Problems with repartitioning a HP Pavilion Laptop

Doug dmcgarrett at
Fri Aug 17 22:38:21 UTC 2012

On 08/17/2012 02:03 PM, Bill Stanley 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.
> Bill Stanley
Perhaps if you use a Linux disk and boot into the Live system, you will 
be able to see the files on the Windows partition. If that's the case, 
you could then copy your data to an external hard drive or a thumb drive,
and then you could reinstall Windows.  Altho it is reported to be 
possible to install Linux first, you will have much less trouble if you 
install Windows first! The partitioning problems you saw were probably a
symptom of HP putting some repair information on a partition that might 
have been hidden. Probably that's gone, now, or not recoverable, but 
with luck you don't need it. Assuming you have saved your files,
I would then wipe the disk altogether, using one of the various freebies 
that writes all zeroes or all ones, and then partition the disk with 
GParted or something similar and install Windows and then Linux. Then copy
the Windows data files back and you're good to go.


Blessed are the peacekeepers...for they shall be shot at from both sides. --A.M. Greeley

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