I just upgraded to Ubuntu 10.04 and hate it. I'm having many problems with networking and a few other things. Instead of figuring out all the problems I'm having with Karmic, I decided to go back to Jaunty which actually worked for me. But I have no way of backing up all my data before reinstall. I realised I was only using ~30% of my hard drive so I decided to partition my hard drive in half and install Jaunty on the second partition. Then I could transfer all my data from the first partition to the second then erase the first and repartition again to get the Jaunty installation to fill up the entire drive. Here's where I'm having the problems:

I wrote an Ubuntu Jaunty image file to my flash drive and booted from it. So far so good. I select Install Ubuntu from that first menu that comes up. I go through the time zone and keyboard layout settings. All that works. Then I get to the screen entitled Prepare Disk Space. It tells me I have Ubuntu 10.04 installed and it asks me where I want to put Ubuntu 9.04. I select Install them side by side, choosing between them each startup and click Forward. I then get an error:

Error informing the kernel about modifications to partition /dev/sda5 -- Device or resource busy. This means Linux won't know about any changes you made to /dev/sda5 until you reboot -- so you shouldn't mount it or use it in any way before rebooting.

I click Ignore and a window comes up entitled Please wait... and it stays there for a while. Then I get another error that says:

An error occurred while writing the changes to the storage devices.

The resize operation has been aborted.

I click OK and it brings me to a screen where I can edit partition tables. I select the /dev/sda1 partition and click the Edit Partition button. A window comes up. When I change the New partition size field, will it keep the old Ubuntu 10.04 data in that partition and only resize it or will it format the partition as well? Also - why isn't the easier side-by-side technique working? Any help as to how I can do this is greatly appreciated.

asked 08 Jun '10, 22:44

resuni's gravatar image

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Please accept an answer so the question/answer can be finished. Or provide more details so we can help.

(20 Apr '11, 13:54) rfelsburg ♦

a couple of ideas for your problem:

1) boot from a LiveCD (the Jaunty one should also do - choose "try without installing"), then plug an external USB drive and backup your data. you might need to manually mount the other (Karmic) but it just takes a second - come back to me if you need more details on how to do it

2) boot from a LiveCD and use GParted to repartition. in my experience all resizing will keep the existing data, but read the manual just to make sure. then you can reboot and reinstall. GParted is also available on its own ISO image or on the SystemRescueCD one


answered 09 Jun '10, 05:49

pmarini's gravatar image

accept rate: 28%

I think "Ignore" was a mistake. I agree with Ron -- and I never resize a primary partition anymore -- this is what LVM is for; also, don't upgrade, but do a clean install. pmarini could be correct. best wishes. (I apologise for being nonconstructive today) Suggestion: Either go with superos 9.10 or try the new 2010 PCLXDE and let me know what you think of it!


answered 09 Jun '10, 18:21

nanodiamond's gravatar image

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I have to 2nd that. I never upgrade Ubuntu versions and I always do a clean install after a reformat. I only run LTS versions, updating to the point releases (aka 8.04.1LTS, 8.04.2LTS etc) Yes, I update versions programs, the kernel, but I don't go from say 8.04LTS to 10.04LTS or from 8.04LTS to 8.01 to 9.04 to 9.10 to 10.04LTS.

That's why it's great to have /home on it's own hard drive as a sole partition on that drive. I also backup /etc and /opt as well.

(09 Jun '10, 18:55) Ron ♦

What follows is personal opinion based on experience.

Resizing partitions is never a smooth process - even if it appears so. It's never ideal, and never as good as just deleting the partition, re-partitioning and then reformatting the drive. Ideally, you should have a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1 physical hard drive = 1 partition. Using "hard" partitions like this is deal compared to using "soft" partitions.

Of course all of the above falls under the idealistic "Best Practices" methodology. Even I don't have a separate hard drive for /var, and another for / and another for /etc and so forth, so I think somewhere in the middle is best.

For a desktop PC, have 1 hard drive for / /etc /var and so forth, and then have another hard drive for /home. Make sure that both hard drives are big enough and you won't need to expand them in the future. In your current situation, I recommend the same as pmarini to get your data backed up, then do what I suggest above for a desktop PC. getting your data is important, but the real key is to not do this again, in order to prevent it from happening.

Also, Ubuntu 10.04LTS installs ext4 as the default file system, so I don't know if that would havething to do with it, vs say with an ext3, would you have the same issue?


answered 09 Jun '10, 15:46

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Ron ♦
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Asked: 08 Jun '10, 22:44

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Last updated: 20 Apr '11, 13:54

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