I've just got a new laptop, and am working on getting it dual booting with Ubuntu (I do this all the time, so figured it wouldn't be a problem).

All seemed well, but the HDD came partitioned into four primary partitions. Given you can't have more than four primary partitions, how do I get around this? I shrank the partition Windows was on (which used to be 895GBs) to 445GBs, leaving 440 GBs of unallocated space which I was planning on using for Ubuntu, but now I can't partition it. Can you "convert" a primary partition into an extended partition? I have no idea why Lenovo felt the need to partition their HDD into four separate blocks anyway, but there you go..

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.


By far the simplest solution is to delete one of the primary partitions and create an extended partition in its place (note that this will lose all the data in the partition). You can then create as many logical partitions as you want. I'd guess that one partition is for system rescue, one is for Windows boot, one is Windows itself, and one is empty for data. In this case, you could remove the data partition and create an extra logical NTFS partition during Ubuntu's installation, which Windows will pick up the next time it boots.

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  • So, that's what I ended up doing, because one of the partitions had stuff which it seems I could pull off and put in another partition, but WTF Lenovo? The partitions were; 1) Windows Recovery (SYSTEM_DRIVERS) 2) Windows 3) Lenovo Drivers and apps 4) Lenovo System Recovery (LENONO_PART) I moved everything off partition 3 and wiped it, "shrank" partion 2, which freed up about 570 GBs of space (550 + 20). – Alex Aug 30 '12 at 4:09

By default Windows will use a GPT partition table, this partition table supports up to 128 primary partitions (MBR is limited to 4). Therefore you just need to shrink the biggest partition to create free space for a fifth partition. In windows you can do this with the disk management utility. (Right click partition, select shrink volume) getting it to shrink enough (especially after extended use) can be problematic on NTFS partitions, and you may need to jump through a few hoops to get it to shrink properly but that is beyond the scope of this answer.

After shrinking you can just boot from the installation media and depending on how good the installation media is, either tell it to install alongside (in which case it would hopefully automatically create it's partitions) or failing that, do manual partitioning.

If you really do have an MBR/msdos partition table however, deleting a partition and replacing it with a logical one is the only real option. (Seems in the asker's case, Lenovo installed some bloatware onto it's own partition on the laptop, and Lenovo may in doing so be forcing the drive to use the dated mbr partition table by creating that partition before installing windows. This could affect other pre-assembled computers and laptops as well)

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