Problems with partitioning and installing

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Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:12 pm

I am having a problem. I already am using Felicia Main and Vista on my laptop. I want to reinstall Felicia over the Felicia partition. From both the Main and KDE Felicia live discs, and from gparted in my current mint partition, it just tells me that the whole drive is unallocated. What can I do? My computer has a intel pentium dual core processor, 1gb ram. I can't think of anything stupid I did. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:14 am

Would it be easier if I used the standard partitioning tool builtin to vista and deleted the mint partition, and extended the vista partition, and then made a mint install with mint4win? My only concern about doing that is will it mess up booting? Like will grub from my old mint install be there or will it just be the new one from mint4win?
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby viking777 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:14 am

I guess it depends how you installed in the first place. Did you use Mint4Win or did you do a standard install? If you did a standard install and you delete the the Mint partition then yes it will certainly interfere with your boot, you will lose both Mint and Windows. Not irreversibly, you will have to use Vistas tools or the windows command line to reinstate the windows boot loader before you got anything back. If you used Mint4Win first time around then I haven't got a clue what would happen as it is a complete unknown to me, my guess is you would be OK.

Two cd's and gparted showing your disk as entirely unallocated now that is a mystery. Do you have more than one hard disk? If so are you looking at the right one? Is your disk set up with LVM (logical volume management)? I am really clutching at straws here because I don't know the answer. I would be very reluctant to do anything to your installation until you find out why your disk is being read as unallocated. Have you tried Ctl/R from within gparted - this refreshes the devices (ie rereads them) It shouldn't be necessary but it might help.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby richjack on Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:02 am

Can you actually still boot into Vista and your current Mint installation?
Gparted can't do anything with a mounted partition, so you need to perform partitioning using a live CD anyway.

If you can boot into Mint, open a terminal and try
Code: Select all
sudo fdisk -l
and post the results.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:51 am

Thanks for replying. I can still boot into both mint and vista just fine. I did a standard install when I first installed mint. I only have one hard drive. I also tried a kubuntu live disc and it said the same thing. Here is what I got back with terminal:

jesse@jesse-laptop ~ $ sudo fdisk -l
[sudo] password for jesse:

Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x08000000

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 9469 9730 2096128 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda2 * 38 7577 60565050 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3 7578 9729 17285940 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 7578 7637 481918+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6 7638 9729 16803958+ 83 Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order
jesse@jesse-laptop ~ $
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:01 pm

There is another post a little bit down the page by Urzzza and their problem is similar to mine. The live CD sees the drives, but the installer and gParted just say the whole thing is unallocated.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby richjack on Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:02 pm

Mmmm, it might suggest that the partition table is corrupted.

fdisk can see the partitions but Gparted can't. You can manually remove, format and create new linux partitions using fdisk on the command line if you feel brave enough.

If you are going to blow away the current Mint installation anyway, I might be inclined to use the partitioner in Vista to remove and format the linux partitions and then fix the MBR using the Vista recovery console: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392

Your partitions were clearly seen when you first installed Mint, so perhaps getting the drive back to that point might help..?
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:06 pm

I am going to go try to fix this through the vista partition manager and then maybe try mint4win. My biggest fear is vista being messed up in the booting, but it should go fine. I will report back to tell what happened. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby viking777 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:24 pm

As I said before, if you remove your Mint partition then you will remove the ability to boot Vista as well until you reinstall the Vista boot loader so just be sure you know how to do this before proceeding.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby Fred on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:28 am

93jam wrote:
The live CD sees the drives, but the installer and gParted just say the whole thing is unallocated.

This is just plain wrong. They should all be reading the same partition table. This leads me to question how you burned the CD/DVD. Did you burn it s-l-o-w, < 8X, I burn mine at 4X max, and in a RAW mode. RAW is usually listed DAO, SAO, or TAO. Distros use very aggressive compression. Burning a good, error free live CD/DVD iso is much more difficult than other burn operations.

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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:02 am

It is the same CD I used to install mint about 2 months ago and it worked fine. I will burn another one at a slower speed to see if that will help.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby viking777 on Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:03 am

If you used this cd to install Mint 2 months ago then at that time it must have been capable of reading your partition table correctly. It is not very likely that a CD will deteriorate in 2 months - unless you have scratched it or something, even then you say that you have tried it with a Kubuntu CD and the results are the same - so the only thing that is likely to have changed in that time is the hard disk itself. Have you made any changes either from within Windows or Linux that might have cause this to occur? Any unusual software added? Even this wouldn't explain it fully because fdisk reads your hard drive correctly.

You might try chkdsk from windows or e2fsck from linux (although your drives need to be unmounted for that ie. you have to use your live cd) and see if they turn up any errors on the disk.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby richjack on Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:20 pm

I can recommend PartedMagic for partitioning. It's a small live CD with a minimal graphical desktop. It has Gparted included but also all sorts of other disk checking tools, including testdisk. I might be inclined to give it a whirl and see what it can find.

I have encountered similar problems before (not with mint) when I made a number of partition alterations over time and eventually Gparted would refuse to spot the partitions. I assume that over time, the partition table gets overwritten so many times that it becomes corrupted, it may be that a clean format is the only option of at least some partitions if not the entire disk - that's why I suggested trying to restore the vista MBR.

I also know from work I have done on USB flash drive installs that different partitioners can have different results and can apportion disk partitions differently eg fdisk, cfdisk, (g)parted... I also found that after a number of installs some partitions didn't always delete properly and could reappear even after formatting. We found that often the MBR needed zeroing or sometimes the entire drive (using the dd command) to ensure that new partitions would take and the new partition table would be correctly rewritten.

I am not saying that any of this has happened in your case, but that the conclusion is that hard disk partitioning is not an exact science and different disk tools can have different results. When partitions aren't being correctly read it usually indicates something wrong at least with the partition table in the MBR, even if the partitions boot, if not with the entire hard disk.

Just recently my USB hard disk drive refused to be identified by the BIOS until I formatted one of the ext3 partitions and installed a new OS (in this case Mint). Now it is seen correctly every time.

Usually restoring the MBR will correct that. If you want to reinstall Mint anyway, I stand by my previous recommendation.

Hope all goes well!
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby viking777 on Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:47 pm

Yep, I would agree with richjack, parted magic is great to have around ( it even runs completely in ram so it ejects itself when loaded allowing you to run tests on some other cd/dvd should you wish) Another good option is the SysRec CD(http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page). TestDisk is very useful for discovering and fixing partition table errors but beware as it is extremely powerful and can just as easily destroy things as fix them if you get it wrong. If you decide to use it make sure you read their wiki first http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk.
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Re: Problems with partitioning and installing

Postby 93jam on Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:39 pm

After I fixed the vista boot loader, grub was still there. I started digging through all my old install cd's and the only one that I could get to work was a mandriva 2007 cd. I just made a new mint cd, just in case my old one might be scratched. I will definitely look into partedmagic. But at least I have something working for the time being. I will report back after I tested the new mint cd I made.
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