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Drive partitions not seen for installation

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Here's a bit more to throw into the confusion pot. When nothing seemed to work I rummaged through my unsorted pile of disks and found one for Ubuntu 9.04. Booting from that disk I started the installation. And there it was, at step 3 - the partitioning table. I was able to partition the drive the way I wanted it and the install completed with no problem. Why the newer versions of Ubuntu doesn't come up with the partitioning table is still a puzzle to me. The disks I'm using were also used to install their versions on another computer with no problem.
Will keep you updated on this mystery.