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Extend my primary partition into unallocated space

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April 18, 2011 8:31:50 PM

Hello,
I recently upgraded my internal hard drive from 40g to 80g, but when I look in "My Computer", I still only see 40g. When I go into disk management, I notice that 40g of space is unallocated and contains the MBR. I'm running windows XP and can't seem to utilize the unallocated space. I also tried to fix this in command prompt, but no luck.
Thanks to anyone that can help!
a b G Storage
April 18, 2011 10:29:47 PM

Hi and welcome to Tom's forum.

You need have a file format in the HD before use it, so, format the HDD in NTFS and after that you can use the space.
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a c 342 G Storage
April 19, 2011 4:27:44 AM

Hold on! Do not go trying to Format your Drive! That will wipe out all its data!

I am not sure what you actually did when you say you "upgraded" from 40 to 80 GB. I suspect you bought a new 80 GB HDD and then used a software utility to clone all the contents of your old 40 GB unit to the new one. Unfortunately, the common cloning utilities I have seen will default to making the Partition for the clone copy on the new larger HDD unit the same size as the old (smaller) HDD, which makes no sense to me! The result is you get a larger new HDD (80 GB in your case) with a Primary Partition the same as the old one (40 GB for you) plus the rest of the new drive as Unallocated Space. (By the way, that Unallocated Space does NOT contain the MBR. It is just empty. The MBR is located at the very start of the HDD and contains (among other things) the Partition Table.)

So, is that what happened to you?

If it is, you do have a problem. Ideally you want to Expand your Primary Partition to add onto it the Unallocated Space. The problem is that Windows XP (using Disk Management) will NOT try to change anything about the size of the Partition that contains Windows itself! So you have three ways to fix this.

One is to buy third-party software like Partition Magic that WILL allow you to Expand the Primary Partition (I assume it is your C: drive) into the the Unallocated Space.

The second choice is to live with what you have, sort of. You can use Disk Management to Create a second Primary Partition in the Unallocated Space. Just RIGHT-click on that space and choose to Create a Partition, then set up the parameters. These should include setting up the choices for the Format operation, also - install the NTFS File System and choose either a Quick or Full Format. NOTE that this does NOT Format the entire HDD unit. It only Formats the new Partition you are creating. The "downside" to this choice is that you will not have one 80 GB drive. You will have two "drives" of about 37 GB each , and each will have its own letter name and be treated by Windows as if it were completely separate from the other.

The third option is to start over again. This really only can work if you still have the old HDD around and are willing to wipe out everything you have on the new HDD. (Well, I guess if you have SOME new data on it you could copy it to the old 40 GB unit first.) What you would do here is to re-make the clone copy from old to new HDD, but with a couple of changes. The first thing is that you would need, as a first step in using the cloning utility, to Delete the existing Partition on the 80 GB unit. BE VERY SURE you delete the one on the new 80 GB unit, and not your original data on the 40 GB unit! Then you re-do the cloning operation, BUT you must look though the menus and find where you can CHANGE the size of the new Primary Partition it is going to Create on the 80 GB unit. Make it the full size of your new HDD. Then proceed as before. When the operation is done, your new 80 GB unit will have ONE "drive" (Partition) on it of about 75 GB, with all your data plus Free Space, which is what I bet you wanted from the beginning.
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April 26, 2011 10:52:28 AM

Best answer selected by TMI.
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April 26, 2011 10:55:17 AM

Quote:
Hey, same issue came to me last weekend... I tried this in Disk Management too, but nothing helps... Because my unallocated space isn't next to the system partition. perhaps you got the same problem here. Remember "D M" has limitation and only works for "contiguous" unallocated space.

A 3rd party program is needed in this issue, partition manager is freeware and works well.



Wow! This was extreamly easy! Thanks so much! It did the trick in 5 min and it was FREE!
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April 26, 2011 10:58:27 AM

Paperdoc said:
Hold on! Do not go trying to Format your Drive! That will wipe out all its data!

I am not sure what you actually did when you say you "upgraded" from 40 to 80 GB. I suspect you bought a new 80 GB HDD and then used a software utility to clone all the contents of your old 40 GB unit to the new one. Unfortunately, the common cloning utilities I have seen will default to making the Partition for the clone copy on the new larger HDD unit the same size as the old (smaller) HDD, which makes no sense to me! The result is you get a larger new HDD (80 GB in your case) with a Primary Partition the same as the old one (40 GB for you) plus the rest of the new drive as Unallocated Space. (By the way, that Unallocated Space does NOT contain the MBR. It is just empty. The MBR is located at the very start of the HDD and contains (among other things) the Partition Table.)

So, is that what happened to you?

If it is, you do have a problem. Ideally you want to Expand your Primary Partition to add onto it the Unallocated Space. The problem is that Windows XP (using Disk Management) will NOT try to change anything about the size of the Partition that contains Windows itself! So you have three ways to fix this.

One is to buy third-party software like Partition Magic that WILL allow you to Expand the Primary Partition (I assume it is your C: drive) into the the Unallocated Space.

The second choice is to live with what you have, sort of. You can use Disk Management to Create a second Primary Partition in the Unallocated Space. Just RIGHT-click on that space and choose to Create a Partition, then set up the parameters. These should include setting up the choices for the Format operation, also - install the NTFS File System and choose either a Quick or Full Format. NOTE that this does NOT Format the entire HDD unit. It only Formats the new Partition you are creating. The "downside" to this choice is that you will not have one 80 GB drive. You will have two "drives" of about 37 GB each , and each will have its own letter name and be treated by Windows as if it were completely separate from the other.

The third option is to start over again. This really only can work if you still have the old HDD around and are willing to wipe out everything you have on the new HDD. (Well, I guess if you have SOME new data on it you could copy it to the old 40 GB unit first.) What you would do here is to re-make the clone copy from old to new HDD, but with a couple of changes. The first thing is that you would need, as a first step in using the cloning utility, to Delete the existing Partition on the 80 GB unit. BE VERY SURE you delete the one on the new 80 GB unit, and not your original data on the 40 GB unit! Then you re-do the cloning operation, BUT you must look though the menus and find where you can CHANGE the size of the new Primary Partition it is going to Create on the 80 GB unit. Make it the full size of your new HDD. Then proceed as before. When the operation is done, your new 80 GB unit will have ONE "drive" (Partition) on it of about 75 GB, with all your data plus Free Space, which is what I bet you wanted from the beginning.


Thanks Paperdoc for taking the time to help. I used the 3rd party software option, but I used Kelly's suggestion of which software to use because it was free. It downloaded in 2 minutes and fixed the problem in 3 min!
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a b G Storage
April 26, 2011 1:42:43 PM

This topic has been closed by SAINT19
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