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Extended Partitions / Multiple Logical Drives in Windows 7

Posted on 2011-03-05
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11

Hi Experts,
I have a Lenovo ThinkPad T510 running Windows 7 32-bit. I need to dual install Windows 7 64-bit.

Below is the current state of my partitions.:Current Partition StateI wish to create TWO additional partitions in the unallocated space
D: Windows 7 64-bit system drive
M: Documents file. This will hold documents and Media that both operating systems will access.
In the past I would simply create an extended partition that will house multiple logical drives. I can’t seem to do this in Windows 7.

Lenovo Rescue & Recovery 4 creates the 2 other primary drives. I do not know what this is for, so would like to leave them as is.

Any advice as to how to create 2 drives in the unallocated space above?
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Question by:JohnDiddy77
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13 Comments
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:JAMcDo
ID: 35044221
I seem to recall (maybe this is old info) that 4 is the maximum number of partitions on a drive.

Are you not planning to have 5?

J.
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Author Comment

by:JohnDiddy77
ID: 35044244
@ JAMcDo: Yes. The Master Boot Record (MBR) can only handle 4 partitions. However, in my old system build days, I recall being able to create an extended partition as part of maximum 4 and this extended partition can contain many "logical" drives.

Can we do something similar in Windows 7 ultimate?

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LVL 33

Assisted Solution

by:PowerEdgeTech
PowerEdgeTech earned 400 total points
ID: 35044321
The recovery partition will "reinstall" Windows back to the state when you first opened/turned it on.  Many OEM's use this instead of including reinstall Windows DVD.  You usually can make a clone of the recovery paritition to use at a later date so that you can delete it now, or if you have an install DVD and don't mind using it to reinstall in the event you need to, then simply delete it.

You are correct though that you must first create an Extended partition as the fourth partitions in order to create additional partitions (logical) within it.  However, in Windows 7, it automatically creates the fourth partition as Extended if you attempt to create a fourth partition not using all the available disk space.  Not sure if installing on a logical drive may create boot problems though.

When you create the partitions, leave the space you will install Windows to as Unallocated, as it may cause problems assigning it a drive letter (Windows 7 automatically assigns active boot partition as C:, which means when you are booted in 32-bit it will show as C: and 64-bit Windows partition may show like F:, but when booted into 64-bit it will show as C: and 32-bit may show as something like F:).
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 35044344
Another option is to install and boot to a VHD.  Enterprise and Ultimate support installing to a VHD - a file instead of a partition.  If there is a performance difference, it is negligible.

http://forums.techarena.in/guides-tutorials/1175447.htm

I have one of my laptops at work multi-booted with W7x86, W7x64, and 2008R2 ... all installed on VHD's and have noticed no difference versus a traditional installation.
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

by:
noxcho earned 1600 total points
ID: 35045911
You need third party partitioning tool to create Extended partition with its help.
Get a coy of Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hdm-personal/ or Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal license and use its interface to create partitions the way you want.
Microsoft will convert your HDD into dynamic state automatically if you create more two partitions using Microsoft tools. That's why third party partitioning tool is needed to avoid this crap by MS.
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Author Comment

by:JohnDiddy77
ID: 35046066
Essentially I want to turn the unallocated space into one partition with 2 drive letters. I'm already using partitioning software but will try the above anyway.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 35046303
To turn it into partitions you need first to create extended partition there. And only then create two logical partitions with drive letters inside of extended partition.
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Author Comment

by:JohnDiddy77
ID: 35046660
@ Noxcho: Yes, this is what i assumed from my old windows installation / system build days (extended partition then multiple logical drives). Find it very strange indeed that Windows 7 and some partition managers do not do this directly!

Bought Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal and it sorted everything out nicely. Just need to install Windows 64-bit now! Wish me luck! :s
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 35046895
Special software is not required to do this.  Like I said, if you create a partition using less than the available unallocated space, it will automatically create an extended partition, NOT convert it to Dynamic - I'm surprised at you noxcho.  I hope you get your money's worth out of PM elsewhere, because you didn't need to buy it for this.

Just in case you missed my comment about VHD ... you are using Ultimate, so you can actually install and boot to Windows installed on a VHD file - then there is no need to worry about partitioning at all.

Either way, glad you got it to where you wanted it.  Good luck on the 64-bit install.  We're here if you run into any excitement :)
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 35047322
Heh, I did write a big comment here and it disappeared due to EE maintenance.
Ok, PowerEdgeTech, I know you would be surprised at me but the problem really exists with Windows 7 OS. When you have on it OEM partitions (and sure there were two OEM partitions) when creating new partition Windows 7 does not let you select Extended partition. And if you create second partition of the free space it simply converts the HDD into dynamic drive. I have seen and researched this problem on Acer, Lenovo and ASUS machines. All having OEM partition at the start of HDD.
Also, I forgot to mention, that partitioning was available in trial version of Drive Backup 10 from the same Paragon so it could be done with no cost. That is my fault and I accept it. :)
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 35048150
I know what you mean ... I've had two fail just on this thread!

I confirmed on both a virtual machine and my physical machine that it does not try to convert to Dynamic - it wants to create an Extended partition.  Admittedly, both are Retail installations, and although I find it really hard to believe that OEM would be any different, I will believe you, if you tested it.
0
 

Author Comment

by:JohnDiddy77
ID: 35054376
@ PowerEdgeTech: I tried to create a 60gb partition in the unallocated space. It defaulted to a logical partition and refused any additional partitions. So it didn't create any extended partition.

I got Partition Manager Personal for about £17 and it did the job (with 2 or 3 restarts to override errors) so no great loss.

I believe Noxcho is correct about OEM versions! Seems I'll need to remove the other partitions in order to triple boot with openSUSE Linux which is the ultimate goal! :s
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 35059221
A logical partition can only exist in an extended partition, so if it created a logical drive/partition (bright blue bar), then it would have created that inside of an extended partition (dark green border).

For kicks, I just installed Windows 7 using a Dell installation DVD, and it acts exactly like the Retail version.  So, unless there is something done as part of the factory install - or specific to the generally protected Recovery Partition - or something that those other OEM's (Acer, Lenovo, ASUS) do that Dell does not - I don't see how the installation being OEM would have anything to do with it.  Besides, it would appear from what you you said above that it isn't doing anything different than what I've experienced anyway.

 Extended/logical - Dell install
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