WinXP partitions

ok i installed WinXP on a clean 120Gb HDD

well i partitioned it in the default WinXP utility (on install)

and rather than properly partitioning it it created, umm let me go see what they are called.
"extended partition" "logical drive"

well these are in blue and green while the primary partition is in dark blue (as the other partitions normally would be)

it also created an 8Mb partition or somthing for the "partition information"

whats up with that????

ok the question is
is it safe to delete my primary partition (e.g. will it delete my extended partitions as well)
becasue i am very unfamiliar with these extended partitions, but i do understand normal partitions.

i don't understand the difference between a normal partition and an extended partition, one thing that is different is the the extended partition says in winXp's disk maneger that its a LOGICAL drive, when a normal partion doesn't.

i am just wondering if the extended partitions are someway connected to the first one or if they are totally seperate, e.g could i install linux on one of them??

arrrrghhhh stupid microsoft making things hard.

p.s. is there a way to convert an extended partition into a standard one without loosing the data?? (i supose i could just do it the long way anyway)

ok thanks guys

14 answers Last reply
More about winxp partitions
  1. If I remember correctly, back from the days of FDISK, you always have a primary partition (usually C:) and an extended partition (usually the D:), also know as the normal partitions. Any partitions after the extended are know as the logical drives (E, F, G, and so on:). In my experience deleting the primary partition means doing a reinstall of everything, if the systems file are installed on it. The other partition should be fine to install whatever other Operating systems you want to on them. They are just like separate HD’s in your system. I hope that this helps you out, and that I explained it right. If someone sees something that is wrong feel free to correct me on it.

    <font color=green>GW</font color=green> <font color=green>GR</font color=green> <font color=orange>OW</font color=orange> <font color=blue>BL</font color=blue> <font color=blue>BW</font color=blue> <font color=orange>OR</font color=orange> [brown]BW[/brown] wait... There is no brown markup!! :frown:
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Brad_Barker on 04/22/03 12:43 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  2. i'll show a screen shot of what i'm talkng about!!!!

    coz they are NOT NORMAL PARTITIONS

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    hope that helps you see my problem. because a normal partition will just look the same as the first one (e.g. dark blue at the top without a boarder)

    is it the same as a standard partition???

  3. @brad barker = agreed ; from my experience when you delete a "partition" of drive all its does is erase that"partitioned" space understand? It should nt erased the whole drive. thats what formatting is for. if you dont have a OS on the other two however you will have to reload one ya know.. pretty sure you already knew that though.

    ==Is a Processor supposed to Smoke Like THAT?===
  4. No that’s normal for three partitions. The first one is the primary, and then the rest of the space is the extended and that’s where the logic’s partitions are. You lose a little space when you format, so that’s why you’re not seeing the true 120GB.

    If you’re not familiar with partitioning, one of the command mistakes made while using FDISK is the person will say no they don’t want to use all the space when first ask, which is right, but when their ask if they want to use all the space for the extended they will say no also, because they may want more then two partition, but that is where they should of said yes, because know they just lost all the other space. Say like in your case, a person would of made the first partition at 15 GB, and when ask if they wanted to use all the extended space they said no, because they wanted a 40 GB and a 60 GB, so after the extended was done they would be ask how big they wanted the logical partition, at which point they would of notice the only space they have left is 40 GB and the 60 GB would have been lost. If they would of said yes I want to use all the extended partition, then they would have made there 40gb logical partition and been able to use the rest of the space, which would have been 60gb logical partition. So what you see is correct, but like I said this is something you don’t have to worry about unless you’re using FDISK. Anyway I hope that clears up why it looks like that.

    Where is this other 8mb partition you’re talking about?

    So you have:

    15 GB WinXP
    40 GB
    60 GB

    So yes you could put another OS on the 40gb and get crazy and put another one on the 60gb. The way you normally would do it is you put the newest OS on last. Say like first you install Win98 then Win2k or XP. Or Win2k then XP. But not WinXP, then Win98 see what I mean?

    15 GB- Win98
    40 GB- Win2k
    60 GB- WinXP

    So all ready you would be off to a bad start, because you have WinXP on first, but because you want to use Linux that may not matter. I don’t know what the order is for using Linux, like if it should be before or after WinXP, or if it matter. Anyone???

    Another thing is how you want to use the partition and the size they should be.
    One way:

    5-7 gb partition for OS one.
    5-7 gb OS two
    50 gb for programs/games/what not the OS one
    50 gb what not for OS two

    another way, and it can be different yet from these two examples

    60gb OS one
    60gb OS two

    The way you have it set up one OS is going to have 15gb and the other 40gb and then 60gb for what not. I would suggest a little rethinking about this and find out what order to install Linux, if you don’t already know.

    I heard you could partition threw windows xp, but I don’t know how if you could, I always used <A HREF="" target="_new"> Partition Magic </A> to resize my partitions. And if you do have a 8mb partition hiding somewhere you should be able to get that added to one of your other partitions. If you delete it, then it’s space you lose, and you may see a reminder of it, depending what you use to look at your HDD space, be it three my computer, disk manager, or partition magic.

    When you feel that reality does not suit you, live a fantasy life.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jiffy on 04/23/03 04:14 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  5. ok thanks guys for that.

    and yeah i do understand about partitions well.

    i just got really confussed becasue before i re-installed windows XP all the partitions were of the NAVY BLUE colour, and none had any green or royal blue anywhere on them.

    so seeing the new colours freeked me out becasue i wasn't sure if that was normal.

    anyway thanks for taking to time to say that it is normal.

    p.s. i was going to put linux on a partition and XP on a seperate partition, but then share a common partition for files (fat32).

    because many of the files i will work on between WinXP and Linux, i will use the XP version of the program for doing all my work on then switch over to Linux for the rendering of it (in the linux version of the same program)

    because the linux version is faster and has a few added features compared to the windows version.

    that will work won't it.

  6. Formatting is setting up the filesystem on a partitioned space... You can format c: and it won't do anything to d: or e:

    Some day I'll be rich and famous for inventing a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet.
  7. This is a more technical explination of why it's ok to see the extended partition.
    The old IBM/PC standard for all hard drive is that a drive will have a Master Boot Record(MBR) holding the information for a boot loader, the partition table, and which partition is active(bootable). It can only have 4 entries. It can have entires for Primary partitions and Extended partitions. An entry in the partition table holds information of the start and ending secotrs that make up the partition, plus other information. An extended partition holds the same information but has a flag that says the first sector of the extended partition is another "embedded" partition table. This embedded partition table overcomes the limitation of having only 4 entires in the MBR's partition table. Partitions created in the extended partition's embeeded partition table are called logical partitions. I don't beleive (or at least haven't found) a limitation on how many partition entries an extended partitions can have.

    More technical ramblings.
    An entry in the partition table also holds information of the type of partition the entry describes. This information is what prevents older OS's from detecting and reading newer file systems, or what prevents one OS from detecting and reading a partition from another OS. for example, Win9x/ME can't read NTFS or any partitions described as NON-Microsoft. This does not mean that Fdisk cannot see the partition entry in the table but that the OS will not try to mount the partition as a drive. Formatting a partition requires that the partition table be changed to reflect the type of partition it is. but if the OS can't "see" it, you won't be able to format it.

    The reason we have the capability to dual boot computers is because of the MBR storing a small program called a Boot Loader. This program will point to the correct partition and load the key OS files that load and start the OS.

    MS DOS and Windows 9x/me do not support more then one primary partition, this forces an Extended partition which then forces creation of logical drive. Other OS's don't have this limitation. Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 I'm not too sure about but I know that 2000/XP can utilize Dynamic Disks which I have no clue.

    All of this was standard for the IBM/PC world, which always made me wonder why Mac Floppy disks in the old days were unformatted. Well they were on thier own standard.

    The rambling "know it all" idiot

    Yes, I made it past newbie w00t.
  8. FYI -- You can have four primary DOS partitions on a single disk in Windows, <i>or</i> three primary partitions and one extended. The extended can hold up to 24 logical drives. Each disk can have only one active partition. Extended partitions and logical volumes cannot be marked as active.

    A dynamic disk is a physical disk that doesn't use partitions or logical drives. Instead, it contains only dynamic volumes that you create in the Disk Management console. Regardless of whether the dynamic disk uses the master boot record or a GUID partition table, you can theoretically create up to 2000 dynamic volumes, although the MS recommended maximum number of dynamic volumes is 32 or less.

    Extra info: Dynamic disks are not supported on portable computers or USB/Firewire removable disks.

    You can convert a basic disk containing the system or boot partitions to a dynamic disk. After the disk is converted, these partitions become simple system or boot volumes (after restarting the computer). You cannot mark an existing dynamic volume as active. You can convert a basic disk containing the boot partition (which contains the operating system) to a dynamic disk. After the disk is converted, the boot partition becomes a simple boot volume (after restarting the computer).

    After you convert a basic disk into a dynamic disk, you cannot change the dynamic volumes back to partitions. Instead, you must move or back up your data, delete all dynamic volumes on the disk and then convert the disk.


    <A HREF="" target="_new"><font color=green>My System Rigs</font color=green></A>

    <A HREF="" target="_new"><b><font color=purple></font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>Your Computer Questions Answered</font color=orange></i>
  9. I see what your saying.. Guess I had a brain fart there...
    ***Alcohol affecting memory***
    Thanx man

    ==Is a Processor supposed to Smoke Like THAT?===
  10. cool thanks guys!!!!

    i will re-formate my whole computer soon anyway for my linux install, so i will tr work out the best way to partition it all.

  11. Hope you don't mind me barging in. I'm trying to dual-boot my system (xp/linux) & I keep running into a snag. I have a raid5 array (promise controller) with 4hd's - 350Gb+ space. I have xp loaded on the first logical partition. I also have an extended partition of just data. I've heard online there are problems getting the boot loader to recognize partitions beyond 100Gb+ to see the second OS. I might feel easier about just "diving" in - however, I'm having a hard time finding any utility that will back-up or create an image of such a vast array. This may be a post for the linux forum - but I though since you guys were discussing boot loaders & MBR's I would see if anyone can shed some light.
  12. Quote:
    FYI -- You can have four primary DOS partitions on a single disk in Windows, or three primary partitions and one extended..

    can you spcify what version of windows?

    Yes, I made it past newbie w00t.
  13. Try the utilities at
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>


    Yes, I made it past newbie w00t.
  14. The early version of FDISK that came with DOS and Win1x-Win3x could only create one primary DOS partition per disk, with MSDOS 3.3 having the first version to create and add support for extended partitions, with the limit being 24 (C: through Z:) The version of FDISK that began shipping with Win95 and WinNT supported creating up to four primary DOS partitions per disk.


    <A HREF="" target="_new"><font color=green>My System Rigs</font color=green></A>

    <A HREF="" target="_new"><b><font color=purple></font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>Your Computer Questions Answered</font color=orange></i>
Ask a new question

Read More

Default Partition Windows XP