Can't create partition because not enough freespace?

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by eloper, Aug 7, 2008.

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  1. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Just bought a new laptop with Vista already installed, and decided I'd partition the drive so that I could to run 4 operating systems (Vista, XP, osx86, Ubuntu). My harddrive is about 300 gigs (with a D:\ recovery drive of 10 gigs leaving me 290 to play with), so I figured I'd set the Vista partition to 75 gigs, XP to 50, osx86 to 25, and Ubuntu to 25.

    I started off by splitting my harddrive into a 240 gig partition and a 50 gig partition (for xp). When I tried to split the 240 gig partition again (which featured about 180 gigs of free space), DDS told me there was not enough freespace available to create another partition (I hadn't even been given the option of specifying a size yet). I wasn't sure where to go from here, so tried resizing my Vista drive to be 75 gigs, leaving me 165 or so of unallocated space to play with....but still when I try to turn this space into a partition, DDS tells me there's not enough free space. Now I don't have a clue what to do....

    Apologies if this has been covered before, I tried searching and didn't find anything quite fitting my problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    eloper:

    If you are unable to create a partition in unallocated free space then check to be sure that you are not exceeding the limit of four primary partitions or three primaries and an unlimited number of logical partitions. It sounds to me like you need to have at least six or seven partitions (Recovery partition, Vista, XP, OSX, Ubuntu root, Ubuntu swap) and you may want to consider a separate home partition for Ubuntu, making seven total.

    If this is what you are trying to do then they can't all be primary partitions because each primary needs an entry in the partition table and there is only room in a partition table for four entries.

    If this is the case then you'll need to use a mix of primary and logical partitions. You could, for example, have three primary partitions and the rest logical partitions.

    If it were me I would delete the recovery partition after making a backup using Acronis True Image. You could then have 3 primary partitions for Vista, XP, and OSX and three logical partitions for Ubuntu root, home, and swap.
     
  3. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Ah, didn't know about the limit of 4 primary partitions.

    Right now I have my C drive with Vista, my G drive which is empty but will eventually contain XP, D drive for recovery....then the FAT16 which is listed as a primary as well (does that count against my max of 4 primaries?). Even with 4 though, shouldn't I still be able to split my G drive and just choose to make one half a logical drive....my problem is it won't even let me get to the point where I can choose to create another logical drive....
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    eloper:

    I had a hunch that you were bumping into this limitation.

    Yes, the FAT16 recovery partition is a primary partition so it counts against the limit. And no, you can't have 4 primary partitions plus logical partitions.

    The limitation arises from having only four "slots" in a partition table. Each "slot" can contain a primary partition. One of the "slots" can contain a logical partition "container", which in turn can contain an unlimited number of logical partitions.

    So the max is either:

    1. Four primary partitions and no logical partitions

    Or:

    2. Three primary partitions plus an unlimited number of logical partitions.

    Hope this helps...
     
  5. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Really appreciated the help, was able to split once I changed my G drive to logical rather than primary...

    What exactly are the advantages to having a partition be primary as opposed to logical. I know primary generally tend to be used for operating systems, but will I be able to install XP/osx/ubuntu and boot from logical partitions?
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    eloper:

    When using the simple Microsoft boot method (find the active primary partition and boot it) then the OS had to be located in a primary partition. This limitation goes away if you use a different boot manager. Ubuntu will want to install GRUB as its boot manager, and GRUB will be able to manage booting of Linux from logical partitions just fine.

    I have no idea how OSX boots, so I can't help you out on that one.

    You may find some of Dan Goodell's articles to be helpful in understanding how to set up a multiboot PC.
     
  7. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    I'll give that article a read. Again, really appreciate the guidance.

    On a semi-related note, with Vista already installed on my C:\ partition, I tried to boot from my XP cd in an attempt to install XP to my G:\ partition, but during the loading of the setup I got the infamous blue screen of death. If the reasoning for this is explained in the link you posted then don't bother responding, but if not am a bit curious why this happens. I get the feeling that I'm going to have to uninstall Vista/reformat and start from scratch.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    If you have a new laptop then chances are that it uses a SATA hard disk, and the driver is newer than the hard disk controller drivers on the XP CD. You don't need to reformat and reinstall. In fact, even if you did you would not be able to install XP directly from CD. What you need to do is one of the following:

    1. Find and download the current XP driver for your hard disk controller and put it on a floppy disk. When starting the XP installer, at the appropriate point the installer will ask if you have any RAID or SATA drivers to install, and to hit F6 if you do.

    2. Look in your laptop's BIOS for an "IDE Compatibility Mode" setting for the hard disk controller. Change to this mode and the XP installer should work OK. After you get XP installed, go back and reset the mode to "SATA or AHCI" or whatever it was originally set to. When you reboot into XP it should detect the change and the "found new hardware" wizard should start. Then you can either point the wizard to the correct driver or let it search Windows Update.

    The problem with #1 is that many of today's PCs do not have floppy drives, so you may not be able to do this. That's one of the reasons why Vista switched to allowing you to load drivers from a USB flash drive, but with XP you have to use a floppy. Solution #2 will work for you if your laptop manufacturer was kind enough to include the compatibility mode setting in the BIOS.
     
  9. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    I'll give solution 2 a try when I get home, but either way the partition I want XP to install to must be primary as well for it to simply install off the CD correct?

    The link you sent includes a bit of a workaround for installing XP that talked about (from what I understood) installing XP on a primary, copying that partition to a logical, and then setting that logical drive to be bootable. All of it sounded pretty tricky though...

    Ideally I'd have three primaries with XP, Vista, and osX, then the logical partition for Ubuntu....but since FAT16 is there, I can only have two primaries, meaning one of XP/Vista/osX has to be booted off a logical, which doesn't seem particularly easy to do.

    EDIT: Looks like Vista can install on a logical....so I think I'll uninstall Vista/reformat everything (it's a new laptop and I haven't installed much yet, so no big deal), start with installing XP to a primary 50 gig partition, follow with Vista to a 75 gig logical partition, then osX to my other primary, and finally Ubuntu. So it at least logically looks like I know how I want to go setting this all up....now I've just got to figure how exactly to make them all boot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  10. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Actually, both Vista and XP will run from logical partitions if you have a boot manager. Without the boot manager, you need one of them to be in a primary partition. So the way you are going to proceed (install XP first, then Vista) will work because the first installation (XP) will be to a primary partition. Then the Vista installer will put Vista's boot files in the primary (XP) partition and install the Vista system files to your designated logical partition.

    A multiboot system set up like this is called the "Microsoft Way" and it has a couple of drawbacks. First, both XP and Vista can "see" each other. While you may think of this as an advantage, there are some drawbacks. One of them is that XP will destroy all of Vista's restore points every time you boot into XP. Another drawback is that since the Vista boot files are in the XP partition then you will have to remember that. If at some future date you decide to delete the XP partition you will find that Vista will not boot because you will have deleted its boot files.

    A lot of us prefer a multiboot setup where each operating system is completely self-contained in its own partition and isolated from the other operating systems. If you set things up this way then you can delete an OS at-will without any effect on the other operating systems. XP can't delete Vista restore points because the Vista partition will be invisible to XP. A setup like this requires a third-party boot manager. The boot manager has to be responsible for unhiding the partition being booted and hiding the others.

    Since you are going to install Ubuntu, you could consider setting up an isolated multiboot system and use GRUB as the boot manager to control things. Or, you could use other boot managers like BING or Acronis OS Selector. I am happy to help you with GRUB and probably forum member MudCrab (he is the resident expert on OS Selector) will be happy to help with OS Selector. Or, the method you propose is OK to start out with because it's simple to set up and does not require an external boot manager. Just keep its disadvantages in mind, however.
     
  11. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Keeping the OS's isolated would certainly be ideal, but I'd definitely need to be walked through it pretty thoroughly at this point. As far as using GRUB, the Acronis OS Selector, or BING, it doesn't make much difference to me....which ever one is easiest to explain would make sense I suppose.

    EDIT: Still having problems getting XP installed. I can't find anything IDE related in my BIOS, and I don't have a floppy disk drive so option 1 isn't ideal. I found a tutorial using a program called nLite that basically copies the XP CD and integrates the drivers. That said, I cant actually find the drivers online (my HDD is a Samsung hm320ji ATA device....if anyone can point me in the right direction in that regard I'd appreciate it).
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  12. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Sorry for not responding sooner - I had one of those days at work yesterday where everything that could go wrong did go wrong!

    You need to look for the driver for your Storage Controller; not for the hard disk drive. On Vista, open Device Manager (START > type "Dev"... and click on Device Manager. Look for an entry like this one:

    SATA.PNG

    Find the manufacturer of the controller and then go to their website to download the XP version of the driver for integration into nLite.

    Here are a couple more articles that describe the problem of installing XP on a modern PC where the manufacturer has not provided a driver disk or a BIOS setting to disable AHCI mode.
    Article 1
    Article 2

    Can you post the manufacturer and model number of your laptop?
     
  13. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    No worries about not responding sooner, any response at all is much appreciated.

    Under my storage controllers the only one listed is the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator (the second one shown in yours), so I'm assuming the drivers I should be installing are here.

    My laptop is a Dell Studio 1535, should have mentioned that earlier.
     
  14. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    No; iSCSI is a protocol for connecting to storage area network drives via Ethernet. You won't need that driver.

    Something is strange here. If you don't have any storage controllers listed then you must have a plain-vanilla IDE interface to your hard disk. In fact, from your post #11:
    I missed that comment before, so you are in fact using an IDE hard disk controller which XP should support natively, even pre-SP1 versions of XP.

    At the moment I'm at a loss so let me read about your laptop model to see if I can spot some reason that it is having problems with the XP installer. You may want to check the Dell forums to see if anyone has posted a method for installing XP on the Studio 1535.

    Edit: Have you seen this?
    Also, you may want to consider downloading Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and then create a virtual machine running with XP as the guest and Vista as the host OS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  15. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Sorry if I've been a bit n00bish with this, quite honestly I don't have near the experience/knowledge that should really go along with trying to install four operating systems.....but at the same time, I'd think I should be able to handle installing just XP....

    Checked the Dell forums and didn't find anything other than talk about finding drivers after XP was already installed...

    I saw that thread and read through it, but no mention of any drivers for the hard drive controller. Personally I'd like to avoid using virtual machine, but if thats what it comes down to, than so be it.

    EDIT: The error I get when Windows trys to start setup is 0x0000007B (0xF78D2524, 0xc0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)
    DOUBLE EDIT: SUCCESS. Found where my SATA was listed as ACHI, changed it to ATA...now XP CD boots. WOOO.

    Alright, now that I know I can actually start XP....what should I do? Uninstall Vista? Install XP on my primary? Then install Vista again on my logical (but how do I avoid XP/Vista seeing each other and sorta screwing up each other's boot files?). Should I be installing Ubuntu first in order to use GRUB as my boot manager?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  16. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Now you're in business.

    Before getting started a little pre-planning is in order. Can you post a screen shot from Vista Disk Management or from Acronis Disk Director (in manual mode) that shows your current partition layout?

    The desired sequence of events will be something like the following:

    1. Set up the desired partition layout with Disk Director (DD).
    2. We should be able to figure out a way to avoid reinstalling Vista. (Do you have Vista installation media (DVD) just in case, or just a Dell recovery partition)?
    3. When installing XP, use DD to hide the Vista partition and unhide the XP partition. Then install XP.
    4. Installing OSX is an unknown for me. We can just leave an empty primary partition for it and you can do it later at your convenience.
    5. When installing Ubuntu, you can have it install the GRUB bootloader to the MBR if it won't interfere with usage of the Dell recovery partition.
    6. Until the bootloader is installed you can switch between operating systems manually with DD as follows:
    The above steps will be done by the bootloader (GRUB if that's what you choose to use) but it's good to do them manually a couple of times so that you gain an understanding of what's going on behind the scenes when multibooting.

    But the first step is determining a good partition layout, so let's start with the screen shot of your current layout.
     
  17. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    2. I already may have to re-install Vista. I installed the OS Selector, and left it deactivated. Now when I start my computer, all I have is a screen that says "Test Memory, Test System, Exit." When I exit, it restarts and takes me back to the same place. I have no problems with re-installing Vista, I have the DVD that came with the computer still.

    I do have the Recovery drive as well, which takes up one of my primary spots....can I convert that to a logical without any problems?

    3. I'd have to create/use the Acronis Boot CD for this right?

    4. No worries with osX for now, it's my last priority. My laptop isn't even fully compatable with it yet (it'll run apparently, but drivers for a lot of stuff aren't compatable).

    5. Ubuntu has two download options:
    Standard personal computer (x86 architecture, PentiumTM, CeleronTM, AthlonTM, SempronTM) 64bit AMD and Intel computers
    I've got a Core 2 Duo Intel, I want the 2nd option correct?

    6. Makes sense.
     
  18. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    2. That screen doesn't sound familiar. It's probably a Dell screen that's part of the recovery partition. If you boot to the Acronis CD and run Disk Director, which partition is shown as active? Perhaps you are booting into the recovery partition when the PC starts. If so, set the Vista partition as Active and you should boot to Vista.

    The recovery partition will probably need to remain as primary.

    3. Yes

    5. Either one. If you choose the 64-bit version you may have more problems finding bleeding edge driver support. The first choice is 32-bit and has wider support. Kind of the same thing with Vista; some hardware is fully-supported with 64-bit drivers but if your particular hardware isn't then you will probably need to drop back to a 32-bit OS.

    Here's what you can do. Download both and burn to CDs. These are "Live Desktop" CDs and will run Ubuntu without installing anything to your disk. You can play with both of them to see how they work with your laptop, and you can do this before you install anything. After you have determined which one to use then you can proceed with an installation. For best installation results, download the "Alternate Desktop CD" of the version (32-bit or 64-bit) that you have chosen. The "Alternate Desktop CD" installer is better and gives you more control over the process. You can install from the Live Desktop CDs but they run on "autopilot", giving you little control of the installation process.
     
  19. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Bleh, I can't figure out what the deal is with that first initial screen, but I'm just going to re-install Vista. I used Ultimate Boot CD to get off any important stuff I needed (which was limited since its a week old and such)....should have Vista up and running again briefly. Once I get to that, I'll re-install Acronis, take that screenshot of my partitions, burn the Acronis Boot CD, and go from there...
     
  20. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    Here's my partitions:

    http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z298/repole/partitions.jpg

    After re-installing Vista a lot of the Drive Letters got switched....and now the FAT16 is the primary? Is that normal?

    I plan on making an image of my recovery drive and removing it/adding the extra space to storage. I also know I have to change the formatting of my Ubuntu drive (and split it since I apparently need two partitions for it).

    I made a bootable cd with DD on it, do I need OS-Selector as well? The last two times I installed OS Selector it basically killed my computer, so a bit wary of using it.

    So uh....now what :)
     
  21. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Oh, boy. That does not sound right. The FAT16 partition is probably the Dell Diagnostics partition, and since it is shown as the active partition that's consistent with your previous comment about the PC booting to a screen that let you "Test Memory, Test System, Exit." I would think that it should be a hidden partition.

    Do you remember if you used to be able see it as a drive in Vista? Did it have a drive letter assigned? I assume that you can see it now.

    Worse, if it was the active partition when you installed Vista then the boot files for Vista were probably installed there. Try to find out by turning on the display of hidden, and protected operating system files. Look for the Vista boot files which are the file "BOOTMGR" and the directory "/Boot". If these reside in the FAT16 partition then that's wrong and we will need to undo this. They should reside in the Vista partition. If they do then you're OK.

    That's a good idea. You could also consider deleting the Dell Diagnostics partition. Do you really need it?

    Not for now. You would be better to delay using OS Selector until you get things set up.

    Best to verify the location of the Vista boot files and then fix that if they ended up in the wrong place.
     
  22. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    I couldn't see the FAT16 before, but yeah, now I can.

    Inside Windows there's a Boot directory, and inside that directory bootmgr can be found under a folder PCAT. On the FAT16 partition there's a file BOOTSECT.BAK, but that's the only boot related thing I can see?

    Should I perhaps try switching my Vista partition back to being the primary one, restarting, and hoping it works?

    I have no problem deleting the FAT16 partition if it isn't needed, but I thought thats where the BIOS were?
     
  23. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    When looking for the hidden booting files and folders, make sure to enable the correct viewing options. Instructions can be found here.

    Also, Windows Disk Management should show which partition is the booting partition. A current screenshot would help in that regard.

    Changing the Vista partition to Active may not have any effect on the booting. If the BCD file is using a direct reference, Vista will probably still boot even if the files are on the other partition.

    The BIOS info resides in flash memory on the motherboard, not on the hard drive.
     
  24. eloper

    eloper Registered Member

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    I'm dumb, forgot to unhide protected operating system files.....

    There is a BOOT directory and bootmgr in both the Vista partition and the FAT16 partition.

    Disk Management:
    http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z298/repole/diskmanagement.jpg

    If the FAT16 partition is simply for diagnostics, then I have no problem getting rid of it.
     
  25. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    eloper:

    Before deleting the diagnostic partition please check one thing. In Vista, open an elevated command prompt window (START > then type "CMD" and right-click on "Command Prompt". Choose "Run as administrator"). Type the command:
    Code:
    bcdedit
    and copy/paste the output to your next post. That will tell us more about how Vista is booting.

    It's unusual to have two sets of boot files from a clean install so I'm wondering how that happened.
     
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