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The thing is that the owner had Windows 10 already installed and the disk was formatted with the dynamic layout (on MBR scheme).

Windows shows that there are 4 existing volumes (C, D, E, F) but Gparted (On a live Linux) doesn't show the last three partitions (D, E, F) as separate partitions, instead it shows them as one whole partition (NTFS) beside the C partition and another partition used by Windows to manage the disk (100MB).

At the beginning (Didn't know about that dynamic thing), i thought deallocating the last partition (F) from the Windows disk manager would solve the problem & Linux would read it as an unallocated space & therefore install Linux on it. But i got confused when Linux didn't recognize the free partition and it was still showing the 3 partitions (including the one i freed) as one whole partition.

So instead of messing up with the disk, i decided to get informed about it, i read a lot of articles & i discovered that DYNAMIC & BASIC layout thing & from all the choices i had to install Linux on that system is to do a Dynamic disk to Basic disk conversion, but according to MSDN, i have to backup the whole disk which is the thing i can't actually do.

Some other resources recommended using EaseUS disk manager or MiniTool partition wizard to do a conversion without backups & of course without data loss. However, I'm still afraid to lose data & the backup thing is not really a choice for my situation.

So is using third party applications to do such a conversion is a safe choice ? & is there any other better suggestions about installing Linux on such a disk (with windows) or perform that kind of a conversion ?

  • Here's the thing. Partition changes, heck OS installations are inherently unsafe. There's just no safe way to do it (aside from virtual machines). All it takes is a YES when it should have been a NO to screw up your partition table and potentially make your data inaccessible. You may not want to hear this, but the first thing you should do is take care of the backup problem. – Emmanuel Rosa Jul 13 '17 at 1:21
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The problem is support for Windows' Dynamic disk format under Linux is weak. The Windows' Dynamic disk partitions won't show up under Linux until a tool like ldmtool is installed (which reads the metadata and maps them as device mapper disks). However your typical Linux distro installer is not going to run it and thus will be completely oblivious of said dynamic disks. Additionally you can't use Linux to modify dynamic disk partitions so you would be stuck manually trying to assign filesystems to existing partitions only.

I strongly recommend you run Linux as a VM on your existing Windows install in your scenario. The approach you're trying to take is complicated and experience says dual booting in such an environment carries high risk (and you've mentioned you're trying to avoid risk).

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