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i have problems with hard drive partitions?

December 8, 2010 at 22:57:01
Specs: Windows 7, intel core i5/4 GB

my laptop has a hard disk of 500 GB
i had initially created 5 partitions of 100 GB each
now i deleted 2 of these partitions so that i could use the free space to create a new partition of 200 GB.
bu the two deleted partitions appeared as 100 GB of free space and 100 GB of unallocated space.
how do i merge these free spaces to create a new volume of 200 GB

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#1
December 9, 2010 at 06:19:33

You have not given us a clear picture of your partitions geometry.

Having said that, this is what I think:

1. You probably had a mixture of Primary partitions and Logical partitions within an Extended partition.

2. When you delete a primary partition, the space freed off becomes unallocated space

3. When you delete a logical partition it becomes free space within the extended partition

4. if you had more than 2 logical drives in your Extended partitions than the free space location will depend on which logical partition you deleted. It will be in the Extended partition either at one of the ends of the Extended Partition or somewhere in the middle.

You can view your partition layout graphically by using windows disk management.

To access Disk Management:
click the Windows logo
click Control Panel
click System and Security in the top left corner
under Administrative Tools, click Create and format hard disk partitions option


You will see a graphical layout of your disk and see where your unallocated space is and where your free space is. First the two have to be contiguous and second you have to convert the free space within the Extended partition to unallocated space.

Windows disk management will allow you to do this. Resize/move your logical drives so that they are all together with the free space abutting the unallocated space. Then resize the Extended partition to shrink it and exclude the free space. This will convert the free space to unallocated space.

If the other unallocated was contiguous then you will end up joining the unallocated space and the free space that you have now freed off to become unallocated space.

Hope it helps.

Do post back if you have problems.

Note there are freeware partition tools also available that can help you achieve this. One good one that comes to mind is EASEUS Partition Master which can be downloaded from:
http://www.partition-tool.com/

However, if you are going to be messing with your partitions be sure to back up your valuable data just in case.

This example may help in visualizing what I have said:
http://www.nirmaltv.com/2009/05/12/...

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#2
December 9, 2010 at 06:53:31

It matters where on the physical drive they appear, you cannot merge 2 spaces that are not contingent (they need to be touching). But then they would be already shown as one available space. You may be able to expand an existing partition to use the space, but I do not believe that disk manager can move or 'slide' a partition the way some tools can. THEN there is the matter that these cannot all be primary partitions, so you may need to read up on partitions to understand what your options are.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
This site is about helping people, lets keep it that way.


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#3
December 9, 2010 at 06:56:18

You can't make 5 partitions on a drive. You can only make 4 max. Either 4 primary or 3 primary and 1 extended.

Be careful because you can create disk divisions that overlap or are viewed as corrupt by a OS depending on the tools you are using to do this.

I believe the word is contiguous btw.

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#4
December 9, 2010 at 07:10:32

hi wanderer,

I am being a bit pedantic here, but I think you meant "You can't make 5 primary partitions"?

Extended Partitions can have multiple logical partitions and I believe the OP has a mixture of both as he has ended up with unallocated space (primary deleted) and free space (logical deleted).

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When everything else fails, read the instructions.


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#5
December 9, 2010 at 07:17:14

Fingers has accurately stated
"but I do not believe that disk manager can move or 'slide' a partition the way some tools can"

If you need to do this you will need to use a third party tool like EASEUS Partition Master for which I have provided you a link in post # 1
You can find more here:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/con...

Once again BACKUP your valuable data before you start.

___________________________________________
When everything else fails, read the instructions.


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#6
December 9, 2010 at 10:54:31

A bit of symantecs but an extended partition has logical drives not partitions. The extended is the partition. This is one of the reasons you can't boot a logical.

"sliding" a partition or other operations is exactly what I am warning against since it will lead to disaster.

It would appear the free is space in the extended and raw was a primary. You need to remove the extended partition completely.

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#7
December 9, 2010 at 12:06:15

wanderer et al,

A bit of symantecs... - Agreed, we (or I) should use the correct terminology.

why would "sliding" (moving) a partition lead to disaster?
I have done this many times with no adverse results. Was I just lucky?

If the OP removes the extended partition completely then he will loose any data he has in his other logical drives.
Why do you think this is necessary?
What underlying technical reason is there that will prevent third party utilities that have the capability of resizing and moving partitions and/or logical drives (and their data) from working correctly?

Is there something here that I am not aware of?

I admit that if there was a power failure or similar glitch in the middle of resizing / moving then there would be significant problems.

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#8
December 9, 2010 at 13:21:44

Years ago I used to work for Symantec and the Norton Utilities queue. We handle a lot of diskedit issues where users in their great wisdom would do amazing things under the hood of partitioning.

When you have two partitions not contiguous you can make a link from one to another. Kinda like a volume set. If that link becomes corrupt, and they do, you lose access to both. It like trying to read a file with no end of file marker. You can't

Hopefully if the OP has data on a logicial in the extended he is smart enough to move it first.

Reason for the recommendation is you can't combine free with raw space.

Another example is the use of third party software to "shrink" a partition so you can then expand the OS partition into. There are tons of posts on the catastrophic results. This is why I recommend remove all data, set the partition as raw and then expand. Never have had a failure doing it this way.

Of course none of this is nessasary is you do your partition/volume planning in advance.

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#9
December 9, 2010 at 14:18:15

Ah, now I understand where you are coming from.

My recommendation is not to do any linking of that kind but to do the operation in several stages.

Stage 1:
Using a third party utility, resize and shrink the Extended partition to turn the free space into unallocated (raw) space.

Stage 2:
Using a third party utility, move the shrunk Extended partition and, if necessary, any primary partitions such that the two unallocated (raw) spaces become contiguous and hence merge into a single unallocated (raw) space.

So in essence you end up combining unallocated (raw) space and NOT unallocated (raw) and free space.

Obviously this is not doable in Windows 7 as has already been indicated by Fingers. However, it is doable with the third party utilities I have identified.

Another point is that it does not appear that the OP wants to make any changes to his OS partition. If he was going to do that then your advice of set the unwanted partition as raw then use Windows 7 to expand the OS partition is spot on and is the only recommended way of doing it.

Your last point is moot as the deed is already done. The OP can however, have a second look and if necessary re-plan his layout more thoughtfully this time as he is going through this pain now anyway.

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#10
December 9, 2010 at 18:58:13

That's how I learned, by the pain or doh!. :-)

I have found it easier and less time to just start fresh. End results, for me, were more stable.

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#11
December 10, 2010 at 05:26:41

If space is getting tight, add an entire new drive, partition that one (2 or 3 partitions) and move much of the data over, then delete much of the mess on the original drive (except OS partition) and reorganize/repartition the primary drive (2 or 3 partitions) as above for more room and less problems in the long term. Maybe $40.00 to $50.00 complete with another 500GB drive. ((I am just taking everyone's suggestions and adding a new twist.))

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
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#12
December 10, 2010 at 06:42:41

The point made by Fingers is worth considering.

This way (with a little outlay) you would have an external USB based hard drive which will allow you to store some data off-line while you are re-organising the partitioning and geometry of the main laptop hard drive. This will certainly de-risk the partitioning exercise.

Once you have completed the exercise you have additional off-line storage space which always comes in handy.

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