This section uses the fdisk command to view, edit, and create partitions on a sample SUSE system. If you do not have available, unallocated disk space to experiment with on your existing system, this section provides examples of the most common reasons you would use fdisk to carry out partitioning work so that you can see how and when you might use fdisk in the future.
Partitioning and creating filesystems is a destructive procedure, and if not done " ■ correctly, it will destroy data. It is quite likely that you have used up all of the space on your disk(s) when you installed SUSE, which may mean that you will not have any space left on the disk to experiment with the processes in this chapter. If you are new to Linux, it is possible that playing with the system over time and prodding and poking system elements such as partitions and filesystems could accidentally destroy your SUSE system (it happens to all of us who like to learn by playing). If a reinstallation is needed, you can create your SUSE system with space left over to test out these practices. If you are worried about your data and SUSE installation, we cannot stress enough that playing around with partition tables and filesystems can lead to data corruption, or at worst, the destruction of all data on a disk. If you have a spare computer, you may want to consider using it as a test system rather than experimenting on a system that you are using for real work and which stores your personal data.
p : I , Because working with partitions is a potentially destructive activity, you might want i ^ i".-.,".\'CV..\*:to experiment in a safer way by running a SUSE system in a virtual machine using VMWare, qemu, or some other virtualization method. See Chapter 28 for more on emulation and virtualization.
Your disk controllers and existing disk drives were detected and configured when you installed SUSE Linux on your system. When using fdisk or any other partitioning software, the most important thing to find out is that you are working with the correct disk on your system. SUSE provides a few ways to do this, but the easiest is to use a feature of fdisk that prints out all of the disks detected by the system along with their partition maps. As shown in Listing 3-1, the fdisk -l command tries to query all disks attached to the system and their respective partition maps. The sample system used in this chapter has only one disk.
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