SOLVED Merging Hard Drive Partitions


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I do volunteering for my church's IT department and am faced with a problem needing some advice here. We have been upgrading the many PC's in our office to faster machines running Windows 7 Pro as funds permit. We have recently been getting refurbished HP dc7900 Intel Core2 Duo 3.0GHz's 64bit 4GB machines. The last one I began setting up I failed to notice that the HDD (160GB) was partitioned into three volumes in addition to a smallish (350MB) "System" partition and a ~15GB "Recovery Partition". I went ahead with setup--MS Office, browser, anti-virus, etc. installs--until I discovered I was out of C: drive space (it was only ~30GB). The D: and E: volumes together were ~100GB of unused space. I want to merge the D: and E: volumes into C: and go about my merry way. Trying to do this with Disk Management Administrative Tool I'm able to merge E: into D: but am unable to merge the new D: into C:, I think because the Page File has been assigned to D:. When I try to reassign the Page File to C:, I'm blocked because C: has no more space on it. I'm not even sure whether if I were able to get the Page File onto C:, I'd be able to merge D: into C: because that unlettered "Recovery Partition" might physically be between the two. (It looks that way to me in Disk Management.)

My basic problem is needing more C: space. Do I
1. continue trying to merge D: with C: OR
2. wipe the drive and repartition for only a C: drive.
If I do 2. how do I recover the Win 7 Pro install and what in the world are the consequences of erasing that unlettered "System" partition (I have no idea what it's for.)? If I have a Win 7 Pro 64bit install disk, can I just use that to reinstall and then register with the R/N that appears on the computer label.

Thanks for any insight anyone can give me. If this post belongs on some other forum, I trust the Administrator will put it there.
 
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TrainableMan

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The letters assigned should make no difference, what matters is if the partitions are physically next to each other and that the one you want to keep is left of the others. My best guess is that the two you merged were actually in an extended partition, so you will need to drop that partition and then expand C: to include the unallocated space, which I already mentioned must be immediately right of the partition (C:) that you want to expand.
 
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Thanks, Trainable, for your reply. What you state is about what I expected. Unfortunately the unlettered "Recovery Partition" stands between the C: and D: partitions in the Disk Management map and the Extend Partition choice is greyed out for C:. I can probably Delete Partition D: into unallocated space but won't be able to "extend" it into C:. I'm about at the point of just wiping the drive and reinstalling Win 7 Pro on a single new partition--forget about the unlettered "System" and "Recovery" partitions, which I'll probably never need to use.
 

TrainableMan

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There is software you can install that can merge them even if they aren't together, just not built in to W7. But I will ask you this, are you installing the same OS the computer shipped with? If not then there is no reason to maintain the recovery partition so drop that as well and merge them all.
 
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Again thanks, Trainable. Yes, I am wanting to use the same OS as the computer shipped with, but our experience over a couple of years of using this same model refurbished PC and OS is that we have never needed to make a recovery; so I'm totally willing to forego a "Recovery Partition."

What is the software you're referring to? I would rather not have to reinstall if I can avoid it as we don't have a readily available Win 7 Pro install disk. I have a Win 7 Pro Upgrade disk but that will require me to install Win XP (which I do have) first. If there's some free partition manager that will allow me to just mash it all into one partition, that will probably do the trick. I think I read somewhere about such a program but can't remember the name.
 

TrainableMan

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To extend a partition by taking it from a non-adjacent partition you should be able to use the freeware software Minitool Partition Master Home Edition.

But as I said, if you don't use the restore partition then just use W7's Disk Management to Delete/Deallocate that partition, then Extend C: to take that space which should then put you next to the remaining space which you Delete/Deallocate and then extend C: to take everything.

Note: As long as you meet the legality of owning the XP license it is not necessary to actually reinstall XP first, simply do what is called a double install: Install W7 but do not activate, then immediately reinstall W7 over it and this time provide the product key and activate. It is what you do, for example, you have to replace the hard drive.
 
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Good information, Trainable. I actually used EaseUS Partition Master to move the "Recovery Partition" and merge the C: and D: partitions, thus saving the recovery capability. Everything is cool now. I'm going to flag this as Solved.

Thanks for the advice on using Upgrade disk. I might need to try that sometime. PS: all my install disks are legally owned and used.
 

TrainableMan

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When I looked at the description of EaseUS's free version I wasn't sure it would do what you needed without upgrading to the paid version but I guess it did.

And I wasn't questioning whether your edition was legal; you had already mentioned it shipped with XP so that is a perfectly legal upgrade path to W7. I merely mentioned it for others who may read this thread; they need to understand the double install method will not circumvent the legal requirements of owning an existing XP or Vista license for that computer in order to use the upgrade edition.

Glad you got what you needed.
 
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hi, if you use disk management to extend partition, maybe sometimes you will fail. I recommend you to choose one software, minitool, paragon, easeus partition master, aomei partition assistant, both these software can easily merge your partitions. I used aomei, maybe this article: http://www.disk-partition.com/disk-partiton/combine-merge-partitions-windows7.html maybe helpful. You can merge two adjacent partitions into one big, also can merge your small partition with the unallocated space, this can solve your problem well. :D
 

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