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Hard drive partition help.

Last response: in Storage
April 2, 2013 6:45:29 AM

Hi all, i have a bit of an issue.
So i have an old dell vostro 220 desktop computer with a 1 tb hard drive with around 600gb of free space. I currently have vista on it.
I want to install a fresh copy of windows 7 on it but keep the old files on vista so i can boot on both of them. Like create a partition on the 600gb free space so i can install windows 7 on it.
Also o have not used this computer in a very long time and when i log on it tells me that i'm using around 1.8 gb of ram when i only have 2gb. And there are no applications running. I have no idea what this is caused by.
Thank you.

More about : hard drive partition

a c 359 G Storage
April 2, 2013 10:15:45 AM

It appears VERY likely that the HDD already has on it ONE Partition that takes up ALL of the 1 TB of its space. So you cannot Create a new Partition on it until you make some other changes. You see, you can't really create a Partition inside an existing Partition. You CAN create one in Unallocated Space on the HDD , but your does not have any. All its space is already allocated to the existing Partition.

Now comes the tricky part. There is a way to shrink the existing Partition so it has enough space to continue holding all its current stuff (probably needs about 450 to 500 GB), thus freeing up the rest of the HDD as Unallocated Space. THEN you could create a new Partition from that , and install Win 7.

HOWEVER, the tools built into Windows' Disk Management etc. will NOT do this job for you. Windows tries to protect itself from disaster during such operations on the BOOT drive (C: ), so it refuses to manipulate that drive. You would need some third-party utility like Partition Magic or some freeware tool to do the shrinking job on your C: drive. Then you could proceed with installing Win 7 on the Unallocated Space. The Win 7 Install routine ought to be able to find that Unallocated Space on your HDD and Create the Partition to install itself on.

When you Install Win 7 on a machine that already has Vista installed, the process will detect that and offer you the option of creating a Dual Boot system, which is exactly what you want. Do that. When it's done, every time you boot up it will ask you which OS you want to boot with, and do what you choose. Whichever one you choose, you should be able to access all your files on BOTH "drives" from BOTH versions of Windows.

A note of CAUTION: Windows won't do the Shrink job for you because there IS a real possibility that something could go badly wrong while it is trying, and you could lose EVERYTHING. It is ALWAYS advised that, BEFORE you start this process, you make a backup of the entire C: drive AND VERIFY that the backup is good and you CAN actually get all your info back from it if necessary.