View Full Version : Full format or fix partitioning?

Alex De Duck
February 4th, 2010, 10:41 PM
Hi, I've run into a spot of trouble. I was partitioning my hard drive, and made sure everything was good for vista - the part I left for it was large enough, and I made sure it was ntfs. Vista, however, refuses to be installed on it. Only error I found was that the partition was primary, not logical. A run of the command "Free" gave me this:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 3087308 1512284 1575024 0 269808 794040
-/+ buffers/cache: 448436 2638872
Swap: 6385796 0 6385796

February 4th, 2010, 10:43 PM
I think Vista actually has to go in a primary partition.

Post the output of

sudo fdisk -l
so we can see what you have got for partitions.

Alex De Duck
February 4th, 2010, 10:46 PM
Here goes:

Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xf8000000

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 18662 149902483+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 18663 19457 6385837+ 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 18663 19457 6385806 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/sdb: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x52773fc0

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 * 1 20590 165389143+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb2 20591 30401 78806857+ 5 Extended
/dev/sdb5 20591 29996 75553663+ 83 Linux
/dev/sdb6 29997 30401 3253131 82 Linux swap / Solaris

February 4th, 2010, 11:12 PM
It looks like you already have two Linux systems on there. Is that right?

As far as the partitioning goes, it actually looks ok. sdb1 is 165GB or thereabouts, if I am reading that right. It is a primary and the first on the drive. As far as I know, Vista should be happy with that. I am not an expert though. It would be wise to wait for a second opinion before you do anything radical.

About the only thing that occurs to is to try changing the boot order, or even unplug the other drive completely for the duration of the install. Both of those options run the danger of messing up your grub, but a windows install will do that anyway.

Alex De Duck
February 4th, 2010, 11:21 PM
Yes, I have mint installed too, but I'm thinking of throwing that one off as I've been trying to have it work with my wifi for the last two days... Uncompatibility thy name be Broadcom.

I have a part of about 70 gb reserved for Vista, which I figured was more than enough. Right now, I'm hoping to find a way to do a clean sweep, forget the partitions, get vista on and then install ubuntu into it using wubi.

I have an external hard drive - I unplugged it during the installation though, and it has not made a difference so far if it is plugged or unplugged. The rest of the memory is quite fixed in the laptop.

How is boot order shifted?

February 5th, 2010, 01:22 AM
The boot order of the drives is a BIOS setting. It is generally easy to find and easy to understand.

If you have decided to do a "clean sweep", try just deleting all the partitions on the drive and see what Vista does with that.

Alex De Duck
February 5th, 2010, 01:23 AM
How do I do that? The vista disc won't let me delete any partitions.

I'm a total newb in deleting partitions... I made them with the start up disc for mint.

February 5th, 2010, 01:33 AM
Use whatever you used to do the changes. If it was on the mint CD, it was probably gparted, but it doesn't matter much. If it can create partitions, it can delete them. Usually it is just a case of select the partition, then maybe right click or maybe choose out of a menu the option "delete partition".
This will of course delete all data on the partition; if you delete them all, the drive will be empty.

February 5th, 2010, 01:52 AM
Download gParted live cd (bootable) from and burn it.


Unplug all external disks (can plug them later if you want to manage it)

Boot the system with it.

!!!! Check all partitions for errors !!!

Arrange the partitions as you like provided that :

- Max 4 primary/extended partitions per disk -> Extended partitions are limited by size)

Reboot .

Download, burn and boot with super grub disk (bootable) to fix the bootloader