Windows took 4 primary partitions - how do I install now?

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Windows took 4 primary partitions - how do I install now?

Postby tinker123 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:13 pm

I've come into possession of an old computer that a friend's wife office was discarding.

I'd like to put Mint 14 on it.

The problem is that is an HP. It is my understanding that disc can only have 4 primary partitions and that HP took them all, spreading Windows 7 across all four.

I would like to split the disk between Mint and Windows.

Is there an easy way to resolve this?


OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601


System Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard
System Model HP Compaq dc5800 Small Form Factor
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E7400 @ 2.80GHz, 2800 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Hewlett-Packard 786F2 v01.53, 8/27/2008
SMBIOS Version 2.5

Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1

Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7601.17514"


Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 2.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 1.97 GB
Available Physical Memory 812 MB
Total Virtual Memory 3.95 GB
Available Virtual Memory 2.63 GB
Page File Space 1.97 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

Last edited by tinker123 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is This System Mint 14 Worthy?

Postby xenopeek on Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:50 pm

Just boot from the Linux Mint installation DVD / USB and try it out. It seems to meet the system requirements, but depending on the specific hardware devices in your laptop it might not all work out of the box.

If you answer the questions during the installation to that effect, then yes it will offer you the option to install Linux Mint alongside Windows :wink: Unless, as this is quite common with HP, Windows has been installed in such as way to make it impossible to install another operating system. You will then find the installer will only offer you the option to erase the entire disk first, or do something else, but not install alongside Windows. If that is the case, you'll want to get some help from the Installation & Boot forum for how to work around that.
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Re: Is This System Mint 14 Worthy?

Postby tinker123 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:58 pm

The installer detected that I have Windows 7 on the disk. It gave me the choice of installing over the entire disk OR "doing something else".

When I chose that option I came to a partition window, which I don't think I understood.

My hard drive is 160 GB.

In the window was a listing for "/dev/sda" highlighted, but with no information under various columns like "format", "size", etc.
Underneath that selected listing and indented toward the right was a listing for "/dev/sda1", ntfs, format, 160038 mb.

I pressed the button for a new partition table and was told that would blow away the existing partitions, the other buttons, except for "continue" were greyed out.

If I press "continue" will mint divide up the disc space 50/50 with Windows?
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Re: Windows took 4 primary partitions - how do I install now

Postby xenopeek on Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:28 pm

Updated your topic title and moved it here.

You can only have 4 primary partitions and as I already feared, HP has installed Windows to take all of those 4 primary partitions. With no primary partitions left, Linux Mint can't create a new partition for itself. One of your 4 primary partitions can be an extended partition, in which you can have as many logical partitions as you want. However, because you already have 4 primary partitions you'll first have to delete one of the existing partitions. The Linux Mint installer will then offer you to install alongside Windows and the Linux Mint installer will create the one extended partition you are allowed in the slot of the primary partition you deleted.

So, you'll have to figure out what is on each of the 4 primary partitions and figure out which one you can delete. Generally there is:
- A hidden Windows boot partition
- A Windows user partition (the one displayed as C: in Windows)
- A hidden Windows recovery partition
- A hidden HP recovery partition (the partition with all the HP Windows drivers, trialware and other bloat)

Not so easy to choose. It may be good to make a disk image, so you can restore that at a later stage if you want to give/sell the laptop with Windows to somebody else.

Perhaps other users here that have faced similar decisions can advice you better. (I don't use Windows, so I would have an easy choice...)
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