How to install Ubuntu with multiple custom partitions on your Dell PC

Summary: This article is a guide to installing the Ubuntu operating system on custom partitions on your Dell PC.

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This article provides information about how to use the Ubuntu Linux Operating System Install. How to create and use multiple partitions on the Hard Drives in your Dell PC.

Table of Contents:

  1. Using the Ubuntu install disc to create and install custom partitions on your Dell PC
  2. Things to know and check before you start an install
  3. Ubuntu Disk Partitioning
  4. Finalizing the Install


Using the Ubuntu Install disc to create and install Custom Partitions on your Dell PC


Do you need to custom partition your Drive to tailor the Ubuntu install to your needs?

Have you checked that your system type is one of those certified as tested by Canonical for Ubuntu?

  1. If not, then please go to Canonical SLN151841_en_US__1iC_External_Link_BD_v1 and check if your model is approved.

  2. If you have and it is supported on this list, then carry on.

SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: If your system did not ship with Ubuntu and you have an issue that requires Technical Support Assistance to resolve. You may be asked to return the system to the condition it shipped from Dell. Does the issue continue at that point? If it does not, then there would be limited support possible at that point.

Have you got a copy of the latest DVD or USB installation media from canonical? These will include the latest updates and fixes for this operating system.

You can download the appropriate Ubuntu ISO from Canonical SLN151841_en_US__1iC_External_Link_BD_v1

SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: The pictures below may differ slightly from what you see on your own system - Depending on the version of Ubuntu you are installing.

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Things to know and check before you start an install


There are three things you need to check, before you start off an Ubuntu Install:

  1. To Check the type of hard ware, you are trying to install to?
  2. To Check the type of BIOS settings that would affect your install?
  3. To Check what version of Ubuntu, you are looking to install?
What type of Hard Ware are you installing to and will it change how you go about your install?

The type or format of your storage media can affect how you would go about installing Ubuntu on your PC. That can be anything from installing on one of the new M2 cards. Installing on a standard SATA hard disk drive. Installing on the same SATA hard disk drives in an Intel Matrix RAID configuration. Cehck that the hardware of your PC will allow you to make the kind of install you need. Or you can read through the articles that are linked below. These will give you an idea of how to change your installation method to accommodate your system hardware:

SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: USB 2.0 and older removable media devices are not supported on systems using the new Intel SkyLake Processors. The Chipsets for the CPUs no longer support the USB 2.0 Hub.
What type of BIOS is set up on your system and will it change how you go about your install?

The difference between Legacy and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS setups can be the difference between an install succeeding or failing. Check out the linked articles below for more information about the subject:

Which version of Ubuntu are you looking to install?

Ubuntu as with any other operating system is constantly looking to improve and better its usage and performance. What is different with Ubuntu is that you have the option of two updates at any time:

The first is the most recent LTS (Long-Term Support) release.

This update is available every two years and is fully supported by Canonical with updates for five years. It is considered a tested and stable build.

The second is the most recent Normal release.

This update is available every 6 months and is only supported by Canonical with updates for 9 Months. These normal releases are considered to be cutting edge but can have issues because of this. These builds are used by testers and developers.

If you are looking instead to upgrade to a new version of Ubuntu, then please check out the article that is linked below:

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Ubuntu Disk Partitioning


  1. Follow the standard installation guide until you get to the Installation Type screen - at that point the option you want is the last one – Something Else. Once you have selected that and clicked Continue, the Install will take you to the Advanced Partitioning Tool. The Advanced Partitioning Tool is the installer’s tool for taking you through the custom partitioning choices.


SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: The installer has support for LVM and full disk encryption only in the automated partitioning modes. They are not supported in the Advanced Partitioning Tool.
  1. In this window, you can see all the partitions on the Hard Drive and any Free Unallocated Space. In this case, we are using a blank hard disk drive. Select the New Partition Table button.


SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: There are only a maximum of Four logical partitions possible if the Hard Drive is using a MBR-based scheme.
  1. You should now have up the empty partition creation warning window. Click Continue to begin.


  1. You can now click the + button to create a new partition. There are no special options in this tool. The installer will prompt to create any new partition as a logical partition, if there are any pre-existing Primary Partitions. You can go along with what the installer wants to use or you can modify it.

SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: I would recommend creating the first partition for the Ubuntu install as a primary partition.

If you are having trouble following this? You can read up on partitions, directories, and file systems in the guide linked below for a more in-depth explanation:

SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: This step will be repeated for each of the other partitions you create too.
  1. You need to create a Root Partition. This partition will be mounted at /. Ubuntu needs a Minimum of 20 GB to run correctly. I would leave the file system as the default Ext4. If for example, there is one primary partition left and all the remaining partitions will be created as logical partitions by the installer. You will not get a choice.

  2. We need a paging file, so we will create a Swap Partition. This partition is for /swap. That is disk space that the system may use as memory. Like a paging file in windows systems. It is recommended that you make it twice the size of the amount of RAM you have in the system. Make sure to select swap area from the Use as dropdown menu.


  1. Next we will create the Home Partition. This partition will be mounted at /home. The disk space will be what is left on the Hard Drive, we will use the same defaults as before for the other options.


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Finalizing the Install


  1. When all the partitions your making have been created, you should see them all listed in the main window of the Advanced Partitioning Tool. We need to finalize this by specifying the Device for boot loader installation.

    1. By default its /dev/sda or the Hard Drives MBR. This is when you want Ubuntu as the primary boot device and for it to control the boot.

    2. If you already have another Operating System (OS) on the Hard Drive, and you want to use it at the Primary Boot. Then as in the example below, you need GRUB to be installed in the boot partition of that OS which is sda5 here. Select /dev/sda5 from the dropdown menu instead.


SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note: GRUB - Grand Unified Bootloader is the boot loader in Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions.
  1. Click install now if the partition you want is showing for the boot loader installation.

  2. Once the installation of Ubuntu has completed, you need to reboot the computer.

    1. If you have chosen Ubuntu, then you are done at this point. You can get further help with configuring your Ubuntu from the guide that is linked below.

    2. If you have chosen another OS, then rebooting will drop you into that OS's boot loader. Add an entry for Ubuntu into that OS's boot menu.

Note: If you have completed the installation and there are any issues, the easiest and quickest resolution is to run the install again.

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Additional Information:


SLN151841_en_US__2icon Note:
Software support is provided by Canonical through the following methods:
Technical Support is provided by Dell:

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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