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Editing Partitions with KDE Partition Manager

Every time you install Linux, you are given the option to partition your hard drive. This is necessary because in most cases Linux requires its own partition to run.

Partitioning a hard drive is essentially dividing a hard drive into separate, invisible partitions, each of which is treated as a separate hard drive by the computer. Partitioning allows Windows to say “this is my disk” and Linux to say “this is my disk”, and since each operating system needs its own file system, the problem is solved.

However, sometimes you may need to partition your hard drive when you are not installing. Maybe you’ve purchased an external hard drive and are getting it ready for installation, or maybe you just need to convert the unused space into something usable. For KDE users, the KDE Parition Manager is a great option.

Some notes on partitioning hard drives

A few notes on partitioning hard drives

Before talking about KDE Partition Manager, there are a few things to remember about partitioning. First, you cannot change the active partition, so if you need to change the partition, be sure to unmount it first. If you want to change anything in the boot partition, you will need to boot your computer from a flash drive or Live CD.

Secondly, partitioning can damage your files, sometimes by accident and sometimes due to user error. For example, converting a partition from Ext3 to NTFS will effectively wipe your hard drive. All these files? Poof. It’s gone. Therefore, make sure you have a disk backup before starting work.

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Installing KDE Partition Manager

Install KDE Partition Manager

Despite its name, KDE Partition Manager can be used on any flavor of Linux, so whether you are using GNOME, KDE, xfce or any other desktop environment, KDE Partition Manager will work as long as the KDE Libraries area is available. In Ubuntu, KDE Partition Manager is started with the “partitionmanager” command, so it is just as easy to install. First open Terminal:

Then enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install partitionmanager

If you’re on a KDE-centric distro, you probably won’t need to install anything other than the actual KDE Partition Manager, but if you’re using Ubuntu (which uses GNOME) or Xubuntu (which uses xfce), you will most likely need several the KDE libraries that will be installed automatically so that KDE Partition Manager works correctly). Here’s what happens when installed on Ubuntu:

Once installed, KDE Partition Manager will be located in the System Tools menu (in GNOME). On KDE, this will be in the system menu. In any environment it can be started by typing “partitionmanager” in a terminal window.

Using the KDE Partition Manager

Using the KDE partition manager

What does KDE Partition Manager do? It can be used to delete partitions, move partitions, resize partitions, and convert partitions.

Again, remember to unmount any active partition before doing any work.

As you would expect, deleting partitions. Before you start, you have a data partition, and when you are done, the partition (and data) will disappear, leaving only unused space.

Moving or resizing partitions can happen for several reasons. You may have just deleted a section and now want to fill the empty space with one of your existing sections.

Or maybe you have a large, mostly empty partition that you want to shrink to make room for another. In this case, you must resize the partition. Just select the Resize / Move option from the menu when the section you want to edit is highlighted.

Now just choose if you want the free space before or after the partition and choose a new size for the partition.

KDE Partition Manager scans your disks before any operation, so if your disk has more data than will fit on the resized disk, the operation will not succeed and will not be allowed to proceed.

Converting partitions from one file system to another is essentially two steps at one. Computers use many different types of file systems. Windows uses NTFS, Mac uses HFS +, and most Linux distributions use one of the extended file systems: Ext2, Ext3, or Ext4 (and there are many others available, such as XFS and ReiserFS).

When converting from one partition to another, you will lose all data in the partition, so converting filesystems usually means you want to keep the partition in place, but want to use it differently. To access this tool, select the section you want to change, then click the Properties button on the toolbar.

Alternatively, you can right-click the section you want to change and select the Properties option from the menu that appears.

This will open a large properties window, where you can change the partition label, file system, view information about the partition (for example, mount point, UUID, size and sectors), and change flags.

Make your changes and click OK, and a warning dialog box similar to this will appear:

The KDE Partition Editor lets you do all of this and more. You can use it to work with local hard drives or portable drives. It can make changes as well as check your disks for errors.

At every step you will be asked to confirm that you want to take an action, and KDE Partition Manager provides a step-by-step list of actions for each process, so if something goes wrong, you can see where the error occurred.

Again, section managers are not for the faint of heart. Many people will never use it or feel comfortable, even if they have to. But no big deal partitioning is not something to do on a daily basis.

But KDE Partition Manager is there, and it’s a good program. If you are using KDE as your desktop environment and need something to help you manage and modify partitions on your system, KDE Partition Manger is a great choice.

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