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alastairb 09-17-2004 03:30 AM

Reduced disk space after install problems.

On my shiny new XP machine I installed Mandrake 10.0 in order to be able to dual boot - all well and good so far and the Linux side went without a hitch, but when I tried to boot back to Windows it didn't get very far (fails to load XP).

I suspect that this had something to do with installing GRUB to the MBR. The PC came with the recovery console at the start of the primary partition so I think maybe something went amiss here (not sure though).

I had used partition magic to set up a partition for Linux and my hard disk was 160GB before installing Linux. I decided to start over and just reinstall XP (from scratch - I formatted the whole disk) and Linux as I had nothing to lose on the disk. After resintalling XP and PM again, I notice that I have only about 130GB on the disk (no additional space sitting there unallocated either).

The system works fine but before I reinstall Mandrake I'm wondering where the disk space has gone - has windows stashed some space to punish me for attempting to use another OS ??!!

I've thought about going back into recovery mode from the XP cd and using fixmbr but I'm not sure what this will do.

Can anyone let me know if using fixmbr will allow the whole disk to be 'seen' again - I'm not bothered about having to do another reinstall.

Thanks in advance,


crm 09-17-2004 04:27 AM

fixmbr WILL kill grub (unless i am very much mistaken).. however if youve taken linux off you can do this withoguht too much hastle,

run a scandisk to make sure nothing has been corrupted...
then start the mandrake installer, go to manual partision and see what the formatting outley of the disk REALLY is... (you can alwaise reboot BEFORE installing... just swich the machene off)

also, you may want to note... Window$ wont boot unless its the first partision of your first drive...
linux boots from anywhere...
so put your linux partision(s) in at the end of the drive and save hastle.

as to you missing diskspace.. isnt the wndows xp footprint about 30gb theesedays?,
i cant remember.. The last time i used M$ was to trouble shoot my flatmates spyware and virus infested zomby machene, and that was the most stressful 3 hours of my life. *mumble* 3 hours to establish DHCP... the thing thought it had 3 network cards... THREE!!!.... trails off mumbeling some more*

alastairb 09-17-2004 04:44 AM


Thanks for the advice. After doing a clean install of XP I guess the GRUB bootloader has already been overwritten. I'll try running the Mandrake installer to see how it thinks the disk is structured.

I guess what I'm really wondering is whether the current MBR has been corrupted (or somehow 'confused' by doing a clean installation of XP) and instead of showing a total disk of ~160GB it only shows ~130GB. When I run fixmbr what does this use to fix the MBR - does it use the partition table ??

I don't have access to the PC in question right now, but I'm pretty sure that when you use partition magic it should show the whole disk including the space taken up by windows. So when my PC was straight out of the box I could see about 160GB in PM with several GB taken up by XP and now I see about 130GB with a similar amount taken up by XP.

I've installed Mandrake on a number of other PC's without any of these problems ! Unfortunately I need to run both XP and Linux ...



crm 09-17-2004 04:53 AM

the MBR is just a meg or so at the start of the drive where the starting boot instructions and partition table are kept....
fixmbr should in theory dust reformatt this space and put a newpartision table and set of boot instructions in....

anothe rissue may be the disk FORMATT... did you use fat32 or NTFS?

thogugh loosinf 30 did of a 160 gig drive is still a drop in the ocean, unless you are using the drive for viedo, music, or HUGE image editing you will NEVER see even 60gb.... i ahev a 160gb external firewire jobbie for backups, in 2 years work, and nearly 3 'studio' albums i havent even got to 10% disk usage.

alastairb 09-17-2004 07:17 AM


I'm now able to use the PC in question. Using parition magic from XP, I see my reduced disk (130GB). When I run the Mandrake install CD, the partition screen shows the missing 30GB, as does partition magic when I boot from the rescue floppies I made before the first attempt at installing Linux (quite wisely for once!).

Not sure why windows and PM cannot see the unallocated space but it can from the rescue disk and install CD ... again, I'm not sure what they use to see the structure of the disk.

I'm a bit wary if running fixmbr in case it screws things up even more :)

When I try to create a new partition in PM from the rescue floppies (using the 30GB unallocated space) it only allows me to create an 'extended' partition without a drive letter which will enclose whatever type of partition I would like (eg NTFS/EXT2), and limits the size to 65MB, so I end up with a massive extended partition with a small NTFS one - no idea why this is the case and what this will leave me with!

I might try doing a fixmbr and see where it gets me.


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