I currently run Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7 on my 500GB hard drive. I use grub2 to choose which one to boot to each time. The partition layout looks this:

  • Linux: 100GB
  • Linux Swap: 16GB
  • Windows System Reserve: 100MB <-- no clue what this is
  • Windows 7: 100GB

I would like to install another Linux partition on here, but I can only have 4 partitions. I have heard that you can have extended partitions that hold more partitions. The problem is that I cannot create another extended partition because I have 4 vital partitions already. I do not know how grub2 works with extended partitions as well. How should I proceed from here? What should my partition layout look like and how should I get to that?

  • Easeus partition manager or Minitool partition wizard will do the job for you, I don't remember exactly if they are for linux but sure that they are available for windows.
    – avirk
    Oct 17, 2013 at 2:11
  • If your computer supports EFI, you can use that and the GUID Partition Table (GPT), which has a default limit of 128 partitions, not 4. Most computers sold since mid-2011 support EFI, as do some older models.
    – Rod Smith
    Oct 17, 2013 at 17:38

1 Answer 1

  • Use GParted (the LiveCD/LiveUSB version recommended) to repartition.

  • GRUB can handle extended partitions just fine (there might be BIOS limitations but probably not).

  • 16GB of swap is fairly excessive, how much RAM does your system have?

Current layout:

/dev/sda1     100GB    Ubuntu
/dev/sda2      16GB    linux-swap
/dev/sda3     100MB    Windows bootloader
/dev/sda4     100GB    Win7
unallocated  ~272GB

Proposed layout:

/dev/sda1     100GB    Ubuntu
/dev/sda2     100MB    Win boot
/dev/sda3     100GB    Win7
/dev/sda4    ~288GB    extended
/dev/sda5    ~284GB    new partition
/dev/sda6       4GB    linux-swap


  1. Delete /dev/sda2 (the swap partition)
  2. Resize/Move /dev/sda3 (Win boot), set the "Free space proceeding (MiB):" to 0
  3. Resize/Move /dev/sda4 (Win7), set the "Free space proceeding (MiB):" to 0
  4. New extended partition from the ~288GB unallocated space at the end of the drive
  5. New logical partition, size ~284GB, file system: EXT4, label: MyNewPartition
  6. New logical partition, size 4GB, file system: linux-swap
  7. Apply all operations (you may want to do this for each step individually but note the partition numbers may change)
  8. Change the UUID for the swap partition in Ubuntu's /etc/fstab

Warning: it's perfectly safe to delete the swap partition, however, any partitioning operation especially moving/resizing partitions is inherently risky.

  • Or run without a swap partition at all, and set up linux to use swap files.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Oct 17, 2013 at 7:22

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