Hi folks

I want to partition my hard drive in my Dell machine to get an ext3 partions - I want to dual boot in linux. I will be using partition magic to do this as I have used this previously.

However the last time I undertook any partitioning was a couple of years ago so I need a refresher on the 2 'extra' partitions on my harddrive.

The attached image shows my current harddrive via winXP computer management.

Q - What purpose do the FAT and FAT32 partitions have?
Q- Can I merge these in with the c drive prior to partitioning?

Thanks for some 'illumination' :-)

I also attach the partition info that partition magic 7 shows.

Note that the 70mb FAT EISA partition is a Dell part type, and the 3.xGb partition is a CP/M, Concurrent DOS, CTOS type.

This link describes the partitions on your Dell:


In terms of manipulating the partitions:

1. I'm honestly not sure if you should muck with the first (EISA config.) partition. Since it only uses about 70M I'd leave it alone.

2. If you're OK with losing the system restore info in the Dell partition, you can delete that partition and leave the resulting free space available for the Linux install. Since you'll probably want more than 3.2G available for Linux, I'd use PM to shrink your current Windows partition to free up even more space for Linux.

3. Given that you're currently only using less than 20G of the 145G available in your C: partition, you could easiliy just leave the two special Dell partitions alone and use PM to carve out a big chunk of C: to make another partition for Linux.

Thanks DMR that cleared that one up.

As you suggested (and now that I have an understanding of wht these partitions do) I shall leave these alone.

I have an additional q:

I just tried to use partition magic 7 to partition the c drive but got the following msg when I tried to create a new partition:

'The selected disk contains one or more partititions which cannot be moved. To complete this task use the operations menu rather than a wizard'.

I think I need to convert my c drive to a logical partition and then I can undertake my other partitions. Correct or do I need to do something else?


I've got to log off for a bit right now, but hang in there- I'll repost with a couple of suggestions before the end of the day.

I think I need to convert my c drive to a logical partition and then I can undertake my other partitions.

No. You should not (and most likely cannot) convert your C: partition to a "logical" partition; you risk losing all of your data on that partition if you even try. Your current C: partition is a Primary partition; Logical partitions can only be created within Extended (not Primary) partitions.

My guess is that Partition Magic is choking on the fact that it finds the special Dell partitions but doesn't quite know how to deal with them. In addition, your version of PM (version 7) is quite old at this point. Symantec (the company that now owns and distributes Norton products) also gobbled up Partion back in 2003.

Although I've never been a fan of PM at all, upgrading to the lastest version of the program might help in your case.

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