I am trying to get ubuntu back to work on my dual boot laptop (Win8 + Ubuntu 12.10). It happens that Ubuntu 12.10 is not loading, and even after checking and repairing errors from LiveCD. Further, this repair process also messed up with Win8, and had me repair it as well. So I decided just to get it a clean fresh install of Ubuntu on top of the "old" Ubuntu.

This laptop has 2 disks with 500 gb each. It is organized like this:

  • /dev/sda/

    1. sda1 (fat32, labeled win recovery environment);
    2. sda2 (ntfs, win8 loader);
    3. sda5 (ext4, linux-secure-remix 12.10, 320Gb);
    4. sda6 (swap)
  • /dev/sdb/

    1.sdb1 (non-labeled) 2.sdb2 (non-labeled)

So my questions are

I am guessing that I should choose format and reinstall ubuntu over sda5 right? Do you think this will mess up with Win8? Should I instead install Ubuntu over sdb (and creating a swap there as well), while reformatting sda just to have Win8?

  • Is the system currently dual boot with the linux-secure? In other words, is Windows 8 starting through grub? If it is, the backup of your old MBR is likely to be on sda5 and you might want to save that if you want to restore the machine to something without Linux.
    – Anthon
    Mar 14, 2014 at 14:22
  • Windows 8 boots normally as what happens with a regular windows-only machine. So, in other words, it is best for me to install ubuntu in sdb and reformat sda with win8 only?
    – Sos
    Mar 14, 2014 at 14:39
  • 1
    IMHO you can just reuse sda5 unless it is really small and Ubuntu's / would not fit (my / is 16G, for normal use 6-8Gb should suffice for / with /home possible somewhere else).
    – Anthon
    Mar 14, 2014 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


It all depends on what you want to do, both under Linux and under Windows, especially what kind of data you are going to store (and your ripped Music collection and Videos will probably outshine any sources or texts you edit).

What I would do is prepare the disc for two extra distribution install, once you get tired of Ubuntu or want to install 14.04 and do not want to remove the 12.04.

  1. remove sda5 and sda6 and the extended partition you probably have containing sda5 and sda6
  2. create a swap partition of double the RAM size of the computer as sda3
  3. create an extended partition sda4
  4. create sda5 in the extended partition 20Gb
  5. create sda6 in the extended partition 20Gb
  6. create sda7 in the extended partition rest of the disc

Now install Ubuntu 12.04 with sda5 as / and sda7 as /home and sda3 as swap. Keep sda6 for installing the next Linux distro/version, *which will allow you to boot 12.04 from sda5) and share /home.

I normally do not share the actual home directories between revisions as there might be backwards incompatible changes of configuration files, but I do link the data that I want to share explicitly.

Use sdb1/2 as needed as Windows or Linux filesystems. Linux has no problem reading/writing NTFS, so that might be a good choice for material you need to access from both sides of the fence.

This should not mess up your Windows 8 installation, apart from Windows 8 booting trough grub. But I have not used Win8 myself and have only done this with Windows XP. It could be that Ubuntu 12.04 does not know enough about Win 8 to properly boot it. If that happens you might want to install a newer version of Linux that does support Win8 booting in sda6 and boot 12.04 from that.

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