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GParted hangs searching partitions

📅 2015-Dec-23 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 📚 Archive

Problem

I had to extend a Windows partition on a Dell Inspiron 1320 notebook. So, I booted the computer with a Ubuntu USB disk. To extend the partition, I opened GParted. However, it was stuck at Searching /dev/sda partitions. This task did not finish even though I left the computer for many hours!

Solution

It turns out that this a common problem on Dell notebooks, as reported in detail here. The culprit is the tiny partition that Dell puts at the beginning of the disk. On my notebook this partition appears in Windows as OEM Partition. I cannot mount, umount, change or delete it from Windows! I could not find any solution online that describes how to do this either.

Note: I was able to extend the Windows partition though. Turns out it can be done easily from Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management. I was actually surprised it allowed me to extend a live mounted partition. But it does it in a snap!