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Question about partition and formatting

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October 10, 2008 11:02:38 AM

I am upgrading my hardware and keeping the same 250gb hd and I had a few questions that I didn't see on the board. Sorry if they sound silly.

I had to partition my drive in two parts, A and B, for windows to recognize the full size. I have vista installed on the first partition (A). I have mostly music and data on partition 2 (B). When I format and reinstall vista will it format both partitions? Is there a way around this or is it suggested to format everything? Would be handy if I could just back up all my data to partition B.

Out of curiosity does vista recognize 250gb hd or do you still have to partition?

Thank you for any help.
a c 361 G Storage
October 10, 2008 3:18:21 PM

OK, several questions here. You say, "had to partition my drive in two parts ... for Windows to recognize ...". You ran into a lack of support for "48-bit LBA". Without that you can only make partitions up to 127 GB (by M$ Windows' way of counting). Now, VISTA fully supports 48-bit LBA, so two other ways this could have happened. One is that you originally partitioned and formatted the HDD with an earlier OS, like Win XP original edition or earlier. Win XP added 48-bit LBA support beginning with SP1. The other is that your BIOS may not have supported 48-bit LBA in the on-board HDD controller. If that is the trouble and you have kept your old mobo in the upgrade, you MIGHT be able to download and flash-update your BIOS to enable use of larger HDD's. Or, if you replaced the mobo, almost for sure you have that already, now. Either way you should now have (or can get) 48-bit LBA support in your controller, and it is already in VISTA. So you should be able to re-partition your 250 GB HDD into one volume.

However, in doing that you will surely destroy everything on the HDD. So before starting you would need to back up all your data, etc from the "B" Partition (plus anthing you need from the "A" partition), and test it to be VERY sure it is safely backed up on another device entirely. An external HDD is ideal for this. However you do this, if you can, you are then free to re-arrange the 250 GB drive.

If you have your data all backed up so that you're free to destroy everything on the HDD, you could start by deleting that "B" partition. Go into Start ... Control Panel ... Administrative Tools... Computer Management ... Disk Management. Find that second partition, right-click on it, and chose to delete the partition. You should end up with a disk that has the "A" partition plus a bunch of unallocated space.

Now you're ready to install VISTA fresh. Run the install disk and, when it asks you how to prepare the HDD, tell it to go ahead and wipe out all partitions, then make just one new one with all of the 250 GB in it and install to there. When you're done installing you can copy all your data from the backup to new subdirectories on this C: drive.

However, if you cannot do backups and decide to leave everything on the "B" partition, you can still just install VISTA over top of the old "A" partition. There is some risk that things will go wrong and you'll lose the data anyway, so this is NOT the safe route, and a good tested backup is ALWAYS advised. But if you go this route, as VISTA starts to install it should find the two partitions already existing on your HDD and allow you to install on only one of them (the "A" partition now), leaving the other untouched. That leaves you with two separate partitions as you have now. Some people actually prefer this, anyway. The idea is that, if something really goes bad, you can always re-install VISTA on the OS partition without disturbing any stuff on the other partition.
October 10, 2008 3:31:38 PM

Wow very informative response. You were right and I used to have xp and my new mb is on the way. So what I will do is delete partition B and have it ready for the fresh install I already have to do for the new mb/cpu. I already have everything else backed up so no worries there.

Thank you very much I would rather have it all recognized than have the partitions.
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a b G Storage
October 10, 2008 3:57:34 PM

If I were you, I would buy a new, and much larger, HDD. The 250GB you are trying to save is undoubtedly years old and subject to increasing likelyhood of failure as it ages. Large HDDs are so cheap it seems (to me) a cheap insurance policy. Having the new HDD allows you to do as you please with the old partitions. I have had many HDD failures, usually failures to boot, which allows the failed HDD to be installed as a second drive after installing the OS on the new drive. Then your data can be migrated from the old to the new at your liesure. Works for me anyway.
October 10, 2008 4:46:31 PM

My hdd is only about a year and a 1/2 old. I also have no use of anything larger. I also always back up my important data so not worried about losing anything if it fails. Believe it or not I have never had a hard drive fail on me. I get boot errors every once in a while on some hard drives but never had one fail.

This is what I am using - Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6V250F0 250GB Serial ATA (3.0Gb/s) 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer
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