I clean installed windows 8.1 on a new 1TB HD. During which I created a 120G partition for windows to live on. (it also creates a small 350M system partition by default). Next, using a LIVE CD I installed Ubuntu 14.4 using the "install alongside" option for dual boot purposes. Everything seemed fine... on powerup I get the menu where I can choose either OS (it defaults to Ubuntu if no choice is selected) but I can successfully boot into either OS no problems.

However, when I go into the disk manager in Windows it shows it's own partition, the system partition, and the rest of the HD as unallocated.

When I checked it out in Ubuntu, I found that on install Ubuntu created an extended partition with whatever disk space was left after the Windows partitions and then split that into two logical partitions. a roughly 8G swap partition and a gigantic 700-something-Gig partition.

1st... how does ubuntu find a way to boot from a non-primary partition? Unless I hallucinated that - but in both Ubuntu's on board disk app and Gparted it says its an extended partition w/2 logical partitions. I didn't think it was possible to boot that way.

Anyway, it works, and thats really not that important to me anyway. I wanted to have Ubuntu on a small(er) partition (like 40-60G) and then split up all that remaining space into a couple other partitions for various purposes.

So, I fired up a Gparted LIVE CD and used that to shrink the Ubuntu partition down, and create a couple more. It completed those operations no problem and...

Ta-DAAAA! Windows STILL doesn't see anything.

This is a problem because I want to be able to use the other partitions from windows not just Ubuntu. I would have used Windows to create them in the first place BUT, since it can't see anything in the "unallocated" space, messing around in there would undoubtedly screw up the ubuntu install.

Now, having done this several times on a couple other drives to try different setups... I think I know wherein lies the problem. When I selected "install alongside" in the Ubuntu setup this time, it skipped the "disk layout" step where I can choose/format partitions etc and went right to choose location. I thought it was odd at the time, and could pose a problem, but I wanted to let it go and just see what happened.

I assume Ubuntu did this only because the rest of the HD was empty/unformatted.

On previous attempts at this, where I created other partitions first, both from inside a new Windows 8.1 install and using gparted prior to installing Windows, Ubuntu gave me the option after choosing "install alongside" to choose/modify/format partitions etc before proceeding. This resulted in windows still not seeing the Ubuntu OS and it's data, but it did recognize the partitions without issue.

So I guess the real question here is Why can't windows see partitions created by Ubuntu?

In summary, I guess I should have known better. I did it the way I did because I thought it would be the "cleanest" install. Pop the live CD in and let it do it's thing with empty drive space.

I did think it was strange that I didn't have the option during install to make location/size choices. You always have that option if you choose "other" (the third choice), AND - if partitions already exist besides the one Windows is on, you also get that choice.

I will most likely end up keeping the Windows partition, wiping the rest of the drive, creating the new partitions first, and then reinstalling Ubuntu.

I was just looking for any input you all might have on the subject. Data loss is not an issue as there is nothing stored on the drive yet.

UPDATE: after more research I decided to uninstall Ubuntu using the "2nd Option" on this help page: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/OS-Uninstaller

Unfortunately I did this before the comment posted to this question asking for more data.

Ubuntu uninstalled cleanly. I created several partitions using windows and intend to re-install Ubuntu once I am certain of the best way to go about it to ensure smooth boot and cross-OS usability. I assume any questions on that should be posted/asked elsewhere?


  • Please edit your question to include the output of all three of the following commands, typed in an Ubuntu Terminal window: sudo parted /dev/sda print, sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda, and sudo gdisk -l /dev/sda. Add four spaces to the start of each line of the program outputs. This will provide us with information that's necessary to do more than wildly speculate about the nature of the problem. – Rod Smith Jul 15 '14 at 23:26

Windows 8 uses Microsoft bootloader to look at the partitions on the HDD. Unfortunately the bootloader doesn't recognize ext2, ext3 or ext4 (and several others) format types of partitions so it will either say the partition is unavailable or unallocated.

Ubuntu used GRUB2 to partition the HDD. It supports several more formats than Microsoft's bootloader. If you want both OSes to see a partition, you will need to format it with FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS (I think there might be one more). After you create the partition and format it, go to Windows and mount the partition.


There are several drivers that allow Windows to read and write ext filesystems. If I remember correctly, the one I use was titled "ext2fsd". Google "windows ext4 filesystem driver" and find one. Linux typically installs with the ext4 journaling filesystem, but Windows refuses to acknowledge its existence - the driver will fix this.

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