Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Ok I am a linux beginner and I need some serious help. Product info: Acer c7 chromebook with chromeOS and xubuntu 12.04 (i think) dual booted using 'crouton'.

My problem is that my main/root partition is too small. This is where all of my packages get installed and it's always on the brink of being out of space. I need to install something big on it OR find a way to install packages to my larger partition, but from what I've read that's not easy or practical.

So I've been doing a lot of reading on this site about merging/resizing partitions and I can't tell if this will work for me or not. I don't know what a primary or logical partition means. I've taken some screenshots of my lsblk and parted -l results, and how my partitions show in Gparted.

I need my 300 GB partition to be merged in with my "/" directory if possible...

ss1 ss2 ss3

So can I merge my partitions #6 and #7 or are they incompatible since one is kernel unformatted and the other is ext4?

Can I merge #7 and #1?

... #1, 6 and 7?

Ugh. Help please.

share|improve this question

ChromeOS has quite a different partitioning scheme than other OS'es. It uses 2 ROOT & KERNEL partitions (2,3,4,& 5), one pair active, one pair inactive. When a ChromeOS update comes along, it's loaded on the inactive KERN/ROOT partitions and, after a reboot, it switches to the alternate pair. This way, the system can automagically switch back to the inactive pair if something goes awry.

The user's space is obtained from the STATE partition and is for all users files, settings, etc. which includes the Downloads folder for each user where everything is stored. This is what you're referring to as your / directory.

When ChrUbuntu was installed on your system (it uses partitions 6 & 7 for the KERN & ROOT partitions) and takes the needed/specified space from partition 1 / STATE. On your system, only 4GB of space was left in the STATE partition for all users, which in my opinion isn't enough - especially when you have 320GB to work with.

I wouldn't attempt to merge partitions 1, 6 & 7 or even partitons 1 & 7 - which would wipe out both ChrUbuntu & ALL of your ChromeOS users. I have tried merging/resizing these before and failed. ChromeOS is pretty picky about it's structure - you can try if you want but please backup up what you can first and have a usb restore stick handy.

I believe your best bet is to back up everything you can to an external usb stick or sd card and/or Google Drive and then do a full usb restore, a powerwash won't get it since it doesn't repartition anything. Then you can start over and install ChrUbuntu if you like but specify a (much) smaller partition size, you could even safely say 160GB or so and that would be plenty of space for both ChrUbuntu and ChromeOS users.

I have an Acer C710 also but I replaced the 320GB hard drive with a 128GB SSD and it's a very nice system. I use 'ChrUbuntu' on my system as well as 'crouton' in a special 'separate partiton' branch. This arrangement uses both partitons 7 & 13 so it's pretty unique. Below is my partition layout:

sudo parted -l /dev/sda:

Model: ATA SanDisk SDSSDHP1 (scsi)       
Disk /dev/sda: 128GB                     
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B

Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags:

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name        Flags     
1       4440MB  32.9GB  28.4GB  ext4         STATE                 
2       10.5MB  27.3MB  16.8MB               KERN-A                
3       2292MB  4440MB  2147MB  ext2         ROOT-A                
4       27.3MB  44.0MB  16.8MB               KERN-B                
5       145MB   2292MB  2147MB  ext2         ROOT-B                
6       95.8GB  95.8GB  16.8MB               KERN-C                
7       95.8GB  128GB   32.2GB  ext4         ROOT-C                
8       44.0MB  60.8MB  16.8MB  ext4         OEM                  
9       8422kB  8423kB  512B                 reserved              
10      8423kB  8423kB  512B                 reserved              
11      32.8kB  8421kB  8389kB               RWFW                  
12      128MB   145MB   16.8MB  fat16        EFI-SYSTEM  boot      
13      32.9GB  95.8GB  62.9GB  ext4         CROUTON           
share|improve this answer
Thank you for the in depth response! I'm ready to backup my data and start over with my Chromebook. I was unable to get ChrUbuntu to work last time around, so I just went with crouton and xfce4. I installed a lot of extra crap that I regret now and it's seeming way easier to just wipe it and start over. You mentioned a USB restore but I'm not familiar with what that is. In developer mode on ChromeOS it gives you the option to press space at the start to restore to factory settings (or CNTRL+D to skip) so I was thinking of just doing that. Will that work? Then I'll try ChrUbuntu again... – Rothman182 Jul 12 '14 at 19:46

I don't know what a primary or logical partition means.

Primary partition is the partition that is (simply) the partition that would contain your boot loader. (Like GRUB, LILO, or ntlder etc.) Logical partition is a split on a single volume/disk, or a single partition spread over another disk (extended partition), it is not the physical disk itself.

So can I merge my partitions #6 and #7 or are they incompatible since one is kernel >unformatted and the other is ext4?

Can I merge #7 and #1?

... #1, 6 and 7?

You would have to use the same format for the same partition. So they need to match if you want to "combine" them.

Usually it is best to format the partitions into unallocated space, then extend the drive which contains the most data.

Be aware if you are using multiple disks, for an extended partition (a single partition over multiple disks) if one disk fails you lose all of your data. Unless you use a RAID configuration. Just back up your data before you do anything.

Hope that helps

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.