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Old 06-03-2007, 08:54 AM   #1
reverse
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Dell Laptop Partitions


I've recently received a Dell Inspiron Laptop, I'm having some difficulties understanding some of the partitions' purpoise. Here's an output of `fdisk -l`:

Code:
Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1          15      120456   de  Dell Utility
/dev/sda2              16        1321    10485760    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3   *        1321        4052    21937500    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda4            4053        9730    45601911+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5            9469        9730     2096128   dd  Unknown
/dev/sda6            4053        4173      971901   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda7            4174        4235      497983+  83  Linux
/dev/sda8            4236        4297      497983+  83  Linux
/dev/sda9            4298        5026     5855661   83  Linux
/dev/sda10           5027        5208     1461883+  83  Linux
/dev/sda11           5209        9468    34218418+  83  Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order
As for partitions sda6-sda11, they are housing my Debian GNU/Linux -unstable installation, I know what *they* are for.

I'm guessing /dev/sda2 is the partition I see labeled as "Backup" in Windows, and /dev/sda3 is "C:".

I have no idea what /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, /dev/sda4 are used for, if it's safe to delete them, etc. Can anyone share some info on this please?
 
Old 06-03-2007, 09:22 AM   #2
pixellany
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sda1: Dell Utility. This has to do with system recovery features. Not sure exactly what is there, but don't delete it.

sda2: You should be able to view this from either Windows or Linux and see what is there.

sda4: Extended partition---acts as the "container" for the logical partitions (sda5 and beyond). If you delete this, you will wipe out all the logicals.

sda5: Looks like left over space in the extended partition. Ignore (or delete and use the space to make swap bigger)
 
Old 06-03-2007, 11:49 AM   #3
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This is the third time I accidentally click on one of the links on the right side of the page, thus losing the text in the "Quick reply" box.

I meant /dev/sda5 not /dev/sda4. I think I'll try to find out more about it before attempting to delete it. It's pretty big so I can't quite "ignore it" as it'd seem like I'm wasting resources.

As for /dev/sda4 how come it says "W95 Ext'd" ? And is this "bad" for the Debian system? (i.e. would a different type of extended partition be "better" for it?)

Thanks for your reply.
 
Old 06-03-2007, 04:48 PM   #4
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actually sda1 has nothing to do with recovery, it's a hardware testing suite. Quite useful, actually.
sda2 is the windows recovery partition.
sda5 seems to be a logical partition.
 
Old 06-03-2007, 06:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse
As for /dev/sda4 how come it says "W95 Ext'd" ? And is this "bad" for the Debian system? (i.e. would a different type of extended partition be "better" for it?)
No and no.
This whole design of partition table comes from a very long time ago (in PC computing terms). Best not to screw with it too much.
 
Old 06-04-2007, 02:47 AM   #6
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Interesting the only reference I can find to partition ID 0xdd is "Hidden CTOS Memory Dump"

Erm..?
 
Old 06-04-2007, 04:18 AM   #7
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I have a Dell (inspiron E1505) aswell. I was also wondering what that first partition was about. So I to am quite reluctant to delete it.

On my system the partition seems to be formatted as vfat. Here is the content of that partition;

Code:
Adaptec2.mdm  dell          IEEE1394.mdm  Nic.mdm       System.mdm
Adaptec.mdm   dellbio.bin   IMchEcc.mdm   Parallel.mdm  Usb2.mdm
ami_raid.mdm  Dellboot.exe  int15_88.com  Pci.mdm       UsbDevID.mdm
autoexec.bat  delldiag.com  IoApic.mdm    Perc2Ada.mdm  USBEHCI.mdm
autoexec.up   delldiag.exe  IR.mdm        pm.mdm        UsbKbd.mdm
BiosMp.mdm    DellDiag.INI  Keyboard.mdm  Pnp.mdm       UsbMass.mdm
CABLES.mdm    dellrmk.bin   LSI.mdm       Raid.mdm      Usb.mdm
Cache.mdm     DellSys.msm   Memory.mdm    Scsi.mdm      UsbMouse.mdm
command.com   delltbui.exe  MiscPci.mdm   seal.exe      USBOHCI.mdm
config.bts    dir.lst       Mouse.mdm     seal.ini      UsbTm.mdm
config.sys    Diskette.mdm  MpCache.mdm   Serial.mdm    UsbUfi.mdm
config.up     Disk.mdm      NbBatt.MDM    Smbios.mdm    USBUHCI.mdm
copyup.bat    Dvd.mdm       Nbfan.MDM     SMBus.mdm     Video.mdm
Cpu.mdm       GenAudio.mdm  NbSvc.MDM     Smi.mdm
DDInit.mim    HDAudio.mdm   Nbtherm.MDM   symtree.ini
ddinit.mlm    Iaudio.mdm    nic8254x.MDM  SYSBDMON.mdm
And the content of the "dell" sub directory

Code:
b10_usa.bmp  ebts_eng.bmp  font.bmp     restart.exe
deltree.exe  english       p10_usa.bmp  zwikboot.bat

Last edited by schatoor; 06-04-2007 at 04:25 AM.
 
Old 06-04-2007, 07:36 AM   #8
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Apparently Dell has some sort of "recovery" mechanism which you can use to "reset" your computer to it's initial state (i.e. the one it was in when you first bought the laptop).

I'm dazzled about the sda5 partition though :-/ Esp. since it's ID seems to be "dd". I've toyed around with Ubuntu a bit before setting for Debian -unstable and more or less left the Ubuntu installer do most of the resizing/partitioning work. I can't help but wander if /dev/sda5 arose from it, somehow. (I didn't get along too well with the Ubuntu partitioner)

What's worse is that I don't know where to look for some official documentation on this kind of stuff. I have some manuals but none of them are "technical" enough to provide details regarding the default partitions.
 
Old 06-04-2007, 10:27 AM   #9
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cfdisk knows nothing of ID 0xdd, however it does list 0xde as "Dell Utility". Perhaps Dell use 0xdd as well, or used to (how old is it anyway?).
 
Old 06-04-2007, 05:08 PM   #10
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0xdd is probably the S3 sleep partition
sda1 is a testing suite
sda2 is windows recovery
 
  


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