Partitioning a hard disk for installing Ubuntu or Linux Mint: how to do it yourself

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It's not very difficult to partition the hard disk of your computer yourself, when you want to install Ubuntu or Linux Mint and don't want to leave the partitioning to the automatic installer (for some reason).

1. Boot from the Ubuntu or Mint DVD into the desktop of the live session, by selecting "Try Ubuntu (without installing)". Then launch GParted.

Ubuntu: click on the big square button with the rows of white dots (Show Applications) on the bottom left. Query: Gparted.
Click on Gparted Partition Editor.

About the screenshots you see below: you can click on an image to enlarge it.

Note: these screenshots are outdated, but the current screens are almost the same.

2. First you might get a warning from GParted about the "physical block size", but you can safely ignore that. So click the Ignore button:

3. Turn off the swap use on an existing swap partition. Click on linux-swap, then right-click and choose Swapoff:

4. Destroy an existing Ubuntu or Linux Mint partition, but not the swap. The existing swap partition can remain untouched.

Click on the Ubuntu or Linux Mint partition, right-click and choose Delete:

Then apply the delete operation, by clicking the Apply button in the panel (sometimes shown as a green tick). Note the position of the mouse pointer in the screenshot below:

Note the change in partition numbers in this example situation: the swap partition, which used to be sda6, has now become sda5.

5. Close Gparted and start the installation by means of the desktop shortcut.

Choose "Something else" in the "Allocate drive space" window (click on the picture below to enlarge):

(continued in the column on the right)

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6. Select "free space" and click on the symbol +

7. Now choose mount point root ( / ) :

The existing swap partition will be recognized and mounted automatically; no action needed.

8. Click OK and then "Install Now". You'll end up with a neat dual boot: the existing Windows will be recognized automatically and made accessible in the boot loader menu.

Want more tips?

Do you want more tips and tweaks for Ubuntu and Linux Mint? There's a lot more of them on this website!

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