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Before I begin, let me get this out of the way: I am totally uninitiated in programming and anything that goes on in a computer beyond the GUI. I am, ...
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  1. #1
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    Question [SOLVED] Partitioning/Dual Boot


    Before I begin, let me get this out of the way: I am totally uninitiated in programming and anything that goes on in a computer beyond the GUI. I am, however, familiar with both Windows and Mac OS X.

    Situation:
    My PC, which had been running XP Pro, crashed, and I don't have a repair disk, since it was bought used. First attempt at solving problem: use old XP Home disk, currently installed on another outdated pc. Note: this disk was actually a manufacturer's bundled disk, which ran a recovery operation similar to Windows System Restore, keeping user files intact, but uninstalling the OS, then installing Windows XP Home. Should be fine, right? The OS is repaired, my stuff is safe. No dice, no Certificate of Authenticity (not pirated, just lost the thing). New problem: instead of blue error screen, I get the Windows XP setup upon booting, which, since I lack the Certificate of Authenticity, is just as useless. Next possible solution: Switch to Linux! But, without removing the old data on the hard disk, since I actually have some nice stuff on there. So, using a MacBook Pro, I downloaded and burned a Knoppix live cd as a temporary solution. Easy enough. But, I need a more permanent option, and for this, I chose Linux Mint. Downloaded, burned, booted. Chose install on the desktop. All good until the partitioning issue came up. The hard disk is 500 gbs, apparently, and there are two filesystems on it, one, 262 gigs, 41 available, accessible from the file browser in both Knoppix and Linux Mint, NTFS filesystem. The other, 238 gigs, more nebulous. No filesystem type, not accessible from the file browser. I want to keep the old documents and settings folders from Windows, but XP Home can go; it's only halfway installed anyway. Tried Partition Logic, couldn't find the hard drive.

    I can find the files I want, but I need a partition to move them to (I think?). That is, if I even want to move them. How much of a chance is there that, after moving them from Windows into Linux, they would be unusable? Is there any?

    Final questions:
    The 41 gigs available on the 262 gig filesystem should be enough to hold Linux Mint and all associated folders, but how do I separate that disk space from that filesystem and create a new partition?
    Is the hard drive foobar?
    What's a filesystem, anyway?
    Should I just erase everything and start fresh with Linux, and, if so, is there a way to keep my stuff?

    Notes:
    The filesystems are under the paths dev/sda1 and dev/sda5, if that signifies anything.
    The PC is a Dell Dimension 4700, and has an Intel Pentium 4 processor. It's i686, i386 compatible (what are these things, comparable to amd64?). Found that out when I tried to boot amd64 version of Linux Mint.
    Yes, I realize now that messing with this was beyond my capabilities. Hindsight is 20/20.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer nujinini's Avatar
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    Before I begin, let me get this out of the way: I am totally uninitiated in programming and anything that goes on in a computer beyond the GUI. I am, however, familiar with both Windows and Mac OS X.
    That's a good start. Welcome to the forums Alexander_The_Acceptable!

    Situation:
    My PC, which had been running XP Pro, crashed, and I don't have a repair disk, since it was bought used. First attempt at solving problem: use old XP Home disk, currently installed on another outdated pc. Note: this disk was actually a manufacturer's bundled disk, which ran a recovery operation similar to Windows System Restore, keeping user files intact, but uninstalling the OS, then installing Windows XP Home. Should be fine, right? The OS is repaired, my stuff is safe. No dice, no Certificate of Authenticity (not pirated, just lost the thing). New problem: instead of blue error screen, I get the Windows XP setup upon booting, which, since I lack the Certificate of Authenticity, is just as useless. Next possible solution: Switch to Linux! But, without removing the old data on the hard disk, since I actually have some nice stuff on there.
    Oh...I see...

    So, using a MacBook Pro, I downloaded and burned a Knoppix live cd as a temporary solution. Easy enough. But, I need a more permanent option, and for this, I chose Linux Mint. Downloaded, burned, booted. Chose install on the desktop. All good until the partitioning issue came up. The hard disk is 500 gbs, apparently, and there are two filesystems on it, one, 262 gigs, 41 available, accessible from the file browser in both Knoppix and Linux Mint, NTFS filesystem. The other, 238 gigs, more nebulous. No filesystem type, not accessible from the file browser. I want to keep the old documents and settings folders from Windows, but XP Home can go; it's only halfway installed anyway. Tried Partition Logic, couldn't find the hard drive.

    1) I suggest you try to boot using live cd of mint.
    2) Use Parted Magic to format the HD in a manner that you desire. You can find it in the Control Center.
    3) Don't touch the XP Home partition if you don't want to mess it yet.
    4) Format the other partition to install linux mint fiesystem type ext3
    5) Continue installtion and if everything goes well, you can have a dual boot and the choice of saving all your data from XP by access using the linux partition.
    6) Since you XP is already partially messed up, after you save all your data, you are free whatever you want to do with it. I mean keep it or fry it

    I can find the files I want, but I need a partition to move them to (I think?). That is, if I even want to move them. How much of a chance is there that, after moving them from Windows into Linux, they would be unusable? Is there any?
    Yes, you can move your files to the linux safely after installation, if you want to. They will be perfectly usable under normal circumstances. In fact they might even perform faster and better under the new partition.
    Final questions:
    The 41 gigs available on the 262 gig filesystem should be enough to hold Linux Mint and all associated folders, but how do I separate that disk space from that filesystem and create a new partition?
    I think you can also do that using gparted? The one I mentioned above. You can create 4 primary partitions, one of which can be formatted as extended and subdivided to as many as duhhh...I think 60 logical partittions.

    Is the hard drive foobar?
    Sorry I don;t know foobar.

    What's a filesystem, anyway?
    I don't now the dictionary definition but I take it as a rule of thumb that if its windows, its formatted as FAT16, FAT31, NTFS....and if its Linux ext2, ext3,ext4, among others.
    Should I just erase everything and start fresh with Linux, and, if so, is there a way to keep my stuff
    After you have a successful install of linux and have saved all your important files? You are free to fry your windows should you desire.

    Notes:
    The filesystems are under the paths dev/sda1 and dev/sda5, if that signifies anything.
    can you pleae go to terminal and execute the following and paste here please?

    Code:
    $ sudo fdisk -l
    ***l is a small L

    See you soon
    nujinini
    Linux User #489667

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    Thanks very much.

    Just one question: What does that line of code do? My only guess would be an analysis of the hard drive. Am I close?

    Quote Originally Posted by nujinini View Post

    can you pleae go to terminal and execute the following and paste here please?

    Code:
    $ sudo fdisk -l

  4. $spacer_open
    $spacer_close
  5. #4
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander_The_Acceptable View Post
    Just one question: What does that line of code do? My only guess would be an analysis of the hard drive. Am I close?
    Hello and welcome!

    That command will list your partitions and filesystem types on each hard drive.
    oz

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    Hello, and thanks!

    Here's the result (before any changes) of executing suda fdisk -l:
    mint@mint ~ $ sudo fdisk -l

    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xe61ae61a

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 1 31871 256003776 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda2 31872 60800 232372192+ f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5 31872 60800 232372161 e W95 FAT16 (LBA)

    FAT16 is another Windows format, correct? Other than confirmation that the NTFS one is the Win XP Home that boots from the hard drive, that's all I got from this. What's this extension business?

    I opened GParted, and it informed me that the NTFS filesystem is inconsistent (clusters are missing, clusters aren't correct). Also, the minimum and maximum sizes are the same, so no resizing. sda2 is extended to sda5, whose file system is unknown. Oh well. Closed it, ran suda fdisk -l, then opened GParted again, now the NTFS filesystem is consistent, and there's the 41 gigs of empty space. What happened? There's also a Mount Point that I don't think was there before. Still no resizing, though.

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    It was mounted, or GParted recognized that it was mounted, right? I unmounted it as part of the Mint installation process, and now it's back to inconsistent and there are no usage specifications.

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    Anyway, in the Mint installation partition menu, I've formatted sda5 to ext3, and set the mount point to /, and checked off format. It tells me that it recommends having a partition as swap space, or I may experience errors during the installation process. Can I designate sda1, with the old Windows files on it, as swap space, or will doing so cause file loss?

  9. #8
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    SWAP space is not just a disk space in any Partition. SWAP space is itself a partition having swap filesystem and if you assign swap space to sda1, all data will be erased.

    I would suggest you to shrink /dev/sda5 and create a new partition /dev/sda6 for SWAP.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

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    Thumbs up

    I've shrunk the new ext3 filesystem, created a new swap partition, and have begun Mint installation. Thanks for the help!

    Here's the result of sudo fdisk -l now:
    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xe61ae61a

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 1 31871 256003776 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda2 31872 60800 232372162 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5 31872 54204 179389791 83 Linux
    /dev/sda6 54205 60800 52982338+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris

  11. #10
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Well Done ! Do let us know how it goes.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

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