[Solved] Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

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ObelixXXL
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[Solved] Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by ObelixXXL »

Hello everyone, I am a new user of Linux Mint. When I first installed it, I used the easiest installation method which is "install linux mint alongside windows 7" and dragged the appropriate disk space available for it, which was 15Gb. After some time playing around with Linux Mint, I find it more and more appealing, which leads to my decision to reinstall Mint, this time with larger disk space assigned to it. I have learned that by creating a specific /home partition during the installation process, the users would be able to maintain most config data (themes, icons, etc.) if they ever plan to reinstall or replace Linux at some point in the future. I found a pretty detailed guide here http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2012/06/06/ho ... ndows-7/2/ and decided to follow it. However, when I came to the phase where I should create various partitions for the OS, I run into a trouble: I can't have more than 4 partitions. My physical hard drive is a MBR disk, it only allows me to have a maximum of 4 partitions. I already have 2 partitions (one for Windows and the other for normal data and such), therefore I can't create 4 news partitions as the guide instructs. I have been informed of a lasting solution that is to convert my disk from mbr to gpt/uefi to create as many partitions as I want. However, that will require a full format of my disk, and it's not inviting at all because I have a lot of important data stored in my disk. The situation makes me consider a workaround: What if I create a separate /home partition, and the rest in just only one partition? Will Linux Mint work with that configuration? I think I'm not the only one that faces this particular issue, since from what I read, many PCs/laptops come with Windows inside will likely have MBR disks. Can somebody help me out of this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Oh and by the way, may all of you have a prosperous new year! :D
Last edited by ObelixXXL on Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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usbtux
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by usbtux »

FULL Install Linux Mint beside Windows 7 without altering the MBR. For safe dualboot and easy removal.
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 1 http://youtu.be/1KM0TPFZg2Y
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 2 http://youtu.be/V23DzYI3iTI
http://goo.gl/DXKgM LinuxMint tutorials.
Running LinuxMint 17.3 Mate. Pepermint 6 & Manjaro 15.12 Capella XFCE
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
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ObelixXXL
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by ObelixXXL »

usbtux wrote:FULL Install Linux Mint beside Windows 7 without altering the MBR. For safe dualboot and easy removal.
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 1 http://youtu.be/1KM0TPFZg2Y
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 2 http://youtu.be/V23DzYI3iTI
Thank you very much usbtux for providing me those videos. However, my case seems not to be similar to yours. While you were able to create 3 new partitions (boot, home and swap) while installing linux mint, I on the other hand was not able to do so. After creating 2 new partitions (boot and home) along with the 2 existing partitions, the left disk space became "unusable space" and I couldn't do anything about it. That is what makes me so frustrated right now. Again, thank you for the generous help, but unfortunately it will not fix my issue.
Neil Edmond
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by Neil Edmond »

I'm certainly not up to speed on your question, but while it might be true you are limited to 4 Primary partitions, I beleive you can create up to 24 logical drives withing each of those 4 primary paritions. So installing Mint with a separate home partition alongside Windows should work just fine.

See for more info: http://www.aboutpartition.com/types-of- ... artitions/
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usbtux
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by usbtux »

ObelixXXL wrote:
usbtux wrote:FULL Install Linux Mint beside Windows 7 without altering the MBR. For safe dualboot and easy removal.
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 1 http://youtu.be/1KM0TPFZg2Y
Safe dualbooting Windows 7 Part 2 http://youtu.be/V23DzYI3iTI
Thank you very much usbtux for providing me those videos. However, my case seems not to be similar to yours. While you were able to create 3 new partitions (boot, home and swap) while installing linux mint, I on the other hand was not able to do so. After creating 2 new partitions (boot and home) along with the 2 existing partitions, the left disk space became "unusable space" and I couldn't do anything about it. That is what makes me so frustrated right now. Again, thank you for the generous help, but unfortunately it will not fix my issue.
You need to pay a little more attention to the videos.
All you need is ROOT HOME and SWAP you dont need boot.
You will see that I only made 1 primary partition and 2 logical (which are inside an extended partition). So you need to shrink one of your partitions then add the other 3 which is exactly what the first video shows...

*you can make the 3 new partitions logical if you wanted, it will still be ok
http://goo.gl/DXKgM LinuxMint tutorials.
Running LinuxMint 17.3 Mate. Pepermint 6 & Manjaro 15.12 Capella XFCE
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
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gold_finger
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by gold_finger »

ObelixXXL wrote:My physical hard drive is a MBR disk, it only allows me to have a maximum of 4 partitions. I already have 2 partitions (one for Windows and the other for normal data and such), therefore I can't create 4 news partitions as the guide instructs.
As Neil Edmond and usbtux pointed out, you'll have no problem at all creating the partitions you need -- you just need to create them as "logical" partitions within an "extended" partition. You can have various combinations of primary and extended partitions on a drive totaling 4 partitions. (2 - primary and 2 - extended; or 3 - primary and 1 - extended; etc., etc.) "Extended" partitions are basically just containers for one or more "logical" partitions within them -- can't do that with "primary" partitions. And that is the way to get around the 4 partition limit.

(After a very quick glance at the guide you referenced, it's understandable that you may have been confused a bit. The screenshots show the partitioning being done by the installer vs. ahead of time with GParted. The installer shows the choice of creating a "logical" partition; but if someone doesn't already know what that means, they may not realize that an extended partition will be automatically made first -- which will then house the logical partition(s).)

If you want to start over, just boot up with the live DVD/USB, open GParted and delete the Linux partitions (right-click partition, choose "delete", then hit "Apply" button on the interface) -- you will then be back to having free space again. (Be very careful using GParted! Make sure you select the right partitions for deletion! You do not want to accidentally wipe out your Windows partitions!)

Since you have a guide that you are following, I'll let you use that again for creating partitions and installing, rather than explaining how to use GParted to create the partitions first then point the installer at the pre-made partitions. Just know ahead of time that when you select "logical" as the partition type, it will actually end up inside of an extended partition. So you can designate multiple "logical" partitions and they will all end up housed within that same extended partition. It's not necessary to make any of them "primary". All can be "logical" if you want.

If you want to leave Windows in charge of booting and use EasyBCD to add Mint to the boot menu, then go ahead and create a separate /boot partition. (You don't actually need to do that, but since you're following a guide I don't want to cause more confusion by changing its instructions.) As the screenshot in your referenced guide shows, you will need to change the default location of "Device for boot loader installation:" from /dev/sda to /dev/sdaX (substitute the partition # for the /boot partition in place of the X.)

If you want Mint and its grub bootloader to be in charge, then no need for a separate /boot partition and leave the "Device for boot loader installation:" set to its default of /dev/sda.
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ObelixXXL
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Re: Need help with installing Mint on a MBR disk

Post by ObelixXXL »

Thank you all very much. I have successfully installed Linux Mint following usbtux's 2 helpful videos (Please accept my apology for not carefully watching your instruction). Now looking back at when I couldn't configure the partitions, I assume the reason was that I tried to make all of them primary (i'm not really sure about this, the whole knowledge about disk partitions is quite daunting for an average windows user like me) My configuration is as following: 15 GB for root, 17 GB for home, and 8 GB (I have 4 GB of RAM) for swap. At the last step, I still made a false move that is not changing the default device for boot loader installation ,it was still dev/sda something. Therefore after rebooting, the Grub loader appeared instead of direct Windows 7 booting. But since then there has not been any glitches so far, everything goes as smooth as it's supposed to, so I think it is not much of a problem. Anyhow, I am very grateful for all of you guy's assistance.
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