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Seeking Info On Expanding/Merging Partitions and HD Cloning

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  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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June 1, 2011 2:01:03 PM

First, thanks for taking the time to read this, and much thanks to anyone willing to share their knowledge.

I have what I hope is a simple issue. My current hard drive is 250 GB (full specs below) that I've had for a number of years now and has performed flawlessly. My problem is twofold: 1) I made the C: partition too small, just 15 GB, for my current use, 2) the drive as a whole is getting full. It has three partitions: C: (15 GB, which mainly contains only WinXP); D: (50 GB, which contain non-application data); E: (185 GB, contains nearly all of my programs).

To remedy this, I just ordered a 1 TB HD as a second drive (specs below).

Now I'm wondering how to best accomplish the following:
1. Expand the size of C: (where WinXP will continue to reside)
2. Transfer and best distribute data to the new drive (which may be somewhat faster, though it is a 6 gb/s SATA III, but my system is limited by SATA II 3 gb/s and WinXP OS)
3. Do the above without reinstalling WinXP while still maintaining data integrity.


Also, I'm curious as to whether I should bother with partitioning my new drive (given that partitioning my current drive ultimately led to headaches)?

I have read up a bit on this, but none of the articles I've found have left me feeling entirely confident, which is why I'm here. Here are what some seem to suggest:
- Copy just D: and E: to new drive. Erase them on old drive. Merge (or expand) C: on old drive and run D: and E: content off the new drive.
- Copy just C: to new drive. Erase it on old drive. Make new drive the master.
- Clone old drive to new drive, and then adjust partition sizes. Still not sure if this solve my C:-is-too-small issue, because my understanding is that cloning replicates the contents AND size of your existing partitions (so I'd still have to expand them).


Any thoughts? Best way to do the above without losing data?

Again, any input would be most welcome and very much appreciated.

- ELB

My PC, including the soon-to-arrive new second hard drive:
Motherboard: Gigabyte 965P-DS3
PSU: Corsair HX Series CMPSU-620HX 620W Power Supply
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2400 MHz
RAM: Corsair 2GB Kit DDR2-800 XMS2-6400 Xtreme Performance Memory
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX460-1 GB GDDR5 PCIE2 GV-N460OC-1GI
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB Serial ATA II 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer
HD2(coming soon): Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD10EALX
DVD-R: ASUS DRW-2014L1T LS SATA DVD Burner
OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 5.01.2600 Service Pack 3 x32-bit
DirectX: 9.0c

More about : seeking info expanding merging partitions cloning

a c 132 G Storage
June 1, 2011 2:14:32 PM

1. Clone the existing 250 GB HDD to the new 1 TB HDD.

2. Now work with the 1 TB HDD and try to delete the partitions and set it up the way you want it. (You always have the old 250 GB HDD to go back to).
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a c 392 G Storage
June 1, 2011 2:29:33 PM

Windows is expecting all your programs to be on drive E so you will need at least 2 partitions (assuming you put the OS on there too) on the new drive. You can change the drive letter assignment of the program partition to E in disk management.

Personally, I'd rather have one partition using up the whole drive rather than multiple partitions. In this case it may be best to do a clean install on the new drive and slave the old drive to pull data from.
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Related resources
June 1, 2011 2:55:19 PM

Quote:

1. Clone the existing 250 GB HDD to the new 1 TB HDD.

2. Now work with the 1 TB HDD and try to delete the partitions and set it up the way you want it. (You always have the old 250 GB HDD to go back to).


Thanks for this. A few follow-up questions:

1. Is there a cloning application you recommend?

2. Is there a way to clone the information, but have it applied to larger destination partitions on the new drive (for simplicty's sake, say a 300, 350, 350 GB split)...or must the clone include partitions that are identical in size to the original drive. Meaning, for my new 1 TB drive, I'll end up with a 15 GB C:, 50 GB D:, 185 GB E:, and then an F: with roughly the 750 GB empty balance on it?

3. Presuming that I proceed with the cloning approach, and I do end up with this circumstance (in 2. above) — new drive with 15 GB C:, 50 GB D:, 185 GB E:, and 750 GB F: — what's the best way to approach the allocation of that empty 750 GB to the other drives?

See, my (limited) understanding is that you can expand a partition into blank neighboring space only (again, safely...I'm not sure how reliable a program like Partition Magic is). So, for example, I could delete the contents of D: and expand C: into D: (or possibly merge the two, retaining the data on C: only). Or I could, perhaps, clone the whole drive, as you suggest, then clear the contents of both D: and E: on the new drive, expand C: into them (making C: 250 GB), and then merge the now-tiny D: and E: into F:, resulting in one 750 GB D:, I presume. Then I could split that into two blank partitions of 325 GB each, and again move the contents of D: and E: from my old drive into those.

But perhaps I'm making this way more complicated than it needs to be. I just don't know what the limitations are, and what the safest options are.

Thanks,

ELB
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June 1, 2011 3:02:23 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
Windows is expecting all your programs to be on drive E so you will need at least 2 partitions (assuming you put the OS on there too) on the new drive. You can change the drive letter assignment of the program partition to E in disk management.

Personally, I'd rather have one partition using up the whole drive rather than multiple partitions. In this case it may be best to do a clean install on the new drive and slave the old drive to pull data from.


Would you mind explaining a bit further how this would work? I don't mind the idea of a clean install of WinXP, but the idea of also installing all my programs, internet access, etc. is far more complicated than I'd like. Is it possible to just install WinXP to the new drive and then use any applications from the old, phasing them out over time by simply installing any new programs to the new unpartitioned C: drive?

Thanks,

ELB
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a c 392 G Storage
June 1, 2011 3:12:27 PM

doesnotcompute said:
Would you mind explaining a bit further how this would work? I don't mind the idea of a clean install of WinXP, but the idea of also installing all my programs, internet access, etc. is far more complicated than I'd like. Is it possible to just install WinXP to the new drive and then use any applications from the old, phasing them out over time by simply installing any new programs to the new unpartitioned C: drive?

Thanks,

ELB


A clean install will require all drivers and applications to be reinstalled since the new registry file will not contain any information regarding software installed on the old drive. Yes, it's time consuming, but at least you won't have to hassle with partition problems down the road. Also, if you do this, temporarily disable windows updates, download and install SP3, then enable windows updates. this will cut down the amount of time required to get all the windows updates installed.
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a c 132 G Storage
June 1, 2011 3:32:03 PM

doesnotcompute said:
Quote:

1. Clone the existing 250 GB HDD to the new 1 TB HDD.

2. Now work with the 1 TB HDD and try to delete the partitions and set it up the way you want it. (You always have the old 250 GB HDD to go back to).


Thanks for this. A few follow-up questions:

1. Is there a cloning application you recommend?

2. Is there a way to clone the information, but have it applied to larger destination partitions on the new drive (for simplicty's sake, say a 300, 350, 350 GB split)...or must the clone include partitions that are identical in size to the original drive. Meaning, for my new 1 TB drive, I'll end up with a 15 GB C:, 50 GB D:, 185 GB E:, and then an F: with roughly the 750 GB empty balance on it?

3. Presuming that I proceed with the cloning approach, and I do end up with this circumstance (in 2. above) — new drive with 15 GB C:, 50 GB D:, 185 GB E:, and 750 GB F: — what's the best way to approach the allocation of that empty 750 GB to the other drives?

See, my (limited) understanding is that you can expand a partition into blank neighboring space only (again, safely...I'm not sure how reliable a program like Partition Magic is). So, for example, I could delete the contents of D: and expand C: into D: (or possibly merge the two, retaining the data on C: only). Or I could, perhaps, clone the whole drive, as you suggest, then clear the contents of both D: and E: on the new drive, expand C: into them (making C: 250 GB), and then merge the now-tiny D: and E: into F:, resulting in one 750 GB D:, I presume. Then I could split that into two blank partitions of 325 GB each, and again move the contents of D: and E: from my old drive into those.

But perhaps I'm making this way more complicated than it needs to be. I just don't know what the limitations are, and what the safest options are.

Thanks,

ELB


Yes. I have use Apricorn's software along with their 'Drivewire' - Acronis will also work.
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a c 132 G Storage
June 1, 2011 3:34:06 PM

A clean XP install is the best way to go.

Over the years, all operating systems will get bogged down by all sorts of junk. Sooner or later, it is advisable to re-install the OS. I know that this is a lot of work particularly if a lot of programs are involved.
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a c 392 G Storage
June 1, 2011 3:41:25 PM

As a follow up... XP witout at least SP1 installed can't recognize large hard drives. You should slave the new drive first and use your current installation of XP to partition and format the new drive. Now you can temporarily remove the old drive, attach the new drive to the sata port the old drive was on and install windows. Once windows is installed, you can then slave the old drive to get data off of it.
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June 1, 2011 4:14:13 PM

Regarding a clean install
Like many folks, I suspect, I find the notion of a "clean machine" appealing. That said, though I've not installed WinXP since I built the machine years ago, I've been good about routine maintenance and the system remains stable and fast. Therefore, I seriously question whether I'd see any kind of meaningful performance increase from doing a clean install that would justify all the time investment.

Also, if I'm going to do a clean install, then I should probably just buy Windows 7. I use it at work and it seems superior.

Regarding making a slave of my current drive
Okay, so I hear you suggesting that I partition my new drive for a clean install of WinXP. Then make it the master and install WinXP. My question then is when you say "slave the old drive to get data off of it," are you referring only to raw data like MSWord or .zip files, or installed applications as well? My understanding would be that the clean install of WinXP would require me to reinstall all of my programs. True or false? Or could I boot and run the new install of WinXP on my new drive, but load and run currently installed programs off the old drive (wouldn't the registry references be incorrect in this case)?

And my XP is SP3, so I'm assuming it will recognize large hard drives.

Thanks again for the assistance, I really appreciate it.

ELB
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a c 392 G Storage
June 1, 2011 4:33:36 PM

If you prefer Win7, then go that route. Just run the upgrade advisor first to make sure your system supports it.

http://windows.microsoft.com/upgradeadvisor

Yes, when I say slave the drive, this is for the purpose of getting all your data off of it... images, documents, spreadsheets, game saves,... You will need to reinstall all of your programs.

Your current XP is SP3. I don't know when you purchased your installation CD/DVD, but if it doesn't include at least SP1, you will not have large drive support when you reinstall XP. In fact, I think the limit is 128Gb.
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June 1, 2011 6:04:39 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
Your current XP is SP3. I don't know when you purchased your installation CD/DVD, but if it doesn't include at least SP1, you will not have large drive support when you reinstall XP. In fact, I think the limit is 128Gb.


My XP was SP1 at least, definitely.

- ELB
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June 1, 2011 6:20:00 PM

Well, I think it boils down to two options at this point:

Option 1. While I know that a fresh install of WinXP on the new drive would be superior to just cloning my current drive, but I don't feel that the effort would be worth it. So, it looks like I could use a cloning program to first create an identical copy of my old 250 GB drive on to the 1 TB one.

Once the cloning is complete, I can use a partition program to resize C:, D: and E: on the new drive to account for the additional space. Then I could run my PC exclusively off of that drive and retain my current 250 GB as a back-up until I am confident that all data transferred successfully and is working properly.

Seems like this program might be perfect for the clone: EASEUS Disk Copy. And this should be perfect for the partition adjustments: DriveImage XML V2.22.

Option 2. Purchase Windows 7 Home Premium and do a fresh install on to the new hard drive, along with a fresh install of all programs. Then migrate the data from my old harddrive.

This is the much more time-consuming process. And I have some concern that Win 7 will work with all my programs (don't know about the WinXP mode). But, I'd have a better 64-bit OS and would be assured that my system is clean.

If you have any further thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for the advice thus far.

- ELB

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a c 132 G Storage
June 1, 2011 7:17:49 PM

BTW, there is no 'XP-Mode' in Win Home Premium - it comes only in Win 7 Pro or Ultimate.
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a c 392 G Storage
June 1, 2011 7:30:36 PM

Also, XP mode has no DX, so you can't use it to play (older) games.
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June 1, 2011 7:33:45 PM

Ubrales said:
BTW, there is no 'XP-Mode' in Win Home Premium - it comes only in Win 7 Pro or Ultimate.


Yeah, I was just looking into that, actually.

My question is that I have an OEM version of WinXP, and will that qualify for the upgrade version of Win 7 Pro...or will I have to buy the full version?

And also...with my new hard drive and a fresh install of the Win 7 Pro upgrade (provided it will acknowledge my OEM WinXP), will I actually need to install WinXP on to that hard drive first before I will be allowed to install Win 7 Pro upgrade over it?

That would seem silly, but stranger things have happened.

- ELB
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June 8, 2011 3:13:25 PM

For anyone interested, I did resolve my issue.

My goal was to move the information, including my WinXP OS, from my old 250 GB hard drive to a new hard drive. My old drive was a Western Digital Caviar, and I've been very happy with it, so I bought another from their more recent Caviar offerings, this time 1 TB in size, quadrupling my capacity.

Copying over the old drive proved quite easy. I used Easeus' Disk Copy. Easeus also offer several other applications that will accomplish the same thing: Easeus ToDo Backup and Easeus Partition Manager. All are available for free, though the latter two may be trial versions only.

A true copy of one hard drive to another is referred to formally as a "clone." With the Easeus software, cloning was an easy process:

- First, I connected my new hard drive to my machine (SATA cable and power)
- Second, I loaded up the Easeus Disk copy and chose "Disk Clone."
- Third, the program asked me to define a source and destination disk, arrange the partitions as desired via a simple slider control (meaning I was able to allocate the abundant blank space on my new drive to the three partitions I'd already had on my source drive, significantly expanding them) and then I selected "sector-by-sector" cloning. (Bear in mind that for this part of the process, the program will assign your new drive drive letters that are further down the alphabet from your existing drive — C, D and E will become F, G and H, for example — this is not an issue upon restart, as the drive letters will automatically be reassigned to the original ones provided the original drive is disconnected and one is booting off the new drive)
- Fourth, since the process would take awhile, I checked the box for the PC to shut down when the clone was complete.
- Fifth, I disconnected my old drive and booted the PC with the new drive (this is critical, as otherwise you'll have your operating system on both drives)

Worked like a charm. And I've had ample time to work on the PC, and there hasn't been a hint of any issues. In fact, the PC seems to run a bit faster, which may well be on account of the new drive being, well, newer and a bit faster.

While I understand that a fresh install of WinXP probably would have resulted in the cleanest and fastest machine...the time it would have taken to reinstall everything would not have offset what I suspect would be very modest performance gains (my machine continues to run quickly and smoothly). So, for anyone looking to expand their storage without much hassle, I highly recommend this process.

- ELB

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