Advice on Changing the Start of Extended Partition


I have been using Fedora 34 on dual book for a while, but it’s the second operating system on my computer. Considering that I have enough free space on my other operating system and I need some more space for my Fedora system, I have reduced the partition size from my other OS using its own tool for that. Problem is, I have 3 primary partitions in use there and the one I could reduce is one of them, so I have no room for another primary partition and my extended partition starts after the free space I made.

So, I have some questions in order to find the best way to solve my problem:

  1. What would be the best way to backup my current partitioning just in case, before I start making “experiments”?
  2. If I just changed the beginning of my extended partition with fdisk, to start at the beginning of the free space instead of the point it currently starts, would I be able to create a new extended partition and be just fine with that? Considering that it would keep current partition untouched.
  3. Is there any better approach than 2?
  4. After making my freespace a new partition, what would be the best way to move the the system from my brtfs partition to the new one? The free space is smaller in total size but has enough room for all my data.
  5. Finally, after moving the system to the new partition, how could I remove the old partition and expand the new system partition?

PS: My brtfs volumes are encrypted, if that’s relevant.

I would recommend

  1. use gparted and not fdisk to move the start of the extended partition. With gparted it is simple to enlarge/move partitions into free space. It does not mess up access while doing so.
  2. definitely do a backup of data that is critical/personal and that cannot easily be recovered otherwise.
  3. It is not possible to have 2 extended partitions. msdos partitioning is limited to using up to 4 primary partitions, or up to 3 primary and one extended partition.
  4. If you move the beginning of the extended partition to occupy the free space then you can also (if you wish) move the partitions within the extended partition to rearrange or resize them. I would be careful with the encrypted btrfs partition though.
  5. It may be easiest with the btrfs partition encrypted to backup the data, enlarge the extended partition, then reinstall while recreating the encrypted btrfs partition at the new desired size.

I have not worked with encrypted btrfs so cannot give first hand experience suggestions. I suspect someone else can.

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