Problems with repartitioning a HP Pavilion Laptop

Liam Proven lproven at
Fri Aug 17 22:04:16 UTC 2012

On 17 August 2012 21:18, Bill Stanley <bstanle at> wrote:
>>> I used a USB flash drive to boot into Xubuntu and was able to run
>>> GParted.

OK, good.

>>> I looked around the GUI and didn't find the information on if it is GUID.
>>> Can you tell me where to find it?
>>> I did find under VIEW/device information this info...
>>> Model  - ATA Hitachi HTS54505
>>> Size   - 465.76 GB
>>> Path   - /dev/sda
>>> Partition Table - msdos

That's the important line. That means it's an MBR format drive.

>>> etc ...
>>> The other information is very good as well it is (some columns were
>>> omitted)...
>>> Partition -                - File system - Label     - Flags
>>> /dev/sda1 - (exclamation mark) - ntfs     -  SYSTEM    - ...
>>> /dev/sda2 - (exclamation mark) - ntfs     -  ...       - boot
>>> /dev/sda3 - (  ...           ) - ntfs     - New Volume - ...
>>> /dev/sda4 - (  ...           ) - extended - Recovery   - ...

OK, so this partition is the Extended partition. The question is, why
is it marked "Recovery"?

>>> /dev/sda5 - (  ...           ) - fat32    - HP Tools   - ...

Aha, and here we might have the answer. HP use a hidden recovery partition.

>>> /dev/sda6 - (exclamation mark) - unknown
>>> /dev/sda7 - (exclamation mark) - unknown

Those are probably your Linux root and swap partitions.

>>> unallocated - ( ...          ) - unallacated

... and a bit of leftover space on the end.

>>> It is obvious that the partition table is messed up by all the attempts
>>> at
>>> installing Linux

Might be...

> and then trying to recover the windows partition.

Hang on, did I miss something here? Tell me more about the recovery stage?

> As I
>>> remember it, there were only sda1, sda2 and sda3 on the first attempt.

That sounds good and promising.

>>> What
>>> should I do next?  If I can make assumptions about sda1 and sda2 (the
>>> exclamation mark), there is something wrong here and presumably it would
>>> be
>>> better not to try to recover Windows, luckily, I have my user data.
>>> Should I
>>> install Windows or Linux first?  I know that a Windows reinstall will
>>> overwrite the GRUB boot loader.  But If I go with Windows first, I might
>>> not
>>> get the option of leaving unallocated space for Linux.

If you are happy to reinstall, then what I'd do is wipe the disk
completely - there's a "create new partition table" option in GParted.

Then install Windows, but only use half the space, or as much as you
want to give over to Windows.

Then boot off your LiveUSB or whatever and run GParted.

You will probably have 3 primary partitions again, sda1/2/3.

Then what you do is:

[1] Create sda4 as an extended partition
[2] Inside it, create:
[2a] An sda5 partition of about 16GB as your root partition - this is
generous & leaves room for a lot of apps. Me, I'd use ext3 for this.
[2b] An sda6 "home" partition of all the remaining space, less how
much RAM you have multiplied by 2 (again, this is very conservative
and you won't need that much, but it is an easy rule of thumb and will
allow hibernation if you want it). I'd use ext4 for this.
[2c] An sda7 "swap" partition right on the end of 2xRAM in size. The
type is "Linux swap".

Then run the installer. Pick "other/custom" at the partitioning stage,
and tell it to use sda5 for / formatted ext3, don't reformat; sda6 as
/home, don't reformat; and sda6 as swap, which it will pick up

Then continue installing as normal. Ubuntu will configure dual-boot for you.

Liam Proven • Profile:
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