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  1. #1

    Help with Gparted and partitioning?


    My laptop has an enormous, mostly empty, recovery partition. I've always just ignored it before, but I now want to free a chunk of disk space to install some video games, and from what I've read it seems that if you have a recovery CD (which I do, Redo Backup LiveCD, which I think is the kind of thing they're talking about) you don't even need the recovery drive anyway. So I'd like to get rid of this partition and reuse the wasted space.
    I've never attempted to do things with partitions before. I've been through the GParted manual and a couple of online how-to pages and think I understand the general idea of how the partitions work, but I can't work out how to do what I want to do.

    The exact situation is:
    sda1 "WinRE" 1.46 GiB
    sda2 Windows Vista and old files and programs 116.29 GiB
    sda3 Recovery partition 57.88 GiB
    sda4:
    sda5 Zorin (my current OS) and current files and programs 53.38 GiB
    sda6 Swap file 3.87 GiB

    (I'm aware of the thing about there being up to four "primary" partitions and then additional "logical" sub-partitions inside the last primary partition.)
    I want to keep Windows Vista around for the rare occasions when I need Windows for something, but I'm guessing I could probably annex a lot of the remaining 30 GB of free space on sda2, and by deleting some old stuff from there I could probably get at least another 20GB too.
    Deleting sda3 (and possibly shrinking sda2) and then expanding sda4, and sda5 inside it, into the empty space seemed the obvious course, but it seems it won't let me do that. It's willing to delete sda3 and leave an "unallocated" space, but it didn't seem to have any option to expand sda4 or sda5 into the space, so I cancelled that and left sda3 where it is for now.
    I've been using GParted from a LiveCD, by the way (the aforementioned Redo Backup CD), so it's not that sda4 can't be changed because it's in use.

    Please can you tell me what you think is the best way to proceed, and explain what I need to press in GParted to bring that about? It's pretty absurd that I've got a 250 GB hard disk and only 57 GB of it is the partition I'm actually using!

  2. #2
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    There usually aren't any tricks to Gparted. If you can't do something it usually is because it's too dangerous, too complex or just impossible.

    From what I read, you want to expand your Zorin partition to the left. This is complex because your bootloader needs to know where the partition starts. If you change that, you won't be able to boot. This falls into the category of "too complex".

    I don't think this is a Gparted problem, just a limitation inherent to how the bootloader works.

  3. #3
    OK. Thanks for the clear explanation.

    It looks like the best solution, short of buying a new laptop or an external disk, would be to get rid of sda3 and shrink sda2, make a new partition to the right of sda2, and install the games in that. I've checked on the games' forums and installing them in a different drive from your operating system doesn't seem to be a problem.

    Would you mind confirming for me, does that make sense in partition terms and how would you go about it? If the worst comes to the worst, I made a complete disk image backup, but I'm hoping it won't come to that

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  5. #4
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    You want to install games for Windows or Linux?

    If for Windows, there is no issue. For Linux, your package manager decides where to install. It would be a bit more complicated, unless you are installing from Steam (in Linux) or PlayOnLinux, I think they let you choose, but I don't remember.

    Your new plan should work. Is the recovery partition part of the Windows installation?

    If you are going to modify Windows partitions, do it from Windows, if Linux, do it from Linux. That's really all the advice you need.

  6. #5
    The games I have in mind are, I believe, all Windows-only games that I would be running via Wine (from a look at their forums, they do seem to be fine with Wine).

    The recovery partition was on the computer when I got it, I don't know whether it's "part of the Windows installation" in whatever sense you mean or some quirk of Toshiba's, but certainly it's not to do with Linux, since I didn't have that then.

    I'm not sure what you mean about editing the partiations from Windows or Linux. One of the partitions I'd be wanting to edit (by shrinking it a bit) is the Windows partition itself, so I couldn't do that from Windows, could I? I was going to do it all using gparted from a LiveCD (which runs a cut-down version of Ubuntu). Should I get a Windows-based LiveCD partition editor from somewhere?

  7. #6
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    -->
    What I mean is, if you are going to modify a partition, do it from the affected OS because simply shrinking or expanding a partition is not all it takes.

    I know the recovery partition is part of Windows, only for UEFI installations by default. I'm not sure if it can be configured when using BIOS. I don't even know what it does.

    If you are installing games on Linux, you'll need a larger root partition, because I think games are installed on /usr or /home (when using WINE).

    By the way, before touching the partitions, back up everything, you never know what can happen.

    If I may make a suggestion, it'd be easier to just wipe everything and reinstall, since you should be backing up everything anyways. The only reasons not to do that would be: - Having lots of custom settings you wouldn't like to reapply (hint: settings for most programs in Linux can be backed up very easily, since they are usually just plain text files); - Having limited bandwidth or time to reinstall software; - Some trouble with Windows/games keys that would prevent you from activating them again.
    Other than that, just do it the easy way.

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