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Feature req: move primary partition to a logical partion inside an exten

From: Olivier Mengué
Subject: Feature req: move primary partition to a logical partion inside an extended partition, in-place
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 12:25:30 +0200


Thanks for the great parted tools which help to deploy Linux every day.

This is a feature request for a tool/API that would allow to transform a primary partition into a logical partition inside a new extended partition.
The extended partition would have exactly the same size as the original primary partition. The logical partition would be a bit smaller (depending on the characteristics of the original partition filesystem). To avoid moving any data of the original partition, the extended partition header could also be created in a space created by resizing the partition just before.

The following is my detailed use case.
I have just bought a new Compaq PC bundled with Windows 7. The hard disk has the following partitions :
- sda1: boot partition (primary, NTFS, name: SYSTEM)
- sda2: Windows 7 (primary, NTFS, no name)
- sda3: recovery data, that must be transfered by the user to DVD to be able to restore the hard disk in the original state (primary, NTFS, name: RECOVERY)
- sda4: HP tools space reserved for BIOS extensions and BIOS updates (primary, FAT32, name: HP_TOOLS)
I'm using GNU parted through the graphical GParted.
I want to install Ubuntu in some space created by resizing sda2.

The problem is the disk already has 4 primary partitions, so I do not even have space to create an extended partition.

My workaround was:
- backup sda3 with PartImage into files stored on sda2
- delete sda3
- reduce sda2 to make space for Ubuntu
- create an extended partition in the new available space
- create a new NTFS partition (sda5) of the same size as the old sda3 at the end of the extended partition
- restore the old sda3 into sda5 with PartImage
- install Ubuntu in the remaining free space of the extended partition

It would be easier, faster and safer if sda3 could have been directly converted to a logical partition inside a new extended partition, in place.
In that case the process would be:
- promote sda3 in-place to a logical partition (sda5) inside an extended. It would probably require to reduce sda2 a bit.
- reduce sda2
- extend the extended partition down to be contiguous to sda2
- install Ubuntu into the remaining empty space of the extended partition.

Olivier Mengué

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