What does partition table loop mean

Partitioning - why and how?

Andreas Kroschel

Partitioning means creating logical units on a physical data carrier that the operating system recognizes as a drive. In addition to special partitioning software, you can also use Windows’s own disk management for this purpose.

EnlargeManage hard drives sensibly

The minimum configuration is such that a data carrier is exactly one drive from the Windows point of view. Usually you want to subdivide a large disk, for example to separate system and data or to set up several operating systems in parallel. The opposite is the case: if you need a lot of space on a drive, you can combine free disk space from several physical data carriers into one logical drive. This is only of interest to professionals. You must be using XP Pro, the Business versions of Vista, or Vista Ultimate.

Primary partition
This means that you have to work with the traditional partitioning that Microsoft calls "basic disks". This provides a maximum of four partitions per hard disk. The reason for this limitation: All information about the partitioning of a hard disk must be placed at the end of the master boot record (MBR) of the hard disk, and there is only 64 bytes of space for the entire partition table. That's 16 bytes per partition - just enough to accommodate basic information such as the start, end and type of the partition. If such a partition can contain a file system, i.e. it can be formatted, it is called a primary partition.

Extended partition
You can use more than four drives per hard disk: One of the partitions can be an extended partition. It does not contain a file system, but a kind of partition table in which you can accommodate a further logical drive and the reference to any further extended partition with a logical drive. The number of logical drives is not limited. Otherwise, logical drives on extended partitions are treated like primary partitions by any operating system. In general, you cannot just boot from it.

EnlargeYou can use the Paragon tools on the emergency CD

Active partition
In order to be able to start an operating system installed on your system, a partition must be set as active. This is an identifier in the partition table that you can set with any standard partitioning tool. Many boot managers, such as the Paragon hard disk manager, can start operating systems even if they are located on an inactive partition. Rescue CDs or DVDs usually contain a boot manager. If you have made a mistake while partitioning so that there is no active partition, you will no longer be left without a starting system. The hard disk manager's rescue CD can also help get your Windows back on its feet.