Can someone fix my partitions remotely?

My Dell Latitude has a 320GB HDD, but when I installed Zorin (accidentally wiping Win7 instead of keeping for dual-boot), most of that became “unallocated” or free space outside the file system. Soon /home and /var began filling up and needed expanding, but I don’t trust my grasp of Gparted. Also can’t tell if Remmina will let an expert do it for me (its user guide on GitLab is hopelessly geek-centric). Anyone out there with expertise in this kind of thing?

@cliffe
Instead of doing it by remote access. If you post a Gparted screenshot of your current partition setup, and describe what you want to do, I am sure we can talk you through it.
Remember, Gparted doesn’t do anything to your disk whilst you are planning your partition changes including resizing etc. Only when you hit “Apply” do the changes actually take place.

You should always backup your data anyway before you start playing with Gparted.

OK, here ya go.
Right now I have some 257.8 GB of unallocated space. All I want is to be able to expand the partitions that keep filling up (especially /var and /home) into that space. Also want to resolve use of the “Extended” partition which I resized earlier, hoping var and home could then take over some of that space, which I now suspect is only virtual. Anyway, I just cleaned up and did a backup to Google Drive, so ready to try.

First of all, you would need to boot a live system, e.g. boot from DVD, so that all those partitions are not in use. Certain operations cannot be done while in use. The Zorin live medium has got gparted packaged and ready to use.

gparted will not apply any change unless you tell it to. Just cancel if you screw up, and start all over.

Note you can move or resize a partiton multiple times, but gparted will apply all those changes one after the other. If you have, for example, moved, resized, then moved the same partition again, this will work, however, it will last much longer. So apply as few operations, especially move operations, as feasible to reach your target.

Now to your problem. I don’t know whether your system is configured to use UUIDs to find partitions, or whether it is using /dev/sda… entries. Anyway, deleting, and reallocating partitions, e.g. swap, would assign a new UUID, and – if the order of, or type of partitions changes – a different /dev/sda… So I try to describe a way by only moving and resizing partitions to leave UUIDs and /dev/sda… alone.

  1. Select the extended partition (the one highlighted in your screen shot). Right-cliclk and select “Resize/Move”, then adjust the size in the popup dialog. All free space should then appear as one single block inside the cyan rectangle (the extended partition).

  2. Next, move your swap ("linux-swap) partition to the end of the available space. Right click, then use the graphical box to slide it with the mouse. I assume you don’t want to change the size of it.

  3. Now, move the /var partition but leave as much free space after the partition (“Free space following (MiB)”), as you want /var to grow. E.g. if /var shall become 20GiB in size, leave 14GiB as free space after it.

  4. Then, resize the /var partition to include the free space you just left in the previous step. If applied in this order, the move operation has less to do. It would work the other way around as well, but last longer.

  5. Apply the same to steps for “/”, or move it only, if you don’t want to make it larger (I would, however. It is easier now, than later).

  6. Last operation is to resize your /home partition.

  7. Finally, I almost forgot to mention, you must click the apply button. Be sure to have the power supply plugged in.

Caution: I cannot verify my steps, since my machine looks different. But I have done enough of this (although on Windows machines, I admit), to be confident it will work. But better double check and ask if someting seems strange. (I won’t be upset, I promise :wink:,

Many thanks! As far as I can tell, my system is using /dev/sda entries. I just don’t quite get how to apply changes to my real partitions while working from the live DVD. Aren’t the real ones “in use” by definition if they’re being changed? I’m sure it’s a no-brainer but just clue me in. Also what’s the best way to create the live DVD?

The system always maps deviced to some /dev/… entries, in the case of disks, they’re usualy named sdan for the first disk, sdbn for the second disk, and so on. But this is not why I was takling about those names or UUIDs.

The reason is, that grub, and the kernel have configuration files in which to store the information what part of the filesystem is on what disk partition, and this information can be in either form. But no matter what form is used, if you delete and redefine a partition, it’s UUID will change, and you may also define the partition at a different place in respect to the other partitions. You would then need to adjust all the settings in all those configuration files. I wante to avoid that.

No, they are not, in the sense that matters here. They are not mounted. So although the system still knows about the devices, it does not use them as part of the filesystem.