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Thread: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Hi all!

    I want to install ubuntu on my laptop, but I'm running into some issues.

    The laptop came with Windows 7 pre-installed and I wish to keep it because some software needed for my study only runs on Windows (as well as some games ).

    Using a Windows I shrunk one of my partitions and made a new one in the remaining space (done with Windows 7's standard partition program, not a third party program). I needed to format the new partition, therefore it's filesystem is NTFS. (Besides this new partition I have two other NTFS partitions containing the Windows installation and some of my files, respectively).

    Windows recognized the new partition so I thought I was ready to go. I popped in my Ubuntu live-cd (on an usb, if that's important), started the installation. But when the screen to select the install-partition came up, it showed the wrong partitions. To be more precise, it showed the correct number of partitions, but they all had wrong sizes! Also, the installation was not able to tell me how much space was already used in each partition, which seemed odd to me.

    I'm not going to install ubuntu yet, because I am afraid my data will be overwritten (though I have backups, it's just such a hassle to re-install Windows).

    Does anyone have an idea what can be done about this?

    I have already looked around on the internet and found the following thread:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=886985&page=2

    The issue seems very similar to mine. It states that adding "all_generic_ide" to the end of the bootline has fixed the issue for some people. Being new to Linux (you might have noticed other posts by me about Linux, that was me helping my dad ) I have no idea where this "bootline" is situated... Searching around on the internet returned some info, but it all only seems relevant for versions of Ubuntu which have already been installed.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    PS:
    GParted is able to show some partitions. The partitioncount seems correct, but the sizes are all off! I'm sure I don't have a 992.50 kB partition. It displays a symbol and clicking on that gives the info that GParted needs additional packages for NTFS support. Perhaps this is why the sizes are wrongly recognized?
    How could I even add a package to a live cd?

    PS2:
    I am able to browse my Windows partitions using the Ubuntu live cd. It shows all files correctly. Odd...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Chicago Suburbs
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Did you create a 5th partition as you can only have 4 partitions in MBR/msdos partitioning that windows just about has to have. If so then windows converted to dynamic? You should have a message. Dynamic is not compatible with anything.

    Post this from the liveCD so we can see what is where.

    Code:
    sudo fdisk -lu
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    19

    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Yes, I think it was the fifth partition... I didn't know there would be anything special with creating a fifth partition. Windows did pop up with a message, I think it indeed said the new partition would be dynamic, but I'm not sure.

    I think the log will be more of more help to you. sudo fdisk -lu gives:
    Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x91a29a16

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 63 2047 992+ 42 SFS
    Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
    /dev/sda2 2048 20973567 10485760 27 Unknown
    /dev/sda3 * 20973568 21178367 102400 27 Unknown
    /dev/sda4 21178368 594534399 286678016 42 SFS

    Disk /dev/sdb: 3953 MB, 3953131520 bytes
    2 heads, 63 sectors/track, 61277 cylinders, total 7720960 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x0070fc22

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sdb1 * 64 7720959 3860448 b W95 FAT32
    EDIT:
    I did some more research and I found the following:
    - Windows only supports up to four "primary partitions". If you want more (like I did), you need to convert the disk containing the partitions from "basic" to "dynamic". Windows did this automatically. It did pop up with a warning but silly me thought only the new partition would be dynamic, not the whole disk. Why I can still boot into Windows is beyond me..!
    - OS's can only be installed on basic partitions.
    - converting from dynamic to basic partitions is hard (http://thelazyadmin.com/blogs/thelaz...sic-Disks.aspx)

    According to the Windows partition program thing I have 5 partitions at the moment:
    0: 10.00GB (recovery partition, primary)
    1: 100MB (recovery partition, active, primary)
    2: 273.40GB(NTFS, Windows OS install, dynamic)
    3: 152.97GB(NTFS, my data, dynamic)
    4: 29.30GB (NTFS, empty, dynamic)

    This puts me in a bit of a difficult situation. I want to somehow install Ubuntu, but I think that's going to be difficult, because I don't have room for another "primary" partition. Perhaps I could get rid of one of the recovery partitions... But I'm not sure if those play a role for Windows (considering one was listed as "active").

    I'm going to sleep on it for a bit, I don't want to act too quickly (then again, worst that can happen is I have to reformat my drive. That's just a lot of hassle).

    Hints and tips are still very much appreciated .
    Last edited by thacursedpie; June 10th, 2011 at 11:57 PM. Reason: Info

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Chicago Suburbs
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    I would first delete the empty partition. Part of the advantage of dynamic or Logical Volume Management (LVM) in Linux is that physical partitions are not a limit. One logical can be from two or more physical partitions even across drives. But it adds a level of complication and if one drive dies, the logical partition is broken and you best have good backups.

    The windows LVM/dynamic is similar in how it works, but if your logical to physical is still the same and you only have 4 partitions you may be able to recover to basic partitions with third party tools. Windows only says backup, reformat, and reinstall. You still should have good backups.

    Always best to use windows tools for windows (shrinking windows partitions etc) and Linux tools for Linux(creating new partitions etc).

    Backup windows before install - post by Mark Phelps
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1626990
    http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp
    Another suggestion by srs5694
    http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

    Have not done any of this and some have reported that one method or the other works.
    Posts by oldfred & srs5694
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1705481
    SFS converting:
    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...asic-disk.html
    Dynamic volume is a Microsoft proprietary format developed together with Veritas (now acquired by Symantec) for logical volumes.
    You can use a third-party tool, such as Partition Wizard 4.2. to convert a convert a dynamic disk to a basic disk without having to delete or format them.
    The Partition Wizard software for Windows is supposed to be able to convert dynamic disks to regular partitions without data loss, so it may be what you need to get around this problem; however, I've never used it and so I can't be sure it will work.
    One user used these two:
    MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition 5.2 to convert without loss of data the disk from dynamic disk to a basic disk.
    also used Partition Wizard to set an existing partition logical instead of primary
    http://www.partitionwizard.com/conve...asic-disk.html

    Good advice on how to handle all four primary partitions used. - srs5694
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1686440
    Besure to create recovery DVD(s) first.
    HP tools partition discussion:
    http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Noteboo...on/td-p/228360
    Shrinking a Windows 7 partition is best done in Windows.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...windows-vista/
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Wow! Thanks for all the info!

    I'll be sure to check out all the links and decide on my next move. I'll report back with results (if I succeed or not...).

    Again: thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Okay, a quick update.

    I backed up my data to make sure I wouldn't lose anything.

    Today I deleted one of my partitions (formerly my D partition). I expanded my Windows partition (called C).

    My drive was still dynamic though, so I downloaded MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional 6.0. I tasked it to revert my drive from dynamic back to basic - it needed a restart to perform the job.

    After the drive had been altered the computer restarted... And was asking for a boot device. Not good, obviously. MiniTool's promise of a conversion from dynamic to a basic drive without data loss seemed sketchy at this point.

    Luckily I had a Windows 7 DVD ready, which I inserted and I started the installation process, thinking I'd lost all my data (though I had backed it up, it's of course a hassle to put it back on my computer ).

    Upon installation I was presented with a screen listing all current partitions. Lo and behold: my old partitions were still there, and it even correctly listed the sizes of the partitions. Noticing this I thought I might not be screwed altogether. I pressed 'back' on the installation wizard and I noticed there was an option to 'repair an existing install'. hm...

    I started the repair, clicked 'fix startup problems - in case Windows is not able to start up'. In the next screen it was supposed to list my partitions, but the screen was empty. I ignored this and pressed 'next' anyway.

    It started the repairs (which took quite a while, perhaps 15 - 20 minutes). Afterwards it told me I should reboot my computer.

    I rebooted and... I was able to boot into Windows! Success!

    So at this point I am ready to install Ubuntu. Will report back with results.

    Update:
    Success!
    I created an extended partition in the free space (approx. 50 GB). In this extended partition I created:
    Logical partition, 20GB, root (/)
    Logical partition, 3GB, swap
    Logical partition, remaining space, /home

    And started the installation. Everything went smoothly .

    I restarted the computer and on boot it gives a nice menu where you can choose the OS. Windows still works and all my data is still intact. Only downside: Windows 7 seems soooo slow now :S
    Last edited by thacursedpie; June 18th, 2011 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Success! We have secured the enemy intelligence! (not really :P)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    a puddle in Manchester
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    9,205
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Excellent result! Well done
    And handy for the rest of us to know too!
    MacBook Pro 10,1 retina

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Re: Ubuntu wrongly recognizes partitions, can't install

    Thanks . I really enjoy ubuntu so far. I'd switch over completely if most of my games and necessary applications were supported... But that's a catch-22 of course :S.

    IMO this thread can be locked, not really anything to add anymore.

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