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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

How to transpose partitions?


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mykel

 
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Okay, the title probably won't make sense yet and I apologise in advance if this has already been posted (please direct me to anything existing), but I've got a partitioning problem.

The startup partition (in the picture, "Lion Startup") is in Partition Number 3, and the other partition - "Mike HD" - is in Partition Number 2 (there's no apparent number 1). When installing, most programs default to the Lion Startup disc and claim the other disc is unformatted.

The problem is, The startup partition is only 191GB and I can't increase the size by either dragging the corner, or typing in a higher GB figure. I can change almost everything about the other partition though, including size and even deleting it (there wasn't anything important there anyway). So essentially, I have over 800GB of space I can't use when installing programs (I can copy files onto it, and shift iTunes et al libraries onto it, but some programs don't seem to recognise the large "Mike HD" partition).

I read in an Apple (I think) document that stated the last partition cannot be modified, size-wise. So the question is: How do I make the "Lion Startup" partition number 1, or transpose the numbers between the two partitions? Any additional partitions I make come up as Partition #4, 5, 6 etc but I still can't modify (increase the size of) the Lion startup disc (#3).

Please help!

On a similar note, how do I install OSX 10.4 onto a partition? Can I dual run OSX 10.4 and 10.7 Lion, so that older programs that don't work on Lion can be used? (eg. an earlier version of Final Cut, Logic Pro 8, some Macromedia programs I haven't upgraded). I also have Windows 7 Professional running as a virtual machine.

Thanks in advance for your help folks!
Mike
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Partitions can not be transposed. There are several good Windows programs that can do this in Windows (partition managers) by copying and moving, resizing, however, I am not aware of anything that can do the same for OS X.

It's probably best to backup what you have, boot the machine with your install media, remove the partitions, erase the drive, and start over.

Partition #1 is always going to be your EFI partition or MBR; Partition #2 will be your Lion boot or startup partition; Partition #3 will be hidden and is the Lion Recovery partition; and finally Partition #4 and thereafter can be whatever you desire.

If you wish, you can install an older version of OS X in any partition that follows the Lion Recovery partition.
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mykel

 
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Thanks for your reply! By your answer, I should be able to install OSX 10.anything-but-Lion on the "Mike HD" partition (#2), as this is where the start-up partition should be, and then set the start-up disc as this one. Would that work?

Note also the Partition #3 doesn't seem to be the hidden Lion Recovery partition as you mentioned; I'm free to write/read/install to it (see pic). Would the recovery partition have been re-numbered by any chance?

I don't have the start-up discs handy, and Lion was installed on this machine when I purchased it. So while a full erase-and-start-over is an option, I'd much prefer to find another way...

Also, how would the system recognise when Lion or an earlier OS needs to be used? For example, the old version of Final Cut doesn't work on 10.6 or 10.7, but seemed to on 10.5 - if I were to start up FC from the dock and use Lion features at the same time (eg. Launchpad), would this cause problems? I'm fairly new to the multiple OS thing

Many thanks your patience!
Mike



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Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Partitions can not be transposed. There are several good Windows programs that can do this in Windows (partition managers) by copying and moving, resizing, however, I am not aware of anything that can do the same for OS X.

It's probably best to backup what you have, boot the machine with your install media, remove the partitions, erase the drive, and start over.

Partition #1 is always going to be your EFI partition or MBR; Partition #2 will be your Lion boot or startup partition; Partition #3 will be hidden and is the Lion Recovery partition; and finally Partition #4 and thereafter can be whatever you desire.

If you wish, you can install an older version of OS X in any partition that follows the Lion Recovery partition.
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bobtomay

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykel View Post
Thanks for your reply! By your answer, I should be able to install OSX 10.anything-but-Lion on the "Mike HD" partition (#2), as this is where the start-up partition should be, and then set the start-up disc as this one. Would that work?
No... You're not going to install a version of OS X older than what originally shipped with the individual Mac in question. So, if this Mac you'r working with shipped with 10.6, you're not going to get 10.4 to install on it.

Quote:
Note also the Partition #3 doesn't seem to be the hidden Lion Recovery partition as you mentioned; I'm free to write/read/install to it (see pic). Would the recovery partition have been re-numbered by any chance?
What chscag noted would be the partition scheme after a default erase/partition of the drive and install of Lion. We realize yours doesn't match that.

Quote:
I don't have the start-up discs handy, and Lion was installed on this machine when I purchased it. So while a full erase-and-start-over is an option, I'd much prefer to find another way...
If this machine shipped when new - with Lion - you definitely are not going to install either 10.4 or 10.5....

If you want Lion on that first partition, an erase and start over may be your only option.

You might try booting with the option key held down, selecting the Lion Recovery partition to boot from and attempt installing Lion in the MikeHD partition. Then see if Migration Assistant will import your stuff from the Lion Startup partition. Then erase/format that partition and try installing SL on it. Unless this Mac shipped with 10.6 and you have the original 10.6 discs that shipped with the machine, I don't believe you're going to find any success.

The other option might be to use CarbonCopyCloner and see if it will clone your existing Lion install to the MikeHD partition.

Quote:
Also, how would the system recognise when Lion or an earlier OS needs to be used? ...
Because you would boot the machine to one particular OS. While it is booted into that OS, say 10.6, you are in 10.6 - period. You are not running 10.7 and you will not have anything avaiable to you from 10.7 until you reboot the machine and elect to boot into 10.7.

You would not be running two versions of the OS simultaneously.

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mykel

 
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Thanks heaps to both of you for your replies. I do appreciate your comments, as I'm still a novice when it comes to the "more than skin-deep" mechanics of a Mac.

Just fired up Carbon Copy Cloner, it looks like I could get CCC to clone everything across to the largest partition, but on the other hand I'm thinking it may be more hassle than it's worth. I'm indifferent to additional partitions (I personally have no real need for it, but I'm not opposed to it either - I just need the drive space accessible), hence this whole attempt to "merge" or simply transpose the two partitions that are there.

If I *could* have 10.4/.5/.6 on it to run my older programs that would be great, but if there's a large-ish risk of screwing up what I've got, I'll leave it as-is. (Yes, I do have back-ups on separate drives, but I have had endless trouble over the course of several Macs getting my information back in one piece. There's always some registry/licensing/Mac account issue which gives me grief, and I'm not willing to expend the effort again just yet).

Really, I just wanted the start-up partition, the (only) one that programs seem to recognise when they're being installed, to be bigger. That's it! [EDIT: Added a screenshot of what I mean by this sentence.] But it looks like it'll involve a bit more work than I care for right now.

Incidentally this Mac, I suspect, probably shipped with 10.5 originally as it is of 2008 vintage. I bought it as an upgraded second hand machine, but as such it had no discs with it (which I should have pushed for, but didn't). It does however have 10.7 on it now so I'll just live with it

So thanks again for the CCC suggestion, also for the boot-up idea. Haven't tried it yet but could be another avenue to take, when this issue irritates me enough again!!

Cheers all for your replies,
Mike


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Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
No... You're not going to install a version of OS X older than what originally shipped with the individual Mac in question. So, if this Mac you'r working with shipped with 10.6, you're not going to get 10.4 to install on it.



What chscag noted would be the partition scheme after a default erase/partition of the drive and install of Lion. We realize yours doesn't match that.



If this machine shipped when new - with Lion - you definitely are not going to install either 10.4 or 10.5....

If you want Lion on that first partition, an erase and start over may be your only option.

You might try booting with the option key held down, selecting the Lion Recovery partition to boot from and attempt installing Lion in the MikeHD partition. Then see if Migration Assistant will import your stuff from the Lion Startup partition. Then erase/format that partition and try installing SL on it. Unless this Mac shipped with 10.6 and you have the original 10.6 discs that shipped with the machine, I don't believe you're going to find any success.

The other option might be to use CarbonCopyCloner and see if it will clone your existing Lion install to the MikeHD partition.



Because you would boot the machine to one particular OS. While it is booted into that OS, say 10.6, you are in 10.6 - period. You are not running 10.7 and you will not have anything avaiable to you from 10.7 until you reboot the machine and elect to boot into 10.7.

You would not be running two versions of the OS simultaneously.
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It would take about 2 minutes of your time and take CCC all of maybe 30-45 minutes to clone to the other partition. Not having the "time" doesn't make any sense. Even if you're using the machine 100% of your waking hours, you do go to bed at some point right? Start the cloning process when you go to bed, it's done when you get up the next morning.

And when you get this done and all the space is back in one partition, I'd recommend - quit playing with the partitions.

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mykel

 
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Indeed it would, but it's not the cloning time I'm worried about (as yes, I do sleep): it's the hassle of things not going as you suggested. After all, they're just suggestions right: not solutions? (Show me where it's been done successfully before and I'll eat my words). As mentioned, if there's a decent risk of it all going belly-up - and it seems there might be - then I'll leave it as-is.

You misunderstand, I don't "play" with partitions. I have information spread across different hard drives, from different Macs over the years - G5 iMac with 10.4, G5 PowerPc tower with 10.5, this machine with 10.7/Win7. The hardware on the previous two machines died (logic board, power supply respectively) and the drives couldn't simply be plugged into it's successor (I should have got another tower instead of this Intel Mac, but the deal was too good). Instead, I've transfered that info from drive to drive using Migration Assistant, which (as mentioned) gave me problems.

At worst I'm disorganised, but from my epic-fail Windows 98 PC days I've learned not to touch partitions. I know my limitations, and they're greater on a Mac! This machine was pre-partitioned when I got it, second-hand. (Please, no lectures about second-hand machines - it's a beaut machine apart from this issue, which in the grand scheme isn't that much of an issue anyway!)

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate the suggestions. Maybe even one day I'll have the guts to use them on my primary machine. But for now I'll save myself the hassle (not the time) thanks.


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Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
It would take about 2 minutes of your time and take CCC all of maybe 30-45 minutes to clone to the other partition. Not having the "time" doesn't make any sense. Even if you're using the machine 100% of your waking hours, you do go to bed at some point right? Start the cloning process when you go to bed, it's done when you get up the next morning.

And when you get this done and all the space is back in one partition, I'd recommend - quit playing with the partitions.
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I don't think there's much that could go seriously wrong. Just clone the partition and attempt to boot from it. There's no reason it should not work. And if it doesn't, the cloning process will definitely not harm your existing startup partition. Just restart and boot back to the old partition.

When I upgraded to Lion, rather than upgrading from SL, I partitioned the drive and did a fresh install of Lion on to the new partition. I can now switch back and forth between the two with a simple restart. I've got Lion running exactly the way I want it now, so I have no use for the SL partition, but I have plenty of free space so I haven't bothered to clean up the drive. But when I do, I will do exactly what you are pondering. Clone the Lion partition back into the original partition. Boot from it, make sure it works, and then delete the second partition.

Seriously, the time you've spent on this thread is more time than you'll invest in the actual process, and there isn't really anything significant that can go wrong.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaygray View Post
I don't think there's much that could go seriously wrong. Just clone the partition and attempt to boot from it. There's no reason it should not work. And if it doesn't, the cloning process will definitely not harm your existing startup partition. Just restart and boot back to the old partition.

When I upgraded to Lion, rather than upgrading from SL, I partitioned the drive and did a fresh install of Lion on to the new partition. I can now switch back and forth between the two with a simple restart. I've got Lion running exactly the way I want it now, so I have no use for the SL partition, but I have plenty of free space so I haven't bothered to clean up the drive. But when I do, I will do exactly what you are pondering. Clone the Lion partition back into the original partition. Boot from it, make sure it works, and then delete the second partition.

Seriously, the time you've spent on this thread is more time than you'll invest in the actual process, and there isn't really anything significant that can go wrong.
ditto

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