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Thread: Dell Studio 15 Ubuntu not seeing Partitions

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Woonsocket, RI USA
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    3,195

    Re: Dell Studio 15 Ubuntu not seeing Partitions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_PS3 View Post
    Thank you so much both of you. So with GPT fdisk, what will it do to my hard drive? Will it change it to a Master Boot Record so Ubuntu will funciton normally on my computer? Will I still be able to use the Grub 2 bootloader with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 when I upgrade?
    Technically, your disk is currently an MBR disk. Some background: GPT data structures include a "protective MBR," which is a valid MBR that contains a single partition of type 0xEE that's intended to protect the disk from meddling by GPT-unaware tools; primary GPT data structures; and backup GPT data structures. This means that the GPT data necessarily occupy more sectors than do the primary MBR data structures. (Logical partitions also occupy additional sectors, but they aren't likely to be the same sectors as the GPT data structures.) When converting from GPT to MBR with a GPT-unaware utility, there will therefore be a lot of GPT data left over.

    The GPT specification clearly states that if the MBR contains no protective GPT entry (one with a type code of 0xEE), that it's not a GPT disk. Your disk has no type-0xEE MBR partition, so it's technically an MBR disk, not a GPT disk. Furthermore, since you can boot Windows, Windows is clearly using the disk as an MBR disk, so that's what it is from a functional point of view. At best, the GPT data duplicate your existing MBR partitions. At worst (and this is more likely), they provide contradictory partition information that, if some tool were to try to use it, could end up damaging your real partitions.

    Your immediate problem is that libparted is getting confused by the valid MBR and leftover GPT data. You've got to clean out the leftover data.

    The whole GUID makes sense now. About a month ago I tried to do a hackintosh and couldn't get it. I decided to just reinstall Windows, so did I forget to format my hard drive back to an MBR?
    It's currently in MBR format. The problem is that whatever utility you used (probably the Windows installer) did an incomplete job in converting it back, in that it didn't wipe all the GPT data.

    Also, I noticed that I wasn't able to access my Windows 7 files. When Ubuntu installs, will I be able to?
    It's unclear what was unable to access your Windows 7 files. Was this the Ubuntu installer in "live CD" mode? Something else? In a normal Linux installation, it is possible to access Windows files. I suspect you either didn't know how to do this or there was a problem related to the leftover GPT data. In any event, I recommend you put this question off until after you've installed Linux, with one caveat....

    It's unwise to regularly access any OS boot partition from another OS. In this specific case, Linux doesn't understand the security features that Windows uses on its filesystem, so it's easy to accidentally trash your Windows setup as an ordinary user in Linux. Also, although Linux's NTFS driver seems pretty reliable based on anecdotal reports, I find it hard to believe that it's as reliable as Windows' own NTFS support.

    Thus, I recommend that when you repartition, you create a separate FAT or NTFS partition for shared data -- any files you might want to access in both OSs (MP3s, photos, etc.) or files you might want to transfer between OSs (if you download a Windows file in Linux, say). Mount and use this partition in both OSs, but when you're in Linux, do not mount the Windows C: partition. That'll keep the OS installation itself safe from damage.

    Finally, if I get Ubuntu installed, will I ever have any more problems with the GUID partition table or installing any other files?
    If you wipe the GPT data, they will trouble you no more, unless you mess around with tools to convert the disk back to GPT form. I'm not sure what you mean by "installing any other files."

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    8

    Re: Dell Studio 15 Ubuntu not seeing Partitions

    After reading up on the GPT stuff I was finally able to install Ubuntu 10.04 and upgraded to 10.10. Thank you Ubuntu formus!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    1

    Re: Dell Studio 15 Ubuntu not seeing Partitions

    This is some problem.

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