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Old 04-14-2008, 10:21 AM   #1
centguy
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reinstall windows xp in triboot system: Can I have as many partitions as I want ?


During the last weekend I completely destroyed my triboot system (windowsXP+32bit-suse10.3+64bit-suse10.3). As a final solution I have
not choice but to reinstall a dual boot system windows+opensuse103 as soon as possible because I need to get back to some real work.

But I still want to find out what went wrong.

I had gained some experiences dealing with overwriting MBR's content with
Linux Rescue mode and with grub's root and setup commands so I went on to reinstall windows in my triboot system (I had a slow Start->MyComputer problem, some kind of problems (viruses?) but I really hate to wait for 5 mins to time out that part everytime I used windows, sorry this is really un-linux). During Windows reinstallation, for some reason, I thought it is
okay to delete the ntfs partition (/dev/sda1) and then create a new ntfs partition (something along the line of reformating the problematic /dev/sda1) And this is where the story get interesting. I hit
a problem that says "Setup cannot create a new partition in the space you selected because the maximum number of partitions already exists on the disk". I quit the Windows installation process but then the MBR was
overwritten and I (a) lost the windows partition and (b) some reordering of the partition numbers that may cause (I had not tried, but the fdisk -l told me that the ordering is pretty messed up) the opensuse OS unbootable unless I
change the /etc/fstab by hand.

Anyway, if I had the chance to repeat the reinstallation of Windows again, is it mandatory I don't delete the existing ntfs and ask windows to
install on the first partition straightaway ??
Right now, to avoid this possible problem in the future, I have made plan to make /dev/sda1 to be ntfs for windows, sda2 for linux swap, sda3 for / of 32bit opensuse
and sda4 for / of any other Linux distros.

I guess my real question is "Can I have as many sda as I want and I can still reinstall windows ?"
 
Old 04-14-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
ronlau9
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A lot sda are possible but not unlimited It depends on the CPU A I386 for instants can only have 4 primary partitions
Each primary can have again one or more logical partitions older Pc can have less primary parmiary partitions


all the best
 
Old 04-14-2008, 12:05 PM   #3
johnsfine
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Probably Windows was refusing to create a fourth primary partition.

So you're probably better off setting it up with only three primary partitions (Linux doesn't care whether partitions are primary or not).

So set up sda1, sda2 and sda3 as primary partitions, with one of them ntfs for windows. Then allocate all the rest of the space to an "extended" partition, which then can be subdivided into whatever non primary partitions you want.

The name sda4 would be taken by the extended partition, which is not mounted or otherwise explicitly used. So if you wanted your fourth real partition to be / that would be sda5.

As to the subject question of this thread: You can have a LOT of partitions, probably as many as you want. But then only three of the partitions can be primary (and Windows can only boot from a primary partition). You can instead have four primary partitions, but then you can't have any non primary partitions, and your experience seems to indicate Windows won't set up a partition table with four primary partitions (though it can boot from such a partition table if another OS sets it up).

Last edited by johnsfine; 04-14-2008 at 12:09 PM.
 
Old 04-14-2008, 12:14 PM   #4
ronlau9
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The first logical in the extended is always sda5

all the best
 
Old 04-14-2008, 08:01 PM   #5
centguy
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I do agree that with pure linux installations, there can be any number of partitions, with sda1, sda2, sd3 being the primiary partitions, sda4 being the extended partitions (that covers the part not covered by the all parts occupied by sda1,sda2,and sda3). the physical space for sda4 is further divided into any number of logical partitions, which I have understood perfectly. At one stage, I went up from sda1 to sda8. The real question is that the windows reinstallation may have a trouble interpreting or maintaining a perfect fine partition tables. So unless otherwise confirmed by someone else, I would stick to four primiary partitions. A good thing of putting / for one entire linux is that it easier to manage /etc/fstab rather than to figure out which partitions correspond to /boot, /home, etc. Of course, people may argue that I cannot delete
and create partitions as it is possible with the logical partitions.
 
Old 04-15-2008, 01:26 PM   #6
John-in-France
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Honest guv,

I'm pretty sure you will have no problems sticking with the concept of 3 Primary partitions and a fourth "extended" partition which can then be split into several logical partitions. That's the structure I've got with Windows XP on the three primary partitions (Boot on first, two NTFS data partitions on two and three). The extended partition is sda4 and Fedora boots on SDA5 for /boot and the rest of it is in its default LVM within SDA6.

There are several very good tools to re-size partitions available. Partition Magic is probably the Windows standard and Linux offers quite a few very effective tools. The only caveat I would offer is that you don't use a Windows tool to format or otherwise change a Linux partition and vice versa, don't fiddle with a Windows partition (other than to simply delete it) from within Linux. Just create the free space and then let the chosen system create and format it to its own taste.

John
 
Old 04-15-2008, 02:45 PM   #7
Larry Webb
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This article may help you to make a decision.

http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showt...hreadid=147959
 
Old 04-15-2008, 03:53 PM   #8
exvor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronlau9 View Post
The first logical in the extended is always sda5

all the best
thats not exactly correct if you only have 2 primary partitions it will be sda4 until you create the last primary on the system and then they will all shift. I had this issue when managing partitions in the middle of my drive and then getting a panic when attempting to boot because the drive letters in fstab no longer corresponded to the correct partitions.

And the reason why its sda5 and not sda4 is because sda4 is the logical partition. so sda4 is still there even tho cfdisk may not show it.


NOTE: Windows xp as far as i know will not allow you to install it into a Linux extended or even a dos extended. I also think it needs to be installed in the first 2 primary partitions tho that may be incorrect. Its been far too long since ive done support for windows xp and attempted exotic installations.
 
Old 04-15-2008, 05:30 PM   #9
Larry Webb
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I hate to correct anyone exvor but here is my fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 6382 51263383+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 6514 19457 103972680 5 Extended
/dev/sda3 6383 6513 1052257+ 6 FAT16
/dev/sda5 6514 6797 2281198+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6 6798 11963 41495863+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 11964 13536 12635091 83 Linux
/dev/sda8 13537 15099 12554766 83 Linux
/dev/sda9 15100 19457 35005603+ 83 Linux

As you can see there are only two primary partitions and the extended is sda2 and it was actually sda3 before I formated what I thought was sda2 fat 16 for my Grub partition but apparently changed the numbers. As you can see the first logical partition is sda5.
 
  


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