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Dual Boot Issue...Please Help!

Hey all,

Hopefully someone here can help me out with this. I have an 80 gig HDD. I have a 20 gig partition for windows, a 40 gig partition for programs and storage and a non-formatted remainder. I want to install ubuntu on the empty partition but when I went to do that, the partition editor in ubuntu says that my second partition (programs and storage) is not primary. So I can't install linux on the empty partition. So I guess I need to reformat the storage partition and make it primary. Is this possible using the windows disk? I'm don't remember an option to make a partition primary or not. Anyone know?

Also, I thought I would take an image of the storage partition before I reformat it. Once I change it to primary, can I simply apply that image to it and have it still work properly? I would be using Acronis TrueImage.

The version of Linux is ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake)

Thanks all

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A little thought.

So it's an "empty partition"? That's a common mistake. What I do is to remove that empty partition so I have free and open unpartitioned space so most Linux installers will see it and use that empty space. I can't count how many times people partition the space ahead of time and trip themselves up.


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Hopefully this is clearer

Sorry maybe I wasn't clear. What I meant by empty is that that partition is not formatted at all. I wanted to do that through Linux install. The drive is set up like this:

C: (20GB) - primary
E: (40GB - extended

The remaining space on the drive, which is 80GB total, is empty and not formatted. My issue seems to stem from the fact the my E: drive is extended and not primary. When I try to install Linux on the "empty" drive, making it primary is not an option.

Does this make any sense at all?

I suppose my main question is:

Can I take an image of my E: drive and make it a primary partition instead? And then apply that image back to the drive without issue?

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Sorry, but if it's partitioned, even if empty, unformated...

Then you can trip up the install. Delete that empty partition and try again.

-> You want "unpartitioned space."


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Primary is not the problem,

becaause linux doesn't require it to be in the primary partition.

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Ok this helps a bit more

I'm not how much clearer I can be. The "empty" partition is NOT formatted. It is completely empty. Anyway, thanks Ahtoi.

So, to my main question....if I did reformat the storage drive (which is not the same is the empty space), would I be able to apply an image I created of the partition, back to that same partition?? If I make it a primary?

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Sorry but one more time.

This partition must not even exist. One more time. Delete this empty partition so you have unpartitioned "space".

Most Linux distros will then just find that and install. The messages I've read from you are typical of having space partitioned.


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Sorry....'re right. What I meant to say is that the space is empty. It is not a partition. Simply empty space. But because the storage drive is an extended partition for some reason, ubuntu sees the empty space as "part of" that storage drive.

What about the imaging question? Any ideas?

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Ahh, that's what I wanted to hear.

Look at GPARTED to see if it can fix that.


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I'll give that a shot.

Thanks Bob

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Linux doesn't require it

but, Windows does. In order for Windows to be in charge - it needs all Boot Systems to be loaded in the First 2gigs of the Primary partition that it controls and reported to the Master Boot Record. This is what Linux is telling you when it says that it can't load because it's not on a Primary Partition. Actually - it may well be on the Primary - but, loading outside of the 2gig perimeter that Microsoft is set to use. If your Windows 2000 Pro or Server or Vista is taking up the first 2 gigs of space - Linux won't load there and will go outside - and no can do there. Microsoft itself will tell you the same message if you try loading it outside the first 2 gig perimeter - saying that you used Partition Magic and created Linux partitions or such in the first 2 gigs and are trying to install Windoze in some partition beyond. If you load Windoze in the 1st gig of diskspace and hold it to that - you can create another partition directly in the next gig of the first 2 gigs - and you can actually load Linux just fine there - because Linux knows that Windows rules in a Windows environment and must adapt to the protocol of Windows. I used to load Win98 in the first 1/2 gig, Windows 2000 Pro in the next 1/2 gig and Windows 2000 Server on the rest of the first 2 gigs that is still open. After that I would load several flavors of Linux - and as long as you use GRUB - and put it in the Master Boot Sector where the Master Boot Record is kept - you can get all your Windows and flavors of Linux running from GRUB - but, of course not all at the same time. That's what GRUB if's a multi-boot interface (menu if you will). Just remember - if you do load Linux in the 2nd gig of the first 2 gigs and it is a Microsoft partition - you still have to run it from GRUB. Windows won't let you run any other way unless you are using Boot Magic or something of the sorts. Even though you can dual boot Windows to Windows - Microsoft won't allow Linux or Unix into its dual boot system. I have tried forcing it - but, Windows hates it and eventually something goes wrong with the install. I don't know what - I don't need to know. All I know is - Windows sucks in these instances - and most others, too. But, we all must homage to Balmer and Gates or they might track us down and hurt us or worse...make us use their damn programs.

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I don't think the 2G limits holds anymore,

at least I don't run into that problem anymore. However, putting the bootloader in the mbr. still applied.

I can't comment too much on ubuntu, although I've tried it but didn't like it.

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Yes - A little thought

the person giving this a little thought is correct. Don't use Windows partitions for dual booting. Scrub them and make them raw so Windows can go suck dirt. Ubuntu will boot on toilet paper if you turn it on before you flush it -- so the issue is you don't understand partitioning. Okay - give Windows 10 gigs oo operating space on a Primary and then create a 10 gig Extended partition for Storage - that will be counted as probably a E:\drive when you reboot after full installation. Don't worry about Linux yet. Just get Windows running.

Okay - Windows is on your Hard drive and running in a Primary and you have a separate Extended partition where you can crash Windoze on C:\drive and still save all your pictures on the Extended whatever drive - and you are restarting your machine. Remember - you are man - the machine will do as you tell it.

Making sure you have your Ubuntu 6.1 (the latest greatest yet) is in your DVD drive and you have restarted your pc and now you see it's rebooting to a DVD drive loaded with Ubuntu. You're going to tell Ubuntu to Custom Partition and now you will see that RAW part of your hard drive that you didn't give to Windows (vista, xp, whatever). Leave Windoze alone forever now...just focus on the RAW part of your hard drive. When you see the Partition Manager come up - make yourself a 100 megabyte (100mb) partition, format it /ext3 and call it /boot. Now make yourself a 1024 megabyte (1024mb) partition and format it /ext3 and call it /swap (or make your swap 2wice the size of your total RAM size) (hense - 512 x 2 = 1024). Now make yourself a 10 gigabyte (10G) partition and call it / -- yes, just a forward slash / is the name of it. That will be your root. After you've done this - go ahead and finish a standard install. Don't try to be all wise *** and do any fancy program loading and such. Just do the basic to start with. Now that being said - ALL thru this install session - I want you to keep your eyes APPEALED for the question of where you want load your boot programs...use GRUB - LOAD IT IN THE MASTER BOOT SECTOR and don't ask questions. After you see it works well this way with Windoze for dual booting - you can spend your time researching the "why". Basically - Windoze is stupid so that's the best place to load from..and you can easily install other OS's or Linux flavors and they use GRUB also. Always use GRUB. It's Linux's dual boot program and it can actually be used with all the other loads of Linux flavors that you do on what disk space you have left. It works best for novices learning dual booting of Linux/Unix and Windozzzzze. You'll see. So remember - DON"T use Windoze partitions to load any Linux or Unix on (that gives Windows enhanced Rights over your Linux(s) and you don't want that. Use RAW space on the hard drive. Use GRUB and install on the Master Boot Sector. If you want a Storage area - us the rest of your hard drive and partition it like you did the others and call it /srv. Linux will accept that and format it /ext3. I was using Reiser - but, you know - we can't do that now out of respect for Reiser's issues. I hope the best for him and his - but, you never know? Actually - I shouldn't even be talking about it - it's none of my business. Some guy at SuSE just want's us not to use Reiser FS. Good luck.

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I said format your /swap drive to /ext3 -- actually - swap runs RAW and has its own /swap format so don't worry about anything else with your /swap partition(s). (s) if you have 2 hard drives -- use 2 /swap drives. Much faster. Put a /swap on every free standalone hard drive.

And please -- Don't load Linux on a Windoze partition. You will need 2 Primary partitions and Windows doesn't do that. I mean - yes, you can force one - but, when Windoze loads - it will just one off and only use the one where it is loaded which has to be in the first 2 gigs of the hard drive.

Linux - as long as it has GRUB loaded to the Master Boot Sector - it will load anywhere. Just always make sure you load Linux on RAW bare bone hard drive space that is not partitioned. Delete Delete Delete ANY partition that you have created with Windoze that you don't need. Use the rest of the EMPTY BLANK BARE RAW hard drive disk for Linux.

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Almost there.....

Thanks mabradford for all your advice. I have already mapped out how I want to install linux, however I still haven't had my question answered quite yet. The space I want to install is already raw. It is not a windows partition, nor is it formatted. When I try to install, though, how can I make to sure install GRUB to the correct place? I assume creating the /boot partition should do this automatically? And is 100MB enough for /boot?


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Oh also....

I don't imagine I would need a /home partition either since I'll be usnig it almost exclusively as root anyway.

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don't run as root unless absolutely necessary
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In case you haven't got it figured out yet...

Study this site:

Read the section on the MBR. The first one is what you want to go with (what mabradford was talking about: "If you choose <Yes> ( to Install GRUB's IPL to MBR) -- what is written there should answer your question: "how can I make to sure install GRUB to the correct place?".

In the set-up you originally described you'd need to install Linux on a logical partition of the extended partition which your E: drive is on (your E: would actually be a logical partition of the extended partition as well). As mentioned, Linux doesn't have a problem with that.

I think I ran into that same situation the first time. I re-installed WinXP and made a storage partition using the WinXp installer. It automatically made it extended. I didn't like that. I re-did it using WinXP's 'Disk Management' in the Administration Tools. (It could also be done using the Linux partitioner.)

My suggestion, If your E: is NTFS and you reformat it, make it FAT32. You can then exchange files between the two OS's using it.

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