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Recover unused space on primary hard drive

Posted on 2012-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-09-14
I am running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit on an Asus laptop with the primary drive being SSD.  When I converted to SSD, I cloned the original drive.  Well, that left it with a 38GB empty recovery partition on the beginning of the drive.  

I'd like to pick that up and put in onto my C: drive.  Obviously, this makes me a bit nervous and I want to make sure I do it without causing myself undo effort or risk.  

What is the best way of getting this done?

See the attached file for a Disk Management screenshot.

Thanks...RG

Disk Management Screenshot
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Question by:RGRodgers
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Expert Comment

by:SebastianAbbinanti
ID: 38379878
A utility like partition magic should do the trick. You can also try mounting the drive on another box and using disk manager to extend the partition. Just make sure you backup first.

From the looks of it, you still have to delete the empty partition.

Thanks,
S.
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Expert Comment

by:ednetman
ID: 38379889
Delete the partition, then extend the OS to the unused space.

Because of where the unused space is you may want to use a bootable flash drive with a partition manager tool on it.

Check out x-boot.
https://sites.google.com/site/shamurxboot/
 You can use it to download MiniTool Partition Wizard and convert a USB drive into an offline partition manager.
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Expert Comment

by:Brad Bouchard
ID: 38379971
Unless there's more to the story you shouldn't need any special tool, simply delete the partition in Disk Management in Windows and then extend your C drive.  If it doesn't work, then I do prefer partition magic.  

http://www.partition-tool.com/partition-magic/
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KodeKyk earned 1000 total points
ID: 38380001
I would give it a try with GParted from a USB device.

GParted is a free partition editor for graphically managing your disk partitions.

With GParted you can resize, copy, and move partitions without data loss, enabling you to:

Grow or shrink your C: drive
Create space for new operating systems
Attempt data rescue from lost partitions

See link for information about putting it on a flash drive

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/liveusb.php

hth
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 38380258
A word of advice: do not ever use partition magic on a drive created after windows xp it does not understand the new nfts file structure and can make the drive unusable after it tries to 'fix errors'
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by:RGRodgers
ID: 38380286
I deleted the unneeded partition however Disk Management does not allow me to extend the C: drive as that option is greyed out.  Again this is 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate on an SSD NTFS drive.  I am concerned about external utiliities, especially have ve3ofa's comment regarding Partition Magic.  Could GParted have the same issue?  Thanks...RG
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Assisted Solution

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 1000 total points
ID: 38380338
gparted and pmagic are fine..

Disk management will only allow you to EXTEND from its end, not the beginning.. Therefor you need a 3rd party utility like gparted.
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Expert Comment

by:DIIRE
ID: 38380397
The Extend option will be greyed out of your page file is on the drive you want to extend and in your case it is.

You need to move your page file, then the option will become available.  However extend requires the space to be contiguous and will only extend to that.  

So if the deleted space is not contiguous it will not work and you'll need to use a third party tool.  I wouldn't resort to using a third party tool until you move the page file to another drive and see if extend can use the space or not.
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by:nobus
ID: 38380465
i would not delete the  partition - it may have the boot info
personally, i found Bootit-BM very good for this kind of thing : www.terabyteunlimited.com/       
download it - make the CD, and boot from it
do NOT install it on the drive - hit ESc
select partition work, and the 38GB partition
click shrink, and reduce it to the size you want - maybe 1 GB if it hold s no data ?
then the layout is : PPPffffffffffSSSSSSSSSSSS (P = first part, ff = free space, SS= second part)
now you can expand the SS partition to take up the free space, or make a new partition there
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Author Comment

by:RGRodgers
ID: 38380665
The space is contiguous as can be seen in the picture but moving the page file and rebooting still left the extend option grey.  I also disabled hibernation to remove that file.  No joy.  I am assuming the issue to be that the space is in front of the partition to be extended instead of behind it.  I'll have to look at the third part tools...RG
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 38380669
Get a copy of Paragon Partition Manager and use it to allocate the space to C drive. It will also keep the system partition aligned automatically which is crucial for SSD drive.
www.partition-manager.com
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Author Comment

by:RGRodgers
ID: 38380671
RE: Partition Magic... This program does have a few compatibility issues and it does not run on Windows 7 or Windows Vista. However, it can manage partitions on both of these operating systems if it is started from a compatible OS, such as Windows NT, Windows XP or Windows 2000
Read more at http://partition-magic.soft32.com/#TKT3PVyl1iZG8QIm.99
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38380683
did you look at Bootit-BM  yet? use the free trial
it is one of the most stable softwares i've come across
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Author Comment

by:RGRodgers
ID: 38380686
Noxcho, what does this mean, "It will also keep the system partition aligned automatically which is crucial for SSD drive."?
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Assisted Solution

by:RGRodgers
RGRodgers earned 0 total points
ID: 38380719
Okay, fired up Gparted which gave me fair warning.  Moving the Windows 7 boot partition is going to error out Windows on boot.  Not good.

Gparted FAQ #14 and 15 discuss repairing this problem: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/faq.php#faq-14

HowToGeek.com provides a repair process: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/using-gparted-to-resize-your-windows-vista-partition/

Short answer is that if you are going to do this you'd better have a Windows Recovery Disk handy before you start...RG
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38380891
please look at Bootit-BM, and my solution
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Author Comment

by:RGRodgers
ID: 38380958
Hi nobus...  


Hey, I did check it out.  Looks like a nice tool.  I am much more familiar with Partition Magic and Gparted.  And, I had already deleted the unneeded partition without an issue.  I really would like to get rid of the entire partition, anyway.  

Have you moved a Windows boot drive with it?  Do you know if the issues raised with Gparted will occur with BootIt?  

Thanks...RG
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by:nobus
ID: 38381099
yes, i did
i never had any problems with it, but i cannot couch for Gparted problems, since i did not use it
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by:noxcho
ID: 38381140
As you need to move the start of system partition to left the offset of partition start shold be aligned. And paragon does it automatically.
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 38381669
If it indeed is the boot partition then the machine will not boot.  Easily fixed IF you have windows 7 install media.. usually a startup repair will fix it.. failing that.. a command prompt
bcdedit /createstore
bcdboot c:\windows

will fix things.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RGRodgers
ID: 38398102
Gparted followed by Windows startup repair did the trick.  Gparted took nearly an hour itself.  Chkdsk ran automatically on the next boot, too.  I would think other utilities might also work just fine but I used Gparted.  Thanks to all!  ...RG
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