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CarlyBelle 07-08-2012 09:11 AM

Please help, how do I see the other partitions on this laptop? Linux ES 3

I am new here, I am 20 years old and I had to put away my desktop computer to make room at home for new things (my parents had a baby and we needed more space). Okay, well since I'm a college student I need the internet, I was given a Compaq Evo N800c, the person passed it on to me and it truly is a it confusing since it runs on Linux.

I don't know how long the laptop had been without use in the prior owner's hands, and so far all I know is that it is running on Linux ES 3.

I managed to understand the AddUser command and that's how I got to create my own folder on here. Well the thing is that out of curiosity I inserted my Windows Vista from my previous computer on to the laptop, I didn't click install because I figured that would be a mess since this one is a bit older than that version.

While I was on the Windows Vista installation window it showed up that there are 3 different partitions on this laptop, I figured this is just taking up space, how can I delete partitions? How do I view them?

If that is the correct thing to do of course.

I've never used linux at all before, I am pretty much trying to get to understand it.


Ps: What would be a good browser? This one has Mozilla, but it lags and freezes every now and then...

Thanks in advance!

teckk 07-08-2012 09:22 AM


fdisk -l

parted -l
As root will show you the partitions on a a drive.
Yes, you'll have to have the root account to administer the machine.

Linux ES 3.
I assume that's Redhat 3, that's dated a bit.

how can I delete partitions?
Better figure out what they are before you delete them.

What would be a good browser?
Firefox, Midori, Chromium, Dillo, dpends on what you want.

If you use the search function on Linux Questions, a lot of the questions that you'll have will have been answered many times over the years.

camorri 07-08-2012 09:55 AM

Let me see if I can help, at least point you in the right direction.


While I was on the Windows Vista installation window it showed up that there are 3 different partitions on this laptop.
Compaq/HP have a habit of shipping laptops with four primary partitions. That is rather ugly, if you want to dual boot, add linux, or just modify what you have. You are only allowed four primary partitions. If you want or need more, the way is to create an extended partition, and divide that space into the partitions you need. ( space on dirve permitting ).

What is probably there, ( I'm guessing the partitions were not modified from the factory ) was a windows 'C' which now holds your linux system. It would have been formatted to a linux file system. The other three, a restore partition, a diagnostic partition, and a hidden partyition, all primary.

Next you need to think about what it is you want to do, longer term with the laptop.

If you would rather run a windows system, then using the recovery partition should put back what ever OS came on the system, as factory new.

If you want to learn linux, then deleting the partitions, and repartitioning is the way to go. This allows you to dual boot, if you want to keep one foot in windows, while you learn linux.


how can I delete partitions? How do I view them?
There are many tools to do this. From within linux, two tools; fdisk and cfdisk will do the task. fdisk is command line, so you run it at the command prompt. If you open a command prompt, you can run fdisk, or cfdisk as root user. Do you have the root password for the system? If not, then you will have to go at this with external tools. If yes, then you are good to go.

To get to root user, ( you should not run it in a gui ) type 'su -' ( just what is between the quotes). The system will prompt you for the password ( root password ). Enter it. Now, the command 'fdisk -l' ( that is an lower case L not a one ). will display all partitions. Change the l to a h, and get help. For more help, type 'man fdisk', and start reading.

Another way, totally different approach, is to get a live distro with a graphical partitioning tool. I have used two, there are more. G-parted and Parted-Magic are the two that I found easy to use. Knoppix is another, although it is a full live system.

You can download g-parted here -->

You can get parted magic here -->

You need a system to burn them with, they are .iso files. This link will help you with burning the .iso files. -->

Once you burn the CD, put it in your drive, enter the BIOS, and set the cd/dvd drive as the first boot device. Boot the system, and run the partitioning tool. Easy to deleted what yy=ou don't want, create what you do want, including formatting.

Now for some more reading, here is a link to a beginners site, that is very helpful. It will give you a good overview of linux. -->

There is a learning curve with linux. Allow yourself some time to do that. It is worth the effort, you will find an OS that is reliable, stable, and that you understand. There are not the problems with viruses that windows has.


What would be a good browser?
My choice is Firefox. There are a ton of choices, See this link for one authors top ten pick.


Hope this gets you going. Do not be over whelmed, it may feel like that, remember 'Google is your friend'. You can always ask here. Best of luck.

TroN-0074 07-08-2012 10:44 AM

I would advice no to delete any partition at this time. Chances are one of your partition is a swap partition, another for home and another for root. So you will need all of them to have a fully functioning Operating System.
SWAP is virtual memory that the Operating system uses when all the RAM is being used by running applications
ROOT is where all the files for the operating system are saved
Home is where all the user's data files are storaged (MP3s, PDFs, Photos, videos anything)

Having different partitions in a hard drive doesnt necesary mean waste of space in the device. It is more of having your hard driver a little more organized to improve its performance.
You will noticed among Linux users they all like to do thing different than other people, and the software really gives you the flexibility to be different too.

You probably need to upgrade your System in order to run some of the newer web browsers like Chromium wich the the Linux version of Chrome.

You are not restricted to use the current operating system installed in your laptop. There are lots of Linux bases Operating System and they all are free and good for academics and over all general purpuses. Linux Mint is probably the number one most popular Linux distribution out there because is really easy to use.
You can check it out at this link
Download it, burn the ISO in a CD and run it in a live session for testing, without installing first.

Good luck to you!

John VV 07-08-2012 03:36 PM

"Linux es 3 "???
guessing RHEL3
if so that is SO OLD that is in not even supported
and if this computer dose NOT PREDATE about 2002 to 2005

it is NOT a operation system for any current modern Operating System
rhel 3
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Taroon), 2003-10-22. Uses Linux 2.4.21-4

do not even bother with it

i am guessing that this is a VERY OLD laptop
windows 98 era or a win ME / 2000
maybe XP if RHEL3 was installed on it in 2003

as to a web browser on RHEL3
there ARE NONE
what you have is it
rhel3 is so old that NO current firefox will ever install
as to "mozilla" , a guess it is Mozilla 1.0

there ARE no updates to it
mozilla ( as it was back then) no longer exists

now you ?? might ?? be able to get CentOS 5.8 to run on that old laptop ? maybe ???

TobiSGD 07-08-2012 04:39 PM

Now let us just end the guess work.

@CarlyBelle: Please start the Linux, open a terminal, change to the root user (su command), launch this commands and post the output here:

cat /etc/*issue*
fdisk -l
df -h
free -m
cat /proc/cpuinfo

chrism01 07-08-2012 06:54 PM

What TobiSGD said... however, if you don't have the root passwd, you should be able to run those cmds as a normal user, although you may need to adjust one to be

/sbin/fdisk -l
Note that the parameter is a lowercase L

Please also run

cat /etc/*release*
as the 'cat /etc/*issue*' cmd may not provide enough info.

In the long run (eg if that is an old OS like RHEL3) however, it may be easier to install a new OS entirely, especially if you don't have anything too important on there right now.
See; as above they are all pretty much free and some have a Live CD version, which will just run from the CD/DVD drive for you to test before installing.

See the many many qns here at LQ about which distro is 'best', for more details.

snowpine 07-08-2012 07:44 PM

Welcome to the forums!

The important question is, "are you interested and motivated to learn Linux?" If the answer is YES, then set aside a couple of days and do a fresh install of a current and supported Linux distribution (distro). Because your laptop is old and crappy (it's worth less than $50 on ebay) you'll need to use a "lightweight" distro for old hardware such as Lubuntu, Puppy, SliTaz, CrunchBang. You can run these distros as "Live CDs" to test things like hardware compatibility before you install.

If the answer is NO then my advice is to install Windows XP (Vista probably won't run on such old hardware!) and start saving up for a new laptop as soon as you're able.

CarlyBelle 07-09-2012 08:08 PM

Thank you all very much!!

I've read attentively and I'm interested in just keeping it running on Linux, It's not bad, is just that it's new to me so I need to get acquainted. Yes the laptop is old but it is what I have for now to search on the web and look up college related tasks, that's why my concern about knowing what to do to make it run a bit "smoother" if possible.

Thank you!!

TobiSGD 07-09-2012 09:12 PM

We can help you to get a smoother experience, but we need some information on machine's specs for that.
The OS you have on that machine is seriously out of date and needs to be replaced, but we can't recommend you a Linux version that runs acceptable on that machine without knowing the specs.

TroN-0074 07-09-2012 10:02 PM

I had actually looked up and this are the specs I found for a Compacq Evo N800c

-Mobile IntelŪ PentiumŪ 4 Processor-M – 1.7 GHz up to 2.4 GHz
-256-MB DDR SDRAM (266 MHz), upgradeable to 1024 MB
-30.0 GB HDD
-ATI Mobility Radeon 7500, 64-bit video graphics with 32- or 64-MB VRAM for increased color depth and graphics performance
I think with some more RAM could run any modern distro like Linux Mint, Debian or anything with the latest software

chrism01 07-10-2012 12:34 AM

I agree that for a home machine, a RAM upgrade is probably the most cost effective/easiest upgrade of HW.

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