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Partition Problems

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White Onyx
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 2:14 pm:   

Partition Problems

I'm trying to run Win2000, Win98 and Mandrake Linux on the same system with one hard drive. The first thing I tried was to use fdisk to create the initial partitions as follows

43Gb C: Data [Primary], 1Gb D: W98 [Logical 1], 2Gb E: W2000 [Logical 2], and the rest (13Gb) as F: Labelled Linux [Logical Dos Drive 3]. All FAT32.

I then installed Win98 (not sure which edition) which gave a start-up error: could not load NDIS.VXD - some network driver. Win2000 worked fine until I installed Linux, after which Win2000 did not function properly, because it did not "understand" my Ext2 Linux partition, and said that it was corrupt (this is a brand new hard drive so it cannot be). Linux worked fine except for the fact that I couldn't configure the Graphics properly, so when I booted with Linux, I ended up in a dos-type black and white console - no GUI (It's quite obvious I'm new to Linux).

Then I tried doing it the other way around: I reinstalled Linux, using Linux installation setup to Clear all previous partitions and create new ones as mentioned above. Linux worked fine {without the graphics again :) }. Next, I wanted to install Win98(SE), but could not do so, because when I booted with my Win98 CD, I found that only the C: (Data) partition was created: Linux did not create the W98 or W2000 partitions - and I made sure I that I use Linux 1st time installation partition creation utility by the book. It even asked if I wanted to format the Win98 & Win2000 partitions using W98FAT32, and I said YES!

Now, when I start fdisk it displays two partitions: The primary one ( C: ), and a extended one with NO logical dos drives. When I tried to delete the extended one, fdisk told me that the extended partition still contained logical dos drives (?) and that I could not do so. I studied from back to front and tried using DELPART.EXE (a Win2000 dos utility), WIPE and ZAP as explained on the site: neither worked!!!. I did eventually get rid of the all the previous partitions, but when I try to use FDISK to create a new PRIMARY partition, it tells me that the maximum available space on the disc for creating this partition is 26286Mb - I have a 60000Mb (60Gig) disk, and there should be no other partitions on it, what's wrong???

I'm kind of fed up, and need advice pretty urgent so PLEASE HELP!!
Thanks in advance

White Onyx
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:18 pm:   

I'm not a big Linux user but from what I have been told is to use the Partitions setup with FDISK only for the windows operating systems and let the LINUX Partition agent do its thing for LINUX as well as the LINUX boot manager. Right now it sounds like you need to do a low level format of the drive with the utility provided by the hard drive manufacturer and start over with a fresh from factory non partitioned drive.
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 1:44 am:   

I've come across problems with multiple operating systems and partitioning. Especially thanks to NTFS. I recently ended up in a situation where neither Win98's or XP's FDISK or Linux' (Red Hat 7.1) partition manager could even ACCESS the hard disk; each attempt ended up in the utility crashing, claiming being unable to access the disk.

So I digged up my old OS/2 Warp 3's boot diskette and used OS/2's FDISK, which has saved my ••• in this regard before. I will note that at this point, I had to delete and recreate all partitions at least twice. One concern of mine was that when I first opened OS/2's FDISK it claimed that the disk size was a fraction of what it was SUPPOSED TO BE (60 GB). But in the end the disk size was correct, after the repartitioning. OS/2's FDISK is pretty good at detecting and dealing with non-conventional partitions.

Personally, especially if new to Linux, I'd start by repartitioning the entire hard disk (obviously) with something that actually detects all non-compatible partitions, such as OS/2's FDISK (I am sure that other operating systems' partitioning tools will work too, this is just what I am used to). I'd partition the disk in 2 or 3 partitions. I'd install 98 first, and only then 2000, since it can detect an existing Windows system properly and not overwrite it. And only after these two are working, I'd install a PARTITIONLESS install of Linux. Or alternatively, just leave enough unpartitioned space on the disk for the Linux partition manager to automatically partition and format as it sees fit - especially since a "true" Linux installation uses a small swap partition etc.

A partitionless installation allows you to run Linux from the same drive and file system as Windows. You do not need a separate partition or two for it. This of course does not offer the full performance that can be achieved with Linux, but if you are new to Linux it is probably the safest and most fool-proof way to start.

Mind you, this is just my opinion and I haven't used 98, 2000 and Linux on one disk myself; simply because I dislike 98 to high heaven and would not touch it. I've ran 2000 Pro and Red Hat 7.1 (partitionless installation) side by side without problems.

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