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Unallocated Disk Space


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#1 Crapgame

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:48 AM

Greetings All:

System Info: Sony Desktop Pent 4HT, 3.0 GHZ, 2G Ram, running XP Home SP3 (all updates)

My info: Somewhat computer literate, but require a detailed path to take when attempting something unknown.

Over a year ago I started to experience problems with the original Hard Drive, i.e.: the system would not boot up all the time, sometimes yes / sometimes no. I assumed, and I know what that means, that I was starting to see the Hard Drive crash \ die. I immediately shut the system down and went out to the local Best Buy for a new HD. The original HD was a Western Digital IDE (160. GB) and the replacement is a Western Digital Caviar SE EIDE (320. GB).

I did some research on the WEB on a different computer and was able to locate a program (Disk Copy by EaseUs) to copy the entire hard drive to the new one thereby eliminating the need to reinstall everything to the new hard drive. By the way, it worked without a hitch, what a great program.

Here is the issue; I am running out of space (only about 3 GB remains) on the C:\ partition (143.3 GB), there is another 6 GB partition and 149.04 GB of unallocated space. My question is: how do I access the remaining 149.04 GB?

Thanks in advance for any assistance:

Crapgame
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#2 Platypus

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 04:12 AM

It's a pity the original transfer didn't give you the option to use the full capacity of the new drive, or if it did, that you had not become aware of that option.

If the existing C: partition contains a large amount of files that could just be copied to a different location, the simplest solution would be to turn the unallocated space into a drive volume and move the files off the C: drive. If a lot of the space on C: is being used up by downloaded video or music files for example, that could make enough difference that this simpler option will suffice.

If you need to keep the existing contents of the C: drive on C:, the options are more limited, as you cannot expand the C: partition with another partition blocking the way. What is the second 6GB partition for, a recovery partition? Windows XP cannot expand its own C: partition, but if the 6GB partition can be moved to the end of the drive or temporarily copied elsewhere by a third-party partition manager, then the same manager should be able to enlarge the C: partition.

Let us know if either of these options appeal to you, and we should be able to guide you as to the process. Also other helpers might be able to suggest alternative courses of action.

Edited by Platypus, 26 March 2011 - 04:13 AM.

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#3 Crapgame

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 04:52 AM

Thanks for your reply Platypus:

Once again, I assume, the 6GB partition is a recovery partition (it appears first on the drive with no identification in the Volume Column in computer management), the unit didn't come with any XP disks. The data \ files on the C:\ drive are mostly programs and there are many games (Call of Duty, Madden, etc.) that take up large amount of space.

I would like / prefer to expand the C:\ partition to use the unallocated space. Or, I would have no issues moving anything to a new location / partition as long as it won’t screw anything up, and, once again, I assume it would / might. Some of the games could be reinstalled if necessary; although the user info would be lost (my son would have a fit). If I can’t expand C:\ can I partition the unallocated space as say Drive M:\?

Thanks for bearing with me…….

Crapgame
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#4 Platypus

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 06:21 AM

If the 6GB is an unmounted partition at the beginning of the drive, that improves the prospects of expanding the C: partition, and as the space is devoted to installed software, that would be the best way to go about it. You could create another drive in the unallocated space, and call it M: if that suited, but in order to free up space on C:, programs would have to be uninstalled from C: and re-installed choosing M: during the install.

Partition Manager software should be capable of expanding the C: drive to fill the remainder of the space, and EaseUs is one who offer a Free version:

http://www.partition-tool.com/easeus-partition-manager/extend-system-partition.htm

Regardless of whose software is used to try expanding a partition, it's important to understand making such a radical change to a drive can go wrong, and your drive should be safely backed up if you cannot afford to lose the contents if something untoward happens. Also, 5-10% free space is needed on the C: drive to allow the process, so you would need to find at least 5GB of files that could be removed from C:, either deleted if they can later be restored from backup, or copied off onto an external drive.

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#5 Crapgame

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:28 AM

Thanks once again for your reply Platypus:

Data & file backups are one thing but my biggest worry would be the software itself. The computer is about \ at least five years old and the software has been collected \ updated during that time. If, GOD forbid, I lost or corrupted the programs, including XP (the system originally came with Windows 2000 or ME and the upgrade to XP was free) recovery would be almost impossible.

Can I safely create the M:\ drive without any possible harm to the C:\ drive? Or, would it be best to just buy an additional HD and install it as a slave?

Thanks
Crapgame
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#6 Platypus

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:40 AM

Creating a drive in the unallocated space is a normal process utilizing Windows own Disk Management, so is no riskier than anything else you do on the system. That said, as you have no OS disc and software you may be unable to replace, it's most important to have a viable backup just in the normal course of things. Your current hard drive could develop a problem, as the original did.

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#7 Crapgame

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:52 AM

Platypus:
Agreed, but here is the next question: What software do you recommend to backup the entire disk, including the operating system, programs and data? Will it mirror the whole disk?

Will I be able to do a complete recovery and if I can then there is no reason not to expand the C:\ drive?

Thanks
Crapgame
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#8 Platypus

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:11 AM

EaseUs do also have backup software and there are a number of other free imaging utilities, but for my own systems which have Seagate and Western Digital drives, I haven't been able to go past the free versions of Acronis TrueImage that both manufacturers make available as a free download. TI is pretty much the industry standard for hard drive imaging. The free versions don't provide all the functionality of the retail TI, but will clone and image drives as long as one of the corresponding brand drives is installed in the computer. I keep images of my systems on USB HDDs, and can use the bootable CD (Recovery Media) created from within TI to restore an image if there is a serious problem.

Western Digital's offering is here if you'd like to try it:

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en

Edited by Platypus, 27 March 2011 - 05:13 AM.

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#9 Crapgame

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:27 AM

Thanks once again, I have a USB HD and will attempt to see if I can copy the entire drive. Once copied, I will install the backup HD in the desktop to see if it will boot (I am not sure if I can set the BIOS to boot off of a USB HD, if I can I will try it that way).

In the event that fails to work, the other option would be to use the same program in my original post, (Disk Copy by EaseUs). It has been awhile so I will have to read the procedures to make sure that the HD in the USB HD is compatible with the current drive.

I will keep you posted. Thanks again……
Crapgame
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#10 Platypus

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:53 AM

You won't be able to boot from a USB drive with a copy (clone) of your hard drive. Fixed disk booting is somewhat different to booting from removable media, so the drive would have to be taken out of the USB enclosure and connected in place of the existing drive in order to boot, as it would be identical to your current drive, thus have to work in exactly the same manner. A backup image is a different principle. TrueImage or another imaging utility creates a file on the USB drive containing a compressed image of your current drive. That way the image is much smaller than the drive it is a copy of. TrueImage enables you to verify and thus double-check that the image is correct, and also to create a bootable CD or flash drive with the TrueImage program on it. If you need to return the computer to the state contained in the image, you boot from the CD or flash drive with the USB drive connected, and use TI to restore the contents of the image back onto the hard drive, or a substitute drive if the current hard drive ever fails.

Edited by Platypus, 27 March 2011 - 05:55 AM.

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#11 Crapgame

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:13 AM

Sorry for the delay getting back to you, cooking the kids a little breakfast……..

Didn’t think I could boot from USB, seem to remember that now…. As I recall, EaseUs required a Bootable CD (made by their program)and you installed the replacement HD as the master and the current drive as the slave. Then the Bootable CD allowed the copy to happen. Here is a question, I have the original Bootable CD (a year or so old), do you think I need to make a new CD because of updates to XP and other programs or do you think it won’t matter as the software on CD is just to Boot and copy?

Thanks again…….
Crapgame
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#12 Platypus

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:48 AM

If the CD you have is for the correct utility to do the job, you should be able to use that one. I'm not familiar with the EaseUs software myself, I just know it by reputation, and it does seem to me they offer several different utilities for different purposes. If the version currently being offered by EaseUs on their website is a later version than what you already have it could be good to download it instead, it may be improved or have some bug fixes.

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#13 Crapgame

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 08:02 AM

Platypus:

True, I hadn’t thought about updates or fixes, I guess because it worked so well before……… I will get to it this evening and will post the results. Once completed successfully I would sincerely appreciate some guidance from you on applying the unallocated space to the C:\ drive, assuming the copy works……..

Thanks
Crapgame
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