Can I move Windows XP D: partition to a different physical disk ?

Posted on 2011-04-29
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Hi, I currently have a Windows XP Sp3 machine with one physical disk. When this machine was built (not by me), it had a C: and D: partition created - the C: partition is for OS and apps, and the D: partion is for the Profiles and other data.

I'd like to add another physical disk, and move the D: partition to it (and then expand both partitions to give them more space). My question is, is that possible ? And if so, what procedure would you suggest for moving / copying the data (I can install and initialize the disk myself) ?


Question by:srladm
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    Yes you can but you will need something like Acronis Partition Manager which is part of the Advanced Workstation now:
    Kelly W.
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    by:Aaron Tomosky
    You will need a cloning program like Acronis backup or norton ghost or once of the free ones to move the data. You can then use built-in windows tools to remove the old partition an expand the c drive.

    Or. There is a Linux boot cd called gparted that will do all this fr you.
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    Moving the data is simple;  expanding the C: partition will require a 3rd party partition management tool.

    The steps are simple:

    (a)  Install the new disk; initialize it (do NOT convert it to dynamic);  and create a single large volume on the disk (assigning it any temporary drive letter you want).

    (b)  Move all of the data from D: to the new disk.    A move will automatically adjust all of the relevant OS pointers to any folders you have redirected from C: to D:  (e.g. My Documents).

    (c)  In Disk Management delete the D: partition.

    (d)  ReSize the C: partition to use the space freed up in step (c)

    The last step is the only one you need a 3rd party tool for.     The Linux GParted disc will work, but my recommendation is to use Boot-It NG  [or the newer Boot-It BM].    I've not experimented much with the new BM product, so I'll outline the steps using Boot-It NG:

    (1)  Download the free demo here:

    (2)  Create a bootable CD using the included MakeDisk utility

    (3)  Boot to the CD; selecting CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK

    (4)  Click on Partition Work.    Be sure you've selected the correct disk (HD0 or HD1) -- you can tell by the partition details in the center of the screen.    Then just highlight the 1st partition (this corresponds to C: -- you can confirm it by the size);   click on ReSize;  and select the new size you want (probably the max).

    Done :-)

    ... although you'll probably want to reassign drive letters in XP to make the new drive D:

    Author Comment

    garycase, could you expand on your comment

    "(b)  Move all of the data from D: to the new disk.    A move will automatically adjust all of the relevant OS pointers to any folders you have redirected from C: to D:  (e.g. My Documents)."

    what did you have in mind for the "move" ? Drag-and-Drop in Windows Explorer (that will copy, not move, won't it ? ) ?  Or something else ?


    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    With XP, I'd simply add the Move button to Windows Explorer;  although you can also select everything; hold the right mouse button while moving the mouse to the destination;  and then, when you let go of the button, select Move.
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    In windows explorer press ctrl+a it will select everything including the hidden files and then press ctrl+x to cut and then go to the target drive and press ctrl+v.

    Your data would move to the another disk.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    If you use a simple Windows explorer move from one volume to another, permissions may not be retained.  You'll want to use one of the backup/restore utilities mentioned (Paragon Hard Drive manager is another good option in addition to the ones listed above).
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    Just hold down Shift when dragging, and it will Move instead of Copy.  Otherwise, I would follow Gary's advice on your project.  However, just keep in mind you don't need to pay for software to extend C: once you have completed the move and deleted the old D: partition.  There are many free utilities available that can easily handle it (GParted or even a Windows 7 or Vista DVD).
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    Simplest method is if you buy a WD or Seagate ,you get a version of Acronis that will move all of your data to the newer drive.
    It must however be from the new drive manufacturer.

    Accepted Solution

    OK,  thanks to everyone for their inputs and ideas. Sorry I'm a bit late in getting this finished up; it took me a while to get this accomplished.

    Anyway, to summarize...

    1) moving the data is not so simple. I ended up moving it using the Windows Explorer move command, but this is really a POS - it stopped in the middle of the move several times due to "busy", and "system" files, even though I was logged in as a different (admin) user. Most of my grief was caused by this, and by my decision to not take the time to try a command-line (ie, robocopy) or other external application. I actually lost some files (!) due to my not paying enough attention to what the moves were doing as I had to restart them several times :(  (The files I *really* needed I got back using a freeware app called "Disk Investigator" - good enough for my needs.)

    25 pts to garycase for suggesting the method that I ended up using, although it wasn't really what I'd recommend. 25 pts to aarontomosky for suggesting the Ghost or backup method - I probably should have tried one of those to move the data.

    2) Once the data was moved, the repartition was actually pretty easy (although a bit nerve-racking, since I was doing it on my boot volume). I used gparted, which I already had laying around, to actually increase the C: partition size. However, after the requisite reboots and such, Windows only "partly" recognized it as being larger !  The Disk Management utility showed it as larger (twice as large as before, and using the entire physical disk), but Windows Explorer showed it as the same size that it was originally. Nothing I could do (reboot, refresh, etc) could make it "see" the entire disk. At that point I decided to try the EASEUS Partition Manager that I found on the internet - the Home Edition is free and it was easy to use. I tried making the partition just a little bit smaller, and after the reboots Windows Explorer finally agreed that C: was much larger now ! yeah ! I don't know if gparted did something wrong, or if I just made it too big initially, but it's working OK now.

    50 pts to kwilke, garycase, poweredgetech each for mentioning that a 3rd party app was needed for the partition re-sizing - that was my real unknown. 50 more to garycase for the extra reply.

      Thanks -


    Author Closing Comment

    I used several of the comments to provide the solution.

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