Author Topic: Partitions  (Read 586 times)

Partitions
« on: July 09, 2018, 02:01:42 pm »
Firstly, can I crave the forum's indulgence?  I am asking a long question on behalf of my daughter, who is pretty competent with computers, having changed operating systems successfully, for example.  But she is having trouble with PARTITIONS.  Now, pretty much the only thing i know about partitions is that lots of people die.  Below is the text she prepared for me when I offered to ask on here.  I'd be inordinately grateful if anyone could help!




I have a nasty mess of partitions taking up most of my computer's hard disk, including an enormous, mostly empty, recovery partition that came with the computer.  I've always just ignored them before, but now I really want to install some video games and need a big chunk of disk space.  I've been trying to work out how to do it (having never tried to do anything with partitions before), but it seems to be more complicated than I thought, can anyone please help?

To be exact this is what I've got:
1) "WinRE", whatever that is, 2 GB.
2) Windows Vista and old files and programs 125 GB, of which 35 GB is free.
3) Recovery partition which came with the computer 60 GB, of which at least 50 GB is free.
4)    Logical sub-partition 1: Linux operating system and current files and programs 56 GB, of which 5 GB is free.
   Logical sub-partition 2: Linux's swap file 4 GB.
(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've got a program called GPartEd on a bootable CD based on Linux, so I was going to use that.

Deleting 3 (and possibly shrinking 2) and then expanding 4 into the empty space seemed the obvious course, but it wouldn't let me do that, and I've been tol;d that this can't be done because it would be expanding a partition to the left (adding to the beginning of a partition, in other words). 

So my next thought was to delete 3 and expand 2 into it, and put my games in the empty space on 2.  (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, so it doesn't much matter which partition they end up in so long as there's enough room.)  That would be expanding a partition to the right, so surely that ought to work? 

But when I asked about this on a Linux forum, somebody said that as 2 and 3 were Windows-format partitions I shouldn't edit them with GPartEd but use Windows to readjust the partitions - which I have no idea how to do, and I thought it was impossible to edit an operating system partition while the operating system is actually running, anyway.  GPartEd doesn't say anything about not editing Windows-format partitions, anyway, so can that be true?  And he said repeatedly that it would be easier just to reformat the disk and reinstall everything.  Well, to me at least that would be a very long and hard job indeed, and I shudder to think what could make THAT the easier option.  Also I'd lose Windows as I haven't got the disk for that.

Is it as bad as he makes it sound, or do you think it could be done?  I do have a complete disk image backup (of all the partitions), if the worst comes to the worst.  If you do think it would be safer to use Windows rather than GPartEd to do the tinkering, can you tell me exactly what buttons to press in what order?    :-\


Thank you!

Peter



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Re: Partitions
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 06:34:16 pm »
... somebody said that as 2 and 3 were Windows-format partitions I shouldn't edit them with GPartEd but use Windows to readjust the partitions - ...

Well one problem there is that you have OS, files and programs all on the same partition.  One point of partitioning (if there is any point) is to isolate the OS from everything else.  Its a bit like keeping your food, your toys and your vacuum cleaner all in the same cupboard - you would at least keep your food in a separate place.
I think Windows' own partition tool is pretty good but having to work on Vista is a bit scary.  Also I'm not sure what max partition size Vista supports.
GPartEd is also very good and if you're comfortable with it I doubt if it would allow you to go wrong.
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Re: Partitions
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 06:36:37 pm »
Thanks, Francis, I'll pass that on!

Peter

Mr Larrington

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Re: Partitions
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 07:01:27 pm »
I've certainly jibbled partition sizes - albeit on a Windows-only box - using a third-party application without ill effects.
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Re: Partitions
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 07:03:54 pm »
Thanks, D.  Love to Bethany (oh, hang on, now i'll have to go on a course!)

Re: Partitions
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 01:12:33 am »
WinRE is a separate OS that can be booted (via the BIOS) to fix various boot problems in your main Vista OS.

The recovery partition is your Vista installation image. You need an installation image if you ever want to reinstall Vista, so consider making a CD or USB version before deleting it. One issue is that the recovery partition is probably an old version of Vista, possibly with extra vendor bits, and if you ever do reinstall you might want a more up-to-date, and pristine, version of Vista. Getting a more up-to-date image for Vista might be tricky.

When handling partitions be aware that filesystems (NTFS, ext3, etc.) exist inside partitions. You need to expand the filesystem after increasing a partition size, or the new space will not be useable, and you need to shrink the filesystem before reducing a partition size, or the filesystem will be corrupted. A tool like gparted understands partitions and filesystems and will do both steps.

From Vista, make a backup of the installation image if required. Then gparted should be capable of deleting partition 3 (the recovery partition), resizing partition 2 and expanding the NTFS filesystem inside partition 2. There are Windows tools available but gparted is capable of doing this as well: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowtoResizeWindowsPartitions#Windows_Vista_and_Windows_7

An alternative would be to use gparted, or Windows tools, to delete the recovery partition and create a new NTFS partition. Then you could use it as a separate drive when running Vista.

Re: Partitions
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 11:49:00 am »
Thanks, Philip, i'll pass it on.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Partitions
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 11:54:19 am »
Depending on the hardware, and money, it might be an option to bung in a shiny new SSD and do fresh installs of Windows and Linux to partitions on that, keeping the existing disk for other stuff.
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Re: Partitions
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 04:43:31 pm »
Depending on the hardware, and money, it might be an option to bung in a shiny new SSD and do fresh installs of Windows and Linux to partitions on that, keeping the existing disk for other stuff.

That would be my choice, given funds. I reckon that any drive which has been spinning since Vista was new should be put out to grass sooner rather than later.
Stick a new drive or SSD in there, install it how you like (which wouldn't include Vista, mebbe 7 or 10) and stick the old drive into a USB cradle and copy back any data that you want to keep.
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Re: Partitions
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2018, 01:05:02 pm »
Quick update to say, "thanks" to you all!  My daughter has used your info. successfully to solve the problems, so far without buying more equipment, though that remains a possibility for the future.

Thanks again!

Peter