[ubuntu-uk] dual boot problem

Barry Drake ubuntu-advertising at gmx.com
Sun May 13 14:48:05 UTC 2012

On 13/05/12 08:49, Norman Silverstone wrote:
> That's OK Barry, not to worry, time is on my side. I forget to mention 
> that although I have used Ubuntu since Warty the emphasis is on used 
> and not fiddled with. Instructions I can usually follow but age is not 
> on my side (84 years young) Norman

Right.  I'm a kid of only 70, so very able minded (I think not).  OK.  
The process is dangerous as you are firstly going to be re-sizing your 
Windows partition, secondly installing to a partition rather than an 
entire drive, and thirdly you need to be watching where the boot-loader 
goes.  All this, and it is not too difficult to trash anything you have 
on any of the hard drives.

Make sure you know what your drives are and what they are called.  eg 
/dev/sda /dev/sdb etc.  The partitions are numbered like the drives with 
the partition number at the end.  If have three drives - /dev/sda whch 
is a 165 GiB drive with Precise using the entire drive with an ext4 
partition and a Linux swap partition.

My /dev/sdb drive is entirely given to Window 7 and is an 80 GiB drive 
formatted NTFS.  The third drive - /dev/sdc is patiently waiting for the 
next Alpha release.

Now, say I want to use half the Windows 80Gib for an Ubuntu 
installation.  I would either re-size the Windows partition from within 
Windows. (I don't know how to do that).  Or re-size using gparted, or 
let resizing take place from within the installer - which uses gparted.  
If you wanted the Windows partition (on my 80GiB drive) to reduce to 
only 40GiB, gparted can do that.  You then have the empty space for a 
new install.  Allocate a swap partition about the same size as your 
ram.  Allocate the remainder or the unallocated space to ext4 and 
remember what it is called - possibly /dev/sdb2 or /dev/sda2?

In the install dialogues, choose the 'Something else' option, and tell 
Ubuntu to install to the newly created ext4 partition.  Make sure you 
tell it to put the bootloader on the drive you are currently booting 
from.  This is one place you need to be careful as this is where grub 
will be installed and updated.  If you put it on the wrong drive, you 
will need to boot into that drive!  So far so good.  You may get a 
warning about installing to a partition and not a drive ....  but if you 
have got it right, it should be workable.  The hold your breath and see 
if you can boot after the installation has completed.

Please don't shout at me if anything messes up.  This is not an easy 
process, but I have done it two or three times before I started using a 
dedicated drive for Windows and one for Ubuntu (with an extra one for 
Ubuntu testing).  The latter arrangement is far far easier for me to 

Regards,        Barry.

-- Barry Drake is a member of the the Ubuntu Advertising team. 

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