Fixing the partition table: Mis-sized extended partition

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This article requires the reader to have at least some basic understanding of harddisk partitions and MBR.

If you are one of the rare unfortunate blokes who have got their partition table screwed up due to a mis-sized extended partition, fret not, for there’s a very simple-to-use tool that can fix things for you. I discovered FixParts when I realized I was one of those unfortunate blokes with a messed up partition table when I was trying to install Mint 13 on my laptop. Of course, things do not go wrong without a reason. A few months back, to install Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric”, I did some shrinking and expanding of partitions using GParted, which must have screwed up my extended partition, making its end sector greater than the total sectors on my harddisk!

Although not a harmful scenario (damn, I didn’t even discover it until after 7 whole months!), it makes the partition table look fine and as expected in some partition managers but botched in others. As was in my case, Mint 13’s installer wasn’t able to see any partition on my disk and showed the disk as being completely blank.

A simple run of fixparts and saving the partition table to MBR fixed things for me. Silent and fast! So in case you’ve got your harddisk’s partition table not-so-heavily goofed up, FixParts is highly recommended. In case it is a more unfortunate case, TestDisk might save your day.

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