No space for new partition on SATA drive, but 61GBfreespace

Rick Stevens ricks at
Thu Jul 31 19:06:55 UTC 2008

Nigel Henry wrote:
> On Thursday 31 July 2008 19:51, Anders Karlsson wrote:
>> * Nigel Henry <cave.dnb2m97pp at> [20080731 19:24]:
>>> This is the first time that I've used SATA harddrives on this new machine
>>> that I've built, so am a bit in the dark.
>>> Fedora 8 is using sda1 for / , and sda2 for /home. sda3 is swap
>>> sda4 (the 4th primary is the extended partition)
>>> sda5, and 6, are / , and /home for another linux distro
>>> sda7, and 8, are / , and /home for another linux distro
>>> sda9, and 10, are / , and /home for yet another linux distro
>>> sda11, and 12, are / , and /home for another linux distro
>> So you have used up all four primary partitions available, making the
>> fourth the container for extended partitions. You've then proceeded to
>> allocate most of your 15 possible partitions.
>>> There is still showing 61020 MB of free space on the drive, but trying to
>>> create a new partition for the install of Fedora 9, with 10000MB for / I
>>> get the following output. Written in freehand.
>>> Error Partitioning
>>> ould not allocate requested partitions: Partitioning failed: Could not
>>> allocate partitions as primary partitions. Not enough space left to
>>> create partition for /.
>> Yeah, you're trying to create it as a primary partition, but you
>> already have used up all those slots.
> Actually this is a bit strange, because the Fedora 9 partitioning tool when 
> you want to create a new partition from freespace, doesn't give options for 
> primary, or logical partitions. All there was was a checkbox which said 
> "force as primary partition", which obviously I didn't check, because I knew 
> that all primaries were used up.
>>> I'm sure I've seen some stuff about partition limits on SATA drives, but
>>> can't remember where. If there are limits, are there any workarounds so
>>> that I can use this 61+GB of freespace.
>> man fdisk
> I'll have a look at that again, because logically there still should be 3 
> useable logical partitions within the extended partition, which would enable 
> me to use this 16GB of freespace.

Actually, we're all assuming that you have /dev/sda4 soaking up all of
the space not used by sda1, sda2 and sda3.  If you didn't make sda4 use
all the space, you'll need to grow sda4 to suck it up, THEN you can
create sda13, sda14 and sda15.

I'm not sure about F9's disk utility, but it may only grow the extended
partition big enough to contain the partitions inside it.  If that's
the case, you may need to use the command-line version of fdisk rather
than a GUI version to grow sda4 and put sda13, sda14 and sda15 in the
additional space.

In fact, a nice "fdisk -l /dev/sda" might be useful here to see if
indeed sda4 is occupying all the space.

>> It'll tell you most of what you need to know.
>>> Thanks for any suggestions.
>> Create the partition as an extended partition, instead of primary
>> partition.
>> HTH,
>> /Anders
> Temporarily, I've installed Fedora 9 on the other drive which I wanted to keep 
> just for data
> Thanks for the reply, and suggestions.
> Nigel.

- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer                       rps2 at -
- Hosting Consulting, Inc.                                           -
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-        Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.       -

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