Steps to image, reformat and reinstall image

Dell Dimension® 4300s series,pentium®...
March 10, 2010 at 10:30:51
Specs: Windows XP
I have an old 40GB Dell that I partitioned several years ago into two 20GB partitions. Now that I want to enlarge C to the full 40 GB again, I can't. The partition program (Partition Manager) sees the two as separate drives. Fine.
I don't want to have to reinstall everything, so I will image C and store it on an external HD while reformatting, then 'simply' (using term lightly) place the image back onto C once the formatting is complete. Sounds easy, but I'm a bit nervous about doing this.

Q: Should I direct-connect my laptop to the machine being reformatted and conduct all of this from there? Can I do this across my network? Or should I create a bootable CD and perform the operation that way?

Q: Does anyone have relatively-exact steps to take to do this as painless as possible?


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March 10, 2010 at 11:42:38
Sounds more like you set a drive jumper to divide the drive which is why its seen as two drives. You need to correct this first if this is the case.

You missed a step. You have to remove all partitions [now I am assuming you have two partitions not a divided drive], to then create a single partition.

You do not format before restoring a image.

You will need to expand the image to the size of the single partition or you will restore to same size as before.

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March 10, 2010 at 12:35:32
I didn't set a drive jumper unless you can do that accidently with Partition Magic. Back in around '01 I used PMagic to partition the drive - or at least that's what I thought I was doing. However, now I can't get the two back together. They're both being seen as basic logical drives - by both PMagic and PManager.

So, how do I get them back together? Is there another program that would view the partitions differently?

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March 10, 2010 at 13:08:23
This may not be needed. You can use the second partition as a folder on C: if you want. There would be little to gain I'd think for all your work anyway.

Why do you want to do this?

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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March 10, 2010 at 14:14:32
Because I need the full 40 GB. I'm outta room.

aaacckk! Now I can't boot the computer at all. I opened Partition Magic to check a few pieces of info to give to you all, and it said it needed to do something (I didn't write it down) to the second partition or whatever. I said ok - big mistake!

Now the system gets hung up on startup at the point of loading the agp440.sys driver! I even tried booting from the XP cd and it still hangs up.

I'm really at a loss right now. Any suggestions?

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March 10, 2010 at 15:59:48
Get a live cd like barts and add in ntbackup and maybe unstoppable copier. Save as much as you can off to a usb hard drive then try to recover what you can.

Might be time for a clean install anyway. Install xp and add in service packs from pre-downoaded file. Then add in applications starting with antivirus.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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March 10, 2010 at 16:08:35
What did you use the 2nd 20GB partition for?

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March 10, 2010 at 16:08:42
40gig and 2001. Drive is 10yrs old. I am surprised it is even working.

Highly recommend you get a new drive if doing a new install.

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March 10, 2010 at 17:01:32
So how about DBAN or similar to wipe it all down and reinstall. Will that put my partitions back together?

It's been a solid little workhorse for a long time. No HD issues. Just my mucking around with it causes stuff. lol. Otherwise, a very stable machine.

I used the second partition as storage only.

Now, I have the unit dedicated to my plasma so I can switch over and run the internet on my tv. Awesome! It's just that I need to open up and use the whole drive for mostly software now. I have an external drive for storage and a couple of laptops for other stuff.

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March 10, 2010 at 18:07:06
How important is your time and data? A ten year old drive can die at any second. Personally I would not spend the time on it.

Your xp install can wipe, repartition and format the drive during install. You need no other utilities.

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March 11, 2010 at 10:21:55

RE: time -
it's there, I'm there, that's fine. I can multitask.

RE: data -
I didn't want to have to reinstall everything, but will if I must.

RE: getting old -
My HD and I are in denial. We're both running smooth and won't go without a fight. Possible new mantra: "If I'd left it alone it would still be humming along". :)

RE: XP install -
That would be great if I could launch from the CD. As I mentioned earlier, it is now hung on something.
Also, in your first post, you indicated that reinstalling XP wouldn't get rid of the partitions. Remember, they're being viewed as logic drives, not soft partitions.

MAIN ISSUE (different than original post):
No matter how or what I use to start up with, it hangs - even using the XP Installer CD.
PManager Recovery CD hangs up at "Universal File System Driver Initializing". I let it run over 15 hours just to be sure - no change.

I think I (stupidly) allowed PMagic to move space around in the second partition as it instructed.

I read that, if you can Ctrl-Alt-Del to shut down, it's not fully locked up. This works ONLY when booting from the PMgr Recovery CD - not from XP installer CD or from regular startup in safe mode.


Q: Is there a work around to get the drive booted all the way up so I can move forward?

Q: Can/should I use DBAN or similar to wipe the drive and would this put my partitions back together?

Q: Is there another option (besides buying a new one, of course)?

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March 11, 2010 at 14:02:07
Boot to a live cd or usb to access data if the drive works.

You can not always just plop the two back into one. As I said before you can change D so that it is a folder on C: You will not gain any space from this task. You still have a 40G drive no matter how you slice it.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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March 12, 2010 at 09:15:46
Thanks to all for your responses.

I was able to gain access by disconnecting the ribbon from the HD before booting from the Partition Manager Restore CD, then reconnected once boot was complete.

I then used PMgr to perform all the tasks I needed and now successfully have a complete 40GB hard drive instead of one with two 20GB partitions.

Case Closed.

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