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I've seen posts in the past that advise against changing the partition number but like Fox Mulder: " All the evidence to the contrary is not entirely dissuasive "

I have an old MBR disk that I used to boot from before I install Ubuntu on a faster M.2 ssd. I now want to remove my old Win8 partitions and give the space back to Linux

fdisk /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 1.8 TiB, 2000398934016 bytes, 3907029168 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
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x3457a860

Device     Boot     Start        End    Sectors  Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048  524290047  524288000  250G  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2       524290048  548290559   24000512 11.5G 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3       548292606  648290303   99997698 47.7G  5 Extended
/dev/sda4       648290304 3907028991 3258738688  1.5T 83 Linux
/dev/sda5       548292608  648290303   99997696 47.7G 83 Linux

The only partition that I use is sda4.
sda1 was my old Win8 dual boot partition
sda2 was for swap but now I'm running on a separate ssd
sda5 was for /boot before my current ssd

Is is possible to delete sda1, sda2 and sda5 and perform something like e2fsresize to grow my ext4 filesystem into the extra space and then rename sda4 to sda1?

I rather not resort to buying a new 2TB drive just so I can backup my files and repartition the whole disk.

  • If there's a way to do what you want (I don't know a way, and lean towards it not being possible) it's uncommon enough that the chance of something being sufficient dangerous to cause data loss is high, so you really should backup your data before trying it. – Henrik May 12 '16 at 15:23
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You can do all this with GParted. The 1.5TB partition you want to keep and extend is inside an extended partition (which makes it a logical partition), so using standard tools you won't be able to turn it into sda1 — the "container" extended partition will end up being sda1 and your useful partition will be sda2. (You can turn a logical partition into a primary partition manually, but that's a little more dangerous.)

To extend your partition to use all the available disk space, you'll need to delete the three obsolete partitions, then extend the extended partition, move it, and finally move and extend the logical partition. This should all be possible with GParted.

As always though, if your data is important you should have a backup.

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