Currently have one 300gb Seagate HDD partitioned: C= OS (XP) D= Games and files
Getting a new 500gb Seagate and torn between options for best set up.
My current thinking is to keep the existing 300gb drive as my OS and my new 500gb drive for games and files. However, this creates some questions!
Can I unpartition my current drive without formating and reinstalling? Would I actually be better off doing this anyway to clear the registry and stuff?
I was thinking of the following process:
Use Seagate Disc Wizard to clone existing HDD onto the new drive and make it the bootable drive.
Format original drive and remove partitions.
Clone the OS back to the original drive and make it the bootable drive again.
In theory this then leaves me with the OS back the original drive without any partitions. BUT: I now have partitions on my new drive?? How do I remove them?
I think I'm getting a bit lost with this! Any advice/help would be appreciated.
Your proposal will work, and it's not quite as bad as you fear. I've used Seagate Disk Wizard for cloning. What you need to know is that, when it clones from one drive to another, a "Drive" is a partition (volume) with a letter name like D:. It is NOT a whole hard drive physical unit.
Here are the tricks you need to know and use.
1. Install Disk Wizard on your existing C: drive and run from there; do not run it from the CD. The reason is support for large (over 137 GB) hard drives. If you run from a CD, Disk Wizard has no way to know whether your OS has "48-bit LBA Support" built in to allow HDD volumes over 137 GB. (By the way, to do this you need your XP to be updated to at least SP1 - I suspect you have that already since you are using a big drive, but make sure before you start!) Anyway, Disk Wizard will default to refusing to make any Partition over 137 GB unless it knows otherwise. The best way for it to know is if it is installed along with your OS - then it will allow large partitions.
2. XP has a way to expand a partition to include other unused space on a HDD unit, but it will NOT do that for the boot partitiion. What you plan will get around that, I think.
3. The first thing you'll do is run Disk Wizard to clone the C: drive (that is, the partition called C: on your old HDD) to the new HDD. In setting that up, check through the menus carefully. The simple default setting is that it will use up ALL of the new drive to make on huge volume containing the clone, and that is what you don't want. There is a place where you can specify that the clone copy on the new HDD will only occupy a specified size, so make that somewhat bigger than needed. For example, if your C: drive now is 130 GB and it has 90 GB of space used, have the clone partition at least 100 GB, maybe more. Make sure you also tell it to make this into a bootable drive. It will establish and format a bootable partition on the new HDD of the specified size, then copy absolutely everything from current C:. Note that the clone does NOT have the same size as the original - it is the size you specified it should be. And note that there still is no clone of your D: drive. When it's done you could actually shut down, swap cables, and restart with the new HDD as your boot device from the new C: drive, but DON"T do that yet. In this case we still have another drive to clone.
4. Reboot the machine and you should find the original C: and D: drives, plus a new E: or something that contains the clone. If you go into Windows Disk Manager you'll see that the new HDD has this drive on it, plus a bunch of unallocated space.
5. Run Disk Wizard again, but be very careful here. What you will do is clone your old D: drive to the unallocated space on the new HDD. So your source is the existing D: drive. The destination is the unallocated space on the new HDD, and this is where you must be very careful. Be sure you tell it the correct HDD unit to use as destination. Biggest clue will be in the size - your new destination probably should include all of the unallocated space, and that may be nearly 400 GB. Make this clone. When you're finished the new HDD will contain two volumes (partitions), each with a clone of your old drive's C: and D: paritions.
6. Shut down and swap cables. Reboot and you should have C: and D: as the new paritions on the new HDD - check the sizes to be sure they are identified correctly. You also should have two other drives that really are the two partitions (formerly C: and D:, now newly renamed) on the old HDD. If you are happy that the new clones are all working as they should you can proceed to wipe out the old HDD and re-use it.
7. Use Windows Disk Manager (or Disk Wizard) to delete both paritions on the old HDD. Now use Disk Wizard to clone the new C: drive you made back to the old HDD unit, but this time tell it to make only one volume using all of the 300 GB available. Again, ensure the clone is set to be bootable. When this is done you can shut down and swap cables again. This will put you in the position that the original 300 GB HDD is the bootable C: drive, and the new 500GB HDD has two partitions on it. One is a clone of your original C:, and one is a clone of your original D:.
8. Boot up and check. C: drive should be 300 GB nearly. Well, Windows will call this something like 280 GB, but that's because of the way it defines a GB - you really are NOT missing any space. The D: drive will be the clone of your original C:, and the E: drive will be the clone of your original D:. OK so far? Then we can get rid of that D: clone of C: and reallocate it all.
9. Use Windows Disk Manager to delete the D: drive that is the first partition on the new 500 GB HDD unit. Now you're left with only one active partition containing the original D: drive, and it is NOT a bootable drive volume. You should be able to get Windows to expand that volume to include all the space on the 500 GB unit. Once that's done, reboot and check. You should have one C: drive of nearly 300 GB, and a D: drive of nearly 500 GB, and no unallocated space on either HDD unit. Make sure the drive names are the way you want them - C: and D:.
10. At this point it might be a good idea to run a defragmentation on the D: drive to ensure it puts everything in a nice orderly location on the 500 GB unit. That could take a while, so be prepared to have it spend hours doing the job.
I agree that Disc Wizard is unbelievably easy to use. It's actually from Acronis True Image and works quite well. You won't quite have the same sized C: partition on the new drive since it's bigger but that's not a big deal.
After you're done with the setup the way you like it, you can use the old drive as a backup and use Syncback to keep the backup up to date.
Why not just install your 500gb drive... copy your files from d: onto the 500gb drive. Delete the D: parition on the old drive and extend the partition using windows diskpart utility so that the old drive is now one big partition. Change the drive letter of the 500gb to D: and voila your finished.
EDIT: No external progs required... no reboot required... and ALOT less time required...
The problem with Chookman's suggestion is that Windows won't let you. Or even worse, it might half do the job!
If you have a physical HDD unit with one partition on it and some unallocated space, Windows DOES have a way to extend the existing partition by adding some or all unallocated space. But it specifically will NOT allow you to do that for the Boot Partition! At least it was that way up through XP, which is what OP is using. I am not sure whether Vista has this restriction. I searched the M$ Knowledge Base for "diskpart extend" and this was the first hit -
The Diskpart.exe utility that is included in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and in Microsoft Windows XP does not let you extend the Windows boot and system partitions into unallocated space.
The Diskpart.exe utility supports only the extension of data partitions. System or boot partitions may be blocked from being extended. You may receive the following error after you try to extend a system or boot partition:
Diskpart failed to extend the volume. Please make sure the volume is valid for extending.
The Diskpart.exe utility that is included with the Microsoft Windows 2000 Resource Kit may let you extend Windows 2000 boot and system partitions into unallocated space. However, the file system may not be extended, and when you try to extend boot or system partitions, your computer may stop responding.
Caution You may find that Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) lets you use the Diskpart.exe utility to extend Windows boot and system partitions. The boot and system partitions may be extended, but the file system may not be extended. Therefore, your computer may stop responding if you try to extend the boot and system partitions. The Diskpart.exe utility was not intended for extending Windows boot and system partitions.
Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 include the Diskpart.exe utility as part of the base operating system.
However, this plan CAN be done with 3rd party software, and maybe what Chookman suggests is the best route. I think Partition Magic and a few other packages will do this extending of even the boot partition to add unallocated space.
IF you choose to follow the Disk Wizard route as originally planned, then I'm going to suggest a change in the sequence I outlined above. At Step 3 when you make the first clone from old 300 GB to new 500 GB HDD, clone the data D: drive FIRST. This should make the final step simpler. Once the D: drive has been cloned, THEN clone the original C: drive to the new unit. Shut down, disconnect the SATA data cable on the new HDD, then move the data cable from old to new HDD, Leave the old HDD disconnected for now, just to be sure it's all working when only the new one is available. Now when you boot, however, you will need to make a temporary change in your BIOS. In it where you set the boot device priority, the original HDD unit will be missing and you'll have to tell it to boot from the new HDD. Note that it will be booting from the D: drive now, since that's how we just made the two partitions on the 500 GB HDD unit. But as long as you told Disk Wizard to make the HDD bootable when the C: drive was cloned, it should be able to find this partition and boot from it.
Now when you boot there will only be two drives, C: (data) and D: (OS boot). As long as this is working, You can proceed with revising the stuff on the older drive. You may have a problem at this point, though, if Windows expects to find its page file on C: and it really is on D:.
Anyway, next step should be to shut down, reconnect the old 300 GB unit, reboot from the new drive with clone, and use Disk Wizard per Step 7 to wipe your old HDD and then make the clone of your OS / boot drive (currently D: on the new HDD) back onto your older HDD using all of its space and making it bootable again. Shut down, swap cables, and reboot. Again you should check in the BIOS to be sure it is reset to boot from the 300 GB drive with the new clone. It should be the C: drive. The larger HDD should now have a larger data partition renamed D:, and a smaller one with a clone of your original C: boot drive. This latter partition can be deleted with Disk Wizard or Windows Disk Manager. Then you can expand the D: partition to take up the newly unallocated space. This is where I think this new sequence is better. On the 500 GB new HDD, the first partition will be the data drive, and expanding it will add empty space that is physically at the end of the drive, not at the start.