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Windows 7: How to access drives to see what software is loaded on each drive?

20 Oct 2014   #1
Golf3

Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 
How to access drives to see what software is loaded on each drive?

Have Dell Dimension 9150
Local Disk C 39.6 GB Free of 60.4 - Win 7 O/S only is loaded on here - OK
Local Disk D 86.2 MB free of 99.0 MB - How can I see whats loaded on here?
Local Disk E 168 GB free of 168 GB - I want to load Programmes on here ie Office/AVG/Security Software
/My Docs/Pics/etc - What is best way to do this?
Local Disk F 3.97 GB free of 4.01 GB - Really don't need this could move space to Disk E if that's possible

Any advice would be much appreciated Than You.....


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 Oct 2014   #2
gregrocker

 

Please post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image. It sounds like you installed on the Recovery partition and have abandoned the 100mb System Active Boot partition. But let's see the screenshot to be sure.

I would consider doing a proper Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 reading the SPecial Note to Dell OWners at the end about whether Diagnostics will still boot so you can save that partition if so . Then during install set up one large OS partition for OS and Programs which should be together. You can separate data out to its own partition if you want to keep the OS image smaller.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Oct 2014   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golf3 View Post
Have Dell Dimension 9150
Local Disk C 39.6 GB Free of 60.4 - Win 7 O/S only is loaded on here - OK

Local Disk D 86.2 MB free of 99.0 MB - How can I see whats loaded on here?

Just open that partition. Then you see what's there.

Local Disk E 168 GB free of 168 GB - I want to load Programmes on here ie Office/AVG/Security Software

During the installation of a program, you can direct the installer to place the program into another partition. I would recommend you make a program folder on that partition and install into that folder. Else the programs get installed to the root of the partition. Note: not all programs let you install to another partition. You'll have to see during installation time what the options are.

/My Docs/Pics/etc - What is best way to do this?

You can relocate those folders . Go to properties of the folders and then to the Location tab.

However, I prefer to make new folders in the other partitions and move my data to those folders. Then right click on the new folders and INCLUDE them into the appropriate library.

Local Disk F 3.97 GB free of 4.01 GB - Really don't need this could move space to Disk E if that's possible

In disk management, right click on the F partition and delete the partition and the volume. Once you have unallocated space, you can extend the partition that is to the left of that space.


Any advice would be much appreciated Than You.....
See my in-line comments.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

22 Oct 2014   #4
Golf3

Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 
how to access drives to see what is loaded on each partition

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Please post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image. It sounds like you installed on the Recovery partition and have abandoned the 100mb System Active Boot partition. But let's see the screenshot to be sure.

I would consider doing a proper Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 reading the SPecial Note to Dell OWners at the end about whether Diagnostics will still boot so you can save that partition if so . Then during install set up one large OS partition for OS and Programs which should be together. You can separate data out to its own partition if you want to keep the OS image smaller.
Thank you for your advice most helpful, am away from home for a few days will respond by this coming Sat
Thanks
Golf3
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2014   #5
Golf3

Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 
How to access drives to see what is loaded on each partition

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Please post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image. It sounds like you installed on the Recovery partition and have abandoned the 100mb System Active Boot partition. But let's see the screenshot to be sure.

I would consider doing a proper Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 reading the SPecial Note to Dell OWners at the end about whether Diagnostics will still boot so you can save that partition if so . Then during install set up one large OS partition for OS and Programs which should be together. You can separate data out to its own partition if you want to keep the OS image smaller.
Thank you and apologies for the time lag I have taken to respond due to (a) My being away (b) Catching a flu bug

The diagram from the disk management is below. At present the OS and all the Programmes are on the "C" drive. The "D" drive has something installed on it but I cannot open it to see what it is , have checked that the "show hidden files is ticked"

I am quite prepared to re-do a clean installation, the present scenario came about as I read something in one of the forums that keeping the o/s on its very own partition made the whole PC System run faster, whether this is true or not am not sure anyway back to you my friend.


How to access drives to see what software is loaded on each drive?-disk-management-1.png

Kind regards
Golf3


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2014   #6
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

As far as looking to see what's on each of your partitions, you can just use Windows Explorer to browse them. Your screenshot shows that each partition has a drive letter, so Windows Explorer will show you what's there.

Your current 100MB "D" partition is what appears to have at one time been your "system reserved" partition, which at that time would also have been marked "active" in the upper pane information. It's where Boot Manager was once living and functional, and when you booted the machine the BIOS found the "active" partition and kicked off Boot Manager to handle the rest of the operating system loading and initiation. If you had two or more bootable OS's you would have been presented with a Boot Manager Menu of choices, for you to pick from to boot that OS. If you only had one Windows, then Boot Manager would have gone directly to that single Windows to boot.

Normally the "system reserved" and "active" partition only contains Boot Manager and is NOT intended for user data storage. So Windows does NOT assign a drive letter to it.

However in your screenshot, it appears that this 100MB partition is no longer marked as "active". Instead, it appears your C partition (where Windows actually lives) is now the "active" partition, hence why the small 100MB seemed eligible for drive lettering and user storage... hence why it now shows as D.

This is unusual and non-standard, but I'm guessing at one time you may have used Windows Repair to recover some unbootable problem situation (perhaps when you tried to shrink your original C which took up most of the drive, in order for you to create a "data" partition which currently shows as E), and it was that "repair" which actually installed Boot Manager into the C partition and changed things to mark C as "active" (so that the BIOS would go to that partition to find Boot Manager at machine boot time). Hence why the 100MB original "system reserved" (and where Boot Manager also is probably still living, though no longer used from here) was deemed user-available and was lettered as D, though obviously you can't put much in that small a partition of which only 86MB is actually free right now. You really don't need this partition at all.

I'm guessing your 4GB F partition (of which most of it is free) was probably delivered as some kind of "recovery" partition by Dell, if you ever wanted to for some reason restore things to "factory" initial version. I've never found any such capability of any use, as I prefer to use Macrium Reflect to make "system image" backups (to an external USB 3.0 drive) as my recovery capability in case of disaster. I can make an initial "gold/factory" image to start, before doing any of my own customization. And then I can take regular periodic "system image" backups of my ongoing live customized "production" system, as my own protection against who knows what type of problem that might render Windows or the system unusable or unbootable.

In any case, I'll suggest you can merge that last 4GB partition into your E "data" partition to its left and just have E.

I'd suggest using Minitool's Partition Wizard to at least do some housekeeping. Since D is worthless now (since C is the "active" partition), you can delete D and shift C all the way to the left to absorb that 100MB. You should burn the standalone bootable CD from the ISO available on the Minitool site, and boot to it to do the operations affecting C.

Also, you can delete F and then expand E to the right to absorb that 4GB into E. You can do this at the same time you are standalone booted to Partition Wizard to work on C, or if you want you can use the Windows runnable version of the program, since E and F don't involve C and thus the normal Windows program version is directly usable without concern.

So you'll lose drive letters D and F. If you want to retain E as E (thus now giving you C and E), that's fine. Or, if you prefer you can use DISKMGMT.MSC to change the letter of E to D, if that is more comfortable for you (so that you then have C and D).

Quite frankly, I would recommend that you use your "data" partition (E now, or perhaps D if you change things as I suggest) for DATA... and not for programs. If you feel you're tight on space on C, you can use Partition Wizard (standalone booted) to (1) move the left end of D to the right, thus shrinking it somewhat, and (2) move the right end of C to the right, thus enlarging it somewhat. Partition Wizard will take care of all of these operations for you, to resize and relocate partitions and their boundaries as you desire.

You can store documents and files of any type (text, DOC, XLS, JPG, MPG, etc.) anywhere... either on C or D, but if you want to reorganize your thinking to use C for programs and Windows and D for "data", that might make it easier in the future to keep track of and backup/restore your data as becomes necessary. Having a good backup regimen for both "data" as well as "system image" (both of which should go to external media or a second internal hard drive) is vital to guaranteeing that you will never lose any of your priceless irreplaceable data, nor will you lose more than 20 minutes tops to get your Windows operating environment restored in the event of a software or hardware disaster, or if you want to upgrade your hardware.

You would just create a set of several new high-level folders for "data" on D. Then you would gradually create a satisfactory set of sub-folders in those "parent" folders, to keep your data organized as you want. You can use Windows Explorer (or other Explorer replacements that are much niftier to use, such as Free Commander) to MOVE your existing data out of the standard \My Documents locations on C, into your new "data" folder/sub-folder structure on D. Going forward, any time you are offered a choice to "Save as...", just navigate to your new data folder structure on D and don't save it on C.

Macrium Reflect (free) is highly recommended for "system image" backup, and the non-free product version can also be used for folder/file "data" backups as well as providing some feature enhancements for "system image" backups. Many other similar products are also available for you to try and decide for yourself. I myself use Macrium Reflect for "system image" and NovaSTOR's NovaBackup (not free) for "data" (just because I prefer its GUI and functionality).

What's important is that everybody should be taking whatever backups they need to guarantee that they do not "cry" in case of software or hardware disaster, because they've now lost irreplaceable data or don't know how to reinstall Windows and all of their 3rd-party vendor software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2014   #7
gregrocker

 

D is the Win7 boot partition. Right click on it in Disk Mgmt to remove its Drive Letter and then Leave it alone.

Anything else?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2014   #8
Golf3

Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 
How to access drives to see what is loaded on each partition

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
As far as looking to see what's on each of your partitions, you can just use Windows Explorer to browse them. Your screenshot shows that each partition has a drive letter, so Windows Explorer will show you what's there.

Your current 100MB "D" partition is what appears to have at one time been your "system reserved" partition, which at that time would also have been marked "active" in the upper pane information. It's where Boot Manager was once living and functional, and when you booted the machine the BIOS found the "active" partition and kicked off Boot Manager to handle the rest of the operating system loading and initiation. If you had two or more bootable OS's you would have been presented with a Boot Manager Menu of choices, for you to pick from to boot that OS. If you only had one Windows, then Boot Manager would have gone directly to that single Windows to boot.

Normally the "system reserved" and "active" partition only contains Boot Manager and is NOT intended for user data storage. So Windows does NOT assign a drive letter to it.

However in your screenshot, it appears that this 100MB partition is no longer marked as "active". Instead, it appears your C partition (where Windows actually lives) is now the "active" partition, hence why the small 100MB seemed eligible for drive lettering and user storage... hence why it now shows as D.

This is unusual and non-standard, but I'm guessing at one time you may have used Windows Repair to recover some unbootable problem situation (perhaps when you tried to shrink your original C which took up most of the drive, in order for you to create a "data" partition which currently shows as E), and it was that "repair" which actually installed Boot Manager into the C partition and changed things to mark C as "active" (so that the BIOS would go to that partition to find Boot Manager at machine boot time). Hence why the 100MB original "system reserved" (and where Boot Manager also is probably still living, though no longer used from here) was deemed user-available and was lettered as D, though obviously you can't put much in that small a partition of which only 86MB is actually free right now. You really don't need this partition at all.

I'm guessing your 4GB F partition (of which most of it is free) was probably delivered as some kind of "recovery" partition by Dell, if you ever wanted to for some reason restore things to "factory" initial version. I've never found any such capability of any use, as I prefer to use Macrium Reflect to make "system image" backups (to an external USB 3.0 drive) as my recovery capability in case of disaster. I can make an initial "gold/factory" image to start, before doing any of my own customization. And then I can take regular periodic "system image" backups of my ongoing live customized "production" system, as my own protection against who knows what type of problem that might render Windows or the system unusable or unbootable.

In any case, I'll suggest you can merge that last 4GB partition into your E "data" partition to its left and just have E.

I'd suggest using Minitool's Partition Wizard to at least do some housekeeping. Since D is worthless now (since C is the "active" partition), you can delete D and shift C all the way to the left to absorb that 100MB. You should burn the standalone bootable CD from the ISO available on the Minitool site, and boot to it to do the operations affecting C.

Also, you can delete F and then expand E to the right to absorb that 4GB into E. You can do this at the same time you are standalone booted to Partition Wizard to work on C, or if you want you can use the Windows runnable version of the program, since E and F don't involve C and thus the normal Windows program version is directly usable without concern.

So you'll lose drive letters D and F. If you want to retain E as E (thus now giving you C and E), that's fine. Or, if you prefer you can use DISKMGMT.MSC to change the letter of E to D, if that is more comfortable for you (so that you then have C and D).

Quite frankly, I would recommend that you use your "data" partition (E now, or perhaps D if you change things as I suggest) for DATA... and not for programs. If you feel you're tight on space on C, you can use Partition Wizard (standalone booted) to (1) move the left end of D to the right, thus shrinking it somewhat, and (2) move the right end of C to the right, thus enlarging it somewhat. Partition Wizard will take care of all of these operations for you, to resize and relocate partitions and their boundaries as you desire.

You can store documents and files of any type (text, DOC, XLS, JPG, MPG, etc.) anywhere... either on C or D, but if you want to reorganize your thinking to use C for programs and Windows and D for "data", that might make it easier in the future to keep track of and backup/restore your data as becomes necessary. Having a good backup regimen for both "data" as well as "system image" (both of which should go to external media or a second internal hard drive) is vital to guaranteeing that you will never lose any of your priceless irreplaceable data, nor will you lose more than 20 minutes tops to get your Windows operating environment restored in the event of a software or hardware disaster, or if you want to upgrade your hardware.

You would just create a set of several new high-level folders for "data" on D. Then you would gradually create a satisfactory set of sub-folders in those "parent" folders, to keep your data organized as you want. You can use Windows Explorer (or other Explorer replacements that are much niftier to use, such as Free Commander) to MOVE your existing data out of the standard \My Documents locations on C, into your new "data" folder/sub-folder structure on D. Going forward, any time you are offered a choice to "Save as...", just navigate to your new data folder structure on D and don't save it on C.

Macrium Reflect (free) is highly recommended for "system image" backup, and the non-free product version can also be used for folder/file "data" backups as well as providing some feature enhancements for "system image" backups. Many other similar products are also available for you to try and decide for yourself. I myself use Macrium Reflect for "system image" and NovaSTOR's NovaBackup (not free) for "data" (just because I prefer its GUI and functionality).

What's important is that everybody should be taking whatever backups they need to guarantee that they do not "cry" in case of software or hardware disaster, because they've now lost irreplaceable data or don't know how to reinstall Windows and all of their 3rd-party vendor software.
Thank you for the very detailed information provided.

As I am not even a 10% a PC Guru and for sure if I get involved in moving things around now with the partitions , Murpheys Law will fall into place and I will end up getting things wrong. I believe that my best option now is to do a complete re-install with the Win 7 Software and just let it take its normal course , it will probably decide anyway how many partitions it wants and set itself up accordingly.

Once again all , thank you for your time, your useful inputs and superior knowledge

Golf3
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2014   #9
gregrocker

 

After the long dissertation from dsperber I'm not sure why you would take from it that if you reinstall WIn7 will "probably" decide on your partitions for you. It will not. If you don't have a partition scheme in mind - e.g. having a separate data partition to keep C smaller for imaging purposes - then test Dell Diagnostics by tapping the F12 key at boot to see if they will run. If so then save the Dell Utility partition to keep these valuable tools, delete all others to create and format a new one in the space using the Drive Options in Steps 7/8 of Clean Install Windows 7. If not then delete all partitions and then click next to have it create and format only the OS partition and it's boot partition.

Everything needed to do a perfect reinstall and then keep it that way is in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which has been used by a million consumers without a single complaint. Be sure to read the Special Note for Dell Owners at the end for how to decide what partitions to keep. Ask back any questions here or in the tutorial comments.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2014   #10
Golf3

Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
After the long dissertation from dsperber I'm not sure why you would take from it that if you reinstall WIn7 will "probably" decide on your partitions for you. It will not. If you don't have a partition scheme in mind - e.g. having a separate data partition to keep C smaller for imaging purposes - then test Dell Diagnostics by tapping the F12 key at boot to see if they will run. If so then save the Dell Utility partition to keep these valuable tools, delete all others to create and format a new one in the space using the Drive Options in Steps 7/8 of Clean Install Windows 7. If not then delete all partitions and then click next to have it create and format only the OS partition and it's boot partition.

Everything needed to do a perfect reinstall and then keep it that way is in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which has been used by a million consumers without a single complaint. Be sure to read the Special Note for Dell Owners at the end for how to decide what partitions to keep. Ask back any questions here or in the tutorial comments.
Thank you for that info will study the Clean Install - Factory OEM Windows 7 and when sufficient confident that I have got all the info at my finger tips will then do the clean install .
Golf3
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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