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Windows 7: Can I enlarge my Windows 7 partition?

24 Feb 2016   #11
dsperber

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

If you look closely at the partitions themselves, several things are apparent to me.

(1) It IS a relatively small hard drive, only 250GB.

(2) It is partitioned using GPT rather than MBR, since there are FIVE "primary" partitions (remember that the "extended partition" which holds all of the one or more "logical" partitions is actually itself a "primary" partition). MBR can only support FOUR "primary" partitions at most, so this drive MUST be partitioned through GPT.

(3) The plethora of partitions looks like it likely mostly came from the manufacturer that way, albeit probably without the "extended partition". In all likelihood the original C-partition was the combined total size of the current 34GB C plus the current 144GB "extended partition". I'd venture to guess OP probably shrunk C and created his own "extended partition" in which those two "logical" data partitions were then constructed. All that's happened now is that it's become apparent the 34GB C was too small.

If you look at the three "primary" partitions to the right of the "extended" partition, it's almost guaranteed these came from the manufacturer, or perhaps the first 39GB one might actually be another partition carved out by OP and might hold a second bootable OS (e.g. another Windows or Linux). Again, this 39GB could have also been part of the one large manufacturer-provided C, as initially delivered.

But for sure, the rightmost two "primary" partitions are obviously (a) the 1.32GB "system reserved" Boot Manager "active" partition, and (b) the 12GB "recovery" partition for use to restore the system to manufacturer "factory" state.


So, in my opinion, there's nothing conceptually wrong with the partitioning as shown. There obviously was a need to OP for doing something other than having one large C covering all available space on the drive. The solution was to create an "extended partition" in which two "logical" partitions were created.

Based on the labels of those two "logical" partitions, it appears OP wanted to install "programs" to a partition other than C. Yes, with a drive this small I suppose we can argue as to whether there is any performance or usability benefit of this decision, vs. just installing programs normally to C where they would generally go. But conceptually there's nothing wrong here.

I don't know why "XP Utilities" has meaning to OP, but we have to assume it does.

And we don't know what's in that 39GB primary partition since we haven't been told. But it, too, could have real significance to OP (e.g. it could be Win10 or Linux, I suppose).


Bottom line: the question is simply can the space to the right of C be shrunk as needed so that it can "slide right" to allow C to be enlarged, while still not impacting the integrity or bootability of the whole setup.

And the answer is YES... that can be done. That's what Partition Wizard does every day for breakfast.

Open for another discussion is perhaps a recommendation on the overall partitioning design. But without additional input from OP on why those two "logical" partitions were created, and what exactly is in the 39GB "primary" partition to its right, I don't think we can really be justified in suggesting anything.

Yes, it seems unnecessary to stay with a 250GB drive, as going to a larger drive would open up LOTS of additional space to grow things.


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24 Feb 2016   #12
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Lots of good advice for an OP that went AWOL. I think that disk structure needs a revision. But for that we would need a full picture of disk management with all the numbers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2016   #13
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I personally don't like to give advice on Disk Management until I can see the complete picture.
Golden's tutorial is the perfect way to do the picture. One little mistake in Disk Management as we know can do a lot of damage.

Another thought to me would be, if the instruction in Golden's tutorial can't be followed what is the odds instruction being followed when give to do things in Disk Management.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Feb 2016   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You are very right Jack. As we say in German - prudence is the mother of the china cabinet. Sounds better in German, LOL.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2016   #15
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

With the crew in this thread I'm sure we can solve lcharles problem if he/she gets back to us before damage is done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2016   #16
lcharles

windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for all of your help. Yes, indeed the partition set up is left over from a previous conception. Currently, I was looking for the most conservative approach to temporarily solving my space problem. Otherwise I agree that a new drive and a re-installation would be in order. Of course it seems to me the problem with a re-install is that there is no Windows 7 SP2 so I'll spend hours (with my connection) downloading all of the up dates.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2016   #17
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

If you post the picture as requested in my post #6, we might be able to help without doing a clean install.
I shall not ask again.

Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2016   #18
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lcharles View Post
Thanks for all of your help. Yes, indeed the partition set up is left over from a previous conception. Currently, I was looking for the most conservative approach to temporarily solving my space problem. Otherwise I agree that a new drive and a re-installation would be in order. Of course it seems to me the problem with a re-install is that there is no Windows 7 SP2 so I'll spend hours (with my connection) downloading all of the up dates.
Not really necessary at all. All you need to do is migrate your current existing hard drive over to a new larger one. It will be an identical 100% "clone", but with larger capacity partitions or anything you care to reconstruct there.

First, buy yourself an external USB 3.0/2.0 drive if you don't already have one. This drive can be used subsequently for regular automated backups with highly rated and recommended 3rd-party software, both "system image" as well as "data". You can find inexpensive 1TB USB-powered WD MyPassport drives like this one which are suitable for laptops as well as desktops, or for just a bit more money you can find relatively inexpensive 2TB self-powered Verbatim Store 'n' Save drives like this one, or any other similar external drive. Plugs into USB on your PC.

Next, download and install Macrium Reflect Free software, which is free and is the easiest to use and truly highly regarded "system image" / "cloning" software you'll find. In its non-free "Standard" form (for a modest price) it also provides (a) "data" folder/file backup capability, and (b) automatic space management, i.e. "pruning" of older generations of backup files as you create new ones. Support for regular scheduled automated FULL as well as INCREMENTAL/DIFFERENTIAL backups, for both types "system image" and also "data".

Next, buy your new larger internal drive, whatever new size you want and whatever brand.

Next, plug in the external USB drive to your PC.

Next, use Macrium Reflect to take a "system image" BACKUP of all the partitions on your current 250GB drive, out to a folder on the external USB drive.

Next, create a standalone bootable USB drive "rescue media" version of Macrium Reflect (from its own built-in "Tools"). Or, you can also choose to burn a standalone bootable CD/DVD instead, from the same "rescue media" wizard. Any special USB 3.0 driver required to access your external USB 3.0 drive will be installed on the WinPE bootable media, ensuring that you'll be able to see that external USB 3.0 drive when you boot from this media.

Next, do a hardware swap on your PC, replacing the current 250GB internal drive with your newly purchased one.

Next, boot from the earlier created standalone bootable USB or CD/DVD "rescue media". You'll now be able to do a "system image " RESTORE running WinPE from this bootable media. You should be able to navigate to the external USB 3.0 drive to select the "system image" backup file you just created 15 minutes earlier, and you should be able to see the newly swapped larger internal hard drive you just installed.

Run that "system image" RESTORE. When it completes, remove the bootable "rescue media" (either USB drive or CD/DVD) and re-boot the machine. You should probably enter the BIOS to ensure that your startup boot sequence list shows your newly swapped larger internal hard drive at the proper location in that boot device list, following USB and ATAPI CD/DVD drives. Adjust things as necessary, if necessary.

Now SAVE/EXIT from BIOS and re-boot normally. You should come up absolutely 100% normally but now booted to the exact same currently installed Windows you previously had... but running from your new larger internal hard drive.

Next, if you want to do some partition maintenance, again use Partition Wizard Free as previously recommended. You will have lots of options now, given the larger new drive.

Next, you can setup regular automated "system image" and "data" folder/file backups (if you invested in Macrium Reflect Standard), going out to your new external USB 3.0 drive. You will not regret this. I, myself, prefer to use NovaBACKUP from NovaStor for my own "data" backups (really just because I've been using it for many years), but using Macrium Reflect Standard is perfectly fine and if you've already paid for it and are already using it for "system image" backups. Why not use it also for your "data" backups?

Most importantly: you need to be backing up your Windows system ("system image" of the boot drives required to restore 100% bootable Windows integrity in the even of some disaster, or upgrade again to yet another new larger drive) on a regular schedule, say at least weekly. And you also need to be backing up your "data" nightly, i.e. folders/files outside of Windows and programs, in order to protect yourself against loss, corruption, or accidental deletion. I myself run a regular monthly FULL "data" backup for ALL "data" on my entire system, as well as regular nightly INCREMENTAL "data" backup for whatever I worked on in the past 24 hours. I also retain 4 complete monthly generations "sets" (of FULL and INCREMENTAL) going back 4 months, so that if I have to I can recover anything I ever had in any folder/file on any day over the past 4 months.

NOTE: Macrium Reflect also provides a "boot menu" wizard, to add Macrium Reflect to the Boot Manager menu. This allows you to boot the machine, and then select Macrium Reflect to run "standalone" for recovery, here booting standalone from the still-usable workable hard drive instead of having to boot standalone from your USB or CD/DVD media. This assumes the hard drive is still usable and has not crashed, and that you simply would like to restore something from your external USB 3.0 backup drive. This is kind of a "non-fatal" minor recovery, with the current hard drive still usable and bootable. Otherwise, for more serious situations where the drive is no longer usable, you still need to fall back to the USB or CD/DVD "rescue media" standalone boot, like if you had to replace the hard drive again.
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 Can I enlarge my Windows 7 partition?




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