I have a couple of very small unallocated partitions that I cannot delete or merge with adjacent partitions. I have tried Gparted on live Gparted cd and from the gparted app on Ubuntu live cd as well as from Windows Drive Management. The delete option is greyed out. The partitions are very small but just shouldn't be there. I think they are remnants from old linux installations. Any help on cleaning this up would be appreciated.
Those little gaps of unused space on your HDD could be because you used a Windows partition program at some point; Windows partition editors often use different HDD geometries than the standard that Linux uses, and because partitions typically end and start at cylinder boundaries, you can end up with little gaps of unused space if you use a Windows partition editor and Linux partition editor on the same drive.
I would suggest leaving them as is. If you have Windows on your sda1 NTFS partition, and if you try to move the beginning of that partition to claim the 1 MB of unallocated space at the beginning of the drive, doing that will make Windows unbootable. Source.
If you do want to get rid of these you probably need to umount the partition next to it and use the "round to cylinder" option in gparted:
If it is Unallocated it would mean it is blank space with no partition in it at, which means you just need to expand a current partition to use up that space if you want it.