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Losing my partitions

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:37 am
by vayth
I used to use Windows, but then I wanna try Linux again. I was once used Ubuntu for a while, but this time I choose Linux Mint KDE because the confusing Ubuntu's Unity when I tried 11.10's live USB Flashdisk.

I partitioned my HDD into 3: C (for softwares/OS), D (for data), and E (for etc.)
I installed the mint in C, replacing my old Windows.
And then I was asked to decide Linux Swap (I don;t know what this is since I don't remember being asked for something like this when I tried Ubuntu a 2 years ago). I canceled the installation and partitioned my E again in Windows, creating Drive F just for the swap. But the F wasn't on the list when I entered Mint Installation again, so I assumed Linux won't list more than 3 partitions. In the end, I merged E and F back in Windows, and ended up using my entire E for the Swap.

But when the installation is finished, I can't find or mount my D and E. The file manager only list my C and my Flashdisk. I know they were there when I tried Mint using Live FlashDisk (not install yet). I opened Mint's Partition Manager and saw the D and E were still there, but I still have no idea how to access them.

Finally I gave up and decided to return to Windows. But when I want to install my old OS, the installer couldn't find any Drive. No D, no E, not even C, thus I cannot install it back.

Is this related to that Linux Swap? Can someone help me? I need to know how to mount my Drive D and Drive E again in Mint. Or at least --if that's not possible-- bring the Drives back for Windows.
Thanks before.

Re: Losing my partitions

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:54 pm
by vanDoom
If you elected to use D or E as swap then yes, unfortunately they are gone. I think swap uses a special file format, which will erase any data that is there. Check the disk utility for the partition table. If the locations that used to be D and E are now called 'swap', they're gone :(

Re: Losing my partitions

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:12 am
by J.Naw
Seeing that you want to go back to windows, But that you partitioned the harddrive, And you dont have any valuable files on there, (gathered from your reading) The easiest way to put it on is to get a linux mint MATE bootable cd or usb, Boot into that, Open Gparted, And basically format the drive to a ntfs format, Then windows should automatically detect an empty harddrive, Thus installing windows.

Now, Swap is partition that linux mint uses as if it were ram. I think it would be kind of related to page filing in windows. Swap is about the same size as your ram, and will store any files upon hibernation.

Re: Losing my partitions

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:49 pm
by DrHu
If you hit the ESC key while windows boots from its CD, you should get a list of partitions and can format and delete as you like.. ... t6256.html
--do you get any info such as this from that windows OS CD..

Re: Losing my partitions

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:19 pm
by J.Naw
I might be bumping this, But, change the title with : [Solved] at the start to know that the question has been solved...

Re: Losing my partitions

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:47 pm
by billmc
I see the OP was in Feb and it is now Dec 30, so I don't know if this is still an issue (I speculate not).

Max number of partitions on a hard drive. If you hard drive has a DOS disk label (and if it was originally partitoned via windows and you haven't changed it, it does) and I recall correctly you can have a maximum number of 4 primary partitions. If one partition is created as an extended partiton, then numerous logical partitions can be created within the extended partition, for a maximum of 16 partitions.

One concept I had trouble with, when first moving to *nix, was the idea that everything is a "file" and part of the file system, all stemming from / (root). There are no "drives" per se. So in *nix, you will not have a "C", "D", "E", or "F" drive. Any and all partitions will be referenced under the /dev directory, with the first harddrive called sda and each partition assigned a number, so the first partition would be referenced as sda1, the path to it being /dev/sda1. The first logical partition is sda5 (/dev/sda5).

In order for a partition to be used, it must have a filesystem (in windows you'd call this being formatted). Windows uses the filesystem type ntfs. One of the more common filesystem types for Linux is ext(2,3,4). swap is its own filesystem type and as someone else mentioned it is used for freeing up ram by swapping to disk when needed (its been such a long time since I used windows, that I don't recall the exact name of the file, but in windows it is a hidden system file, generally in the root directory of drive c:)

Windows doesn't play well with anything other than Windows, so in disk manager you would see partitions and windows would report unknown file system, if they had been formatted to anything other than fat or ntfs. If they had not been formatted, windows would report them as unformatted.

When installing Linux, such as Mint, the installer gives you and option to either resize the exsisting partiton and use the free space created (choose this to install alongside windows in a dual boot configuration), erase and use the entire disk (wipes out windows completely and only have Linux), or other, which will allow you to manually partiton the disk. You should probably be using the option to resize. The downside, is if you don't like Linux and want to remove it you'll be left with grub bringing up the windows boot loader, not really a big deal, but not what you've been used to. A better option to experiment with linux alongside windows is to use the wubi.exe installer (I'll let you read how to use it). If installed this way, you can "uninstall" linux, just as you would any other windows program, and you wouldn't have the grub issue.

From what you've said, it sounds to me as if you removed windows entirely when you installed linux. If that is in fact the case, there is no windows "stuff" on the disk anymore that you can easily use, so jsut follow the windows installation instructions and allow the windows installer to repartition and format your hard drive.