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Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

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agnul
Occasional Visitor

Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hi all...

Just got a new nc6320 laptop with an 80gig HD on it and was wondering what's the safest way to partition it in order to set up a dual boot system.

Out of the box the system came with

* 2 hidden partitions at the beginning and end of the disk. No clue about what's in there, but since they are not taking up much space I'm fine with leaving them there.
* Huge C:\partition, with windows on it
* Small E:\ partition labeled HP_RECOVER, with recovery data I guess

All of those partitions are "primary" ones.

What would be the best way to proceed? I was thinking about booting from some live linux cd and shrinking the c:\ partition, making some space available for linux and a couple more windows partitions too. But

* I can't create a new primary partition
* Can't convert c:\ to an extended one, since windows expects to be installed on a primary partition
* Not sure about turning E:\ into an extended partition, don't want to do nothing dangerous to that recovery data, even if I already burned the two recovery DVDs :-)

Any suggestions appreciated, thanks in advance
9 REPLIES
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Shalom,

I've done this:

http://www.systemrescuecd.org/

Download their latest distribution.

Burn a cd off the iso image

Boot off it.

Reduce the windows partition that is now whole disk.

Boot off your Linux CD/DVD Install into the new emtpy space. Use grub as boot manager done.

This can also be done with Knoppix.

SEP
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
Ivan Ferreira
Honored Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Did you know that vmware server is free now? You can use a virtual machine (or more than one) in your notebook with Linux. In this way you don't have to deal with repartition your system and you will have more flexibility.
Por que hacerlo dificil si es posible hacerlo facil? - Why do it the hard way, when you can do it the easy way?
Andrew Bruce
Valued Contributor
Solution

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hi Agnul,

As you point out, you currently have 4 primary partitions which means you cannot create any more partitions unless you delete one of your primaries and recreate it in an extended partition.

[SEP, shame on you for not spotting that! ;-)]

Your options are:

1. Play around with linux booted from a Live CD distro (a good way to see what's what without altering the HD).

2. Install a linux distro on an external USB disk (not entirely straight forward, but a half-way house between dual-boot proper, and a live CD).

There are good resources to be googled:

http://www.google.com/linux and search for "install on usb disk"

I've done this and it works a treat (although somewhat slower than an install on the internal disk (USB bandwidth and all that!)).

3. Remove an existing partition in order to make way for extended partitions.

I would think that your E: drive is safe enough to recreate in an extended partition, so this would be the safest one to target.

With this in mind:

Get hold of repartitioning software - you can either use commercial stuff like Partition Magic or Acronis - or use open source software like gparted or qtparted.


As SEP said, try http://www.systemrescuecd.org/ (I've used this with perfect results).

A point to note, qtparted (systemrescuecd) is bad at giving user feedback - it can look as if nothing is happening, especially on a large, data filled disk - persevere and let it run it's course - it's *not* crashed!

So:
- Back up the data on E:
- Shrink down the C: partition
- Recreate E: on an extended partition
- Create the appropriate linux partitions to suit your taste/distro
- Enjoy!

Or, your final option is to run linux on a VM (not as good as the real thing, IMO!).

If you need more info on any of the above, just ask!

Regards,

Andy Bruce
I Love it when a plan comes together!
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Yes I missed something.

You can still reduce the C: partition.

I did not directly advocate removal of support paritions, but this would not effect long term system viability.

SEO
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
stragatto
Occasional Visitor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

1) chkdsk /f
2) reboot
3) reboot again
4) look for gparted live ISO
5) make a gparted CD
6) boot with the gparted live CD
7) shrink the NTFS Windows partition
8) In the freed disk space create an extended partition
9) In the extended partition, create a logical partition (i.e. ext3) for linux and another logical partition for linux swap.
All done !
Andrew Bruce
Valued Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hi Stragatto,

I'm afraid that won't work.

Agnul already has four primary partitions defined. You can't add any more partitions, primary or extended, unless you remove one first.

An extended partition sits in a primary partition 'slot' if you will.

Shrinking the C: partition will make physical disk space available, but you won't be able to create anything in it.

The only option in this scenario is to literally delete one partition, create an extended partition and then populate it with two logical partitions (one for replacing the deleted partition, and one new partition for Linux).

Kind Regards,

Andy Bruce
I Love it when a plan comes together!
agnul
Occasional Visitor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hi all,

just to let you know what happened in all this time...

Turns out the partitions on the disk were only two, serial-ATA disks are /dev/sdx and not the /dev/hdx I was looking into. Shame on me :-) Also, since /dev/hda is the internal dvd drive I suspect those 4 partitions were a bit bogus.

I've successfully reduced the main NTFS partition and created some other partitions (I like my systems with lots of them... at least one for data on the windows side, one fat32 shared between windows and linux, and possibly separate / and /home on the linux side...) while keeping the recovery data safe. The system still works fine, and at last I've managed to install ubuntu 6.10 on it.

The next quest, as time permits, will be to figure out all the hardware (fingerprint reader, soft keys, modem, acpi support...) but that's another thread.

Thanks everyone for your time.
Alpha977
Valued Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hello!
I was the same problem and i have solved in this way.

Defrag the hard-drive with a powerful tool, like "Diskeeper" and the standard Windows's defrag, then, use GParted.
GParted is a Linux live distribution like Partition Magic, it's very easy to use and work very fine!

To my notebook (hp ze4900) all is ok, 2 partiotion (3 because 1 is of hp recover)
Andrew Bruce
Valued Contributor

Re: Partitioning a new laptop and installing linux

Hi Agnul,

Glad to hear that you're enjoying your new Open Source system!

I hope everything goes well, but if not, you know where to ask for help! :-)

Regards,

Andy Bruce
I Love it when a plan comes together!