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I have 500 GB internal drive in my laptop and want to make clean install of Windows 7 and Ubuntu (12.04, when it releases on 23rd April 2012), I've planned following layout.

  • Windows Partition (50 GB)
  • Ubuntu Partition (20 GB)
  • Rest of available space divided in 3 equal partitions, which will be available in both OS.

During Windows installation, it doesn't allow me to create these 5 partitions partitions, and after installation completes, I need to "extend" the rest of Unallocated Space to create additional partitions.

How can I perform such partition scheme (5 partitions, of which 2 for OS installs) before I install any of the OS (like using Gparted instead)? such that I can dual boot and have 3 drives common for both operating systems.

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You already answered your own question - use GParted. If you need help with how to use GParted to accomplish what you want, please rephrase your question accordingly. – Indrek Apr 22 '12 at 17:09
@Indrek: I have very little exposure to Gparted and hence expected an answer which provides any tutorial for performing the same. – Kushal Apr 22 '12 at 17:13
@Kush I'm still not 100% sure exactly what you need help with (using GParted, or coming up with a partition scheme), but see my answer below. Hope it helps. – Indrek Apr 22 '12 at 20:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

For general help on using GParted, see their help page.

To accomplish the partition scheme you describe, you'll probably want to create two primary partitions - one for Windows and one for Ubuntu, formatted for NTFS and ext4 respectively. Then create an extended partition and inside it four logical partitions, one (1-2 GB) for Ubuntu's swap area, and the three shared partitions (probably formatted as FAT, or NTFS if you need to share large files). Then proceed to install Windows and Ubuntu on their respective partitions. During Ubuntu's installation process, make sure to choose the manual/advanced option when it comes to partitioning the disk, and specify mount points for the existing partitions.

An alternative method (as also described by @Craztech) would be to install Windows on a blank drive and create only a 50 GB partition, leaving the rest of the drive unused. Then, when installing Ubuntu, create the remaining partitions during the installation process. This might be a bit quicker. The only difference will be that Windows will create two partitions, one ~100 MB for boot files, and then the 50 GB partition you specify. If you install Windows on an existing partition (that you created with GParted), the 100 MB partition won't be created, and you'll be able to create a third primary partition later, should you so desire (MBR disks are limited to 4 primary, or 3 primary + 1 extended partitions).

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I have installations similar to this and some applications don't allow you to create more than 4 partitions. If you install Windows 7 using the installer to create your first partition and leaving the remaining space unallocated. You can complete the install and when you install Linux it will allow you to create the remaining partitions you need. As long as one of them is NTFS it will be recognized by both operating systems. I usually only allow one partition to be shared however.

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