page about Wubi.

2 -- Have a backup of Windows and know how to restore it

3 -- Look at this question (which your in a way duplicates) and make the final decision if you want Wubi or if you are ready to mess with repartitioning. You can test out Wubi now, then later when you are confident you really want to dump Windows, and you understand partitioning better you can try a repartition. You can also attempt to shrink your Windows C:/ partition to keep it and make space for Linux.

If you install the right packages in Linux you can see your NTFS drives, so a basic Linux install can easily live on 50-100Gb.

Summary: I suggest you install Ubuntu in the Windows partition first (Wubi link). Booting a "live file system" off a USB stick or CD gets annoyingly slow after a while. Until you really know what you are doing don't delete partitions. It's easy to cause a problem where you can't boot and don't know how to fix it.

I am sure you understand, formatting C:/Windows will delete your Windows installation. Think of the least harmful approach while you are still getting to know Linux.

  • 2
    Saying that in Ubuntu one may not find drivers or get into problems so he should keep Windows is not a good advice. You should tell the OP to test Ubuntu completely from a Live media before installing. If he's 100%, then there shouldn't be fear. – Eduardo Cola Jan 30 '16 at 3:44
  • I think in a very narrow sense you are correct -- however, and if this doesn't apply to you, you are a superior being LOL -- when dumping Windows I think most of us have an aha moment a day or a week or a month later. Some file that wasn't backed up, some program that we forget we installed -- something unpredictable -- that I will stick with my advice that he keep it around before cutting loose. Now I would also suggest you post your valid advice as an answer! We are both correct, you in a technical sense, me in a fallible human sense. – JimLohse Jan 30 '16 at 4:26
  • @Eduardo just FWIW, booting in Windows this am to test some timing algorithm that won't settle down in Linux, I notice my full install of Adobe Creative Cloud I get free as a university student, I don't think I want to run Premiere in a VM under Ubuntu :) There's a reason to keep Windows around, I know that's a heresy on this site but I have learned it's best to be agnostic on tech holy wars. We never know when our next employers will be Windows-based (though luckily at my work we are all Linux all the time in our developer group :) Just IMO – JimLohse Jan 30 '16 at 16:51

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