partitioning challenge

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by Sean Cleary, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    Ok, what if I showed up at your shop with this? Could you do anything
    for me except sell me a new disk?

    I installed Ubuntu.
    Then I foolishly installed Ubuntu.
    I might have done this another time.
    The boot up sequence was a mess. Windows xp was in it too.

    Anyway I have an 80G hard drive. Bios says so, One Ubuntu partition
    install screens said so, and a few of the 2007 utimate boot CD
    programs say so.

    The trouble is that most partition systems, including ubuntu install
    say that it is about 75G, the extra missing storage is the size of the
    area that ubuntu takes away for itself when installling.

    What can I try to restore the disk to the full size?
    I have used maxtor low level format. (2007 Ultimate Boot CD)
    I have written zeros to all parts of that drive.
    I have remove and re-written the partition information several times.
    I need a tool that will remove all partition stuff, not just the stuff
    below the 75G limit.

    Would the 2008 UBCD be any better?

    (Oh, yes, I do not have money. Buying some software is generally out.
    The challenge would be if I showed up and asked how much for real
    results, not just $50 for a 'try'.)

    Note: the content of that disk is gone. This is not about content

    Sean Cleary, Sep 20, 2009
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  2. Sean Cleary

    Gerard Bok Guest

    You should keep in mind that the amount of diskspace that is
    actually available is always less than what the label says.

    80 GB on the label means 'almost 80 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 bytes'.
    While any application would only indicate 80 GB if there are
    indeed 80 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes on the disk.
    That, and some overhead, could even amount to a 80 GB disk
    showing up as 75 GB, while every bit on that disk is in use.
    You shouldn't.
    Doubtfull. (You can only reach the partitioned portion of the
    disk. It never grows bigger when filling it with zeros.)
    So, download dban at and run it.
    That's the good thing about dban. It comes as free as your
    community work.
    By the way, dban also does an exellent job in protecting the
    PC-benefactor's private data from prying eyes.
    Gerard Bok, Sep 20, 2009
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  3. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    If I was in your shop, I would expect to pay. Sorry. Just would also
    expect good results too, right?
    If you ever do a ubuntu install, the system default is to take about 4
    to 6 Gigs for 2 system partitions, and leave the
    rest of the disk for you. But now those partitions are locked away. I
    want them back.
    Sean Cleary, Sep 20, 2009
  4. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    .... and thanks for the advice,
    Sean Cleary, Sep 20, 2009
  5. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    Thank you for a very good suggestion, I will try it.
    Sean Cleary, Sep 20, 2009
  6. Sean Cleary

    Bill Eitner Guest

    To GB, thanks for the link--dban looks
    to be a good little tool although it too
    won't bring back/produce space that isn't
    Bill Eitner, Sep 21, 2009
  7. Sean Cleary

    Bill Eitner Guest

    And in our shop, since we're funded by a grant, we can
    (and do) deal with customers like you. That's why I
    responded in the first place. Only shops like mine
    won't arbitrarily turn quests like yours away.

    And as of October 1 you'd be billed either way as we
    have to show self-sufficiency to continue receiving
    grant money. If you didn't like that, we'd hold
    your seemingly 75GB drive and use it in some application
    where the owner isn't anal about the 5GB.
    I've done Ubuntu installs. Ubuntu currently is the defacto
    Linux distribution to use. Where I work we've done a lot
    of research with different Linux distributions. I was in
    charge of that and was deeply immersed in it. In the end
    I felt that Debian, Fedora and Puppy were superior for our
    needs. Puppy is clearly the best on older PCs. Fedora
    and Debian are a little better than Ubuntu on newer PCs
    in my opinion. Mainly that's due to ease of installation
    (we train interns where I work) and compatibility.
    Personally I prefer Fedora, but it won't successfully
    install on some systems where Debian will. Further, one
    of our goals is to provide maximum compatibility for our
    clients. Debian offers the largest selection of software
    packages. In other words, .deb and .rpm are the kings--
    and .rpm (Red Hat) isn't always free with respect to Fedora.

    The way I understand it, Linux file systems take some space
    necessary for the root (administrative) user to recover data
    if need be. However, again, if all partitions and file
    systems are deleted, the full available size should appear.
    That's what I would be showing you and comparing to another
    80GB disk should you doubt that all of the space on your disk
    is not unallocated after I've deleted all of the file systems
    and partitions. And you'd owe me for that work either way.
    Bill Eitner, Sep 21, 2009
  8. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    Ok, I need to get off of the 'your shop' stuff. I never meant the
    discussion to hit anyone's nerve.
    I had 80G. If I can get it again, I want that 80G back. I now have
    roughly 75G.
    I now have a ubuntu system installed. The disk space available is
    about 71G.
    I am ignoring the decimal point and rounding, so that is why the above
    math is a bit off
    The amount that is missing is roughly the same as the amount that the
    current ubuntu install removed.
    It is out there. It is not an artifact of measurement, and i might not
    be able to get it back. But maybe...
    Sean Cleary, Sep 21, 2009
  9. Sean Cleary

    Bill Eitner Guest

    You need to get off the "my drive has space that
    I can't get back" stuff as it makes you look like
    an idiot.
    Look at it in the BIOS.
    There it will always be.
    Now it's 71. Your trolling is becoming obvious.
    Soon it'll be 60GB because that's the delusion
    you're being sucked into. Every Linux install
    is going to permanently remove 4 or 5 GB.
    In reality that doesn't happen regardless of
    the distribution (Ubuntu or otherwise).
    Ubuntu is not a file system in and of itself.
    It uses ext 2 and 3 like most other Linux
    distributions. Delete those partitions
    and file systems and you get it all back.
    Use a utility that deletes all file systems and
    partitions. When it is totally unallocated it
    will be as it was. Ubuntu does not permanently
    allocate space for itself. The partition utility
    simply creates an ext 2 or 3 primary partition and
    and a swap partition for the operating system you
    have chosen to install. Delete those partitions
    and it's back to the way it was.

    It's too bad this isn't a local chapter of Craig's
    List. I'd have you bring it in and do it while you
    watch. There's no voodoo involved here. Do the
    right thing and the expected result follows.
    Bill Eitner, Sep 21, 2009
  10. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    I have thought of another way to present this problem.
    One that might convince you.
    I can provide screen shots, but that takes up bandwidth. I have fios,
    but your millage may vary.
    My city is Chino, CA.

    Ok, lets start loading ubuntu. Eventually it gets to the partitioner.
    The partitioner says something like, 'do you want to use the whole
    drive'`. It shows 80G
    But it will not allow me to use more than about 75G.
    This is using the same measuring tool, akin to using the same

    Also Bios said that the drive was a WDC WD800BB-750KAO
    Taking the core WD800BB I find a link that does this:
    It is an 80G drive. And this is a mystery, a harder problem than you
    might initially suspect.

    I had a similar problem with some of the utils on Ultimate Boot 2007,
    they would show but not delete the
    extra partitions.

    Sean Cleary, Sep 22, 2009
  11. Sean Cleary

    Bill Eitner Guest

    I was half tempted today at work to have
    an intern install Ubuntu at least twice
    on a 10GB drive. According to your predicament,
    it should not be able to be installed 3 times
    as Ubuntu would have gobbled up too much of it.

    We're finishing up the last of our PIIIs--
    mostly Dell GX110s from 10 or so years ago
    that have 6.4 and 10.2GB drives. Amazingly,
    with 256MB RAM, Debian will run decently on
    them provided we use good optical drives to
    do the installs. An interesting aside is
    that in general it's not hard to end up with
    what I call a "pre-corrupted" Linux install
    due to the use of a mediocre optical drive
    and/or a mediocre CD. That never happens
    with Windows, but I've seen it many times
    with Linux. In any case, Debian and Ubuntu
    are similar. With that in mind, my own
    experience with redoing pre-corrupted
    installs, sometimes twice on the same small
    hard drive, and redoing client systems where
    they messed it up themselves, tells me your
    predicament is a fluke and that I'd be wasting
    my time trying to reproduce it.

    I have one final suggestion: Download the
    net-install version of Debian (it's under 200MB),
    burn it to a disk and see what it says about
    your drive. Where I work we constantly have to
    redo Linux installs and the drive space always
    comes back when the partitions are deleted.
    In other words, your situation, assuming it's
    real, is unique. In the end you may want to
    see if Western Digital has any magic words or
    techniques that can help you.
    Bill Eitner, Sep 22, 2009
  12. Sean Cleary

    Gerard Bok Guest

    Maybe there's a snag there :)

    I wouldn't at all be surprised if Ubuntu turns out te be smart
    enough to share a single swap partition amongst 3 different
    installations. That would totally mess up your assumption :)
    Gerard Bok, Sep 22, 2009
  13. Sean Cleary

    Sean Cleary Guest

    It did not.

    I really do not think this problem is common. I suspect that things
    got much more garbled, and messed up,
    that more than one installation was involved, and maybe the partition
    tool might have been interrupted once.
    I did assume that I could back out of any mess this chaos created
    easily, and am wrong.
    I can see the partitions using some tools. As I said, the tools will
    not delete them. Which lead me to wonder what does define the size of
    a disk for a tool.
    I also must own up to not yet trying the good suggestion given me, I
    will soon.
    Sean Cleary, Sep 22, 2009
  14. Sean Cleary

    Bill Eitner Guest

    I did that and got 74.5058...
    I don't understand how that is accurate.

    A gigabyte is a byte times 10 to the 9th.
    A gibibyte is a byte times 2 to the 30th.

    How does what you had us do relate to either
    of these?

    You had us divide 80 billion by 1024 to the third.

    So you're saying what we have here is a
    74.5058 Gibibyte drive and the BIOS misreports it?

    Explain. I'd like to learn as the differences
    between decimal and binary math have always
    fascinated me.
    Bill Eitner, Sep 26, 2009
  15. Sean Cleary

    Gerard Bok Guest

    Well, there certainly is a way to get the drive back into
    'virginal state'. Dban will do that for you.

    As to your question: 'what defines a disk's size ?': there are
    commands a controller can issue to a disk, asking it about size
    and related matters.
    (Sometimes a disk can sort of lie about it's size. Tools like
    dban will catch this also and issue an error message.)
    Gerard Bok, Sep 26, 2009
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