View Full Version : Non-destructive partitioning: free options?

30-09-2002, 04:34 PM
I'm wanting to be a bit adventurous and dabble in Linux.
I've already got my hands on a distribution on cd, and want to create a patition for the sucker to roam free on.

Here's where it gets only slightly complicated.
I've no unformatted space on my 40GB drive; it's fully utilized.
My E: partition has around 14GB of free space, some of which I'm willing to shave off for Linux' use.

I know that PartitionMagic can quite happily do this for me without touching the existing data on the drive, but it costs money which I don't particularly feel like spending if there's a free alternative.

Thanks folks, even if there is no cheap option. :)

Graham L
30-09-2002, 04:44 PM
Have a look for ranish and parted. Both are free. fips which you will have on your CD might handle big disks --- I have never tried it on a big disk (because I haven't got any big disks).

But any partitioner can be destructive. It's not faults on the programmes; people don't/won't read the instructions. Or don't understand the instructions. When it says "Are you sure?", make sure that you are sure ;-).

30-09-2002, 04:49 PM
AFAIK, Partition Magics the only one.. I've used Ranish and it's kewl, but It does need a format

30-09-2002, 04:53 PM
Thanks Graham.
I'm well aware that any partitioner can be destructive (it's what thay do), and with those handy tools I'll be careful not to use the less subtle approach built into them.

Any other ideas anyone?

30-09-2002, 04:56 PM
Well, Can't you put linux on a windows partition??? They say it'll have a slight performance drop, but otherwise.... That might be a temporary solution. Otherwise, there's Knoppix.

30-09-2002, 05:13 PM
Hmm. I'm no Linux pro, but I don't think you can put it on a FAT partition, and no way would you get it on NTFS.

However, I could be wrong so I'll do a quick Google check... <:)

30-09-2002, 05:20 PM
Yeah, i've done it myself. It was a FAT32 Partition.
Actually, If you wanna try it out without damaging anything, Go Knoppix.

I just popped the CD in myself, rebooted, and I'm browsing, watching vids, full access to everything. All Automatic, Boot was about the same time and doze2K. It's on this months free Cover Disc. No damage done, and I have to say, I'm gonna become a convert!!!!

This really rocks! There are gonna be a lot of converts this way I reakon. And, no damamge done to my current data. I still have access to it (Hence the MPEG-1 files) and seriously, you might wanna wait a day or two and grap the CD. You wont regret it!


30-09-2002, 05:22 PM
correct me if i'm wrong but dosn't the linux install routine do all the partitoning and boot loader install.?:|

just make sure you defrag before install(so data is at front of disk).

30-09-2002, 05:24 PM
Yeah, is that non-destructive method?? Disk Druid you mean?

Graham L
30-09-2002, 05:34 PM
tweak'e: The partitioning programmes fdisk (lowercase=linux) and Disk Druid will make partitions in unallocated space on a disk. If there is no free space, the installation script will give you the option of deleting existing partitions (especially Windows systems :D).

Because repartitioning is so easy to cock up destructively, I don't think that Linux installation scripts (especially from commercial distributions) will ever include that. It's much safer, and causes fewer tears and bad language, to leave it to programmes which only do repartitioning.

The way to start an installation is with a (big enough) area of unallocated disk. Linux will recognise it, use it, and make its own partitions.

30-09-2002, 05:34 PM
Knoppix loads into RAM, and I'm looking to install Slackware Linux which is most permanent, I assure you.

Thanks Chilling_Silence for all your input; a Linux install is within my grasp now and it looks like I won't be getting to bed early tonight. Wheee... :D

30-09-2002, 05:52 PM
thx graham. i'll remember that for when i get to play with linux a bit more seriuosly :)

30-09-2002, 09:11 PM
The Mandrake installer can non destructively resize a windows partition - you have to scandisk and defrag first though. Possibly its only for FAT32. I haven't tried it and wouldn't risk it on anything important but it probably doesn't move any data around - just grabs the free space at the end of the partition left by the defrag - so its possibly fairly safe as long as you don't get too close to the "used space" boundary and quit windows straight after the defrag - or maybe Linux can defrag - I haven't found out about that yet.


30-09-2002, 10:07 PM
I've partitioned a few times now. First with Mandrake 6.1, worked fine. Then with Debian, didn't work! What a mess. More recently with Libranet 2, on a Dell Latitude Laptop, using cfdisk, worked extremely well. But it is very important to follow instructions to the absolute letter. With care I would recommend cfdisk.

30-09-2002, 10:19 PM
Hehe, Well, I decided to do it myself after you said you'd do it tonight.. Took about 20 minutes, so Intallations probably not gonna keep you up all night.... ... but fiddling around with it afterwards will!!!

01-10-2002, 10:49 AM
> Intallations probably not gonna keep you up all
> night.... ... but fiddling around with it afterwards
> will!!!

Aye, there's the rub!
I never managed to get it installed last night to be honest. Guess I'll have to relegate it to the weekend. Have to install my new DVD drive tonight.. tsk tsk!

01-10-2002, 01:58 PM
Hehe, Its a laugh.. I was burning the midnight candle myself. Setting up access to hdb1, it just couldn't find it.. And to think that Knoppix picked it up immediately.

I'm off to download KDE 3.02