How reorganize hard drive without causing problems with installed programs?

By jledoux
Mar 15, 2006
  1. I'm pretty new to this stuff so bear with me! My computer has 2 hard drives: 40GB and 200GB. The 40GB came with the machine when I bought it 4 years or so ago. It has a single partition and therefore has WinXP home on it as well as lots of programs. I installed the 200GB drive so I could edit videos. Now my 40GB drive is almost out of space and I'd like to reorganize things (by the way, I have Acronis Disk Director 10 and True Image 9 to help me do this). Ideally, I'd like to end up with WinXP in its own partition, preferably on the faster 200 GB drive. I would also like to have all my programs installed in their own partition (different than the C drive). However, I assume that if I repartition the hard drive so that the programs have a different drive letter, they won't work. Is there any way to do this or am I stuck with my programs being on the C drive (unless I want to uninstall and reinstall all of them)? Or is there another way around this problem? Thanks.
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    not too difficult

    What you want to do might be relatively easy, but there are potential pitfalls and if you are not too experienced, you might get into a lot of trouble and lose everything. Be sure to have complete backups before you start.

    You need to take the 200Gb hard drive and shorten the partition on it to say 150Gb. Then make a copy of your existing C: drive on the released space of the 200Gb. using Fdisk or similar, mark the c: drive hidden, and on the 200Gb mark the c:drive copy as active. Swap the drives (dont forget to change the 200Gb to primary if it is not already primary).

    You probably then have to do something to update the MBR on the 200Gb before Windows will boot. Refer to t-10428-XP--Changing-the-boot-drive.html

    All in all, you would be better off not doing this, so just reduce the clutter on you C: drive. You may have tons of internet cache, old e-mails, useless programs, over-sized windows cache, massive temp files, old installation temp files, out-of-date system restore points, XP update backups and so on. Do some research on how to clean up your drive - you will be amazed, at least half-a-gig will go at once, and what on earth the other 40Gb maight be, I'm sure you can relocate a lot on the 200Gb.
  3. jledoux

    jledoux TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think you're right -trying to do this the way I had originally conceived it is not worth it. What I will probably do is repartition my drives as needed, but keep windows where it is, and just uninstall the handful of programs that take up tons of space (i.e., my kids' video games) and reinstall them on the larger drive (making sure to not lose their saved games!). Thanks for your help.
  4. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Posts: 143

    A suggested alternative:

    Backup that which you need to keep on your 200GB HDD. Then go to and download and create a Win98 Boot Disk.

    Using Acronis TI, clone your 40GB to your 200GB, and shutdown using the power switch (do not reboot).

    Switch drives, the 200GB with the cloned image in primary, and the 40GB in secondary, both appropriately jumpered as master/slave or cable select, but with the 40GB disconnected.

    Boot to the Win98 disk and at the command prompt run fdisk /mbr. Remove the disk and reboot. The 200GB HDD will now be assigned the drive letter C: and will boot up. Shutdown the system and reconnect the 40GB HDD and reboot. The 40GB HDD will now be assigned a new drive letter depending on what letter after C: is available.

    You can now create a second partition on the 200GB HDD to handle your video editing or. alternatively, you clean off your 40GB drive and use it for your video editing. If you choose a second partition on the 200GB HDD, you can use the 40GB HDD for backup.

    Your system drive is now expanded to where you have an abundance of space, and you can still set up a partition or drive for your editing. But the main feature is that the system drive retains the C: designation which is essential since your registry has a zillion pointers all pointing to C:

    Good Luck.
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