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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 1st October, 2013, 05:26 AM
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Linux Mint Cinnamon blues :(!

I've battled with Cinnamon 14.1 to achieve a clean WinXP dual boot for a couple days, but am losing hope !

After multiple install attempts, my latest provides a successful two partition WinXP install (aprox 13GB WinXP plus 65GB FAT32 shared auxiliary) courtesy of the Maxtor disc installer (MaxBlast Version 3), but I can't get more than two additional partitions out of Mint 14, that's /root plus /home plus nothing. I've unallocated disc available for a 2.5GB swap at the end, but I'm only being allowed four partitions by Mint! Very unhappy !
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Last edited by TrevorS; 1st October, 2013 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 1st October, 2013, 11:36 PM
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Attacked it again today and installed more MaxBlast partitions, reinstalled WinXP yet again, and yet even with replacing the partition table I still can't get past an apparent maximum of four partitions in the Mint 14.1 installer. Four is too few for a dual boot system -- why so few Mint?

Oops! My error, I can have more partitions as long as they're ahead of the Mint partitions. Mint appears to draw the line at two Mint partitions. So, I have a choice of either /home or /swap. It appears the intent is to mimic the typical windows install where absolutely everything slops into the same partition as the OS, C: (I don't do this)! So, the idea is that everything is supposed to slop into the root partition, making version replacement maximally messy -- did these guys actually think when they designed this bull ****?
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Last edited by TrevorS; 2nd October, 2013 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 2nd October, 2013, 05:03 AM
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I'm not sure why you need more than 4 partitions. Can you explain?
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Old 2nd October, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Guess I can't be sure others will agree, but I install XP in a single partition with second or more partitions to organize other files (bare minimum being two). For a Mint dual boot, I need a minimum of two partitions plus the Mint partitions.

My current understanding of Mint 14.1 is it requires a bare minimum of /root plus one, but if one opts for a /swap partition, then one gives up /home, which means everything slops into the root partition -- just as in XP slopping into C:, that's not being my preference (highly not fond of). However, if one prefers to continue separation between /root and files in general then availability of /home and /swap are both appropriate.

I want both plus a solid WinXP install. Why does Mint deny me that? Why not the ability to assign more partitions?
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Last edited by TrevorS; 2nd October, 2013 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 2nd October, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Just redid the whole thing again from scratch using the XP installer to delete all partitions and then create exactly three specifically for Windows -- one NTFS for the system, one NTFS for storage, and one FAT-32 for XP/Mint shared access. I then installed XP, initialized the other two, and booted the Mint14.1 Cinnamon DVD. Mint install again disallowed me from assigning the final 2+GB after accepting /root and /home. So, I finished the install without /swap and then rebooted with the DVD wondering if GParted might allow me to create a /swap partition out of the remaining unassigned space, but all it does is "scan" and never return.

So, Mint install does allow more partitions for Windows, but it terminates partition creation immediately following any two of /root, /home, and /swap! Any leftover space at that point is declared "unusable". Don't know if this behavior changes any in the absence of dual boot, but here's hoping my 14.1 install isn't any more needful of /swap than Daniel's appears to be.

====================== LATER ========================

The fun continues -- I booted to the hard disc to see if could install /swap from the installed Mint. Since GParted isn't pre-installed I went to the system tools section of Software Manager to see if I could install it. Didn't feel like paging through the list so tried to type the name into the search field. Software Manager immediately froze.

Oh yeah -- Mint is very well tested indeed! Perhaps I should try installing 13?
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Last edited by TrevorS; 2nd October, 2013 at 10:35 PM.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October, 2013, 08:30 AM
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Why not do it the easy way, and use two drives?

Personally, I do not like the idea of two OSes sharing a drive, but that's just my own quirk. I find it difficult to do when Windows is involved, because Windows wants to be installed first, and it wants to control the MBR. This is often problematic, and sometimes involves chainloading Windows or the other OS.

However, sharing the drive by partitioning it can be done if you want to, and I've also done it that way. I just think it's cleaner on separate drives, and it is vastly better when troubleshooting, because you can disconnect the other OS if need be.

All my multiple-boot systems run each OS on its own drive. I might have 3 or 4 OSes running on any given machine at any time if I'm testing something. I never have a problem with this model, although I had to get pretty good with GRUB and making manual changes there. GRUB2 seems to solve a lot of the manual editing, though.
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Last edited by ThunderRd; 3rd October, 2013 at 08:33 AM.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 3rd October, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Are you saying that with a single drive Mint allows you to setup all three of /swap, /root, and /home? That's the problem I'm hitting. Mint isn't limiting my number of Windows partitions, it's seemingly limiting its own primary partitions to a max of two (all of /swap, /root, and /home being primary). After the second is designated, partition allocation shuts down regardless of how much unallocated space is still available. It's simply not possible to allocate the third. (Of course, if Mint /root were occupying the first drive partition and the installer just blindly counts primaries, then three Mint primaries would probably work. But that forces an additional drive for dual boot -- not my plan!)

On my very first try I let the installer perform an automatic "alongside Windows" install and what it did was partition a large /root with /swap at the tail end of the drive. From reading, other Linux Distros don't force this issue, why does Mint?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post
The fun continues -- I booted to the hard disc to see if could install /swap from the installed Mint. Since GParted isn't pre-installed I went to the system tools section of Software Manager to see if I could install it. Didn't feel like paging through the list so tried to type the name into the search field. Software Manager immediately froze.

Oh yeah -- Mint is very well tested indeed! Perhaps I should try installing 13?
Rebooted and double checked on Software Manager and sure enough, just a single character typed into the search field immediately freezes the App and and it then can't be closed. Opened another Software Manager window and hunted through the System Tool list for GParted but couldn't find it, however it does have Partitionmanager which is apparently the same base App but with a non-graphical interface.

I installed that and tried to run it. First I was asked for the administration password which it took, but then something down there failed and a problem was reported. I OK'd the report and another window acknowledged a problem occurred and asked if I wanted to skip the password requirement. I said yes and the program window opened, but without any partition information. Hence, still nowhere on the /swap partition.

I burned an MD5 verified rev 13 32bit Cinnamon and spun it up in Live mode. It also had GParted installed, but when selected, I just got a window frame with no contents. I tried selecting a few other Apps including FireFox and all gave window frame only. So, 13 is hopeless on this machine since the apps don't communicate to their windows, likewise 15 since it doesn't complete it's Live desktop, leaving only 14.1 that seems to function so far. Guess I'll just have to play around with that and hope I don't hit any /swap partition issues. If anybody knows a trick for installing all three system partitions, please let me know.
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Last edited by TrevorS; 3rd October, 2013 at 08:50 PM.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 4th October, 2013, 05:18 AM
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Running /root on its own partition is a bit unusual. Why do you want to do that?

My Linux systems run three partitions + swap: /, /boot, /home and a swap partition [not */swap*. Maybe that is why you have a problem?] I have no understanding of why you would attempt to make a /root partition, (unless you are actually referring to /). (Most users don't need a /boot partition separate either, but I find it convenient for the things I do.)

There are no tricks to do this. Although I do not run Mint, I have run Ubuntu in the past and currently run Gentoo, Debian unstable and siduction, which is a Debian Sid derivative. I've also experimented with many others. I have yet to see a Linux distro that doesn't not allow a user to create /, /home, /boot if desired, and a swap partition.

I am beginning to think that perhaps your understanding of the basic Linux filesystem is wrong, since I see that you are using wrong nomenclature for some things.

*root, home, and boot* are subdirectories of /. In a 'typical' Linux install, / is a partition, and /home is often a separate one. The user can choose to make other discrete partitions as well. The swap partition is *not* '/swap'. The swap partition does not use ext2/3/4, Reiser, or any such filesystem, and is not a subdirectory of anything, in fact, I believe it's a file in /dev/sd_something. For this reason it does not actually mount like other partitions (it is either 'active' or not active'). I suspect that you are trying to create a swap partition in /swap, which does not exist in a normal Linux filesystem, and that is why it does not work.

Compare what you want to do to this, which is one of my Linux boxen:

Code:
root@Q6600: /# parted /dev/sda
GNU Parted 3.1
Using /dev/sda
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) print                                                            
Model: ATA OCZ-VERTEX4 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 128GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End         Size           Type             File system             Flags
 1      1049kB   113MB      112MB        primary          ext2                     /boot
 2      113MB    1200MB   1086MB         primary       linux-swap(v1)
 3      1200MB  43.6GB     42.4GB        primary          ext4                     /home
 4      43.6GB    128GB      84.4GB      primary          ext4                     /

(parted)
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Last edited by ThunderRd; 4th October, 2013 at 06:12 AM.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 4th October, 2013, 07:33 AM
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I think we're talking at cross purposes (at least to some degree). One being that you're not running Mint. Second being that I'm unifying the partition name (if a mistake, sorry, I find it clearer). My /root is actually "/", a specific partition, the "root", very definitely a standard Linux partition. My /home is specifically "/home", another standard Linux partition. My /swap being specifically the "swap area" as per the Mint description, a standard partition whatever the usual Linux nomenclature. I've no idea what the variability is between Linux distros, my experience is thus far limited to Mint. My understanding of a normal Linux install is the three primary partitions are in sequence "swap", "/", "/home" -- Mint doesn't do this. For what it's worth, the "/" and "/home" partitions are ext4, whereas the swap is actually ext3.

I tried to use what I considered to be generic designations and "/boot" would surely be one of them. Presuming that isn't a primary partition, I'm guessing it wouldn't be an issue, but if it is, then that's another question. I can also use /dos and /windows (for FAT 16 or 32) which are not primary. There were other options as well, but my concern was the primary three (didn't bother with the others since they don't appear standard in Mint and I didn't see the desirability -- perhaps /boot?). Please understand I'm not speaking Linux in general, but specifically Mint. It appears to have install limitations that are unique within the Linux family.

From my limited experience, the table you show above would not be possible with Mint. That's assuming two of those four primary partitions are actually "/" and "/home" as per Mint and Ubuntu. I should probably try installing Ubuntu and see how that goes! By the way, I appreciate you taking this up with me, being a Linux newbie, you surely don't need to ! Could be I'm just fooling with the wrong distro, but being a long time Windows user, Mint was a recommended trial.
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Last edited by TrevorS; 4th October, 2013 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 4th October, 2013, 09:58 AM
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If you scroll the code box all the way to the right, you will see that / and /home are ext4, /boot is ext2, and the swap partition is there, although it does not have a file system designation. Aside from the separate /boot partition, this is precisely what you are after.

Now that it is clear you understand the proper designations, I can't understand at all why Mint would not allow this partition scheme. It is most definitely doable on any other distro that I have ever used, including Ubuntu and Debian, which are the big brother and sister of Mint.

Are you correctly able to enter the 'advanced/manual' partitioning menu, or whatever it's called on your distro? If you are, after making all the selections, are you saving/executing/approving/finalizing them correctly in the partitioner? Maybe you aren't doing one of these things, and that is why the installer simply tries to use the default partition scheme.

Have you asked about this problem/searched on the Mint forums? A quick search turned this up elsewhere, this guy has done exactly what I showed you above, with a bigger swap and /boot as ext4 (although in Mint 12, but that should not make any difference).

http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2012/01/14...x-mint-12-kde/
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Last edited by ThunderRd; 4th October, 2013 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 4th October, 2013, 10:57 AM
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No, I haven't, and no doubt you're right -- I should! I'm currently downloading Ubuntu and anticipate giving that a whirl. Mint provides a favorable impression, worth further exploration, but I need time to determine what works best for me. I'm just unhappy with apparent Mint install limitations.
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Old 4th October, 2013, 02:04 PM
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Can you not do as the guy in that link did? Is 14 so different from 12?

I'm not being doubtful of what you say you're experiencing, but I'm completely surprised. I have to find time to see if I can reproduce what you are seeing.
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Old 4th October, 2013, 08:22 PM
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No, I can't, the Mint 14.1 installer doesn't allow me to (couldn't get that far in either 13 or 15). That is, at least, it doesn't allow me to within the context of single disc dual boot. Like I surmised above, perhaps it's possible with just Mint on the disc. Maybe it's counting the Windows primary partition as one of three maximum primaries.

Another difference is there's apparently still allocatable free space at the end of his partition table. Whatever yet to be partitioned space I leave in mine is declared by the Mint installer to be "unusable" immediately following the second assigned Mint primary partition. I can't find a way around it.

I've downloaded Ubuntu 12.04.3 and will try replacing Mint with it in the same install -- see what happens.
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Last edited by TrevorS; 4th October, 2013 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 4th October, 2013, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post
I've downloaded Ubuntu 12.04.3 and will try replacing Mint with it in the same install -- see what happens.
Ran Ubuntu Live, played a little, appeared to run OK, went to the installer.

No change whatsoever from my Mint experience. As an experiment, I included a /boot partition first declared logical and later primary. It's clear the installer is counting primary partitions because with adding /boot as primary, I can only add one of /root, /swap, /home before all else is declared "unusable". Strikes me as pretty darned stupid, but that's apparently just the way Linux is. Didn't actually install Ubuntu since I already had the answer I was looking for.
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Last edited by TrevorS; 4th October, 2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 5th October, 2013, 04:54 AM
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You've got me by the balls. I've no idea why, and that is not the way Linux is, in my experience.

Can you run parted from the live CD, prior to installing Linux, and show us what it reports to be the existing partitions?
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Old 5th October, 2013, 07:24 AM
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I earlier tried running GParted from the Mint 14.1 DVD, but it didn't work. Perhaps I can access either it or Partitionmanager from the Ubuntu DVD. See what happens.
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Last edited by TrevorS; 5th October, 2013 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 5th October, 2013, 12:32 PM
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Does this help? Make sure XP is installed first. (I think you know this)

How To Install a Dual Boot Configuration: Linux Mint 13 "Maya" and Windows 7/Vista/XP
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Old 5th October, 2013, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post
I earlier tried running GParted from the Mint 14.1 DVD, but it didn't work. Perhaps I can access either it or Partitionmanager from the Ubuntu DVD. See what happens.
On my Ubuntu DVD those two aren't available, but your mentioned Parted is -- apparently pre-installed. However, it requires the Console, which I think I've found, but when I clicked on it it came up looking like a folder with an Ubuntu icon in it. I clicked on that and it looks like a console might including a series of what I take to be commands without responses (console configuration?). I positioned the curser at the bottom of the list and typed "parted", but no response of any sort. Also tried typing "parted ??" and again nothing.

Software Manager indicates Parted documentation exists (have never used Console or Parted), but there was no apparent option in the Software Manager to install it. So am currently looking for information as to how to use these tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
Does this help? Make sure XP is installed first. (I think you know this)

How To Install a Dual Boot Configuration: Linux Mint 13 "Maya" and Windows 7/Vista/XP
Yes, Win definitely has to be installed first, otherwise Linux won't include it in the boot loader.

That MiniTool idea for manipulating disc partitions looks interesting and I'll look into that. If it works properly, it would be a handy add to my box of WinXP tools. It's a whole lot quicker to re-install Mint than XP ! However, he only uses it to create free space on the drive. He then uses Win Disc Storage Management to allocate two new partitions, /swap and what will probably end up as /root (resulting in a total of three on the drive). He then runs Mint install, initializes the first of the two partitions as /swap, and then goes directly to install. Yes, that works, but that's the same solution I had on my first try -- /swap and /root. Still no /home, but it's good Mint defaulted to making the final partition /root instead of issuing an error message.

I actually tried predefining the needed partitions, and although I can do that in the MaxBlast Maxtor disk install utility, my pre-SP1 WinXP install disc only allows access to four partitions (and it can't create more than four). If there are more than four physical partitions, then it mounts only the first and last two, meaning that I can't have a separate Win/Linux share partition (unless perhaps if I locate it immediately before the last Linux primary partition). Unfortunately, the Win installer doesn't reliably accept the Maxblast primary partition, so even that might be a problem. My last round used Win to create the three Win partitions (WinXP, AuxStore, SharedStore) and that worked out perfectly -- except for this dumb Linux issue.

I'll try using the MiniTool to create the Linux partitions following my three Win partitions and then see what happens with Mint install. However, even if the partitions already exist, it takes the Linux install partition manager to assign them, and in my experience, after assigning two Linux primary partitions, it stops dead (remaining space declared unusable). So even if others pre-exist, it would almost certainly stop just the same. Will check this out though !
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Last edited by TrevorS; 5th October, 2013 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 6th October, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
Can you run parted from the live CD, prior to installing Linux, and show us what it reports to be the existing partitions?
Am now typing from my new Pentium4 system WinXP and have just installed MiniTool. Here are the partitions it reports:

C:WinXP 12.69GB 4.37GB-used NTFS Primary Active
D:Aux 58.59GB 7.03GB-used NTFS Logical
E:Share 14.65GB 14.87MB-used FAT32 Logical
*: 12.11GB 3.70GB-used EXT4 Primary
*: 52.15GB 1.01GB-used EXT4 Primary
*: 2.47GB 0B-used Unallocated Logical

As you can see, I wasn't allowed to assign the final free space which I'd intended for /swap.

I'll now see what I can accomplish using MiniTool.

-- OK! Just tried to use MiniTool to allocate the free space and it says I can't since there are no available "MBR" slots on the disc. However, I hit the same problem if I delete "Share", so it's not just a question of partition table entries. Now need to learn what "MBR" slots are about.

-- OK! According to Wikipedia, the MBR is the MasterBootRecord in sector zero of the HD (seems there are multiple versions of this table over time under different names, MBR being the earliest). There appears to be a maximum of four primary partitions and there is text early in the article suggesting the Windows Extended Partition is actually defined as one of them (it acts as a container). If this is the case, then that explains why I'm not allowed four identified Primary partitions and it's not Linux fault, it's an MBR limitation. However, the article also mentions later versions of MBR supporting as many as five primaries keeping "MBR" around for backwards compatibility. So, what's the possibility of using a Linux replacement table that might provide for five primaries together with a windows backwards compatible MBR? I tried creating a new partition table within Mint and then reinstalling Windows into the Mint defined partitions, but my recollection is there were issues with the XP partition initialization. What type of partition table/s does Linux install?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record
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Last edited by TrevorS; 6th October, 2013 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 6th October, 2013, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post
On my Ubuntu DVD those two aren't available, but your mentioned Parted is -- apparently pre-installed. However, it requires the Console, which I think I've found, but when I clicked on it it came up looking like a folder with an Ubuntu icon in it. I clicked on that and it looks like a console might including a series of what I take to be commands without responses (console configuration?). I positioned the curser at the bottom of the list and typed "parted", but no response of any sort. Also tried typing "parted ??" and again nothing.

Software Manager indicates Parted documentation exists (have never used Console or Parted), but there was no apparent option in the Software Manager to install it. So am currently looking for information as to how to use these tools.
Still not sure how to engage Console, but have learned the Ubuntu icon I mention above actually indicates a text document of that name (perhaps a command script), and my typing within it was basically text editing -- definitely not what I had in mind! Was I within the Console in that window displaying the Ubuntu icon? Did I just need to type "parted" to start getting responses? If so, my mistake, guess will find out.

One thing I can say is I hit no apparent defects while fooling with Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS, not something I can say for any version of Mint I've tried so far. I personally think Mint should slow down their release schedule a little and increase test time. Matching the Ubuntu 6mo release schedule is of little value if the quality is lacking -- and it clearly is (despite the "User Manual" PR).
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Last edited by TrevorS; 6th October, 2013 at 02:00 AM.
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