Re: Re: Linux and Windows partitioners fail to see opposite partitions

Elmer E. Dow wrote:

I have an IBM R40 laptop which had WinXP and Debian Lenny installed.
Due to a problematic upgrade to XP SP2, I decided to use the
built-in system restore to reinstall XP. Also, I wanted to play
around with Lenny more, so I decided that I'd reinstall two versions
of Lenny, too. So I used dban on the partitions to assure a fresh
start, then reinstalled XP using the built-in restore feature. I
expected that XP would do what it did during the last installation
session: allocate the whole drive to itself. Then I expected to go
in with gparted and set up the Linux partitions. Windows installed
just fine, except that after doing so, I had to do fdisk /mbr from a
DOS console in order to set the mbr to boot XP. I decided to prep
for the installation of the two versions of Debian, so I booted up a
gparted live 0.5.2-1 cd. I discovered that gparted only saw the
34.31GB unallocated area on the 40GB drive -- no sign of the
partition with XP on it. So I tried an older version of gparted on a
Puppy cd and it agreed with the gparted cd: 34.31GB unallocated. I'm
concerned that the new Lenny installations won't be able to see the
XP partition. I booted XP and it reported 5.86GB total, with 1.93GB
free. It doesn't see beyond its borders either. I'm tempted to
reinstall Partition Magic on XP and see what it reports. Is that a
wise move or should I look at other options? I'd used it during the
last installation on this machine and I'm guessing that using a
different partitioner has caused this current problem. If I use
Partition Magic to resize the Linux partitions, isn't it likely that
Linux won't then be able to then see those partitions, too? I'm
wondering if grub won't be able to boot Linux if grub is installed
on the MBR at the beginning of the drive (where XP is located)
because it won't see the Linux partition. Or will grub install on
the first Linux partition because it can't see the XP partition
before it? Then grub won't boot XP because it can't see it. How can
I use Linux tools to fix what Linux can't see? I'd appreciate any
advice as to how to proceed.

To begin with, run fdisk -l from a Linux command line, then when you're sure of the disc name, fdisk /dev/xxxx. If you're not sure what you're looking at, post the result here.


Here's the result of fdisk -l:

Warning:invalid flag 0x0000 of partition table 5 will be corrected by w(rite)
Disk /dev/hda: 36.8GB 368448527872 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4759 cylinders
Units: cylinders of 15120*512=7741440 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xcccdcccd

Device Boot Start End Blocks ID Systen

/dev/hda1 * 1 813 6146248+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda2 814 2234 10742760 Linux
/dev/hda3 2235 2880 4883760 83 Linux
/dev/hda4 2881 4301 10742760 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)



When you say 'built-in restore', what do you actually mean? If you haven't got a recovery CD, that generally means there is a hidden partition on the hard drive, which may complicate things. You don't want to damage that if you will need XP in the future, so if you find one it's probably best copied off onto a DVD ASAP.


There's a hidden recovery partition which doesn't show up on Partition Magic nor has it shown up previously on gparted. When resizing partitions, the partitioner just won't use the last 3 or 4 GB or so at the end of the drive. It can be made viewable by changing a setting in the BIOS. I also have recovery CDs, so I could get recovery even if I messed up the reinstallation from the recovery partition.


The recovery system, whatever it is, will start by partitioning the drive exactly as it came from the factory.



That's what I thought, too, and so am surprised that it didn't take over the whole drive.



Windows generally will neither see nor mount filesystems it doesn't use itself, but the XP Disc Manager (in Admin Tools, Computer Management) should show other partitions as existing and 'unknown'. Needless to say, all Linux tools should show all partitions. Windows also needs to have its boot files at least on a primary, bootable partition. Linux doesn't care. The non-booting of XP is suspicious, and something I've never seen. By the way, depending on what you're using it for, and for how long, your XP partition might be a bit small.




I'm keeping XP around for legal DVD playing, so I don't need much space there.

XP disk manager reports four partitions
5.86 GB IBM Preload (WinXP)
10.25 GB unknown healthy
4.66 GB unknown healthy
10.25 GB free space -- extended
3.30 GB unallocated

I believe that the latter is where the hidden partition lies.

Recall that I used the DOS console to run fdisk /mbr to get XP to boot. Would installing grub on the MBR make Linux once again see the whole drive?

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