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I just got a new laptop and want to add Debian to the already installed Windows 7. It came with 2 primary partitions, one for restore and one for Windows 7.

I shrunk the Windows 7 partition down to 60 GB.

Now I'd like to have the following additional partitions:

/boot (ext 4, 200 MG)
/    (ext4, 30 GB)
swap (4 GB)

and then the remaining space, ~150G, be a ntfs partition for data that can be shared between the 2 OSes.

But since I can only have 4 primary partitions, I'm running into problems. I've been reading about primary and logical partitions but my grasp is light.
And it seems that the /boot and swap partitions are required to be Primary partitions. (I know I can put / and /boot on the same partition but thats still too many.)

Can someone give me some guidance/suggestions on how best to partition my drive?

I don't know if this info is helpful, but the laptop is a Thinkpad T400 with 250 G HD and 2 G of ram (new = new to me) and I've been trying to install Debian with the thumbdrive and unetbootin.

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If you can do without swap (if it is a recent computer you probably can), you could make the two remaining partitions into:

  • a /boot partition for debian
  • and an extended partition, under which you could have
         -  /
         -  your extra ntfs partition
         -  theoretically others in the future.

Even if you do want swap, you could always create a swap file later.

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I thought swap was required? – karmet Jan 13 '13 at 23:52
I see, I'm reading up on that now. Not sure, the laptop is a 2008 with 2 G of RAM (though I expect to get more as soon as I can that will be at least a few weeks) – karmet Jan 13 '13 at 23:54
That's plenty unless you're doing video editing or some other high-performance task. Even if, a swapfile is an option. – Jakob Weisblat Jan 14 '13 at 0:02

No, Linux does not require primary partitions for anything.

Make an Extended partition and sub-divide into Logical partitions however many you need.

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