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Old 02-18-2016, 07:30 PM   #1
Otherworlds
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Why doesn't Linux need a Primary partition?


Hello everyone I have just a quick question, I read that the primary partition is needed to boot up a system and the extended for containing logical drives. Also I read Windows requires a primary partition, and Linux does not.. So since there's only 4 primary partitions, 1 used for the extended partition (leaving 3), and then hypothetically say I have 3 Window's partitions, each with it's own primary partition... Then how could Linux boot with all the primary partitions taken? Since the primary partition is needed to boot a system this confuses me. I heard people say cause Windows is a brain damaged OS, and has to have a primary partition, but does that mean the primary partitions are made especially for Windows? I think I'm just confusing myself, but if anyone can help me understand I'd appreciate it, thanks in advance!

Last edited by Otherworlds; 02-18-2016 at 07:33 PM.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 07:38 PM   #2
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Again I just don't understand how Linux can boot off a logical drive which I thought are sub partitions within the main OS partition i.e Windows C: being the main and d,e,f drives being subs. So in essence what I'm asking how can Linux boot off a D: drive? ( I realize Linux doesn't use d,e,f drives but just as a metaphor)

Last edited by Otherworlds; 02-18-2016 at 07:40 PM.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 07:43 PM   #3
yancek
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A primary partition is not needed to boot an operating system as any Linux distribution I am aware of can be installed on and booted from a logical partition. A windows system needs its boot files on a primary partition and the partition must be marked as active. Someone else might be able to tell you why.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 08:21 PM   #4
syg00
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A partition is just a piece of your disk. Doesn't matter what you call it. Primary partitions, and the limit of 4 goes all the way back to MSDOS. The industry (and us) are stuck with that. Extended partition as a container for logicals was an attempt to break out of that limitation.
As was gpt, but that was a ground-up redesign, so was able to do away with the limitations.

The boot-loader M$oft designed was hard-coded to require a primary partition, and a flag to indicate which one to attempt boot from. Some BIOS designers also enforce this same myopia.
A modern boot-loader doesn't require any of this - just jump to the code, and let it run.

UEFI imposes some requirements on where that code must reside, but that is a slightly different issue.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 09:13 PM   #5
Otherworlds
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OK I think I understand... So what you guys are saying as that there's no difference between Primary and Logical, it's just that logical is an add-on if you will, to break the 4 primary partition limit? And if so since I've read that only 1 primary partition can be active at one time, do logical partitions have that limit as well? Like if I had 20 monitors and 20 logical partitions on one hard drive, can they all be active at once?

Last edited by Otherworlds; 02-18-2016 at 09:23 PM.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 09:18 PM   #6
BW-userx
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correct, so you can chop it up into more peices .. like a crazed crack head with a hatchet even.. Mhuuhahahahahaha
 
Old 02-18-2016, 09:52 PM   #7
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UEFI is taking over, at least in part because there is no 4 partition limit on GPT drives. GPT and UEFI are the future, like it or not. They also have other advantages over MSDOS and MBR. Use UEFI and GPT and you don't have to worry about any of this stuff. They do take some effort to learn, just as MSDOS and MBR/grub do. But it's worth the effort.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 10:16 PM   #8
rknichols
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otherworlds View Post
OK I think I understand... So what you guys are saying as that there's no difference between Primary and Logical, it's just that logical is an add-on if you will, to break the 4 primary partition limit? And if so since I've read that only 1 primary partition can be active at one time, do logical partitions have that limit as well? Like if I had 20 monitors and 20 logical partitions on one hard drive, can they all be active at once?
Actually, the "active" flag is meaningless on a logical partition. That flag is only meaningful to the code in a DOS/Windows MBR, and that code only examines the primary partitions. The various Linux bootloaders that can be installed in the MBR don't care about "active" flags, though some BIOS implementations won't consider a drive as a boot candidate if there is no primary partition marked "active".
 
Old 02-18-2016, 10:41 PM   #9
Otherworlds
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rknichols View Post
Actually, the "active" flag is meaningless on a logical partition. That flag is only meaningful to the code in a DOS/Windows MBR, and that code only examines the primary partitions. The various Linux bootloaders that can be installed in the MBR don't care about "active" flags, though some BIOS implementations won't consider a drive as a boot candidate if there is no primary partition marked "active".
Once again thanks friend for clearing things up, luckily I learned about Gentoo's USE flags to understand what flags do.. Awesome thanks!
 
  


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