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Modifying partitions with KDE Partition Manager

Every time you install Linux, you are given the opportunity to partition your hard drive. This is necessary because – in most cases – Linux needs its own partition to work.

Hard drive partitioning consists essentially of slicing the hard drive into separate and discrete sections, each of which is viewed by the computer as a single hard drive. Partitioning allows Windows to say "this is my disk" and Linux to say "this is my disk" and since every operating system needs its own file system, the problem is solved.

However, sometimes it may be necessary to partition the hard drive during periods when it is not being installed. Maybe you bought an external hard drive and you're preparing it for installation, or maybe you just need to convert the unused space into something usable. For KDE users, a program called KDE Parition Manager, a fantastic option.

Some notes on how to partition hard drives

Before talking about KDE Partition Manager, there are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding partitioning. The first is that you can't change an active partition, so if you need to change a partition, make sure to unmount it first. If you want to change anything on the boot partition, you need to start the computer using a flash drive or a Live CD.

Secondly, partitioning can cause file damage, sometimes accidentally, but sometimes due to user error. For example, converting a partition from Ext3 to NTFS will effectively erase your hard drive. All those files? Poof. Went. So make sure you have a disk backup before you start.

Install KDE Partition Manager

Despite its name, KDE Partition Manager can be used on any variety of Linux, so if you use GNOME, KDE, xfce or any other desktop environment, as long as the available KDE library area, KDE Partition Manager will work. In Ubuntu, KDE Partition Manager is launched by the "partitionmanager" command, so just as easy to do it. First, open a terminal:

Then type the following command:

sudo apt-get install partitionmanager

If you are using a KDE-centric distribution, you probably will not need to install anything other than the actual KDE Partition Manager, but if you are using Ubuntu (which uses GNOME) or Xubuntu (which uses xfce), you will probably have to take some KDE libraries – which will be installed automatically – for KDE Partition Manager to work properly. This is what is activated during installation in Ubuntu:

Once installed, KDE Partition Manager is located in the System Tools menu (in GNOME). In KDE, it will be in the system menu. In both environments, it can be started by typing "partitionmanager" in a Terminal window.

Using KDE Partition Manager

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

Again, be sure to uninstall any active partition before performing any operation.

Eliminating partitions what you would expect it to be. Before you start, you have a partition with the data on it and when you're done, the partition (and data) is gone, leaving only unused space.

Moving or resizing partitions can be done for a couple of different reasons. Maybe you've just deleted a partition and want to fill the now empty space with one of your existing partitions.

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

Now just choose whether you want to have free space before or after the partition and the new size must be the partition.

KDE Partition Manager scans your units before any operation, so if you have more data on the drive than those that fit the resized unit, the operation will fail and you will not be allowed to proceed.

Convert partitions from one file system to another basically two steps in one. There are many different types of file systems used in computers. Windows uses NTFS, Macs use HFS + and most Linux distributions use one of the extended file systems: Ext2, Ext3 or Ext4 (and there are many others available, like XFS and ReiserFS).

When you convert from one to the other, you will lose all the data on the partition, so file system conversion generally means that you want to keep a partition in place, but want to use it differently. To access this tool, highlight the partition you want to edit, then click on the Properties button in the toolbar.

You can also right-click on the partition you want to edit and choose the Properties option from the menu that appears.

A large Properties window will appear, offering the option to change the partition label, file system, view partition information (such as mount point, UUID, size and sectors) and change flags.

Make the changes and click the OK button, which will bring up an alert window like this:

The KDE partition editor lets you do all this and more. You can use it to work on local hard drives or portable drives. You can make changes and check the units for errors.

You will be asked each step to verify that you want to perform an action and KDE Partition Manager provides a detailed list of actions for each process, so if something goes wrong you can see where the error occurred.

Again, partition managers are not for the faint of heart. Many people will never use one, or they will not feel comfortable using one even if they are needed. But that's okay … partitioning is not something that is done every day.

But KDE Partition Manager l, and good software. If you use KDE as a desktop environment and need something to help manage and change the partitions of your system, KDE Partition Manager is an excellent choice.