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Old 10-12-2006, 01:29 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Distribution: Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon
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Re-arranging a hard disk

Hello, all

I have an odd question. I'm unhappy with the way that I partitioned my hard disk. Is there a way to change it without having to reinstall?

I have a pretty big usb hard disk, so my thought was to copy everything to it, boot from knoppix or some other livecd, repartition the disk, copy everything back, edit /etc/fstab to reflect the new partitioning scheme and /etc/lilo.conf to be able to boot, then chroot into the new / partition, run /sbin/lilo and reboot. Would this work? It seems to be too easy to me, so I thought I'd ask for some help before I destroy everything...

Thanks in advance
Old 10-12-2006, 03:16 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2005
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Sounds about right. You should be able to resize partitions without erasing data too, but definitely backup before doing anything.
Old 10-12-2006, 03:34 PM   #3
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Edmonton
Distribution: BLFS, Gentoo
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Yep, itz something I've been doing for the past several years and it works without a hitch !! ;-)

Goodluck !
Old 10-12-2006, 03:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by silkenphoenixx
It seems to be too easy to me, so I thought I'd ask for some help before I destroy everything...
What you just described is a "bare metal restore from backups". It's what you would do should your harddisk decide to catch fire and self-destruct on you! Everybody should learn how to do a restore like this, and have the necessary backups completed before disaster strikes and you really need them. There's no rule that says you have to keep partition sizes identical to the originals during this restore process. If you're imaging a drive/partition then partition sizes come into play. Using the dd command for backup is considered imaging. But for a tar backup, if what you have in that tar file will fit inside your new partition size ... you're good to go. You will need to recreate the partitions and filesystems manually before restoring a tar backup. Create them with different sizes than the originals, and you've accomplished the task you asked about!

So your modified procedure is:
Quote: my thought was to copy everything to it using tar or cp or rsync but not dd, boot from knoppix or some other livecd, repartition the disk, recreate the filesystems, copy everything back, edit /etc/fstab...
Old 10-12-2006, 04:06 PM   #5
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Registered: Jul 2006
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This is what I want to do but I want to remove my win xp partition and make my laptop completely kubuntu.

Do I unmount the win xp partitions and make them the same as the kubuntu partitions?

currently my harddrive is 60gig's split even except for a fat32 partiton i use to store stuff between kubuntu and xp.

I would like to resize everything and use the entire 60, can someone point to a howto or something for some not experienced with this process?

I also have an external dvd burner there a way to burn whats needed to dvd? if so what? and how? I downloaded k9 for backing up but i have no idea how to use it.

Old 10-13-2006, 01:27 PM   #6
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Distribution: Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon
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Hello, all, thanks for the advice so far.

I was planning on using cp. I hardly ever use tar, perhaps I should go through the man page for it and familiarise myself.

BTW, I did intend to recreate the filesystem, I just thought it would be obvious and left it out.

ethereal27, I don't know of a howto. You can as you suggest just unmount your partitions and make them the same as the one kubuntu uses. You need to then define new mountpoints for both and put them in your /etc/fstab.

Here's a simple guide (as root): (Remember to backup whatever you don't want to loose!)

mkfs.ext3 /dev/<xxxx>

<xxxx> is usually hda1, but I recommend you find out. If you examine your /etc/fstab it should contain this information.

Then you need to remove (or comment out, this is probably better, so you have the original ones as a reference) the lines in /etc/fstab that deal with the partitons and add new ones to deal with the changed partitions. Probably the only changes will be the filesystem type and the mount point.

You probably also want to give yourself permissions to read and write to them, so make yourself the owner:

chown <your username>:<your groupname> <mountpoint>

If you don't understand this, perhaps give more details of what exactly you plan to do, then someone can help you with more specifics.


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