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Is it possible to remove a hard drive partition? If yes, how?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 31, 2008 1:40 PM PST
Question

When I originally set up my new computer four years ago, I mistakenly partitioned the C drive too small. Now, after collecting many files, the C drive is more than 90 percent full, making it difficult to operate. I would like to remove the partition and use the entire hard drive as the C drive, giving 80GB total. The computer has a second hard drive I use for storage of 250GB. How do I remove the partition and still keep everything intact? What are my options? Thanks so much for your help. I am a retiree working with genealogy and family history. I'm running Windows XP. Thank you!

Submitted by Richard J.


Answer voted most helpful by our community newsletter readers:

Here's how to do it .....


What you want to do may be easy or may be just about impossible, depending on how you have used the 2nd partition on your first hard drive.

First, here?s a procedure for doing what you want; it?s not difficult. The question, which I will address separately below, is what the implications of doing this will be. CAUTION: Be sure that you understand this procedure and what each step does and why. Your system may differ from what I assumed based on the information you supplied (which is, in at least some respects, incomplete), and if you just follow the steps blindly, without understanding what they do and why, you MIGHT destroy things that you want to keep. I strongly suggest that before you do any of this, that you back up EVERYTHING in both partitions on your 80GB drive.

For the sake of argument, I will assume the following drive assignments:

Drive C: is a primary partition on your 1st (80GB) drive.

Drive D: is either another primary partition on your 1st drive or a logical drive within an extended partition on the 1st drive (it almost doesn?t matter).

Drive E: is your second (250GB) drive.

Before starting, verify that you have enough free space on Drive E: to hold the contents of Drive D: (the partition that you are going to eliminate)

Step 1: Create a folder on Drive E: called Drive_D (e.g. E:\Drive_D\).

Step 2: Copy all of the contents of Drive D into the folder you just created on Drive E: Verify that you have EVERYTHING; the number and sizes of files and folders in the folder on Drive E and Drive D should match.

Step 3: Using either a 3rd party partition utility (see below) or Disk Management (part of the Computer Management utility that comes with Windows), delete partition (or logical drive) D and, if present, the extended partition containing it.

Step 4: Using a 3rd party partition utility, expand Drive C: to include the space freed up when Drive D: was eliminated. The two recommended utilities for doing this would by Partition Magic (Symantec/Norton), or Disk Director Suite (Acronis). There are some other products that may be able to do this, but these are the two that I would recommend. It is not possible to do this with only components of Windows, you will need a 3rd party product of some sort.

Step 5: Copy the entire contents of the folder you created on Drive E: (e.g. the folder E:\Drive_D\) back to (the now larger) drive C:

Some versions of some 3rd party products may be able to combine all of these steps in a single operation of combining partitions. Either way, actually doing this isn?t difficult.

Of more concern, and really more complexity, is the implications of doing this.

In doing this procedure, you will have moved the files that were originally on Drive D: to Drive C:.

In general, installed PROGRAMS can?t be moved and probably won?t work (either at all or correctly) after the move if you do move them. However, most people don?t have programs installed on drives other than C: (specifically, in C:\Program Files). If you do have programs installed on D:, the best procedure is probably to remove them before doing any of this, and then reinstall them after the move (you will need your original program disks). However, you may lose settings and customizations that you have made. In some cases, programs installed on D: may have valuable, even irreplaceable data in their program folders on D: also. For this reason, if you are going to do this, make a complete backup of D: before doing ANYTHING.

While data is less problematic than programs, there is a chance that moving data files from D: to C: will cause problems with some programs that think that they know where some data files are located. There is very little guidance that I can give you on this subject because it is so highly program specific. This isn?t likely to be a major problem but it does have the potential to be with some (fortunately few) programs.

I hope that this helps you out.

Barry Watzman

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=282219&messageID=2694643#2694643

If you have any addition advice or solution for Richard please click on the reply link and post your answer. Please be detailed as possible in your answer and when appropriate please provide links for reference if recommending a product. Thank you!
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Repartitioning a hard drive...
by John.Wilkinson / January 31, 2008 2:39 PM PST

Richard,

It's not possible to unpartition a hard drive, per se, as it's not a reversable task. Instead, you can repartition your hard drive by creating, merging, and/or shrinking partitions as needed to achieve the desired configuration. Windows XP includes Disk Management, which has the ability to perform such actions, but its restricted when it comes to adjusting the C: drive. Thus, most turn to third-party partitioning software such as Acronis Disk Director Suite ($50), Symantec PartitionMagic ($70), or Paragon Partition Manager ($40). I prefer Acronis, but they are all more than capable, offering an easy-to-use wizard that youcan run from within Windows. The process usually takes less than an hour and requires a single restart. Alternatively, GParted is a free option from the Linux community that you can burn to CD and boot to. (Download the LiveCD.) It's not quite as easy to use but it's fully capable and perfect for those on a budget. Directions for using each of the programs can be found on their respective websites as well as packaged with the download.

Hope this helps,
John

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I agree, but...
by mbalassi / February 1, 2008 11:14 PM PST
http://www.acronis.com/
I think John is offering very sound advice, however I have a great deal of experience in repairing these sort of typical mistakes made by the above average computer user. (partitioning hard drives and installing O.S.s is definitely advanced computing!)
I believe a much safer method to get you back up and running would be rather than changing the partition to instead use a backup and restore solution such as acronis true image. It's relatively inexpensive, and would be of much use to you in the future, as a back-up solution (an essential tool for any advanced computer user, and one often overlooked!)
What I would do is use acronis true image to back up your entire c partition to your 250 GB drive, test the back-up, then restore that backup to your 80 GB drive. doing so will automatically reformat the drive and give you the option of using the entire drive as the partition size ( of course, you'll have to take care to move any files that are stored on the other partition or partitions currently on your 80 GB drive, as they will be destoyed when you reformat the drive!)
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Repartitioning a hard drive
by peter.k1 / February 4, 2008 3:03 AM PST

I use Partition Magic for this procedure. It is simple to use and has a good description of the technical aspects of partitions that should be understood prior to making any changes.

Partition Magic allows you to set up a group of procedures that are all actioned with one instruction to implement the changes. However, past experience causes me to do each part of a group procedure as an individual change as grouped changes have, in the past, caused data problems. I have never had a problem taking each change in turn; one after another.

You do not say how many partitions you have on the hard drive and how much space is available. You can only gain space for the C partition if there is available space somewhere on the hard drive otherwise you will have to move files to another hard drive. Also some programs that automatically install on the C partition can be uninstalled and reinstalled on another partition to free up space.

If you have more than two partitions on one hard drive and the only available space is two partitions away from the C partition you should move free space from the farthest partition to the one adjacent to the C partition and then, in another action, from there to the C partition. Attempting anything other than this can cause problems.

Back up before doing anything with partitions and do not rely on Windows Restore Points because they will not work on any partition that has been changed.

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Repartitoning or resizing a hard drive
by msi4mfr / February 9, 2008 3:01 PM PST

I'm going to try and answer both issues.

The products I have used over the years are Partition Magic and Drive Copy. I've had very few problems with either but they require some understanding of the hardware and OS (Operating System) to be used properly.

PowerQuest created these products and I guess Norton bought them out. The methods mentioned will likely work if caution is used and a backup is made prior to any changes being made to your hardware. Keep in mind that XP and Vista are sensitive to hardware changes, such as replacement of the original disk drive, and may require that you reactivate your OS. Repartitioning won't invoke this but a copy of the drive to a larger drive may. It's not a big issue but may require chatting with a Microsoft rep on the phone before it's completed.

DriveCopy 4.0 works well for copying an entire drive or any one of its partitions to another and expanding them to occupy the entire drive, if needed. This means you could take a 20/60G drive and copy the 20G partition to an 80G drive, expanding it to the full 80GB.

If the 2nd partition has programs installed, it is best to get a much larger drive and copy both partitions, expanding both and preserving the registry links to the 2nd partition. Otherwise, you'll be uninstalling and reinstalling the programs should you decide to copy D: to C:. The frustration and time involved are not worth it.

So, the long and short of it is to buy a bigger drive, invest in the utilities and make your life easier. Partition Magic can resize or remove just about any partition. DriveCopy can copy almost any OS, as long as the partitions are undamaged. As I said, I've used both products for many years and have been successfully salvaging otherwise wasted hard drives and partitions.

BTW - working at the base level of a hard drive is a very dangerous task, one that should not be taken lightly. It was suggested that removing partitions is impossible (I disagree) and that merging and resizing are do-able when my experience says these actions are troublesome, at best, and many times not possible. Buy the utilities and save the headaches.

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repartition 80 GB drive
by ronbuszta / February 1, 2008 8:11 AM PST

If the drive is a Maxtor (or Seagate, I believe) you can download MaxBlast5 from the website.

If it is a Western Digital, I think that Western Digital Lifeguard Tools will do the job.

PCI Clone will do it at the DOS level. You create a 3.5 inch bootable disk by their instructions and then shutdown and with the disk in the drive, you reboot.

However, the 250 snould be blank because the software does an exact copy BUT the rest of the 250 data is gone. It does byte for byte and not partition to partition.

I ran into this problem and bought a second 80GB Western Digital for $38 off their website. I took out my 250 and had the old 80 (Maxtor) at the end of the cable and the new one in the other 25 pin cable connector. Both were set to "cable select".

Then I used PCI Clone Maxx to copy the old 80 data to the new one.

Hope this helps.

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Here's how to do it .....
by Watzman / February 1, 2008 8:30 AM PST

What you want to do may be easy or may be just about impossible, depending on how you have used the 2nd partition on your first hard drive.

First, here?s a procedure for doing what you want; it?s not difficult. The question, which I will address separately below, is what the implications of doing this will be. CAUTION: Be sure that you understand this procedure and what each step does and why. Your system may differ from what I assumed based on the information you supplied (which is, in at least some respects, incomplete), and if you just follow the steps blindly, without understanding what they do and why, you MIGHT destroy things that you want to keep. I strongly suggest that before you do any of this, that you back up EVERYTHING in both partitions on your 80GB drive.

For the sake of argument, I will assume the following drive assignments:

Drive C: is a primary partition on your 1st (80GB) drive.

Drive D: is either another primary partition on your 1st drive or a logical drive within an extended partition on the 1st drive (it almost doesn?t matter).

Drive E: is your second (250GB) drive.

Before starting, verify that you have enough free space on Drive E: to hold the contents of Drive D: (the partition that you are going to eliminate)

Step 1: Create a folder on Drive E: called Drive_D (e.g. E:\Drive_D\).

Step 2: Copy all of the contents of Drive D into the folder you just created on Drive E: Verify that you have EVERYTHING; the number and sizes of files and folders in the folder on Drive E and Drive D should match.

Step 3: Using either a 3rd party partition utility (see below) or Disk Management (part of the Computer Management utility that comes with Windows), delete partition (or logical drive) D and, if present, the extended partition containing it.

Step 4: Using a 3rd party partition utility, expand Drive C: to include the space freed up when Drive D: was eliminated. The two recommended utilities for doing this would by Partition Magic (Symantec/Norton), or Disk Director Suite (Acronis). There are some other products that may be able to do this, but these are the two that I would recommend. It is not possible to do this with only components of Windows, you will need a 3rd party product of some sort.

Step 5: Copy the entire contents of the folder you created on Drive E: (e.g. the folder E:\Drive_D\) back to (the now larger) drive C:

Some versions of some 3rd party products may be able to combine all of these steps in a single operation of combining partitions. Either way, actually doing this isn?t difficult.

Of more concern, and really more complexity, is the implications of doing this.

In doing this procedure, you will have moved the files that were originally on Drive D: to Drive C:.

In general, installed PROGRAMS can?t be moved and probably won?t work (either at all or correctly) after the move if you do move them. However, most people don?t have programs installed on drives other than C: (specifically, in C:\Program Files). If you do have programs installed on D:, the best procedure is probably to remove them before doing any of this, and then reinstall them after the move (you will need your original program disks). However, you may lose settings and customizations that you have made. In some cases, programs installed on D: may have valuable, even irreplaceable data in their program folders on D: also. For this reason, if you are going to do this, make a complete backup of D: before doing ANYTHING.

While data is less problematic than programs, there is a chance that moving data files from D: to C: will cause problems with some programs that think that they know where some data files are located. There is very little guidance that I can give you on this subject because it is so highly program specific. This isn?t likely to be a major problem but it does have the potential to be with some (fortunately few) programs.

I hope that this helps you out.

Barry Watzman
Watzman@neo.rr.com

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can I delete my 'D' drive?
by tizzanne / February 1, 2008 12:15 PM PST

Hi Barry,

I have read this thread with great interest because I am confused about one of the drives on my laptop. When I first bought the laptop, it already had the hard drive partitioned into 'C' and 'D' drives, 'D' drive being a logical drive. I remember asking a forum at the time how I used the 'D' drive because I didn't know (techno-dummy, still don't know after 4 years). When I had tried to use it I got some strange message saying I can't remember what exactly, but essentially that I couldn't use it as I had tried. Anyway, I got a lot of rubbish answers from the forum and ultimately left it ('D' drive) alone. It has sat unused since I bought the thing, a whole 17GB wasted.

Now, I find that I am running short of space on my 'C' drive and the space the 'D' drive takes up could be better used by changing or merging it with the 'C' drive. The problem there is I am totally unsure of if it can, and if it can, how do I do it. Is it as simple as deleting the the drive through computer management? A right click on the drive in computer management has that option in the dropdown menu. As there is nothing on it, I don't have to worry about losing data or anything, but it seems a bit too simple for that to be the answer. If I do simply delete the drive, will its volume automatically go to the 'C' drive volume? And also, if it turns out that I do something wrong (quite likely knowing me), will restoring back a bit put the drive back and fix any problems I might have caused by deleting the drive in the first place?

I can provide more info on my computer if you need it to advise me, just let me know what you need. I am running an Acer Extensa 2303LC, Celeron M 340 processor, 40Gb HDD, 756Mb DDR, Windows XP Home and IE7.

Looking forward to your help,

Tizzanne

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Unpartition that D drive - make sure of your facts first
by kLevkoff / February 1, 2008 12:53 PM PST

I think you should do a bit more research before doing anything drastic. From the way you describe the situation you can "see" the D: drive but not read it or write to it. I suspect that it may really not be empty. Here's why.... First, there's no specific reason why the manufacturer would have been forced to split up the drive unless they wanted to - so they probably had a reason. Of course it is possible that it was just an error or some limitation of how the machine was initially set up. If the extra space had simply been unpartitioned, you wouldn't have had an opportunity to even try to "use it". Second, many vendors include a feature where, if something goes drastically wrong, you can easily reinstall Windows and the applications that came with the machine from a "recovery image". Most commonly, this recovery image is stored on a separate partition - and sometimes the software somehow protects that partition from being tampered with or damaged. This could be what you have - and could be why you got that strange message when you tried to access it. You could ask the vendor if your machine has a "recovery partition" or check your documentation.

Even if it is a recovery partition, you CAN destroy it and reclaim the space - but you might not want to. If it is being "protected" by some sort of recovery software you may be prevented from removing it by normal methods. If so, attempting to merge it with the C: partition using something like Partition Magic also may produce odd results - such as large files that you cannot delete - or may not work at allk. Unfortunately, if you try to change the partition structure and the process fails, you might end up having to completely wipe the drive and repartition and reformat it to get things running again.......

If there's nothing odd going on, any of the excellent products mentioned should work (Partition Magic, Acronis, etc). Simply deleting the drive will NOT do anything except returning the space it occupies to being "unpartitioned" - it will not be automatically absorbed into the C: drive. Most of the simple "computer management" utilities I've seen would then be able to make a new D: drive using that space, which you would be able to use, but they would not be able to add that space into the C: drive.... The reason why those cool utilities exist is to allow you to do things like combine partitions. The old fashioned way would require you to delete both the C: and D: partitions, then make a new, bigger C: partition - and reinstall or restore everything onto it. The utilities can do it without forcing you to reinstall.

You DEFINITELY want a backup of your entire disk before beginning this project. That way, no matter what happens, you can always do it the old fashioned way.....

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The D: drive...
by John.Wilkinson / February 1, 2008 12:56 PM PST

Most likely the D: drive contained a copy of your copy of Windows. Computer manufacturers have been, for the past several years, opting to save it there and let you burn your own copy instead of including system recovery CDs with the computer to save money. You can click here for more information, including instructions on how to burn a set of recovery CDs. With those CDs in hand you can delete that partition, which is not actually empty.

-> No, the space will not automatically revert to C:. If you delete the partition it will become "unallocated" (temporarily unusable) space, or if you reformat it the D: drive will remain, but available for file storage and normal use. If you delete the partition you can then create a new D: drive out of that unallocated space and use it as you wish.

-> No, System Restore and the like will not undo such operations. Unless you have a full backup of your hard drive there is no undo option, so double-check what you've chosen before finalizing your request.

John

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Consider this option
by mbalassi / February 1, 2008 11:50 PM PST
In reply to: The D: drive...

I think John has hit the nail on the head in regards to your D drive.
What I would ask you to consider is the fact that you have been using this computer for over three years and probably have a lot of important data and hard work that you don't want to lose.
If you are, in fact, maxing out your c drive (less than 10% free space) I would recomend upgrading to a larger hard drive as the best solution to your dilema. If, as you say, you are not technically inclined ( nothing to be ashamed of, I have great respect for computer users, or "end users" as you are the reason people like myself are needed)a hard drive replacement is a relatively painless process that any reputable computer service can handle. And it would be a permanent fix to your problem, rather than a mere stop-gap.
It's my professional opinion that a hard disk drive ought to be replaced after 3 years anyway in order to safeguard your data, and your computer works much more efficiently, as well as reliably when you have plenty of free space. So, if you're maxing out a 40 GB drive you ought to consider no less than an 80 GB drive.
I hope this advice is useful to you, and I applaud you for seeking help with this BEFORE you are actually having real problems that render your computer unusable. Preventive maintenance is ALWAYS cheaper and more effective than repairing a computer.

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Lenovo D drive
by Jim F / February 8, 2008 12:39 PM PST
In reply to: Consider this option

I purchased a Lenovo desktop and found that the D drive is the primary drive. Have you heard of this practice among manufacturers? This is the first time I have seen the Program files and all active files in anything but the C drive. Could this be a mistake?

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Lenovo D drive
by r.colclasure / February 8, 2008 12:55 PM PST
In reply to: Lenovo D drive

You can use D has your start dr some what confusing after using C for so long

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One Reason for the D Drive Partition
by markrbb75 / February 9, 2008 8:07 AM PST
In reply to: The D: drive...

I bought a Sony Vaio laptop new in 2004. It has an 80G hardrive. Due to the fact that I ordered video editing programs from Sony, they partitioned the drives with 20G on the C Drive and 60G on the D Drive in order to allow me to "capture" video.
I have never used this and now find myself in the same boat with my C Drive nearly full. I can't even defrag it.
As for myself, I am looking into installing a 160G Hardrive (which, I'm told, is the largest I can get for my laptop).
I just thought I'd throw my hat into the ring.

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Move My Documents from C to D
by lucky76 / February 9, 2008 10:40 AM PST

You can move My Documents from Drive C to Drive D to create some space on C by simply right clicking on My Documents and tell it to move to Drive D:\
Simple as that.

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My Docs
by markrbb75 / February 9, 2008 8:31 PM PST

Thanks for the good advice, but I have already done that. In fact, I don't save anything to my C Drive. To my knowledge, only my program files (and the things I don't know about) are on my C Drive.
If I do have a 160G HD installed:
1)How do I go about saving my current program files?
2)Can I save them to a DVD (I have a burner)?
I'm just afraid I'll do something that will mess up my laptop and when I do reinstall the programs, that necessary stuff will be missing that would normally enable my programs to run smothly (or even at all).

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Replacing a laptop hard drive...
by John.Wilkinson / February 11, 2008 2:28 AM PST
In reply to: My Docs

The easiest way would be to purchase a 2.5" external hard drive enclosure and place your new hard drive in it. You can then run the new HD manufacturer's software to clone your old drive to the new one, so all of your programs, files, etc are just as they were. Upon completion you can swap the old and new hard drives, verifying the new contains everything it should. From then on you can use your old hard drive, in the external enclosure, either for additional storage or a personal backup in case your laptop ever goes south.

Hope this helps,
John

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I have a Sony Vaio, too!
by serenamcca / February 13, 2008 1:26 AM PST

So glad I found this discussion, because I have a Sony Vaio, too, purchased in 2005, with a partitioned HD. Like someone previously said, 20G on C drive and 60G on D drive. I have been using the D: to download programs and such, as well as store thousuands of pictures. But I still get the error message on my C: side that I am running out of space. I can't defrag, either.

I bought a 500G external hard drive. Would I be able to use this external hard drive to move the contents of the D: to it, then delete the D: (i.e. following the intructions from the original post)??

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Drive D: Issue
by mercerik / February 13, 2008 2:40 AM PST

The D: Drive is created for the purpose of Sytem Restore or System Recovery. You can move most of your hard drive space to C: Drive and leave about 10GB on the D: for that purpose. You don't need any 3rd party software to perform this task. You have to do a System Recovery which is the F10 key in most computers running Windows XP. You will have to move or back-up your files to your external hard drive. Turn off your computer. Disconnect all your peripheral devices from the PC except for the monitor, keyboard and mouse. Unplug your external hard drive. You don't want that plug-in when you perform the System Recovery. Turn-on your computer. When the blue screen comes-up, press the F10 key before the normal startup process continues. the PC starts the recovery; wait for the onscreen instructions to display, then follow those instructions. You have to pick the Advance Option to go to the partition to move hard drive space to C:. It is very easy, just follow the instructions from there. When done, turn off the PC, reconnect all the peripheral devices, external hard drive, etc. and turn on your PC. If you want to read more on this, please refer to your PC Troubleshooting Guide.

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Can you delete you D: drive?
by Watzman / February 8, 2008 8:46 AM PST

Can you delete your D: drive? Certainly you CAN, but perhaps you should not. MANY computer manufacturers create a "restore" partition on the hard drive, and this partition is essential if you ever need to reinstall Windows. It may also be necessary for service. I think that there is a good chance that this is what the D: partition is, although without examining the computer I can't be sure. If so, while you could delete it, I would advise against it.

[Note: On many systems the restore partition has the ability to burn a set of Restore CDs (or, today, DVDs) that can perform the same function as the partition. If that was the case and you burned such media, then it would be safer ... if not entirely safe ... to delete the partition itself.]

The real key here is that you don't delete something until you understand it, because if you don't understand it, there is no way to even ascertain whether or not you need it's contents.

One other note: In today's world, 17GB is not a huge amount of space. If you are looking at deleting a 17GB restore partition to get more space, it might be time to instead look at a larger hard drive. I have been seeing 160GB 2.5" drives under $100 (like $89) and Best Buy had a 250GB WD 2.5" drive on sale a few weeks ago for $129. Sometimes the best solution to a space problem truly is to just get a larger drive.

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Can you delete you D: drive?
by r.colclasure / February 8, 2008 1:18 PM PST

make sure you save files you want to keep some were other than D:\
if you have older OS like Win98 you will need to find a file called "Fdisk.exe" this is Windows partision program before Windows stoped using Dos you can also find it on the net as a download
go to Dos prompt run Fdisk remove 2
1 is the start dr

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D-drive
by r.colclasure / February 8, 2008 11:07 AM PST

Hi
Tizzanne

Not sure if you can read D-drive or not, I have a desk top Xp formated in the new ntfs when I copyed files from this Pc to use in another Pc Formated in fat 32 all the files were not viewable so your D-drive may have both ntfs and fat32 or fat64 reformating your D-drive to one of fat partisions may be the way to go.

RR

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If you can't beat it, use it.
by JoMilton / February 9, 2008 6:43 AM PST
In reply to: D-drive

My laptop has a sad little 30gb partioned hard drive. 20/10. After a couple of years I decided to use the empty d drive to install a computer game and expansions. I'm a Sim player. I believe that if my C drive gets messed up and needs reformatting my Sims might survive intact on the d drive, so for me I found a use for the thing. I do back up the game to disk though, just in case. So C drive for me is for business and D drive is for leisure pursuits. As I have a set of recovery disks provided with the lap top I don't think my d drive was concealing the all important recovery files.

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Tizzanne...the "Mystery" D drive on your laptop
by MikeNSC / February 8, 2008 11:54 AM PST

Could that D drive on your laptop be a recovery partition?

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xxxxxxxxxxx
by SteadyEddienyc / February 8, 2008 11:02 PM PST

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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re: can I delete my D drive...
by darrenforster99 / February 8, 2008 4:34 PM PST

The answer to this one on a laptop is be very careful if you do. Firstly make sure you have a copy of either a Windows XP disc (the same version that came with the laptop) or get the laptop to create it's own system recovery discs. Some laptops when creating the system recovery discs will ask you then whether or not you want to keep the originals on the laptop or free up space. If you want to use this partition you should choose the free up space option (note: not all laptops ask this, which if it doesn't then you will need to use a disk management system to wipe the D drive and set it up as an NTFS drive).

I've had this with a few laptops and the way I've rectified this problem is to use an original Windows XP disc (from my desktop computer) to totally wipe the entire hard disk (both partitions) and then re-install Windows XP, (just ensure you get the drivers for your laptop before doing this and backup anything you don't want to lose).

I found this to be a really good method as it totally cleaned my laptop up and removed all the extra rubbish that Compaq added to it like Norton Antivirus (I prefer NOD32 as it uses less resources and it will uninstall when you tell it to!), and Compaq's Wireless management software, and "HP Help Centre" and HP Imaging.

It means I can start a fresh with only Windows installed and add my own tools instead of being dictated to by Compaq (also the computers speed went through the roof!).

The only bad thing with going down this route is that you need a genuine copy of Windows XP (whichever version is on the laptop - Home, Pro or MCE), don't try and download it from P2P as most of these are hacked versions and just wont work with genuine XP numbers. Also you need to know your Windows XP serial number, this is easy to find as it should be on a sticker attached to the laptop (usually at the bottom), or if the laptop manufacturer has been feeling really lazy in the documentation, although Microsoft rules clearly tell the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to attach the sticker to the computer - if it's not attached attach it so you don't lose it and as proof that the XP is licenced on the laptop. If you don't have a sticker contact Acer as the copy of XP on the laptop is most probably not genuine.

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one more thing I forgot to mention...
by darrenforster99 / February 8, 2008 4:53 PM PST

...The reason you can't write to the drive is that it's not in a standard format. Normally hard drive partitions are either NTFS or FAT32 (there are also Linux formats but lets not go there!) (NTFS should normally always be used over FAT32, except in very, very special situations, but that's going too techie). However Windows has other "special formats", one being the recovery format, this is similar to FAT32, but Windows knows it's a "recovery" drive and is programmed to not allow you to mess with it (it also hides all the contents so it appears empty). It's designed in this way to keep things simple for the basic user (although it can also baffle the simple user when they see an empty drive with nothing in it that they can't use!). It's similar to the way the protection works when you go into the Windows or Program Files folder on C drive and you get the blue screen that hides all the files to stop the basic user doing any serious damage to the system.

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NTFS vs. Fat32
by Les Girouard / February 18, 2008 7:26 AM PST

You've hit on a subject I've been trying to get an answer to for a long time. I have an old PC laptop with only a 20G hard drive. It originally came with Windows Me which I upgraded to XP Home Edition. When I later got a 260G external hard drive, I learned there were such things as NTFS and FAT32. Both my internal and external hard drives are currently formatted for FAT32. I have read that XP works better with NTFS. I know that I can change the format to NTSF, but that this is an irreversable process. Before I do this, I would like to know if it will indeed improve the performance of my computer and if it is going to cause any problems. Will my programs and drivers still work? Will I have any problems reading files that were saved to disc while my computer was formatted for FAT32? I still have a lot of files saved on floppy disc. I also have a D drive, but this is a CDR/DVD drive and I don't understand any of the talk in any of the answers about this drive. Hopefully, this is not relavant to my question. As you can probably tell from my wording I am not a techie, so simple layman's English would be appreciated. Thanks.

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NTFS vs FAT32
by darrenforster99 / April 25, 2008 4:47 AM PDT
In reply to: NTFS vs. Fat32

Yes your drive will indeed work a lot better in NTFS format than in FAT32. One of the major differences is the way NTFS stores files, it stores files in such a way that it doesn't need fragmenting as much. It also stores the files in smaller blocks on the HDD meaning you actually end up with much more room on the drive without splitting the partitions and less wasted room. This smaller block thing is kind of technical what happens on a HDD is that you have numerous "blocks" or "pigeon holes" for the data, each "pigeon hole" is a percentage of the HDD size and as it's a percentage the larger the HDD size the larger the pigeon hole, so years ago if you had a 2Gb HDD each block would have probably been about 200kb, however with a 20Gb HDD that has now increased to 2,000Kb (just short of 2Mb (1Mb = 1024Kb) per block), now this is where the severe wastage comes in, say you have a file that is 2mb it will actually take up 4000Kb of your hard drive space - 2 blocks (first block is full the second block has the remaining 48Kb in it so you are wasting a whopping 1952Kb!!!), of course this problem gets worse on an even bigger hard drive (like a 260Gb HDD) as the blocks are massive. However NTFS doesn't store data on the block method (this was one of the main reasons NTFS was created to solve the problem of large hard drives having too large block sizes on some of the new massive hard disks). Also one other advantage over NTFS is the ability to set various permissions on folders to prevent everyone from accessing them. Of course most of these features of NTFS were already available on the Unix/Linux file systems

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reply to tizzanne
by yangontha / February 8, 2008 7:47 PM PST

Hi,

I am using a few Acer notebooks in my office and usually D: drive can be used as a data storage. If you have Acer Service Center nearby, you should complain to them. But since it is already four years, I don't know what to say.

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Could /D be a recovery partition
by P0tZ / February 8, 2008 10:05 PM PST

I once bought a retail bundled PC and with it came c drive and D crive, which was just a partition of C. The reason for this is they did not supply retail XP recovery discs with the system, so if the PC crashes the PC is able to re-write windows from the partition with no OS discs. If you recieved retial OS recovery discs with ur laptop, then D drive is probably not being used in this way.
Hope this helps.

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