Problems with repartitioning a HP Pavilion Laptop

Liam Proven lproven at
Fri Aug 17 18:42:10 UTC 2012

On 17 August 2012 19:03, Bill Stanley <bstanle at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I have installed Linux on many computers but this is the first time I had
> any problems.  The computer is a new HP Pavilion Model dV6 laptop, I assume
> the HD is ATA Hitachi HTS54505.  I used the Windows partitioning utility to
> resize the Windows partition so I would have some unused space (100 GB)
> where I could install Linux.  This went smoothly and Windows ran smoothly
> with the reduced partition size.  I used Windows about a month without any
> problems.
> Yesterday, I had some free time so I decided to install Xubuntu (12.04 - 64
> bit) and all seemed to go smoothly.  The steps I followed were...
> I chose "something else" when prompted for the install type.
> I then set up the new partition table as
> sda1 -      1 MB - unknown  (I did nothing here)
> sda2 -    208 MB - ntfs     (I did nothing here)
> sda3 - 400000 MB - ntfs     (The resized Windows partition
>                              I did nothing here)
> The free space was 100000 MB.  I partitioned the free space as follows.
> (sda4 -  No sda4 ???)
> sda5 -   7998 MB -logical partition - swap area
> sda6 -  49999 MB -logical partition - Ext4  - mount as /
> sda7 -  42003 MB -logical partition - Ext4  - mount as /home
> boot loader (GRUB) at dev/sda
> I then clicked on "Install now".
> I got the location map and then a pop window saying that an error occurred.
> It says...
> "             ERROR!
> Error informing the kernel about modifications to partition 4 - Device or
> resource busy.  This means Linux won't know about any changes made to
> /dev/sda4 until you reboot - so you shouldn't use it before rebooting"
> I thought this was insignificant since sda4 wasn't listed in the proposed
> partition scheme.  I chose "ignore".
> Then I got the same message about sda5, sda6, and sda7.  I knew something
> was amiss so I aborted the installation.
> The problem is that now I can't even boot into Windows because the
> installation attempted to install GRUB.  I was able to save any user data to
> a flash drive before trying the failed install.
> I thought that this might be a Ubuntu only problem so I tried installing
> Mint.  Same problem.  The vexing thing was that I didn't get much of a clue
> to what was happening. Since Ubuntu and Mint are Debian based, I tried a
> different flavor of Linux - Open Suse.  This time I did get an error message
> before partitioning even started.  It said that the partition scheme on the
> HD and the partitioning tool, parted, were incompatible.  (It might be nice
> if Ubuntu checked for partitioning problems before trying to repartition.)
> The error message that Open Suse gave was as follows...
> "The partitioning on disk dev/sda is not readable by the partitioning tool
> parted which is used to change the partition table.
> You can use the partitions on dev/sda as they are.  ..."
> I did all the BIOS diagnostics and no hardware problems were detected. That
> is the history of what has been done.  The laptop is unusable since I can't
> boot into Windows, luckily I had the foresight to get a Windows installation
> disks from HP.  The Windows installation disk says that a repair can't be
> done and I must do a full reinstall.  What can be done now?  I assume that I
> should try to install Linux first and then Windows.  Does anybody know about
> any new partitioning scheme that MS has come up with that would mess up
> Linux?  I assume that if I reinstall Windows as is, I will run into the same
> mess when I try to install Linux.
> Sorry for the long message but I thought it wise to give as much information
> as possible to answer any questions you might have.

The PC MBR partitioning system only allows 4 primary partitions per
drive & you already had 3.

If the drive was partitioned with MBR, then you need to create an
extended partition as sda4 and then create the Linux partitions as
logical ones inside the extended partition.

The alternative to MBR on some modern machines is GUID.

If you boot off a LiveCD and run GParted, it should tell you.

I tend to recommend creating the partitions in advance with GParted
anyway - it offers more control & a better UI than the install

Liam Proven • Profile:
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