First Install on a New Dell Inspiron 17R

Ok, I have finally retired my old laptop to light duty in my wife’s service, and I have a nice brand new Dell Inspiron 17R.  (Inspiron 7720)  This post was originally intended to document how I initially set it up.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t as straightforward as I wanted.  It took me a bit of experimenting to figure it out, and this post might be a little crazy.

Partitioning

My first task is to prepare the hard drive.  It came with Windows 7 on it, and I still want access to Windows just in case.  So, I need to shrink the partitions to preserve Windows but make room for the Main OS.  I booted into Ubuntu with the try mode of the installation CD.

My first attempt was to use GPartd.  This would have worked fine except I had a new computer with GPT partitioning.

Opening GPartd Partition Editor

Once open, it showed my main drive.

Next step: resize the main OS partition.  I can just right click on the partition and choose Resize:

In all actuality, I found that I could resize the drive from the installer.  That’s the route that ended out working for me.

GDisk

One of the tools that helped me was GDisk.  You can install it with apt-get …


skp@chestnut:~$ sudo apt-get install gdisk
[sudo] password for skp:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
 gdisk
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 300 kB of archives.
After this operation, 642 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/universe gdisk amd64 0.8.1-1build1 [300 kB]
Fetched 300 kB in 0s (349 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package gdisk.
(Reading database ... 245202 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking gdisk (from .../gdisk_0.8.1-1build1_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up gdisk (0.8.1-1build1) ...

Apparently, I still don’t have it quite right.  gdisk complains that something is wrong.  It’s not worth fixing to me right now because it boots and works for me.  Here’s what it says:


$ sudo gdisk -l /dev/sda
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.1

Caution: invalid main GPT header, but valid backup; regenerating main header
from backup!

Caution! After loading partitions, the CRC doesn't check out!
Warning! Main partition table CRC mismatch! Loaded backup partition table
instead of main partition table!

Warning! One or more CRCs don't match. You should repair the disk!

Partition table scan:
 MBR: MBR only
 BSD: not present
 APM: not present
 GPT: damaged

Found valid MBR and corrupt GPT. Which do you want to use? (Using the
GPT MAY permit recovery of GPT data.)
 1 - MBR
 2 - GPT
 3 - Create blank GPT

Your answer: ^C

My SSD does apparently have a valid GPT layout.  Here’s what it says:

skp@chestnut:~$ sudo gdisk -l /dev/sdb
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.1

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sdb: 62533296 sectors, 29.8 GiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 49F3F557-E5C1-44EB-BF66-F04BA8893FC4
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 62533262
Partitions will be aligned on 1-sector boundaries
Total free space is 1969 sectors (984.5 KiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1              34          486362   237.5 MiB   0700
   2          488316        16488316   7.6 GiB     8200
   3        16488317        16490270   977.0 KiB   EF02
   4        16490271        62533246   22.0 GiB    0700

On my first drive, fdisk returns this:

skp@chestnut:~$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sda'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.
Disk /dev/sda: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121601 cylinders, total 1953525168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x48f11800

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 63 80324 40131 de Dell Utility
Partition 1 does not start on physical sector boundary.
/dev/sda2 * 81920 41627647 20772864 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3 41627648 241627647 100000000 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda4 241629182 1953523711 855947265 5 Extended
Partition 4 does not start on physical sector boundary.
/dev/sda5 241629184 1953523711 855947264 83 Linux

So, I don’t know how helpful this post was, but maybe you pulled a few helpful tips from it.

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