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I have a desktop computer on which I first installed Windows 7, then Ubuntu 13.10 (in dual-boot).

Since everything went fine, I wanted to do the same on my laptop, which currently has only Windows 7 installed.

At the installation screen, I'm supposed to create a new partition for Ubuntu but... I can't because it tells me that the space is "unusable". Apparently you can only have 4 partitions (worst design decision btw).

So the partitions listed there are:

  • Windows 7 (loader) - about 100 MB in size
  • my Windows partition
  • my Data partition (with movies, photos, software etc.)
  • Windows Recovery Environment (loader) - about 1 GB in size

I really need to install Ubuntu on this system. So I thought I could delete the Recovery partition. I never use it and I hope to god that I'll never regret not having it.

The question is: is it safe to delete this partition ? If yes, do I have to simply delete it from the Ubuntu installation screen or do I have to do something more special about it (like changing boot entries, I suspect it's bootable) ? Is there a better solution for my problem ?

I'm asking because I don't want to break something (I know from experience that working with partitions can have unpredictable consequences at the slightest wrong thing done to them).

Thank you in advance.

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You can create a Windows recovery disk as a substitute, and the Recovery partition can be removed from Windows (as well as Ubuntu), see here:… – Nattgew Apr 22 '14 at 21:13
1GB isn't enough to install Ubuntu...the simple solution is to combine the data and system partition or wipe everything and use GPT partitions and you won't have the 4 partition limit – Ramhound Apr 22 '14 at 21:18
@Ramhound Yeah I know but I also shaved off 11GB from the Windows partition, it should be enough for my purposes. – Radu Murzea Apr 22 '14 at 21:19
Those 11GB cannot be combine with the 1GB partition though.... – Ramhound Apr 22 '14 at 21:20
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The question is: is it safe to delete this partition?

Define "safe," but yes. If you ever run into serious trouble with your Windows install and need to do a system recovery or operating system install, you'll probably wish you hadn't, but it doesn't contain anything you can't get somewhere else, or do with other tools (most of which can be found on a Windows install DVD).

And to delete it, all you need to do is delete it from the Ubuntu install screen.

Is there a better solution for my problem ?

Yes, there is. Virtualization. Get a client hypervisor like VMware workstation and run Ubunutu inside your Windows OS. For this reason, I kicked dual booting and all its related headaches to the curb many years ago.

Apparently you can only have 4 partitions (worst design decision btw).

Check out this question and its answers for why "there are only 4 partitions." It actually was a very sensible, and good design decision at the time, back when hard disks were very expensive, and by our standards, had very small storage capacities. It doesn't have to be that way anymore, though, and the solution to that particular problem is to use GPT-formatted disks.

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Thank you for your fast and very to-the-point answer. Regarding virtualization: I found that VMs tend to have performance issues, especially on laptops. It works pretty well, but it feels very un-natural to me. I do use them all the time for experimenting all kind of stuff, but for main usage I tend to stick to native installations :) . – Radu Murzea Apr 22 '14 at 21:18
It worked, thanks. Now I just hope I won't ever feel sorry for that thing... – Radu Murzea Apr 23 '14 at 17:42

You must check in the OEM utility to create a recovery disk or usb flash drive and then you may delete the recovery partition to use it with Ubuntu. See your computer documentation or the Web site of the PC manufacturer.

Hope this help. Let us know.

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