Request for partitioning advice - I'm confused

Hi guys,
I’m new with Lubuntu and I’m trying to install it on my old Sony vaio where there is windows 7 pro at the moment.
But I’m locked at the partition screening because haow you said I have not the option “erase disk” but only manual partition.
If I select that and then next I have 3 sda ntfs:

  • recovery 5,93gb
  • System_Reserved 100mb
  • blank 226,85gb

What am I supposed to do?
Delete all or what?

I try to open Lubuntu terminal and run sudo swapoff -a but nothing change.

Sorry for my ignorance with these procedures and thanks for your help.

Starting point for me would be what release of Lubuntu you’re using, and which ISO. The release details let us know what version of calamares (the installer) you’re using, and the ISO is useful on some where different releases had respins with new versions of calamares (eg. Lubuntu 22.04.2 has a newer calamares than Lubuntu 22.04)

Regardless, you’ve not said what partition table you have on your disk, as that really matters. If it’s a legacy partition table for example; only FOUR primary partitions are possible, so if they’re used up no options to add more are possible. You’ll need to delete some first, or other drastic measures as that partition table only caters for four (which was considered plenty when the standard was created in the 1980s).

Also, if your windows system has fastboot or hibernate active/enabled, that portion of the disk will be ignored by calamares in order to protect data there, and no “Erase disk” option can show, thus booting windows & ensuring it shuts down with fastboot off (fastboot is a form of hibernation) will allow calamares to offer you more options.


Hi @guiverc, thank you for your reply and sorry for my lack of complete information.
I’m trying to install Lubuntu 22.04.2.
About the partitions, I didn’t understand… I have 3 partitions as I said

recovery 5,93gb
System_Reserved 100mb
blank 226,85gb

Recovery is the Vaio recovery data disk, System_reserved I have no idea and the one without a label is the disk with windows 7 and all my data.

I check my bios and I have not Fast boot option, so I don’t know if I have fastboot enabled, is there any other way to check? Or if the option is not there, it means that there is no fastboot…

Even with this details I’d not be willing to advise…

If I was to look at my own system I’m using now, my partition detail (with command showing the detail) looks like

guiverc@d7050-next:/de2900/lubuntu_64$   sudo parted -l
[sudo] password for guiverc: 
Model: ATA TOSHIBA KSG60ZMV (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 256GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name                          Flags
 1      1049kB  106MB   105MB   fat32        EFI system partition          boot, esp
 2      106MB   123MB   16.8MB               Microsoft reserved partition  msftres
 3      123MB   47.5GB  47.4GB               Basic data partition          msftdata
 6      47.5GB  152GB   105GB   ext4
 5      152GB   153GB   537MB   fat32                                      boot, esp
 7      153GB   255GB   103GB   ext4
 4      255GB   256GB   655MB   ntfs                                       hidden, diag

I didn’t plan this system (I’d have preferred a different layout)… but it was a refurbished box I purchased which came with windows 11 back in February 2023; then used for QA-test installs to add both an LTS system (Lubuntu 22.04 LTS) and the development release (Lubuntu lunar or what will very soon be 23.04). The partition layout was thus based on what we QA-test for to an extent.

The windows11 ESP is recognized by the tiny FAT32 partition titled ESP (looking at NAME & FLAGS fields), a microsoft reserved & basic-data partition; the basic-data is what was shrunk to allow me to have space for what I use. None of those I use (I’ll wipe them when I need disk space I suspect), that is then followed by 2x EXT4 partitions (one each for 22.04 & lunar), a larger ESP I do use, and an unknown to me NTFS partition that is another I don’t care about (NT was the New Technology used in windows 4 & later; flag says its DIAG so it could also be a dell partition; either way its not my data thus I don’t care)

Key is that detail to me is the file-system column; windows partitions I tend to ignore (I last booted windows only to confirm the Lubuntu installs didn’t adversely impact the operation of windows as part of the Quality Assurance tests I used the box for, and haven’t booted windows since).

Back to your details; RECOVERY is either system hardware specific (code used by your brand to run diagnostics, or return some features back to prior defaults etc), but the system reserved sorry I don’t know, and BLANK I have no idea.

Unused space is not a partition and should not show in partition fields/tables (unless marked as being outside of partition in some clear manner). Unallocated space is part(s) of the disk that haven’t yet been allocated to a partition thus is FREE/AVAILABLE to be used/partitioned however you want.

How blank is interpreted will vary on the tool used, and how BLANK is defined, and you gave no specifics as to what program you used to view detail. My example was with the GNU Parted program; shown by the command I used.

Its possible from your description the BLANK is the equivalent of what showed in my partition table as basic data partition & msftdata… the partition I shrunk to create space for my 2x EXT4 partitions (2 Lubuntu installs) plus second ESP.

FYI: Fastboot & Hibernate are windows/OS features, not related to the machine firmware (ie. not BIOS related). I can’t recall what windows 7 provided sorry.

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Maybe I found the way out!
From command prompt in windows, I type powercfg -h off to disable Hibernate.
Then I launched again the Lubuntu installation and I have the erase option or replacing a partition.
At the moment I have this situation with my partitions:

First one is Windows Recovery Environment
Second one is Windows 7 professional
Third one is sda, where there is my data

So, do you suggest to install Lubuntu on all three partitions deleting them or it’s better keep the first two e install on the third?
Forgive me for asking this, but this procedure is fairly new to me and I would not like to do something wrong.


What you do will be determined by what you want to do, primarily do you want to keep windows 7?

Windows 7 is EOL & thus a security-risk, however will be safe if used off-line & only used to play games for example. Whether or not you keep it is up to you (I still have a winXP system which has two games installed for offline play)

I shrunk my 123MB 47.5GB 47.4GB Basic data partition partition by ~200GB to create the partitions on which I installed my two Ubuntu systems. You could shrink that large partition.

I see a small ~100MB partition marked as boot but I don’t see an ESP flag. Is your system booting using uEFI or is it legacy/DOS/MBR/CSM ? 100MB is rather small I feel for an ESP (why I ignored mine).

Your partition table is listed as “msdos”, therefore you have a limit of four primary partitions only; your listing already shows 3 meaning only one more can be created - ie. a single partition.

Assuming you want to keep the windows, if it was me, I’d shrink the large windows partition to create space, create an extended partition as the last fourth primary partition, as that allows you to subdivide the space as you wish.

If your system is EFI booting; you’ll need an ESP; however whether or not the ESP needs to be primary is firmware specific thus is machine-hardware-unique. You may get away with another ESP as secondary partition, but also may not require one. You could always grow the existing, or just use it normally & not have problems too. You could always just create a primary partition (the fourth) and install to that; that is simplest & simplest is usually best (and what I’d do if you’re not using EFI boot probably).

If you’re not familiar with what booting system you’re using; the calamares installer you a good clue during installation; if you’re using a legacy system you see BIOS top left during installation (peek here for an image from our manual). Alternatively this code snippet from here can tell you

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo "EFI boot on HDD" || echo "Legacy boot on HDD"

I’d consider

  • do you want to keep windows 7?
  • is your system EFI boot? (ie. do you need an ESP)
  • what size to create

If you’re not booting using EFI ignore the ESP as simplest is usually best (in my opinion). A single partition is all Ubuntu/Lubuntu requires (meaning it can be a primary partition too!); and you can use swapfiles for swap. It’s down to whether or not you keep windows or not; and what size.

Note: I’m trying to advise only, and let it be your decision.

Sizes will depend on what you plan to do; For this box; my size was based on how small I could shrink windows but still leave it some space (should I decide I do want it) then divided the 208GB I felt I could take into two ~unequal sizes so my LTS (22.04) & next (23.04) can be told apart slightly by size (why my sizes are 103 + 105; not 2x 104GB). As a minimum size I’d suggest 40GB, but the more the better & sizes will depend on what you’ll do with it (what apps you’ll install, what data you’ll have on store on it etc)

If your windows data is important to you, and you intend keeping it, ensure you backup first. It’s easy to make a mistake during installation, or have a power outage etc. during a critical stage of the install process.

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Hi @guiverc and thank you for your comprehensive and useful advice.
I will try to answer your questions from the height of my ignorance on the subject.

By launching the code you suggested I see EFI boot on HDD, but I see BIOS on screen during the Lubuntu installation. I guess it’s efi boot, right?
I am not interesting to keep windows 7, I would like to jump into the open source world and want to experiment with an easy-to-use linux distribution, which is why I chose Lubuntu.

Maybe I would consider keeping the recovery partition so in case there is some problem with Lubuntu I can always start a factory reset, right?
So I will use my data partition (226gb) and Windows 7 partition (100mb) to install and use Lubuntu.
Could this be the simplest and safest solution?

That’s as I see it a confusing contradiction; but “EFI boot on HDD” is what I see on this box & it’s Secure-uEFI boot.

I walked into another box & ran the code I mentioned; it reported as “Legacy boot on HDD” which matches that the box doesn’t use uEFI. I grabbed a sony vaio device & booted yesterday’s lunar daily & started calamares to install; it show EFI on screen in the “Lubuntu Installer” which is expected as it’s EFI.

As you have two contradictory answers; I’m unsure sorry. I’d likely use an ESP so it’ll boot; as if your machine is EFI it’s required, but if your machine is BIOS/legacy the ESP is ignored & thus only a tiny waste of disk space. That’s an extra partition required though.

If you’re not interested in keeping windows 7; I’d use the “Erase disk” and install that way… It’s the easiest option.

My sony vaio I was given because its partition table was broken in hopes I could recover the windows on it… The recovery tools it had failed to operate (likely due to partition table corruption) and I had no desire to spend time of fixing windows anyway; so using the “Erase disk” and install of a Lubuntu system was an easy way to make the box operational (I’ve kept using it for QA-test installs)

I can’t really advise here, most hardware I get is either broken when I get it, or from a refurbisher/recycler thus won’t have any of the original software on it (and I usually erase whatever is on them anyway) so I have little experience with factory reset. Even the new stuff I handled in my work was always wiped & re-installed prior to getting to whomever it was purchased for; so any default recovery option was inoperable.

Given you don’t care about losing windows 7… I’d use this as a learning experience, eg. note the following are just some thoughts

  • try & install Lubuntu as a primary partition (4th primary) without the ESP (ie. BIOS mode assuming the installer is correct & the command was wrong), shrinking the data partition to create the space… I’d expect it to install fine, but will it boot? If it fails to boot grub and let you select Lubuntu/Windows etc… the box is likely EFI. so next install
  • repeat installation, re-using the same / partition created in prior attempt; but this time using the windows ESP partition (tiny ~100MB)… Only problem here maybe lack of space on ESP but still a reasonable chance it’ll work;
  • I’d likely try the recovery options here, since you wanted to keep them… what does it do?
  • etc.

If you get bored, you can always do an “Erase disk” and install like I did to my sony vaio & it’s been problem free since… Please Note: If I select the BIOS/Recovery option I get an error as it cannot find the recovery partition on mine (the Erase Disk will lose your recovery!)… I recall having problems with my Sony Vaio until I used the Erase disk but my issues may have been my attempted re-use of the corrupted partition table which was fixed with the erase (and creation of new partition table)… it was awhile ago so I can’t recall clearly. It’s the only sony box I recall using sorry.

Additional note: When you shrink the windows partition; I’d also consider making the ESP partition larger using some of the free space created when you shrink; but I’d likely do that next on my list of learning install things you could do… ie. I’d use the box to do many installs & use it was a learning exercise… Don’t worry about using all the free space in prior Lubuntu installs; you can just delete any prior Lubuntu partition in the next install attempt… FYI: I’d expand the ESP using live media & KDE Partition Manager but you can use whatever tool you wish to.

Hopefully I’ve covered that… I’d shrink the data partition (which I believe is the windows partitions as the 100MB partition will be the ESP used by windows) to create space for your Lubuntu install. The installer will let you drag-shrink it… you just don’t want the power to go out during that operation…

Those are my thoughts anyway.


Just jumping in to add my $.02 . . . keeping it simple, if you use the GUI installer, there was traditionally, an option for “install alongside” which you could choose if you wanted to install next to an installed OS . . . in my case back when it was OSX.

Or, there is an “erase and install” option, which would wipe the drive and install the ubuntu based system. Not reading the whole thread, but it seems like option 2, “erase and install” would install the new Lubuntu system and make the decisions for you about what is what . . . and where it is.

Hello guys,
I decided to do a simpler and more straightforward installation for me, I don’t know if it’s the best solution from a technical point of view, but it works and i think is good.
I make my installation replacing the data disk (225gb) and keeping Windows7 partition (100mb) and recovery partition (5,93gb).
The Lubuntu system starts correctly without having to make a choice at boot and everything seems to work properly.
I can say that Lubuntu is really very cool and I am satisfied, your help was invaluable and I thank you for that.


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