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First off, I'm a newb. When I installed Ubuntu it asked me how much drive space to allocate for the OS and I said 80 GB.

Now I find that I am running out of hard drive space. Disk utility shows that I have 3 partitions that have been added, but none of them are 80 GB.

The partitions are:

 - 56  GB ext4
 - 60  GB Extended
 -  4.1GB swap

The 60GB partition is a container for logical partitions. What is that?

I am new to any kind of issues concerning hard drives and containers for logical partitions. So my questions are

  1. Why do i not have 80 gig available?
  2. can i merge the 56GB partition with the 60GB partition so i can have more usable space for storing programs in Linux?

Requested output from: cat /proc/partitions

major minor  #blocks  name

   8        0  488386584 sda
   8        1      40131 sda1
   8        2   15360000 sda2
   8        3  414029711 sda3
   8        4          1 sda4
   8        5    3984384 sda5
   8        6   54970368 sda6 
  11        0    1048575 sr0 
   8       16  488358912 sdb 
   8       17  488357888 sdb1
share|improve this question
give us the output of: mount also cat /proc/partitions and fdisk -l – jet May 18 '12 at 20:12
@jet is asking that you open a terminal window and then run the commands he listed. One change, use sudo fdisk -l. (You will need to enter your password). Edit your question and then copy and paste the output from the terminal into your question. You can highlight text in the terminal with your mouse and then press Shift+Ctrl+C to copy it. You can also press Alt+E to display the Edit menu for the terminal and click on Copy. – irrational John May 19 '12 at 6:51

There are two kind ofpartition in our legacy partition table. - Primary - Extended

A primary partition is generally used for installation of operating system. A partition table contain at least one and at most 4 primary partition.

An extended partition is a special type of primary partition that can hold many logical partition.Extended drive is very popular as in time of re installation you need not worry about drives in extended partition and therefore data is safe. (except you choose to reformat entire hard disk.)

However ubuntu can be installed in extended partition too.

SWAP space is used by a Linux operating system for faster access.It's used for swapping chunk of data with RAM when RAM is full with temporary data and CPU need some other data that is not present in RAM.

SWAP is automatically created (if not edited manually) at rate of 1.5xRAM_SIZE. So your Linux partition is of = (4.6 + 56)GB ~ 60GB

If you have disk layout like this

 |→ SWAP  
 |→ EXT4 

It is possible to merge, but not wise. As any formatting in ext4 will cause all data loss. Also you need to convert extended to primary before merging but I am unsure whether deletion of extended partition is possible or not.Probably need some third party tool.

What I recommend:

Create one logical disk in the extended partition. Format it with ntfs (if later want to access via windows) or ext4. Use it for storing data.

If you have disk layout like this

      |→ SWAP
      |→ EXT4 

Then merging is not possible and everything is fine. BTW What is your total hard disk space?? :P

share|improve this answer
I have a 500GB drive. I first install Ubuntu not knowing anything about it other than some friends talked highly of it so I wanted to try it out. So i installed 11.10 and fell in love. only problem was that I only allocated 20GB for it. Mistake on my part. So there I was loving my new OS then suddenly, i ran out of drive space. So I did what any one would do and re-install. This time I wanted More space and thought 80 GB would be sufficient. – madaxeslasher May 19 '12 at 0:02
cat /proc/partitions major minor #blocks name 8 0 488386584 sda 8 1 40131 sda1 8 2 15360000 sda2 8 3 414029711 sda3 8 4 1 sda4 8 5 3984384 sda5 8 6 54970368 sda6 11 0 1048575 sr0 8 16 488358912 sdb 8 17 488357888 sdb1 – madaxeslasher May 19 '12 at 0:13
@jet I tried to paste the results from the terminal window here from the mount and fdisk -l commands (independently) but It over shot the character limits by a few thousand. is there another way I can get that info to you? – madaxeslasher May 19 '12 at 0:23
post the result in and paste the url here – Web-E May 19 '12 at 7:09
Your problem was that you attempted to post the data into a comment. Comments are not meant to be used that way. You should edit your question, as I did (indirectly) and add the output you collected that way. – irrational John May 19 '12 at 7:45

The thing is that the old computers cannot cope with more than 4 (or 3?) partitions. That has to do with the BIOS. Therefore a container is made up so that the BIOS only sees one partition. Linux (and Windows) are intelligent enough to realize that there are actually more partitions. So it is just a legacy issue, nothing to worry about.

Then the conversion between GB and GiB is around 7%. So when the manufacturer says 80 GB, you actually get 74.5 GiB, which the computer will display.

You can type df -h into the terminal, that will show you all file systems. Maybe you did enter 60 GiB instead of 80 GiB during the installation?

You cannot merge the 56 GiB with the 60 GiB, since the 60 contains the 56. It is just the wrapper that I mentioned in the first paragraph, it does not consume any space.

With gparted, you can move and resize your partitions. But backup your data!

share|improve this answer
It has nothing to do with the BIOS. It is because the disk is partitioned with MBR. Ref: MBR article on Wikipedia. – irrational John May 19 '12 at 7:00

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