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I have a Windows system with 3 Primary and 1 extended partition. The first two primary drives were there when I first bought my PC - "System reserved" and "Diagnostics", I guess. The third (C:) has Win7 installed on it. I set up the extended partition to have 2 logical drives on it using MiniTool's Partition Wizard Home Edition.

I would like to know what would happen to my logical drives if I reinstalled Windows or installed Linux on C:, with/without formatting C: first. Would they still be accessible even if they were created in Win7?

If one of the logical drives failed, or somehow became unaccesible, would it affect the other logical drive?

Thanks!

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2 Answers 2

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The first two primary drives were there when I first bought my PC - "System reserved" and "Diagnostics",

The first partition is probably about 100 MB, and is used for booting Windows 7 The other is probably the recovery partition of about 5 to 10 GB.

I would like to know what would happen to my logical drives if I reinstalled Windows or installed Linux on C:, with/without formatting C: first.

As long as you specify the existing primary partition as the target, then nothing would happen to any other partition, logical or primary. A proper installation of an OS should only affect the one primary partition that it is installed in. No other partitions should be affected. But if you start using the partition editor that is available in most OS installers, then all bets are off; you could easily delete (almost) any partition.

Would they still be accessible even if they were created in Win7?

Yes. Linux would require a (simple) mount operation (similar to a removable drive).

If one of the logical drives failed, or somehow became unaccesible, would it affect the other logical drive?

Very, very unlikely, but remotely possible. The location and definition of each logical partition is based on the physically preceding logical partition. So if somehow the first partition's definition block got clobbered, then access to the second logical partition might be questionable. But this rarely happens. You can format each logical partition without affecting any other partition.

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The logical partitions don't care about the primary partitions. The "legacy" MBR can only boot primary partitions, but other bootloaders such as grub don't have that limitation. Now, if C: happened to contain your bootloader files, then it would be a different story...

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I'm sorry, but I don't know what MBR, bootloaders or grub mean. –  Joshua Mar 26 '12 at 7:03
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The simplistic answer: MBR is Master Boot Record; grub is the boot loader on Linux systems. A boot loader is a piece of software located in the MBR that calls pieces of the operating system into memory to boot up the computer. –  user3463 Mar 26 '12 at 7:16

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