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Hello all, I appreciate in advance any expert opinions. I've been dual-booting and triple-booting Windows alongside Linux distros for years. And then along comes a real mystery, on my own ...
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  1. #1
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    Arrow Mystery -- GParted fails shrink NTFS volume


    Hello all,

    I appreciate in advance any expert opinions.

    I've been dual-booting and triple-booting Windows alongside Linux distros for years. And then along comes a real mystery, on my own personal laptop no less.

    Before I continue, I want to say right up front that the only variable which is different below from the dozens of times I have done this before ... is that the machine in question is running sp3 of XP Pro. (and not sp2)

    It's a Lenovo 3000 N100 with an 80GB drive. It has had my own installations of (fresh) Win XP Pro and Ubuntu many times over on it! That is why the issue described below is a real surprise.

    So I decided recently to clear out the gunk, and reformat and reinstall. As I have many times on this machine before, as well as dozens of other machines ... I did the following: Keep in mind that the application of XP sp3 is the only new thing here.

    (1) Used Win XP Pro sp2 installation CD (my legit copy) to slow format NTFS along all 80GB.
    (2) Installed XP Pro sp2 using the same CD, of course.
    (3) *newness* Used a stand-alone CD of sp3 soon after, to apply sp3 to this Windows installation.
    (4) got all drivers up and running, got MS updates, etc yada yada usual Windows stuff

    Now at this point, what I would normally do is use a stand-alone bootable CD of GParted to shrink the 80GB Windows installation down to a 60GB size. I have done this many times before, even on this machine.

    But this time ... something new ... GParted was unable to shrink the NTFS partition. What? It doesn't give any specific errors, it just comes back and says it can't complete the operation. This is a shocker. GParted is like my best friend -- it has never failed me before.

    The only thing "new" here is the application of sp3. Do you think that somehow sp3 could be responsible for this strangeness?

    Now before I get slammed for having ridiculous supposition, let me say that I have (unfortunately) observed sp3 doing weird things on Lenovo machines. {Indeed, I have a brand new Thinkpad as well, in addition the machine described above. On this Thinkpad, you can go from new factory image of sp2 ... to applying sp3 by CD ... and guess what? Your legacy ethernet drivers are zapped by sp3. I have confirmed this with knowledgeable Lenovo staff, and it is repeatable ... so sp3 can do weird things.}

    I appreciate anyone's opinion -- and thanks!

  2. #2
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by vois22 View Post
    But this time ... something new ... GParted was unable to shrink the NTFS partition. What? It doesn't give any specific errors, it just comes back and says it can't complete the operation. This is a shocker. GParted is like my best friend -- it has never failed me before.
    Is it possible that the partition in question is overly fragmented? Have you tried defragging it before trying to shrink it?

    Just guessing here, really.
    oz

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    oh yes, the NTFS volume was defragged several times before attempting the standalone GParted bootable CD attempt to shrink it.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Can you mount the ntfs partition?
    what does
    Code:
    df -h
    fdisk -l
    report?
    If you reboot the PC does XP run correctly?

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    Arrow

    XP runs correctly upon a reboot, and it has run correctly for a couple of months now since I did the reformat/reinstall of XP.

    Also, I am able to mount it as /dev/sda1 using Live Knoppix CD. (With regard to your question about mounting, I believe the GParted Live CD leaves all file systems unmounted, so that it can do its work.)

    Before continuing, I found out (tks to your help) that this disk has more than 1024 cylinders. This seems important below.

    Now, to your other questions:

    df -h output:
    /dev/sda1 75G 10% used mount point: /media/sda1

    Also, when I do this: fdisk /dev/sda it claims that it is unable to open /dev/sda
    However ...

    When I do that: fdisk /dev/sda1 it gives me a warning that because cylinders >1024
    I could have problems with partitioning software from Linux (Bingo!)

    And finally, the fdisk /dev/sda1 -l output:
    (Below is invalid anyway because I know there is only one partition on this drive)

    Disk /dev/sda1: 80.0 GB
    255/63/9727 cylinders

    "This doesn't look like a partition table" it warns
    /dev/sda1p1 Part 1 does not end on a cylinder boundary ID: 72
    /dev/sda1p2 same ID: 74
    /dev/sda1p3 same ID: 65 Novell Netware (not true)
    /dev/sda1p4 same ID: 0
    {ALL THE ABOVE PARTITION REPORTS ARE FALSE, I KNOW THAT}

    So then, the question is how can I fix this cylinder problem without needing to reinstall XP?

    I do appreciate your help!

  7. #6
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    You need to type
    fdisk -l

    I tried incorrect code below ...
    Code:
    [jonathan@jonathan-laptop ~]$ sudo fdisk /dev/sda1 -l
    Password:
    
    Disk /dev/sda1: 7353 MB, 7353368064 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 893 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x69737369
    
    This doesn't look like a partition table
    Probably you selected the wrong device.
    
         Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1p1   ?      116388      126889    84344761   69  Unknown
    Partition 1 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
         phys=(68, 13, 10) logical=(116387, 225, 36)
    Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
         phys=(288, 115, 43) logical=(126888, 82, 1)
    Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
    /dev/sda1p2   ?      105915      222310   934940732+  73  Unknown
    Partition 2 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
         phys=(371, 114, 37) logical=(105914, 175, 47)
    Partition 2 has different physical/logical endings:
         phys=(366, 32, 33) logical=(222309, 108, 57)
    Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
    /dev/sda1p3   ?           1           1           0   74  Unknown
    Partition 3 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
         phys=(371, 114, 37) logical=(0, 40, 54)
    Partition 3 has different physical/logical endings:
         phys=(372, 97, 50) logical=(0, 40, 53)
    Partition 3 does not end on cylinder boundary.
    /dev/sda1p4          179626      179629       26207+   0  Empty
    Partition 4 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
         phys=(0, 0, 0) logical=(179625, 87, 47)
    Partition 4 has different physical/logical endings:
         phys=(0, 0, 0) logical=(179628, 154, 45)
    Partition 4 does not end on cylinder boundary.
    
    Partition table entries are not in disk order
    [jonathan@jonathan-laptop ~]$
    Same drive with correct comand ...
    Code:
    [jonathan@jonathan-laptop ~]$ sudo fdisk -l
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x199c199b
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *           1         894     7181023+  27  Unknown
    /dev/sda2             895        3452    20547135    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda3            4031       14593    84847297+   5  Extended
    /dev/sda4            3453        4030     4642785    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda5            4031        4158     1028128+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda6            4159        6078    15422368+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda7            6079        6843     6144831   83  Linux
    /dev/sda8            6844        7480     5116671   83  Linux
    /dev/sda9            7481        8088     4883728+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda10           8089        8696     4883728+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda11           8697        9333     5116671   83  Linux
    /dev/sda12           9334       10225     7164958+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda13          10226       11244     8185086   83  Linux
    /dev/sda14          11245       12006     6120733+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda15          12007       14593    20780046   83  Linux
    
    Partition table entries are not in disk order
    [jonathan@jonathan-laptop ~]$
    Can you try the code again ...

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