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Jon_Roland 08-14-2010 12:09 AM

How install dual-boot on notebook with 4 primary partitions dedicated already?
A friend wants to install Linux on a new HP Pavilion dv6-3010us notebook, but I find the C: drive divided between two primary partitions, one for "System" and a second for the rest of Windows 7. Third primary partition is dedicated to "Recovery" and the fourth to "HP Tools", which is VFAT and has a kind of pre-Windows OS that allows certain functions without having to boot Win 7. That leaves no more primary partitions. The tools I have don't allow the shrinking of the C: partition to leave space for a secondary partition. I am reluctant to sacrifice the HP Tools partition. Is there a way to merge the System partition with the C: partition to free up one primary? HP Support doesn't seem to have a clue, and I'm wondering whether this is not a deliberate way to prevent dual-boots.

DrLove73 08-14-2010 07:36 AM

System partition is most likely SSD hard drive, separate from mechanical one with the rest of the partitions.

What tools have you used to shrink C:?

I use Hiren's boot CD (10.x) and there are some excellent utilities. 11.0 version has only freeware versions, but should also work without problems. Just be careful not to use programs that are not compatible with Windows 7 NTFS partitions. I barely used Win7 so I can not help you there for now.

thorkelljarl 08-14-2010 08:25 AM

My future task for a DV7 with the same problem...

I have looked at dual-booting a HP Pavilion DV7 with one HDD and the same four partition layout. For the first, Google told me that if I removed the System partition, Windows 7 would not boot.

I am reluctant to remove the Recovery partition, although I can delete it and buy a set of Windows 7 recovery disks for this machine. In addition, the contents of the HP_Tools partition seems to be available on the HP support site for this DV7 model, and the HP_Tools partition seems the most expendable.

There seem to be two choices, and when I looked at the program contents of HP_Tools, they didn't seem that necessary, and removing them, perhaps after making a clone copy of HP_Tools, is what I intend to do.

After removing whichever of the Win partitions you choose, use the Win 7 partitioning tool to shrink C, the only partition of any size. Defragment first, and if you use a defragmenter such as the one from Auslogics, you will be able to see those Win 7 files that cannot be moved. They limit the amount by which Win 7 can be reduced. Using the Win 7 tool should retain Win 7s ability to boot.

I will use an extended partition for my linux partitions, making sure that the linux boot-loader is installed there. The problem that I expect to have is determining where to point GRUB to chain-load Win 7. I may have to edit GRUB to point to the System partition, perhaps (hd0,0), if that is where to find the Win 7 boot-loader, and hope all goes well.

In the opposite case, these are useful.

I will be using a copy of the PartedMagic live-cd to give me an overview of the partitions and their boundaries before I start to make any changes.

Jon_Roland 08-16-2010 11:18 AM

Drive set to "dynamic" instead of "simple basic"
The problem turned out to be not only four dedicated partitions, but the file system set to "dynamic" rather than "simple basic". One can convert to "dynamic" but not back again, and with the disk being set to "dynamic" the only way to convert it back is to first remove all the volumes, which would require re-installing Win 7. Neither gtparted nor Partition Commander can "see" available space on a "dynamic" drive.

My client and I found a MS employee by chance in a computer store and he confirmed that it was a plot by MS to make it difficult to dual-boot Linux. That so angered my client that she decided to just wipe Win 7 and replace it all with Linux, which is what we did.

But it provides a word of caution. Before you buy a system, check to make sure (Computer > Manage > Disk Management) that the drive is not set to "dynamic" before purchasing.

DrLove73 08-16-2010 06:16 PM

You could have (maybe) copied all files to another NTFS partition (with Total Commander and "save permissions" option) on USB HDD and after creating simple partition try to put it back. I do not know if this would work, but it is something to think about if wiping Win 7 was not an option.

gatemouth 12-04-2010 12:12 AM

What I did... Very much like what thorkelljarl described:

-Copied HP_TOOLS files to a flash drive (100MB partition contained <40MB files)
-Booted to linux live CD
-Used Gparted to delete HP_TOOLS partition, resized Windows partition to make room for linux partitions
-Added extended partition from the disk area made available from the resize, and in the extended partition added partitions for Linux, home, swap, and new HP_TOOLS (this one FAT32)
-copied HP_TOOLS files to new partition
-installed Linux
Everything seems to work: windows/linux dual boot, recovery boot, HP_TOOLS

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