Questions about rearranging partitions / os reinstalls

By chunkstyle
Feb 10, 2005
  1. hi --

    i'm thinking of rearranging how i've got the hard drives set up on my pc,
    and have a few questions about how to do it and its potential
    implications. i'd appreciate it if any of you could offer any
    thoughts/advice on this.

    the pc (win xp, msi kt333 ultra 2 mobo, athlon 2100+) has 2 hd's -- the
    c: is a 120gb with one partition and about 99gb free, and the e: is a
    40gb with about 25gb free. i think i made a mistake when i built it in
    that i should've created multiple partitions on the c: drive, first of all
    becaue i'd now like to install linux and have the machine be dual boot,
    and secondly, it's starting to seem to me that it'd be wise to have one
    partition (or maybe even one physical hd) devoted specifically to being
    the system drive, where only windows resides & nothing else. my
    thinking in this is that, if you start having system or drive problems that
    would require windows to be reinstalled, you'd only have to mess with
    one partition, and could (maybe? -- i'm not sure about this) leave your
    installed programs & other files alone on the othr partitions. it seems
    like having to transfer all your files over and reinstall all your software
    would be by far the worst part about needing to reinstall windows.

    so here are the specific questions:

    1. is this assumption i'm making about reinstalling windows correct? is
    it really possible to reinstall windows into one partition & have the new
    install work correctly with the programs & files from the old install
    residing on other partitions? or do you always have to manually reinstall
    all software whenever the os is reinstalled?

    2. can the "program files" folder in windows reside on a different
    partition than windows itself?

    3. is there any way to save settings & preferences from one installation
    of windows (like a "preference/settings backup") onto a cd so that you
    could recreate the look & feel of your old windows installation into the
    new one? like carrying over your old desktop wallpapers, windows
    sound effects, shortcuts, etc.?

    4. are there any freeware partitoning utilities out there that are decent?
    partition magic is the only partiton utility i'm aware of at this point (i
    know it's not freeware).

    5. since the system's now working fine & i've got some available space
    on the e: drive, would it be advisable to temporarily move all the stuff
    now on the c: drive to the e: and then repartition the c: drive & then
    move things back to the new partitions on the c:? would windows
    tolerate being moved around like that (i don't even know if it's possible
    in the first place)?

    sorry if these are loony/stupidly novice questions, but i'd appreciate any
    info you could offer.

    and i know -- "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." i'm just starting to worry
    that maybe having all my eggs in one basket, partition-wise, is a disaster
    waiting to happen if i ever should encounter serious system problems.
    had some modem problems recently, and at least one guy mentioned
    the dreaded "windows reinstall" as a potential fix. that's what got me
    thinking more about this.

    thank you.
  2. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    1 windows will look for registery files for programs
    2 you don't even need the(programs folder)thats a default.
    there is software out there that will still put stuff in a folder, that, you will have no control over.
    some windows applications won't allow you to put them anywhere else,but in main directory
    3 yes you can do an image of the system only
    store it on hard drive and when you are ready install to the partition
    MS has a utility that makes migration easyer for some (free) I don't use it
    4 I use Acronis drive image software.don't know of any freeware
    Seagate offers a frees copy drive utility I have added new drive copyed C:\
    and following instructions removed old drive and booted fine from new one
    they say it doesn't work with scsi ,but I did bothe iede and scsi with it.
    5 there are some files and apps that you can not access this way and thay will not copy over.
    this is the best of my know how remember wrong answers are free :monkey:
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Samstoned answered all your issues I think.
    I have W2K in one partition, together with hardly ever changing programs such as Office.
    Programs in a second partition, userdata in a third partition and another W2K in the fourth partition, for testing out new software etc.
    Make a regular image of your first partition, store it on anonther HD. Make less frequent images of your programs. Backup your userdata whenever necessary.
    On a stable PC, you can run your OS for a very long time. My installation is from early 2003 and is rock-solid. I've had only 2 BSODs, but they were remedied in minutes, by reloading the latest image, and uninstall/reinstall the offending program.
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