Bought a new computer with no OS. Installed WinXP Pro on it. Now I see in Disk Management that only about 1/4 of the space is being used. the rest is "unallocated." I have read how to use Disk Management to create another partition but I would prefer not to do that. My young son uses this computer for gaming, and I would like him to be able to just use defaults when installing and downloading games and not have his games on different lettered drives. I have instructions for how to create a partition on this space, but I don't want to do that if I don't have to. Is it possible to just add this "unallocated" space to the C: drive, thus making C: pretty much the whole drive?
If the unallocated space is contiguous with the "C" space, then you should be able to extend into the unallocated area.
The means to do that will be found in the same place in Disk Management where you can create new partitions.
What might need an explanation is why your install is only using 1/4 the space.
Edit: Looking more, it is easy in vista and windows 7, but apparently you need a third party program to change it in xp.
If you have two or three pc's that you want to convert to windows 7, you can buy a family upgrade pack for $116 on amazon.
Not sure if the unallocated space is contiguous with the "C" space. I think it might be, as I did not create any other partitions. How do I determine that using Disk Management?
As to why it happened I am not sure. I have installed this WinXP Pro full install disk on several computers in the past and I think this is the only time that has happened, although from what I have read, it seems to be a common occurance. Something to do with early versions of XP an large drives or something like that. Anyway, it is now patched up to the latest version of XP and I'm quite sure there are no hardware problems. It was something I did when origninally installing and formatting the blank drive.
Anyway, thanks for the help. I will try to use Disk Management to do what you suggested. I have never used it before and didn't want to jump into it and end up making a new partition if I didn't have to. I just think thing will go a lot easier if I can have everything on one drive, even though I know that is not considered best practice.
A 3rd party app! I was worried I would have to do that. Any suggestions as to a free one that will work? I don't want to upgrade to Win7 unless I have a good reason to. WinXP works fine for the 4 computers in my house. And I own the full install disk.
Google is your friend on this.
I don't know which apps, free or not, can do the job.
But... XP will lose support soon, if it already hasn't.
I have one PC with XP to run a particular game, and it is nowhere as good as windows 7.
If you decide to upgrade, here is a link to the family upgrade pack. It includes a three use license, and both 32 and 64 bit dvd's.
I have used it and recommend it. Upgrade is considered as retail, and can be freely transferred to a new pc.
First I had to "create" a partition using the unallocated space. Then I merged the two partions into one (C: drive). Here's a hint to anyone else doing this. Once you choose the action it doesn'thappen right away. You will get a notice that "action pending" or something similar. You Then have to click "Apply", whcih isn't real obvious.
For background understanding, here are a couple notes.
To use any HDD over 137 GB (the HDD makers' way of counting) or 128 GB (according to Windows), you need what is called "48-bit LBA support" in three places - the HDD itself (of course a large HDD will have this!), the HDD controller on the mobo (often via the BIOS chip which may be updated on some older machines) and in your OS. (Re: hardware: this support is always in SATA controllers (it was included in the SATA specs) but may be missing in older IDE controller systems.)
Win XP in its original release did NOT include 48-bit LBA Support, so it could not use HDD's over 137 GB (128GB), no matter whether the hardware could or not. However, that missing feature WAS added in Service Pack 1 and maintained thereafter. Of course, Vista and Win 7 have it. So if you have Win XP with ANY SP installed, or a later OS, you have what is needed.
Although Disk Management in Windows includes a tool to Extend a Partition to include Unallocated Space that is immediately AFTER the existing Partition, that tool in XP and many other versions will NOT do this for your boot drive. Nor will it do it for a Partition that contains your Swap File if it is not on C:. This is just Microsoft's very cautious way to prevent you from having an accident while doing this, and losing everything on your boot drive! Several third-party software packages WILL do this, though.
About finding whether the Unallocated Space on an HDD is immediately adjacent to an existing Partition: you can see this in Disk Management's LOWER RIGHT pane. There each HDD is represented by a horizontal block. Within that are sub-blocks that represent each Partition on the HDD. Each is labelled. If there is nothing between your Partition of interest, and the Unallocated Space is just to the RIGHT of that Partition, you're OK.