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320 gig hard drive

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May 1, 2011 2:32:06 AM

Hello,
I just recently upgraded my hd to a 320gb hard drive. I partitioned it and now it shows about 170 gig unallocated. can i unpartition this so I have 320 gig available and what exactly did i do. I am not a pc expert but I can install a hard drive. I am showing about 127 usable healthy system. What can I do to get all 320 gig available and also before I had the NTSF file but now FAT32. My computer works ok but i wanted the 320 gig for more stuff. What can i do and do I need to change this anyway?

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a c 359 G Storage
May 1, 2011 3:26:31 AM

IF you can afford to completely lose all the data you have on this drive already, the best path is to start over. (Maybe you have to copy stuff off of it to another temporary place first.) Delete the Partition you have already (you describe having only one). Then Create a new Primary Partition on it , and just be sure to tell it to use the maximum space for that.

"Max space", by the way, is about 298 GB as Windows counts it. There is NO space lost, and very little consumed with basic system files. The issue is only that Windows uses a definition of "GB" as 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes. That's bigger than 1000 x 1000 x x1000, so there are fewer of the Windows "GB"'s on your drive, but it's actually the SAME space!

Usually the Format portion of the work is set up within the same helpful Wizard as the Partition Creation. When you make those settings, be sure to specify NTFS File System, and not FAT32.

You DO have some alternatives (see below), BUT you also have the issue that the File System you have installed on the Partition is FAT32. With few exceptions, this is NOT as good a NTFS, and can cause you some limits on file sizes. So I recommend you change that. To do that means you would re-Format the Partition, which of course means you wipe out all your data. So if you're going that route, just go all the way and wipe out the small Partition and Create a new larger one.

Alternatives depend on which Windows you are running, and what type of data is already on the HDD. If this is your boot drive, Windows will NOT offer you any tools to manipulate the existing Partition. However, you can buy third-party software like Partition Magic to Expand the existing Partition by adding on all the Unallocated Space. NOTE that this can ONLY be done if the Unallocated Space is right after the existing Partition. As you describe your situation that should be no problem. You indicate the Partition you created is the ONLY one so far.

If you have only data on the HDD and it is NOT your boot drive and you do NOT have your Swap File on this drive either, then Win Vista and Win 7 will allow you, from within Disk Management, to do the Expand operation to add the Unallocated Space to your Partition and re-size it to the whole HDD. You won't need third party software in this case - the tool is in Disk Management.
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