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I just bought a new HP laptop with Windows 8. I tried to partition the hard drive using PartedMagic and discovered that we can't create any extended partitions to have logical volumes. Only primary partitions.

But normally we can create only 4 primary partitions. But in my new machine, we can create any number of primary partitions. Can some one please explain why this is happening? Have they changed the rules?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Well, we've come a long way since the FAT file system. These days, there are two disk partition styles with Microsoft:
1. The older Master Boot Record (MBR)
2. GUID Partition Table (GPT).
MBR has the limitation of allocating only 4 primary partitions, but the newer GPT can support upto 128 primary partitions. And it is recommended for large HDDs.
Newer computers have newer BIOSes named Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). They can use the GPT partition scheme.

Your laptop supports EFI, and it has been configured to a GPT disk, so get on with multiple primary partitions. :D

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The 4 primary partitions limitation is because of the old BIOS.

It seems your new laptop uses UEFI which supports more than 4 primary partitions.

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It's not the firmware type (BIOS vs. EFI) that's the limitation; it's the partition table type (MBR vs. GPT). Either partition table type can be used with either firmware type, although some OSes (like Windows) impose boot limitations that link MBR to BIOS and GPT for EFI, at least for boot disks. (Such limitations don't exist for data disks.) – Rod Smith Dec 24 '12 at 21:54

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