I'd like to run Debian on my laptop in dual boot with Win7.

I started shrinking my C drive, freeing 150Gb to give to Debian, but when installing and arriving at the point in which I have to choose where to put the OS, the installer list me the partition as "unusuable".

I read that's because we are only allowed to have 4 partitions on our HD and HP has already claimed all of them:

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Any suggestions?

If there are no solution I'll stick with this, I already run Debian and Ubuntu on my Desktop PC so it's not a big deal, mostly a challenging problem that I'm trying to solve in those winter holidays.

  • You've freed the space needed but unless your HDD is GPT partitioned you've already maxed out the number of primary partitions you can do on MBR partitioning. You might try deleting one of those HP_ partitions since I don't think those are going to be used for booting and are likely just a way of doing factory reset. If you're installing OS's you can likely just do that stuff on your own without HP's help.
    – Bratchley
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


If you have a spare usb drive, you're all set:

"After the creation of the recovery disc' you may remove the recovery partition as it's not needed anymore. Use the recovery manager to remove it, do not go into disc management and delete it there. Keep the recovery disc's in a safe place as you are allowed to create only one set, people loose them all the time and while there are ways to create another set, it's best just to keep the originals" from What do these partitions do? HP Tools, Recovery, Boot

So, you can make a recovery disk, and then erase the HP Recovery Partition with no issues. Then, in the installer, you can make a partition (I always use ext4) out of the unallocated disk space, and you should be able to install linux on that partition. The installer may ask if you want a swap and a boot partition, but you should decline, since you only have one free partition.

  • Thanks! Is the recovery disc this one or this? And after I erase the Recovery partition can I extend the Main one over the free space and install Debian on the 150Gb I have already freed? EDIT: Stupid first question. The second pic clearly says "Recovery disc", so I'm gonna look for a double layer dvd now.
    – Syrinxos
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:27
  • @Marvin I believe so, but don't go with that for sure. There should be an option at the end of that process the delete the recovery partition. I'll get back to you on that in a minute.
    – Flare Cat
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:30
  • I believe you should be able to expand the main partition with that new space, but I don't remember how. I'll look it up.
    – Flare Cat
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:34
  • windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-usb-recovery-drive shows how to make a recovery drive, but it is for windows 8. The steps are similar for windows 7, but are a bit different.
    – Flare Cat
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:35
  • Ok, you should be able to extend the main partition with the new freed space. In computer managment, right click the main partition and then click extend volume. You may have to recreate the linux partition; I don't have a windows 7 computer to try it out on.
    – Flare Cat
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:38

Create a recovery disk, then use a live linux distro (ubuntu live for example) to delete the recovery partition (and the tools if you want, you'll likely never use them) and then repartition with and extended partition taking up the remaining space with at least one logical partition formatted for your filesystem of choice (e.g. ext3, ext4, btrfs) and install Debian to that.

The logical partition you use for Debian should not take up the entire extended partition, you probably want several logical partitions, one of which you may want to use to share the data on it between windows and linux. It's common to call this /shared or /data. You really don't need anything close to 150GB for debian, you can allocate most of it to your /shared if you want. You may also want a swap, it's generally recommended to put it at the end (or the beginning, which you can't do) of the disc.

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