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I've been changing this hard drive around, and have stumbled into this problem. I'm trying to get my hard drive back to just its original 4 partitions, but I can't seem to get rid of the "shell" of an extended partition. Right now, it's structure like:

/dev/sda3 (EXTENDED)
    /dev/sda5 (logical)

I would like to "pull out" /dev/sda5 and replace /dev/sda3 entirely with it. from the extended partition and get rid of it entirely.

/dev/sda3 (formerly /dev/sda5)

Is this possible?

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/dev/sda3 is the group partition containing the /dev/sda5 extended partition. So, you already have just 4 partitions: sda1, 2, 5 & 4. Ignore sda3 as the group or container. I'm not sure what are you trying to get rid of ? – Prahlad Yeri Aug 10 '12 at 8:40
Are there any consequences to having this unnecessary container? I'm trying to make it so it has only 4 primary partitions, the extended partition doesn't need to be there. – cemulate Aug 10 '12 at 13:01
There are no "consequences" to having a container. It is a natural side effect of having an extended/logical partition within a primary one. Also, extended partition has no feature restrictions compared to primary, its only to facilitate your having more than 4 overall number of partitions. In short, you don't need to worry about it! – Prahlad Yeri Aug 10 '12 at 13:32

Use gparted utility to first delete

and the deleting
and here you will get rid of extended partition, the it should be

 free space

now create new primary partition with your choice of file system. thats it its done.

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