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Configuring HD letters and unallocated space

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July 17, 2009 4:19:45 PM

I have three hd's. A 300GB seagate for media storage and miscellaneous files, an old 74 GB raptor for storing downloads, and a caviar black partioned into a windows xp, windows vista, windows 7, programs, and games folder. in windows, ( under ctrl panel, administrative, etc) I changed games to G:, programs to P: storage to M: and have blank OS's installed on the three window partitons. I want XP to be C:/, vista to be D:, and 7 to be E:. How do I change the drive letter without being in windows? Once you install an OS, you obviously can't change the drive letter using the ctrl panel/ administrative options way. Another strange thing is that when I go to install windows and I am given the choice to install windows on a specific partition, all my renamed partitions such as games being G: and downloads being Z: are all shown to be I: and J; respectively. Was my change merely reflected in windows and if I install the os again, I'll have to rechange those drives? I don't get it.


Also, how do you delete a chunk of unallocated space? Usually that is the left over space that wasn't partitioned, but I have two chunks on one drive. One is 215GB and the other is 35GB. I want to create a 250GB partition that would combine both unallocated spaces, but it won't let me. Why is this? Thx!
a c 359 G Storage
July 17, 2009 7:39:22 PM

You don't Delete Unallocated Space. It IS Unallocated already so it can be Allocated by creating a new Partition.

Now, trying to make one Partition out of two chunks of space may get trickier. To make a Partition, all of the space MUST be contiguous - that is, all together, no breaks between. I would expect that, if two truly adjacent Partitions had been Deleted before, they would be treated as one contiguous block of Unallocated Space. So I suspect that the two blocks to which you refer are separate. Is that true?

If you have two separate blocks of Unallocated Space, the only route I can suggest is to make then contiguous. To do that, you would have to backup all the data in the Partition between the existing blocks, then Delete that middle Partition so that ALL of the Unallocated space is contiguous. Then you could create two new Partitions - one to which you can restore the backed up data, and another to use as your new 250 GB drive.
July 17, 2009 8:22:46 PM

Paperdoc said:
You don't Delete Unallocated Space. It IS Unallocated already so it can be Allocated by creating a new Partition.

Now, trying to make one Partition out of two chunks of space may get trickier. To make a Partition, all of the space MUST be contiguous - that is, all together, no breaks between. I would expect that, if two truly adjacent Partitions had been Deleted before, they would be treated as one contiguous block of Unallocated Space. So I suspect that the two blocks to which you refer are separate. Is that true?

If you have two separate blocks of Unallocated Space, the only route I can suggest is to make then contiguous. To do that, you would have to backup all the data in the Partition between the existing blocks, then Delete that middle Partition so that ALL of the Unallocated space is contiguous. Then you could create two new Partitions - one to which you can restore the backed up data, and another to use as your new 250 GB drive.



Thank you, you are exactly right about that. The first unallocated space is at the beginning of the HD and the other unallocated space is at the end. So your method seems to be the only one that would work. As far as the drive lettering, any suggestions on that?
Related resources
July 18, 2009 5:33:19 PM

Norton's Ghost and Acronis Partition Commander are pretty good management tools. Give you more options, more analysis. You can also clone easily. Change drive letters on the fly. I've used them both, find Norton to be more user friendly.
July 18, 2009 5:35:45 PM

how nice is it to ghose a hard drive? Is it just like reformatting and installing everything to the point where you specify? I hate having to reformat and reinstall everything and tweak all the OS settings.
a c 359 G Storage
July 27, 2009 8:00:47 PM

Ideally, what you want to do is to CLONE the original hard drive to another. This copies absolutely everything to the destination, usually allowing you some options like specifying the size of the new clone (can't be smaller than its actually occupied space, of course), the File System (use NTFS), and whether the clone should be bootable. This combination of features is widely used when you upgrade to a larger drive and want it to run exactly as before, just with more free space. Acronis True Image does this, and I think Norton ghost can, too. For your purpose, they are more straightforward to use if you can use a spare drive for an intermediate copy. I am assuming that the drive you want to move in order to consolidate space is your current boot drive. You clone your current bootable drive to a new unit making it bootable, too. You swap drives and boot from the clone. Then you use Disk Management to delete all the Partitions on the old drive. Then you use the cloning utility again to make a new clone from the one you're using now, setting its size to what you want and making it the first Partition on the destination drive (that is, its Primary Partition). When done you swap drives around again and you can boot from the new Partition you made on the old drive. The Unallocated Space will now be AFTER the boot Partition, and it can be made into another Partition.
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