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I have a dual boot of Windows 8 and Linux Mint 14. I want to remove the windows partitions and format them to ext4.

sudo fdisk -lu

gives me this..

Disk /dev/sda: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders, total 625142448 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xa1fadbd9

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2048      411647      204800    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2          411648   530764799   265176576    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3       530767870   594198527    31715329    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda4       594199552   625142447    15471448   12  Compaq diagnostics
/dev/sda5       530767872   534962175     2097152   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6       534964224   594198527    29617152   83  Linux

What I want to do is delete /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 partitions, and create 2 new ext4 partitions with the arising unallocated space. I can do this using gparted.

Now, here are my questions -

  1. /dev/sda1 has the boot flag set, would it be a problem if I delete /dev/sda1 partition to boot linux afterwards. Does Linux need the boot flag to be set?
  2. Will I need the /dev/sda4 partition after completely removing Windows partitions? Can I delete /dev/sda4 and use it too?
  3. I have backed up the files I need from the Windows partitions. I do not plan to touch the existing Linux partitions, Is there still any risk involved?
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migrated from serverfault.com Jan 1 '13 at 23:39

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Linux doesn't care about the bootable flag on partitions.

  2. The diagnostics partition may be necessary to access the BIOS configuration screen. IIRC this is the case on many Compaq computers. It's not much space, and it's right at the end of the disk; I recommend that you leave it alone.

  3. The only risk is mistyping the partition numbers and accidentally deleting or overwriting /dev/sda4.

Since /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 are contiguous, you can join them into a single partition if you like (delete sda2 then enlarge sda1).

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Very useful. Thanks. –  Pavanred Jan 2 '13 at 2:31
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