howmany partitions per disk possible?

Kim Goldenberg kgoldenberg at
Mon Sep 11 16:59:38 UTC 2006

Tony Arnold wrote:
> On Mon, 2006-09-11 at 15:53 +0200, Alexander Skwar wrote:
>>> 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.
>> Hm? What's strange about this? Extended partitions always only contain
>> logical partitions. They cannot, by definition, contain anything else.
> I mean there are no primary partitions on the disk at all! The whole
> disk is taken up by a extended partition hda4, which contains two
> logical partitions, hda5 and hda6. Seems a bit strange to me.
> The system was working fine and I know that Linux doesn't care too much,
> but I did find it strange that neither gparted no qtparted would shrink
> hda6 which is of type LVM. Maybe it's the partition type, or because it
> cannot identify the file system, or maybe it's because its a logical
> partition! I was just trying all the possibilities.
> Regards,
> Tony.
Actually there is a primary partition - it's called the extended partition.

As I understand it:

    You can have up to four (4) primary partitions. One of these may be 
an "Extended" partition, and is always designated as the fourth Primary 
partition (hdX4).
Subsequent logical partitions are created in the Extended Partition, up 
to a total of twelve (12) logical partitions. While this seems to total 
16 partitions, you lose one to the extended partition, so the total is 15.

    If the first (or only) primary partition is defined as an extended 
partition, it show up as the fourth partition, even though there are no 
partitions 1-3. I one were to go back and define them after the extended 
partition was defined, they would appear as 1, 2, and 3. Logical 
partitions always start from 5 and work up. On my current 250 GB sata 
drive, I have partitions 1 - 11; 1=/boot, 2=swap, 3=Ubuntu, 4=extended 
partition, 5-11 data partitions of ~ 20 - 25 GB each.

    I hope this helps.

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