howmany partitions per disk possible?

Alan McKinnon alan at
Mon Sep 11 13:42:03 UTC 2006

On Monday 11 September 2006 15:08, Tony Arnold wrote:
> fdisk scares me rigid! There seems to be plenty of scope for
> wiping the whole disk if one is not careful, but thanks for
> the tip.

Not really. Stories of vast amounts of unlimited power vested in 
all users with the ability to destroy entire systems at the 
push of a single button are vastly overrated :-)

Windows's fdisk continually spits out dire warnings, enough to 
scare even the old-hands, and I suppose some of this comes 
across to Linux fdisk. The truth is that fdisk is well-behaved 
and doesn't pester you with nonsense. Nothing is written to 
disk till you engage the magic "w" function. Until then, you 
can change anything you want to see how it looks and none of it 
is permanent. The only thing to understand is that fdisk 
presents the disk as a series of cylinders and partitions must 
start/stop at these boundaries. Everything else is very logical 
and makes complete sense.

> In the mean time, I've taken the coward's way out and
> re-installed. Given my partitions were peculiar anyway (one
> extended containing two logicals, no primaries at all), it
> was probably the right thing to do.

For future reference, the total complete entire purpose and 
reason for the existence of primary/extended/logical 
paertitions is a hack to get around yet another microsoft 
screw-up. MSDOS 2 misjudged how many partitions people would 
want to have and the current insane partition structure is 
still the same patch that worked around that. There is no 
correct way to structure these things, and Linux couldn't care 
less what type of partitions you use, whether logical or 
primary they can all be used and be booted from. Some other 
OSes do care about this, Linux ain't  one of 'em :-)


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