I'm going to document a very frustrating issue I've been experiencing here, and I encourage you all to read it and give any advice you can. I would really appreciate that, a lot. You'll understand after reading...

I recently bought a new laptop, for $3000 -- the XPS M1210. By recently, I mean in the past 2 weeks. I received it 2 days ago. It came pre-installed with Microsoft Media Edition 2005 - a very nice operating system, though I prefer Linux so my first intention was to install the second operating system and set up my laptop for dual-booting. I've done this several times before with desktops, so thought it would be straight-forward.

My laptop came with a lot of features. Internal WiFi and Bluetooth, a 5-in-1 memory card reader, built-in webcam and mic, dual processor, 2 Gigs ram, 120 Gig hard-drive, DVD/CD +/- RW optical drive, media control buttons, and more. You can tell it was a huge investment for me.

So the adventure began, I wanted to steal some space from the massive windows partition to use for my Linux installation. By "some" I mean 70 Gigs, and leave 30 for windows. The rest of the hard-disk is devoted to the Dell Diagnostics Utility and Media Center.

I tried with Partition Magic 8.0. It rebooted, and when the script would usually kick in, an error was displayed instead: xmnt2002 program not found - skipping AUTOCHECK and then it would boot. That frustrated me. I tried again, this time unhiding the partitions using grub before booting. Still, same error. So, partition magic was not going to work.

Next I decided to try to go to the Linux installation directly, and use the YaST utility to resize my windows partition. I tried, but that failed as well. YaST gave me the "Failed to resize partition. The Installer will now exit" error each time I tried that. So, the Linux-rout failed as well.

By now I was quite frustrated. I decided to re-install Windows from the disks I had been provided, deleting the windows partition using the installation menu and re-installing it on a smaller portion of the unallocated space. Windows was installed using the same about of space as the first installation -- It did not allow me to resize it's disk usage like I had planned. So, I lost all the software, but no matter, I reinstalled it all in a few hours, then attempted to resize my partition again.


That time, I decided to go the Linux rout -- I deleted the partition using YaST, and installed Linux there using Logical partitions - which worked just fine, and I left 30 gigs unallocated for Windows. I planned to use the Windows installed on that unallocated space later, and then everything would be just dandy. I installed Linux using ogical partitions on an extended partition, so there would be room for one more Physical Partition making four in total, as there is only room for 4 physical partitions.

So I tried that. After preparing Linux, I started the windows installer, selected the unallocated space and pressed 'c' to create an empty partition. I then selected it to have Windows installed there, and the installer asked how to format the partition. I choose NTFS file system. It then proceeded to the format screen, and died on me. I got an error like, "Windows was unable to format the selected partition. The disk may be damaged." It then restarted my computer, and instead of the Grub boot-loader I was greeted with a "Invalid Partitions" screen...

*Screaming inside by now*

SO I ran the Dell Utility and it reported that my hard disk was fine, everything was running 100%. Thank God nothing was damaged -- only my partition table had become corrupt. I tried and tried to fix it. I used utilities to recover it but they failed because they wanted money. It was revealed to me, though, that 2 of the partitions were set as active -- maybe that's why I got the "Invalid Partitions" screen, but I don't know why Windows failed in formatting the unallocated space.

I finally booted from the Linux install disk again and choose to "Update System" which fixed my Invalid Partitions problem, by reinstalling the Boot Loader I assume.. Pheew for that.

I then tried installing Windows again, and received the same error. I even tried with a different format option, but it still failed. So here I am, unable to reinstall Windows because it keeps corrupting my partition table, and I can't get Linux to run properly (yet) with all my hardware, so I have $3000 of computer sitting in front of me that is completely USELESS.

I'm at a loss. I will record a video of what I do to install windows and the exact results of that IF requested. That way you can see the actual error messages, if it's necessary. Otherwise, I've searched and I can't find the help I need. If anyone could help me to install Windows and retain Linux successfully, I would be eternally grateful. I've even been praying about this - that's how much it upsets me, and I just want it to work.

Once again, any help or explanation would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. :sad:

Wow that's quite the problem, although I do have to admit that you tried very hard. I may not be able to fix it, but I'll give you some advice. It seems like you've got nothing to lose, so why don't you try the following:

1. Boot from a Windows-recovery disk, or whatever you can so you can get a DOS prompt.
2. Then run fdisk from the command line, and see if you can repair the partition table. Then create a NTFS partition (I think DOS fdisk can do that) that only takes up some of the hard drive as the first in the table, and make it bootable.
3. Install Windows XP on the newly-created NTFS partition, and pray that everything works. (Failure of any of the above steps should be posted here)

OK, is Windows working fine on that small partition? Try Linux now in the empty space. You may also want to try booting from a LiveCD so you can manually partition the hard drive if YaST doesn't (I've never used SuSE).


Don't think I'm a wimp, but I want to cry right now. I just solved my problem. After 4 days of stress and hating my new #3000 system because for some unknown reason, I could not reinstall my windows media edition. Now don't get me wrong, I love Linux and it's my main OS, but for the time being I haven't got it configured with my hardware (and that's turning out to be hell in its self) so I need windows to go WiFi and whatnot. Anyway, here's what the issue was:

When I was first trying to install Linux, I thought the reason I couldn't resize the windows partition was because it was hidden, so I used Grub to "unhide" all of the partitions. I was unknowledgeable back then, didn't know what I was doing, but learned a lot in the last 5 days.

Tonight it occured to me, I don't know what it was, it must have been God that gave me the answer because I was sooo stressed and depressed over this.. I didn't know where to turn. (I know, I'm rambling)

So I used Grub to hide the Dell Utility and Dell Diagnostics partitions, which shouldn't have been visible in the first place, and now windows is installing just fine.. (After formatting the partition successfully, the area that caused me error before)

The next load of fun: Getting Linux to work with my Hardware!

I may have MBR issues after the installation, maybe not, but at least I'm one step further. And I'm sure Linux could re-install the boot loaded if need be. Wish me luck.

I may have MBR issues after the installation, maybe not, but at least I'm one step further. And I'm sure Linux could re-install the boot loaded if need be.

You can manually reinstall GRUB by doing the following:
1. Boot from Linux install disk
2. Get to the rescue by typing "rescue" at the prompt
3. Type "grub-install /dev/hda", and GRUB will be reinstalled in your Master Boot Record.

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