5/5/06 Removing a partition on a hard drive
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) - 5/4/06 1:29 PM
When I purchased my VAIO laptop two-plus years ago, I didn't realize that the 60GB HD had been partitioned into two drives. A couple of months after having used the laptop, I discovered the partition: a 10GB partition and a 50GB partition. Of course, by then the operating system, along with a number of program hogs, had already been installed on the smaller partition. I procrastinated taking action until now, when the C: drive, after cleaning and compression, has only 25 percent left, while the D: drive has 90 percent remaining. Is there an easy way to unpartition the drive to return to one physical drive, or do I have to back everything up to another computer, blow everything off my laptop, and then reformat it? And, if the latter, unappetizing option is my only recourse, do you have a step-by-step checklist to follow?
Submitted by: Barnabas P. of Claremont, California
First, let's look into the possibility of repartitioning without reformatting. Years ago in MS-DOS, there was a utility that could repartition hard drives without all this reformatting nonsense, called Partition Magic. After a quick search on the Internet, I'm surprised to see that Partition Magic does still exist, now as part of Symantec.
This program will let you easily manipulate your hard drive and move your partitions around without the need for formatting. However when using this, it's always a good idea to back up all your important data first, and that's lucky because Partition Magic will also backup your hard drive for you! The only major problem with this solution is that this type of power comes at a price. PM is likely to set you back about $70, which all depends on whether youd prefer to have mo' money, mo' problems!
If you do prefer the mo' money mo' problems route youre in for a fun trip.
First action and this is most important is to backup all your important documents. Don't bother with programs, they just waste backup space, increase time and you have to re-install them again anyway because most of them put extra files, like DLL's, all over the computer. Usually with Windows XP, if you copy everything in C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS to a DVD or CD that will be fine, make sure you copy everything to the DVD including Hidden Files (I found recently that Nero's backup program doesn't bother with hidden files, and my friend lost all her e-mails due to that). The best way I've found to backup Document And Settings is to use WinRAR to create multiple partitions splitting at every 650/700Mb (if burning to CD) or 4Gb (DVD) (or 9Gb if using Dual Layer DVD, but I wouldn't recommend this as 1 DL disc costs far more than 2 single layer discs), then burn each archive in the set to a DVD/CD.
And now to begin re-partitioning.
BEFORE STARTING ENSURE YOU HAVE ALL THE CD'S/DVD FOR ALL SOFTWARE YOU HAVE CURRENTLY (AND WISH TO CONTINUE USING), AND ALSO ALL THE SERIAL KEYS NEEDED, ESPECIALLY THE WINDOWS XP ONE (WHICH SHOULD BE ON A STICKER ON YOUR COMPUTER). ALSO ENSURE YOU HAVE THE DRIVER DISK FOR THE DEVICE YOU CONNECT THE LAPTOP TO THE INTERNET WITH (WI-FI ACCESS CARD/NETWORK CARD/ADSL MODEM/ETC), UNLESS YOUR NETWORK CARD DRIVERS ARE INCLUDED IN XP (LATEST VERSIONS OF ALL OTHER DRIVERS CAN BE FOUND OF THE INTERNET)
If you find that your VIAO didn't come with the installation discs for Windows XP that's no problem, in the VIAO control panel that loads up with your computer there is a troubleshooting section. In there it will give you the option to create these discs (you will need a few CD-Rs for this.
Once you have all the discs, restart the computer with either the Windows XP or Recovery Disk in the drive. When the computer starts loading a message will appear "Press any key to boot from CD..." press a key now.
You should now be loading up Windows XP installation program. When it asks you do you want to do a Safe Recovery, answer no. After it's finished copying a few files to your computer it will ask you how you want to set up your partition space. Select the 2 partitions with the up/down keys and press D to delete each partition (after pressing D you then have confirmation which you need to press L* to and then further confirmation after this!). Once you've deleted your partitions, highlight the unpartitioned space and press Enter on it. This continues with the Windows XP installation and creates a partition on your hard drive that is the full drive. Answer Y when it asks you to confirm this. Keep going on through the installation program using Next and changing options as required (remember when you get to the international screen, if you don't live in the US change your settings to where you live, especially the keyboard). Once the installation is complete you will now have a computer with a one partition drive. Now you just have to re-install all the software that you had on there again.
Hope this helps
*BEFORE PRESSING L THAT IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SAVE ANYTHING THAT YOU'VE NOT BACKED UP. L IS LIKE THE TRIGGER FOR THE GUN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Submitted by: Darren F.