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Old 05-25-2017, 08:38 AM   #1
Timmi
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Windows PC Laptop maxed out at 4 partitions (2 hidden system), what can I do?


Gateway NV75S Laptop. I want to install Linux onto it.

But there is a problem: 2 partitions are already used by hidden install media and system files.
It has installation media in a hidden 15GB partition.
It has proprietary recovery and other utilities in a hidden 100MB partition.
That leaves 2 partitions. One is for Windoze7, the other is for my Data. Having Data in a separate one has proven to be a prudent and useful policy, and not some useless procedure, several times throughout my decades of using computers. I don't want to change that. In fact, my Windoze is acting up again, so this is no time to be merging my data partition with the OS partition.

I have tried making an extended partition off of C:Windoze, but Linux installer does not appear to be able to use that.
I don't want to sacrifice the install media, because I will need to dual-boot and switch to windows to run some CAD software (for which look-alikes are not a possible substitute), and because it's Windoze, need to retain the capability to have it do a factory-reinstall when everything goes to hell.

Here is a picture of my partition table. https://ibb.co/cYgW0v I don't know how to embed an image here.

Are there any other solutions that come to mind? Anyone?

I am thinking of a partition utility that allows to go beyond the maximum of 4 partitions, without going to extended partitions... does that even exist?
Otherwise, if anyone has experience with these Laptops and their hidden install routines, would you know if the two can be merged, and which should be made the primary in order for the boot factory setup routine to work?
Don't know if either of those are potential solutions... just thinking out loud here, about potential avenues to explore together.
Thanks!

Moderators: I wasn't sure where to place this thread. If there is a better location, please move it there. Thanks.

Last edited by Timmi; 05-25-2017 at 09:03 AM.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 08:57 AM   #2
AwesomeMachine
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You're pretty much stuck. Linux requires at least one primary partition. It's just not going to work the way it is.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 08:59 AM   #3
camorri
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Yes. There are several. I faced this on a laptop a while back. The problem is you probably have four primary partitions, and you are unable to make another partition. This is normal for a non GPT partitioned drive.

What I did was I backed up the smallest partition onto external media. Then I deleted that partition. I shrank C: to make enough space for a linux install. I created a new extended partition ( not primary ) and added the partitions to that, one for the data I had removed, and three others for linux. Linux will boot from an extended partition without problems.

Another solution would be to install Virtual Box on windows. Then install linux in v-box. This allows you the possibility to install several distros, use them and determine which one you like best.

Another possibility would be to buy an external drive, and install linux there. This is more difficult for a new user, since booting from an external drive is more difficult to set up.

Of these three ways, v-box is less risky for a new user. It does not require partitioning.

If you do decide to re-partition, use windows tools to shrink C:. Once done, you can use linux tools to do the rest.
 
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Old 05-25-2017, 08:59 AM   #4
camorri
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Quote:
Linux requires at least one primary partition.
No it does not.
 
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:07 AM   #5
AwesomeMachine
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My mistake. Last time I looked /boot had to be primary. I guess it all depends on how much trouble one is willing to go through. All problems can theoretically be solved.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 09:17 AM   #6
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camorri View Post
No it does not.
As illustrated by my Linux system which is running entirely in extended partitions.

All you need to do is reduce the size of your ExFAT sda5 partition and create a new extended Linux partition (or partitions if you want separate ones for /, /home, /boot and/or data, for example).

Of course, as an alternative, there are utilities to convert MBR disks to GPT.

As it is, you have a wasted chunk of 100GB in the middle there. You should try incorporating it into the extended partition space (not all partition managers will allow this).
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:07 AM   #7
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
As it is, you have a wasted chunk of 104GB in the middle there. You should try incorporating it into the extended partition space (not all partition managers will allow this).
That 104GB of wasted chunk is the space and location that I freed up for the Linux partition that I want. I do not understand why you will not allow me to use that 104GB area for linux, and want me to shrink my Data partition instad. ??

Physics, not computereze: Data is on the physical area where the drive is at it's most reliable. Ferrite is spread with the same density throughout the surface - on the perimeter you simply have more atoms available for every bit that is written, less chance of errors/bad sectors there.
So Linux would be given a prime location just before that.

Last edited by Timmi; 05-25-2017 at 10:10 AM.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:13 AM   #8
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
That 104GB of wasted chunk is the space and location that I freed up for the Linux partition that I want. I do not understand why you will not allow me to use that 104GB area for linux, and want me to shrink my Data partition instad. ??

Physica, not computereze: Data is on the physical area where the drive is at it's most reliable. Ferrite is spread with the same density throughout the surface - on the perimeter you simply have more atoms available for every bit that is written, less chance of errors/bad sectors there.
So Linux would be given a prime location just before that.
You cannot use that area for Linux, as it stands, because MBR only allows four primary partitions and you have four already (sda 1-4).

If you insist on keeping the first 3 primary partitions (sda 1-3), then any further partitions you create must be created as extended partitions.

You are only allowed one set of extended partitions so, again as it stands, any further partitions must be created under sda4.

If you stick with MBR that is.

Last edited by hydrurga; 05-25-2017 at 10:14 AM.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:23 AM   #9
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camorri View Post
I backed up the smallest partition onto external media. Then I deleted that partition.
Good idea. I think I will try to create an image of it, copy that onto the 15GB hidden (if I can), delete the 100MB partition and just leave that space as-is, hoping I can restore it if needed.
I shrank C: to make enough space for a linux install.
Already did that as you can see in the 104GB free gap.
I created a new extended partition ( not primary ) and added the partitions to that, one for the data I had removed, and three others for linux. Linux will boot from an extended partition without problems.
Tried that and Mint installer did not like the extended partition - error message in the Mint installer said it cannot do that.

Another solution would be to install Virtual Box on windows. Then install linux in v-box. This allows you the possibility to install several distros, use them and determine which one you like best.
To me, virtualbox for Linux on Windoze, completely defeats the purpose of wanting a robust reliable OS to run my things in. Linux isn't a hobby for me. It's just the foundation for the programs I run and tasks I need to do. For texting, yes. For running it, I may as well stay in Windoze and save myself all this trouble.

Another possibility would be to buy an external drive, and install linux there. This is more difficult for a new user, since booting from an external drive is more difficult to set up.
Data transfer is much much slower over USB than it is internally. I have one, I keep it for my backups.

Of these three ways, v-box is less risky for a new user. It does not require partitioning.
It defeats the purpose of running a robust and reliable foundation, as it'll be sitting on top of the weaker part, Windoze.

If you do decide to re-partition, use windows tools to shrink C:. Once done, you can use linux tools to do the rest.
If you check the image (which I don't know how to incorporate here), you'll see that this is already done.
Please see my answers in Color within original text.

Last edited by Timmi; 05-25-2017 at 12:47 PM.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:28 AM   #10
DavidMcCann
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Looking at your picture, I see that the data partition is partition 5 within extended partition 4. All you need to do is
> expand the extended partition 4 to include the area you've freed up
> move partition 5 to the start
> add 6 (/) and 7 (/home) at the end.
 
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:34 AM   #11
Timmi
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Here's an idea:
Is there a way to just edit the MBR
and rem (comment-out) references to the first 2 partitions?
So that the system ignores them, doesn't see them, partition tools don't see them?

(and if I need them, I just un-rem those lines in the MBR)
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:36 AM   #12
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
Looking at your picture, I see that the data partition is partition 5 within extended partition 4. All you need to do is
> expand the extended partition 4 to include the area you've freed up
> move partition 5 to the start
> add 6 (/) and 7 (/home) at the end.
Is anything going to be resolved or change, by shuffling things around?
I have opened a space of 104GB for a Linux partition to be put there.

What concerns me here, is that the extended partition was not meant to be one.
I am really not sure how I ended up with that. Could it be that a partition resizing tool made it into an extended, when originally it was a primary? This was created before I recovered windoze, and it was another primary at the time. Puzzling...
Anyways, I think that is something I would want to fix. Get DATA onto a primary.

Last edited by Timmi; 05-25-2017 at 12:50 PM.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:37 AM   #13
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Here's an idea:
Is there a way to just edit the MBR
and rem (comment-out) references to the first 2 partitions?
So that the system ignores them, doesn't see them, partition tools don't see them?

(and if I need them, I just un-rem those lines in the MBR)
Timmi, if you don't mind me saying so, folk here have been giving you practical feasible alternatives to solve your problem, and for some reason you seem to be fixated on the impossible.

You could have already solved this problem, made the required changes, installed Linux, and be surfing pictures of cats on Reddit if you had listened to some of the advice that has been given.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 10:41 AM   #14
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
What is going to be resolved, or change, by shuffling things around? I have opened a space of 104GB for a Linux partition to be put there.
The reason for that has already been explained to you. Please read through all responses you have received on this thread, as well as a summary of MBR restrictions.
 
Old 05-25-2017, 11:31 AM   #15
rknichols
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Physics, not computereze: Data is on the physical area where the drive is at it's most reliable. Ferrite is spread with the same density throughout the surface - on the perimeter you simply have more atoms available for every bit that is written, less chance of errors/bad sectors there.
Drive manufacturers are not that dumb. The number of sectors per track is not constant, and the outer tracks have more sectors than do the inner tracks. Data density is roughly constant throughout the drive. That does mean, though, that more sectors pass under the head per revolution on the outer tracks, so performance is better there. The C-H-S geometry reported by the drive is a total fiction (Did you really think there were 255 heads?) and bears no relationship at all to the actual track and sector layout.
 
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