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I was trying to install Ubuntu 11.04. But Gparted did not recognize my machine partitions correctly.

This is how Windows 7 Disk Manager showed partitions:

Volume---------------------File System------------Capacity

(C:)----------------------------NTFS----------------142.39GB

(D:)----------------------------NTFS----------------107.42GB

(H:)----------------------------NTFS----------------26.18GB

HP_RECOVERY(E:)--------NTFS----------------16.80GB

HP_TOOLS(F:)--------------FAT32---------------4.98GB

SYSTEM----------------------NTFS----------------300MB

In the process of installing, First I booted the machine with my boot-able USB(made with Unetbooting). Then selected 'try ubuntu'. Then went to Gparted to check the partitions before actual installation.

I was expecting to install Ubuntu in partition D: and was expecting a similar picture like what Windows Disk Manager showed.

But Gparted showed partitions in a different way. Partitions (D:), (H:), (E:) and (F:) were shown as one single partition. So I could not select partition D: to install Ubuntu in it.

How can this problem be fixed?


Additional Information

This is the output of fdisk -l command.

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x4166d6a8

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1           1         992+  42  SFS
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2   *           1          39      307200   42  SFS
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda3              39       18627   149306368   42  SFS
/dev/sda4           18627       38914   162955608   42  SFS

Disk /dev/sdb: 8011 MB, 8011120640 bytes
41 heads, 41 sectors/track, 9307 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 1681 * 512 = 860672 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000c8603

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           5        9308     7819328    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Useful outputs from the diskpart program in Windows:

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---
  Disk 0    Online          298 GB     8 MB   *
  Disk 1    No Media           0 B      0 B


DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Dynamic Data       992 KB    31 KB
  Partition 2    Dynamic Data       300 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 3    Dynamic Data       142 GB   301 MB
  Partition 4    Dynamic Data       155 GB   142 GB

DISKPART> list volume

  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
  Volume 0     H                NTFS   Simple        26 GB  Healthy
  Volume 1     D                NTFS   Simple       107 GB  Healthy
  Volume 2     F   HP_TOOLS     FAT32  Simple      5115 MB  Healthy
  Volume 3     E   HP_RECOVERY  NTFS   Simple        16 GB  Healthy
  Volume 4     C                NTFS   Simple       142 GB  Healthy    Boot
  Volume 5         SYSTEM       NTFS   Simple       300 MB  Healthy    System
  Volume 6     G                       DVD-ROM         0 B  No Media
  Volume 7     I   Mobile Part  CDFS   CD-ROM        32 MB  Healthy
  Volume 8     J                       Removable       0 B  No Media
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I wish I could upload the screen shots, so the question would be clearer. But I still have no privileges to upload images. –  bird234 Dec 2 '11 at 12:11
    
A little more information could be useful, what are the results if you boot with some other OS, like Knoppix, Gparted LiveCD so you can rule out that is not an issue with your bootable USB. What are the specs/model no of your machine. –  jhcaiced Dec 2 '11 at 12:34
    
You would need to run fdisk as a super user to show any results, so in ubuntu it would be "sudo fdisk -l" –  Shutupsquare Dec 2 '11 at 12:41
    
@jhcaiced I'm using HP Probook 4530s. –  bird234 Dec 2 '11 at 12:44
    
@StephenMartin Thanks! I will edit the question with the output. –  bird234 Dec 2 '11 at 12:51
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From the fdisk output and the diskpart output, your issue is that you are using "dynamic disks" which are not the same as partitions and that is the reason why you see only four partitions while you have a greater number of dynamic disks.

AFIK Linux cannot be installed to a "dynamic disk" since that is a feature of Windows (it appeared on Windows 2000)

If possible, it would be better to backup everything, partition the disk again and install without the "dynamic disks" that by the way provides no benefit whatsoever.

Now if that is not possible, you can backup only /dev/sda3 (142 Gb partition), and use something like GParted LiveCD (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php) to resize that partition, for a Ubuntu install you need let's say 20Gb for testing, that way you can keep your current setup and give yourself space for installing Ubuntu in a new partition.

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So does it mean that, to install Ubuntu, I have to partition the disk again? –  bird234 Dec 4 '11 at 8:30
    
I updated the answer with more information and options for installing Ubuntu. –  jhcaiced Dec 4 '11 at 14:06
    
There you go. I said that people would spot the asterisk in the "Dyn" column. ☺ –  JdeBP Dec 10 '11 at 13:06
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The MBR partition table format only supports four partitions, but one of those four partitions may be an "extended partition" that contains any number of sub-partitions. It's likely that those partitions you're referring to are actually contained in an extended partition.

But gparted and fdisk both understand extended partitions. If gparted didn't show the sub-partitions, and especially if "fdisk -l" produced no output, something strange is going on. Did you specify the disk device when you ran "fdisk -l", e.g. "fdisk -l /dev/sda"?

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Thanks for your answer. I have missed to login as root when running fdisk -l. That's why it gave no output. After running sudo fdisk -l it gave an output. I have edited the question with the output. –  bird234 Dec 2 '11 at 13:01
    
Both fdisk -l and Gparted show the same output. –  bird234 Dec 2 '11 at 13:06
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Dynamic Disk was the problem.

Ubuntu cannot be installed on a dynamic disk.

If you try to create more than 3 partitions using windows disk manager it will prompt you asking to make your disk dynamic (from basic). This is how my disk has become dynamic.

To install Ubuntu I had no option than turning the disk back to basic. I could not find any method to turn it to basic without losing data ( I did not try much though). So I backed up all my important data and turned disk back to basic. All the data that were on the windows partition were no longer there.

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