My Desktop machine has a 160GB drive which has my WinXP and my PCLOS3.5.10 install on it. both working satisfactorily.
I have a second 500GB (465 GiB) drive which houses my PCLOS4.5 install, an experimental 4.5 install, and several data partitions. I have 128GB not allocated.
All of these installs work OK, but due to the haphazard way I did all this, I have some problems with the drive: the partitions are created out of order; I have sdb5-9 with no apparent primary Extended partition to house them; a sda1 that is a primary partition with my experimental PCLOS4.5, but it is not at the beginning of the drive. This is all working OK at the present time with my grub setup, I can boot into any of these. BUT--both Gparted and KpartitionManager tell me that I have 465GiB unallocated on this drive. Within PCLOS I can create and delete partitions in the 128Gb unallocated area it finds.
I want to clean up this mess by reformatting the drive and reloading my software. I am in the process of backing up all my irreplaceable data (approximately 100GB including my .thunderbird folder) to an external harddrive. And I may create a partition in the 128GB presently unallocated (which is at the end of the drive) and copy all that irreplaceable data to it. I have already created a livedvd with all the programs I usually use and my customizations. I would recreate this, if I don't get around to implementing my plan soon.
My plan: with my data backed up to the last partition on the drive and the external hard drive:
1. Delete all the partitions on this 500GB (465GiB)drive, except the one where my backup data resides.
2. Create a 50GB primary partition at the beginning of the drive formatted NTFS for a future install of WinXP (just in case that first drive fails) but not install XP just yet.
3. Create a second (Extended) primary partition to house all the rest of my partitions.
4. Within the Extended partition, create a 15GB partition for root, 2Gb swap, 20GB /home, and some data partitions (MyMusic, MyDocuments, MyPictures, MyMiscellaneous) for permanent data storage and leave some space unformatted for future use. With these data partitions, if I reinstall, or install a new distro(can't imagine leaving PCLOS right now), my data is there and available.
I have a couple of questions about this:
1. Will the empty NTFS partition cause any problems? I'm no M$ guru.
2. What will happen to the partition (probably sda10) with my back up data? Does it get lost in the shuffle? I know it would get renumbered. Its data is still backed up to the external hard drive, so maybe that's not a disaster, but I'm still leary. I don't want to lose a lifetime of pictures, music, tax records, etc, etc. My tax and financial records are in Windows and included in my backup data.
Thanks for any ideas you may have about this.