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I decided it's (finally) time to make my eee a debian/WinXP dual boot. I have Windows already installed and chose to sacrifice most of an existing data partition for debian. Here's how the partitions look like in the debian installer:

SCSI2 (0,0,0) (sdb) - 2.0 GB TE USB
    #1              2.0 GB      fat16
SCSI5 (0,0,0) (sdc) - 160.0 GB ATA ST9160314AS
    #1 prmiary     77.4 GB  B   ntfs
       pri/log     77.4 GB      FREE SPACE
    #3 prmiary      5.2 GB      fat32
    #4 primary     49.4 MB 

From what I read the last two partitions are ASUS' hidden recovery partitions for reinstalling windows when the time comes. I have also read, that there's a general 4 primary partitions limit and I need at least 2 primary partitions (/ and swap) for my debian install.

The limit is why (I believe), when I create one partition on the FREE SPACE, the rest of it is described as 'unusable' by the installer.

What's the best thing to do now? I wouldn't want to lose the recovery partitions (they will come in handy eventually, creating your own USB bootable win image is a pain, and most of the firmware is useful) and I definately wouldn't like to give up mu first non-server debian use.

Is there any workaround? Am I missing a point somewhere along the way?

Plus, if I can be choosy I'd still like to have a small fat32 partition for swapping data between systems if necessary

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Linux doesn't need any primary partition. Just create an extended partition using all that free space, and create logical partitions for Linux, at least / and swap, and possible /home. Primary partitions normally contain a filesystem; an extended partition contains logical partitions, which in turn normally contain a filesystem. You'll end up with

sda1 = windows
sda2 = extended, consisting of
    sda5 = /
    sda6 = swap
    sda7 = /home
sda3, sda4 = recovery
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  • You were right, the primary partition wasn't an issue. For the record: I ran into some grub problems in the process, but they seem unrelated, everything is now up and running.
    – nietaki
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 2:26

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