Windows partition advice needed
February 12, 2005 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Windows partition advice needed: re. deleting the OEM D: drive to release storage space after upgrading to XP. [Lots of details inside.]

Apologies for the abuse of tech terms, if any be detected, I'll clarify my wording if necessary.

My ancient but serviceable hard drive is divided into two - the C: (size 7.6Gb) which is where Windows (at 2.29gb, surely this is the complete and unadulterated OS), programs, docs and other files reside, and D: (1.9Gb), known as system_sav, where I guess the old Windows files are stored to recover from a crash (even though I had the Compaq System Restore disks to do that).

The C: is pretty full now, only 755mb unused, whereas the D: still has 1.05mb storage available. The 870kb used on here are zip files with simple 6 digit numerals as names, nested singly in folders with 3 digit numbers as names, nested singly within folders with, eg B2A, as names, nested singly within folders with 6 digit names.
Details offered as I don't know how important these are, someone may find this file structure relevant.

My question is this: since I upgraded to Windows XP Home (I still have the upgrade disk) from 98SE, do I need anything at all on the D: drive? If no, how do I delete everything there and release the whole storage space to the C: drive? Is there any advantage to a hard drive partition to someone who likely won't install a second OS?

Advice, and/or links to step-by-step instructions on the issue would be appreciated. Ta.
posted by dash_slot- to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
Honestly dash, you're better off getting a new hard drive. Installing XP from scratch on it, and then transferring your saved files to it. The reason I say this is because XP when installed as an upgrade doesn't function as well as a clean fresh install. A clean install of XP only takes 1.5gb I believe.

If this is not an option at all, in my opinion you do not need the files on the D drive, and can delete said partition and merge it with C drive using Partition Magic.

Now if that is too hard to do, I would say format D drive, and store all your personal files such as say documents and pictures there, thus releasing up space from C drive.
posted by riffola at 12:15 PM on February 12, 2005


PartitionMagic will let you join the drives together.

Otherwise you could format the D: with the Disk Management tool (right-click on My Computer and select Manage...). When you install applications, set up a Program Folder on your D: and do custom installations. Copy over your My Documents folder to the D: and set up a shortcut from the C:'s My Documents to the "original" that is now on the D:
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:51 PM on February 12, 2005


Watch out that you edit boot.ini after you do what AR suggests, as it will likely still reflect the 2-partition setup, and will not allow you to boot until changed to reflect the new, accurate number of partitions. I went through this very issue last week.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:03 PM on February 12, 2005


Honestly dash, you're better off getting a new hard drive.

You don't need to get a new drive, but riffola's right about Windows working much better when installed from scratch.

If you already have the XP Home installation CD, and have backed up all your important files, I would recommend reinstalling XP, only this time around, when you're given the option at the beginning, format the drive and combine any pre-existing extra partitions.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:56 PM on February 12, 2005


Watch out that you edit boot.ini after you do what AR suggests, as it will likely still reflect the 2-partition setup, and will not allow you to boot until changed to reflect the new, accurate number of partitions. I went through this very issue last week.

That's not surprising. Boot.ini is a very delicate beast, especially setting up a Linux dual-boot. Microsoft doesn't make it easy, do they?
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:00 PM on February 12, 2005


OK, so my suspicions that D: is superfluous seems agreed. As this is a zero budget plan (I'm poorer than the poorest man in Poorsville at the mo), I'll probably be doing the format D: drive option as Riffola, Alex & SSF suggest.

One thing confuses me though: if I reformat D:, but allow it to remain but blank, why is there a recognition issue? Does reformatting in itself screw up boot.ini?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:13 PM on February 12, 2005


One thing confuses me though: if I reformat D:, but allow it to remain but blank, why is there a recognition issue? Does reformatting in itself screw up boot.ini?

No, SSF is referring to the first option, the use of PartitionMagic, which would require boot.ini changes.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:31 PM on February 12, 2005


Relaying an answer from rogerd, a non-member:
If you want to use the whole disk in one partition (that is, add the D: drive space to the C: drive), you can delete the D: and resize C: with the free QtParted tool. The easiest way to run it is from the System Rescue CD, which is (also) free. I've done this with W2K setups and had no trouble.
posted by Gamecat at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2005


Careful when you delete the OEM version. If you format the drive, and then try to install an upgrade version of windows, it may start asking you for proof that you're updating (Insert disk 1, etc). As you'll have deleted this proof, you may find that you can't install the new OS.

Read the box notes of your XP upgrade to see what it needs before allowing a new install. If that's no help, double check by calling MicroSoft.

And, I also vote that you get a new hard drive. They're not that expensive.
posted by seanyboy at 3:27 AM on February 13, 2005


I wont do that, Sean. The OEM is in the C: drive, and I just want to 'merge' the D: with it.

Thanks everyone.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:08 AM on February 13, 2005


There's a cheaper way out than PartitionMagic: defragment both drives (esp. C:) then use Knoppix and QtParted (comes with Knoppix standard) to re-partition your drive back to one big partition --it's really not that hard even if you don't know the first thing about Linux: Knoppix will boot to a nice Win95-looking screen and you can just launch a pretty GUI of QtParted; just make sure to read up on Parted/QtParted a little bit.

Lots of partitions used to be a good idea when we were still stuck with W95 and W98 that required a good re-install once every few months. With proper "gardening", NT/2k/XP can run fine for years.
posted by costas at 7:49 AM on February 13, 2005


Be careful formatting older compaq hard drives. I've had a few in the past where making changes to the BIOS required programs read from the HD. I can't remember the exact details but I do remember you could not download these utilities form compaq. This was with machines of the Pentium 166 vintage. Not all compaqs are like this, my personal P166 isn't, but it caused me quite a bit of a headache on a machine that was when he HD crashed.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 AM on February 13, 2005


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