I've got four partitions on my 250GB hard drive:

  1. (primary /dev/sda1, NTFS) Windows 7 Recovery partition (17.05 GB)
  2. (primary /dev/sda2, NTFS) Windows 7 Boot Menu (100 MB)
  3. (primary /dev/sda3, NTFS) Windows 7 OS
  4. (primary extendd /dev/sda4) (80 GB)
  5. (secondary /dev/sda5) Linux Swap (6GB)
  6. (secondary /dev/sda6) Linux / (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS) (74GB)
  7. Sucker unallocated space (70GB)

Now, since I've already created 4 primary partitions, alas, I cannot create another primary partition at the end of the disk.

Is there a way to expand /dev/sda4 to suck up the remaining 70GB so that the whole secondary partition ends up being 150GB?

I've tried the Linux gparted tool, booted from a USB Linux Live disk, but no luck.

Seems like the only solution is to delete the extended partition and recreate a bigger one that uses the whole remaining disk space.

Could this problem be overcome with other tools, say partition magic or something so that /dev/sda4 is resized so I don't have to reinstall everything from scratch (luckyly didn't have much on my Linux partition).


John Goche


4 Answers 4


Fortunately, extending "extended" partitions is relatively straightforward from a disk management perspective.

Try going back into gparted and right-clicking on the extended partition in the disk list (Not the graphical display at the top, the textual list at the bottom), then saying "Resize/Move".

This should give you a resize window, which will let you take up the rest of the available space.


An extended partition is not a primary partition. It is a container, and its size is equal to all the contained logical partitions (the usual terminology; I've never encountered the term "secondary partition" before) plus any unallocated area at the end. If you have a source stating otherwise, I would suggest your source is mistaken, or the partition table data on disk is corrupt.

Gparted should have no difficulty creating additional logical partition(s) from the unallocated space. If Gparted is run from somewhere other than your Linux partition, and that partition is not mounted, I'm pretty sure Gparted can also extend your sda6 into unallocated space. If not, you'd best try and find out why before continuing with other partitioning software.


As long as you recreate partitions 5 and 6 with exactly the same characteristics (via e.g. fdisk under Linux), you won't have to reinstall after deleting and recreating partition 4. Just make sure to have a pen/pencil and paper handy, and don't try it if any of the numbers have a "+" at the end.


Here's what I'd do, in regard to your details provided.

  1. Unmount the swap partition in case of swap. Right click on /dev/sda5 and 'swapoff'
  2. Now extend (primary extended /dev/sda4) (80 GB) to 150, so that will allocate the unallocated 70 GB
  3. Then you'd be able to create new logical partition within /dev/sda4 or to resize /dev/sda6 linux root partition.

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