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multiple partitions on a single hard drive

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May 13, 2008 7:43:22 PM

Hi, I currently have 2 partitions on a single hard drive (each one is running xp). Could someone tell me what I should do to delete the one that is not used for booting up the os? I already went to disk management, but it's not allowing me to delete the partition from there. Should I try to use Norton Partition Magic to remove the unwanted partition? What are the risks?
May 13, 2008 8:05:46 PM

Partition Magic might do it. The risks include loss of data on the deleted drive and corruption of the remaining drive. Unless there is a really great reason for deleting the second partition, I wouldn't do it.

Edit: I just noticed that the hard drive you list having is only 80 gig. That being the case, you might back up all the needed data, use Partition Magic to get rid of the second partition, and then reinstall the OS and start over.
May 13, 2008 10:59:02 PM

sailer said:
Partition Magic might do it. The risks include loss of data on the deleted drive and corruption of the remaining drive. Unless there is a really great reason for deleting the second partition, I wouldn't do it.

Edit: I just noticed that the hard drive you list having is only 80 gig. That being the case, you might back up all the needed data, use Partition Magic to get rid of the second partition, and then reinstall the OS and start over.


But I already have a fresh partition installed, and there is absolutely no way that I'm going to spend another 2 days reinstalling everything. I have absolutely no means of backing up the data. I actually tried making the old partition smaller and the newer one bigger, but when I did that an error message came up saying that it could not be done. In disk management, the old partition is listed as the primary partition and the newer one is listed as an extended partition. When I was installing the second partition (using the xp home edition oem cd) there was an option to delete partitions. Do you think that would be the best option?
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May 14, 2008 12:42:49 AM

mikekazik1 said:
When I was installing the second partition (using the xp home edition oem cd) there was an option to delete partitions. Do you think that would be the best option?


That probably would have been best, but it doesn't help much at this point. I've gone through the hassle of taking a couple days to reinstall and do up the updates a couple times, so I understand your feeling about it. I look at doing such as a last resort, but I always keep my data backed up just in case I have to do it.
May 14, 2008 1:08:18 AM

sailer said:
That probably would have been best, but it doesn't help much at this point. I've gone through the hassle of taking a couple days to reinstall and do up the updates a couple times, so I understand your feeling about it. I look at doing such as a last resort, but I always keep my data backed up just in case I have to do it.


Is there any way to make the computer recognize the new partition as the primary partition?
May 14, 2008 1:32:30 AM

You have to do something with he MBR, but you will need a technician here to advise. I always have each boot drive have its own MBR so stuff like this does not happen. Of course you need multiple HD then.
May 14, 2008 4:53:01 AM

mikekazik1 said:
Is there any way to make the computer recognize the new partition as the primary partition?


Since the new partition has a separate drive letter (D: I would presume), you should be able to go into the BIOS and change the priority of the drives, that is, to select the new partition (D) as the first one to access, followed by the C: drive, and whatever. I have done this type of thing in the past when transferring a primary drive from an old computer to being a secondary drive in a new build and it has worked fine.
a b G Storage
May 14, 2008 12:31:25 PM

I might be wrong, but, I have never seen a BIOS which allows you to select which PARTITION to boot from, only which PHYSICAL drive.

If Windows or Partition Magic say you can't delete/move a partition then you can't, doing so will probably stop the machine from booting; the ONLY safe way is to back-up the data and re-partition/install.
a b G Storage
May 14, 2008 12:59:53 PM

Mr linux is correct. You can only choose the disk, not the partition. Using Partition magic always worked wonders for me, and never lost anything. One problem though, I once had 2 HDs and took one out, system would not boot. Figured the boot entry was in only one of the disks, so the other would not boot (no NTLDR). Don't know if that would happen when removing a partition, but that can be easily fixed anyway, with a WinXP disk, in repair mode, entering fixMBR and fixBOOT.
May 14, 2008 10:13:41 PM

Murissokah said:
Mr linux is correct. You can only choose the disk, not the partition. Using Partition magic always worked wonders for me, and never lost anything. One problem though, I once had 2 HDs and took one out, system would not boot. Figured the boot entry was in only one of the disks, so the other would not boot (no NTLDR). Don't know if that would happen when removing a partition, but that can be easily fixed anyway, with a WinXP disk, in repair mode, entering fixMBR and fixBOOT.


As I understand, one way to solve my problem would be to just delete everything on my hard drive and reinstall a fresh copy of xp. Is it possible for me to put the xp cd in, delete the primary partition, and adjust the newer partition so that I can start up in it? Or must I spend another two days reinstalling everything?
May 15, 2008 1:20:19 AM

Your going to have to do a fresh install, it will not let you do it from windows, since it loads the setup information before the reboot. I have tried in the past, and it will put you into a loop of questions with the final answer being the setup information is on this drive, please select another drive to format. Sorry man, gonna have to either buy another drive, and do some backup work, or reinstall.
May 15, 2008 1:40:37 AM

blacksci said:
Your going to have to do a fresh install, it will not let you do it from windows, since it loads the setup information before the reboot. I have tried in the past, and it will put you into a loop of questions with the final answer being the setup information is on this drive, please select another drive to format. Sorry man, gonna have to either buy another drive, and do some backup work, or reinstall.


Why is that the only option? Both partitions have the same operating system files installed.
May 15, 2008 1:40:41 AM

blacksci said:
Your going to have to do a fresh install, it will not let you do it from windows, since it loads the setup information before the reboot. I have tried in the past, and it will put you into a loop of questions with the final answer being the setup information is on this drive, please select another drive to format. Sorry man, gonna have to either buy another drive, and do some backup work, or reinstall.


Why is that the only option? Both partitions have the same operating system files installed.
May 15, 2008 1:40:45 AM

blacksci said:
Your going to have to do a fresh install, it will not let you do it from windows, since it loads the setup information before the reboot. I have tried in the past, and it will put you into a loop of questions with the final answer being the setup information is on this drive, please select another drive to format. Sorry man, gonna have to either buy another drive, and do some backup work, or reinstall.


Why is that the only option? Both partitions have the same operating system files installed.
May 15, 2008 1:48:15 AM

hmm if i were u i think i'll just go with the fresh install approach.. i think i'll end up spending 2 days anyway trying to figure out what to do
May 15, 2008 1:59:48 AM

jasonmasi said:
hmm if i were u i think i'll just go with the fresh install approach.. i think i'll end up spending 2 days anyway trying to figure out what to do


Ok, but what about merging the partitions? How would that work? What programs would be installed and what version of the os would be used (from which partition)?
May 15, 2008 2:14:58 AM

You cant "merge" patitions, due to a. data corruption, and more importantly b. Microsoft didnt make there software capable of doing that. Time to face reality, you need a fresh install, im sure out there somewhere someone has a program that will allow you to do what your talking about. It will probably last for a few days, and then you will face data corruption issues. Bottom line, you need a fresh install to do what you are talking about. As far as the why, its already been explained, you can choose a harddrive to boot from in bios, but not a partition.
a b G Storage
May 15, 2008 5:23:37 AM

2 optinns I can think off:
You could buy a second HD, install it as the primary boot drive, install a new copy of Windows etc. then migrate your data over; it would be relatively cheap and safe and give you space for future backup's; last time I did something like this it took about 3 hours to get the machine useable, I then migrated the data over several days (when needed).

Or you *could* use something like PartedMagic which is a bootable Linux based partition editor, then use Windows repair to make your PC bootable again; the risks would be very high and any mistake/problem *will* lose everything.
a b G Storage
May 15, 2008 5:56:52 AM

Actually, the safest way to do this will be to get another IDE hard drive, make it the master with the 80GB as the slave, and then install Windows onto the master drive.
a b G Storage
May 15, 2008 7:00:11 AM

You now have three votes for starting over on a new drive, this time really thinking about your partitioning scheme (what you want to do, WHY you want to do it), and transfer your data over. Hard drives are pretty cheap these days.

Second choice is to backup everything, then start over on the original drive, this time really thinking about your partitioning scheme.

Third and fourth choices, in no particular order simply because of potentially diasterous consequences, is to either try to fix the problem (like trying to build a new house on damaged foundations) or to do nothing and simply live with the problem.

!