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Best approach to a new PC with no room for partitioning

 
 
Robert Carnegie: Fnord: cc talk-origins@moderators.isc.org
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      01-14-2011
Hi, I'm a new user of Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit - but without the
CDs - and I have an issue setting up the PC the way that I want it.

I'm accustomed to running Windows XP with a "small" Windows and
programs partition, say 15 gigabytes, and most of the rest of the disk
a separate "data" partition, including for video files. Of course,
the data partition can be mounted onto a folder on the Windows volume.

This mainly pleases me by allowing me to use a non-Windows backup
tool, such as the Linux SystemRescueCD and partimage program (which
also backs up the MBR and patition table), to make a backup of the
Windows volume itself, as a volume. In theory, if something bad
happens to the Windows system, including corruption, or deleting vital
files, or even the hard disk failing, I can restore the system to its
previous state, and I have. And files on the "data" partition can be
simply copied as files, to back up. The page file can live on the
data volume, as well, mainly to save space on the Windows volume or on
its backups. The hibernation file, I am stuck with, except for
disabling hibernation in order to delete the file while a backup is
made.

I am also confident using tools such as GParted to resize and move
partitions - once I've got a backup - and MyDefrag, with certain ideas
about the optimum locations for particular files.

But on my brand new HP TouchSmart TM2-1010EA, with Windows 7 Home
Premium 64-Bit, I'm stuck, and looking for guidance on my next move.
Because four apparently necessary MBR partitions already exist.

Windows got configured when I first switched the machine on. It isn't
provided on CD or DVD. I have been able to back it up - I assume -
using SystemRescueCD, although booting the machine from other Linux
CDs is not reliable. I was able to run Ubuntu after having it copy
itself to a USB Flash memory stick, with another PC.

The partitions are:

- "SYSTEM" of around 200 MEGAbytes, NTFS. I gather that this is
suitable for a two-tier installation using EFI and/or GPT partition
table instead of MBR, but here it may be redundant.

- Windows partition of about 280 GIGAbytes, NTFS, with 30 gigabytes
used.

- "RECOVERY" partition of about 17 GIGAbytes, NTFS, 2.8 GB used.

- "HP_TOOLS" partition of 99.3 MEGAbytes, FAT32, 92.7 MB used. This
contains some files named "*.EFI" which /may/ be a hint that the PC
can be booted into a Hewlett-Packard repair or diagnostic mode IF
these items are left alone.

So I can't just shrink the Windows volume and add another partition in
the space released - right? - because you can only have four.

So, what should I do? Cheaply?

If I can obtain real Windows discs to install from scratch, I can do
it more the way that I want, can't I? Can I get a disc or discs -
legally - without laying out serious money?

If I can magically convert the Windows volume to an extended partition
and have it still work, then I believe I can proceed to shrink it,
also. and then re-use the space.

Likewise if I can delete, move, and re-create as extended the Recovery
partition.

I could disable the HP_TOOLS partition but leave its data on disc, and
use its partition number to make a "data" volume in free space from
the Windows volume. Then reverse the process if I need the tools.
Alternatively, maybe I can obtain the tools on a CD., Or, the thing
takes SD cards, although I don't know if it'll boot from one.

Maybe there's a magic wand that I can wave to convert the disk to GPT
partitioning and have as many partitions as I can think of, but then
how much of the software would not work any more?

Please enlighten me: what is my best choice to achieve the sort of
disk design that I want? Are there more options?

Also, Linux thinks the Windows volume has about 170 gigabytes in use,
what's going on there! There is only one system restore point, dating
from when I first booted and let Windows install itself.
 
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wilby
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      01-14-2011
On 1/13/2011 8:18 PM, Robert Carnegie: Fnord: cc
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> Hi, I'm a new user of Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit - but without the
> CDs - and I have an issue setting up the PC the way that I want it.
>
> I'm accustomed to running Windows XP with a "small" Windows and
> programs partition, say 15 gigabytes, and most of the rest of the disk
> a separate "data" partition, including for video files. Of course,
> the data partition can be mounted onto a folder on the Windows volume.
>
> This mainly pleases me by allowing me to use a non-Windows backup
> tool, such as the Linux SystemRescueCD and partimage program (which
> also backs up the MBR and patition table), to make a backup of the
> Windows volume itself, as a volume. In theory, if something bad
> happens to the Windows system, including corruption, or deleting vital
> files, or even the hard disk failing, I can restore the system to its
> previous state, and I have. And files on the "data" partition can be
> simply copied as files, to back up. The page file can live on the
> data volume, as well, mainly to save space on the Windows volume or on
> its backups. The hibernation file, I am stuck with, except for
> disabling hibernation in order to delete the file while a backup is
> made.
>
> I am also confident using tools such as GParted to resize and move
> partitions - once I've got a backup - and MyDefrag, with certain ideas
> about the optimum locations for particular files.
>
> But on my brand new HP TouchSmart TM2-1010EA, with Windows 7 Home
> Premium 64-Bit, I'm stuck, and looking for guidance on my next move.
> Because four apparently necessary MBR partitions already exist.
>
> Windows got configured when I first switched the machine on. It isn't
> provided on CD or DVD. I have been able to back it up - I assume -
> using SystemRescueCD, although booting the machine from other Linux
> CDs is not reliable. I was able to run Ubuntu after having it copy
> itself to a USB Flash memory stick, with another PC.
>
> The partitions are:
>
> - "SYSTEM" of around 200 MEGAbytes, NTFS. I gather that this is
> suitable for a two-tier installation using EFI and/or GPT partition
> table instead of MBR, but here it may be redundant.
>
> - Windows partition of about 280 GIGAbytes, NTFS, with 30 gigabytes
> used.
>
> - "RECOVERY" partition of about 17 GIGAbytes, NTFS, 2.8 GB used.
>
> - "HP_TOOLS" partition of 99.3 MEGAbytes, FAT32, 92.7 MB used. This
> contains some files named "*.EFI" which /may/ be a hint that the PC
> can be booted into a Hewlett-Packard repair or diagnostic mode IF
> these items are left alone.
>
> So I can't just shrink the Windows volume and add another partition in
> the space released - right? - because you can only have four.
>
> So, what should I do? Cheaply?
>
> If I can obtain real Windows discs to install from scratch, I can do
> it more the way that I want, can't I? Can I get a disc or discs -
> legally - without laying out serious money?
>
> If I can magically convert the Windows volume to an extended partition
> and have it still work, then I believe I can proceed to shrink it,
> also. and then re-use the space.
>
> Likewise if I can delete, move, and re-create as extended the Recovery
> partition.
>
> I could disable the HP_TOOLS partition but leave its data on disc, and
> use its partition number to make a "data" volume in free space from
> the Windows volume. Then reverse the process if I need the tools.
> Alternatively, maybe I can obtain the tools on a CD., Or, the thing
> takes SD cards, although I don't know if it'll boot from one.
>
> Maybe there's a magic wand that I can wave to convert the disk to GPT
> partitioning and have as many partitions as I can think of, but then
> how much of the software would not work any more?
>
> Please enlighten me: what is my best choice to achieve the sort of
> disk design that I want? Are there more options?
>
> Also, Linux thinks the Windows volume has about 170 gigabytes in use,
> what's going on there! There is only one system restore point, dating
> from when I first booted and let Windows install itself.


You don't mention the hard drive's total size.

Here is what I'd do if I couldn't get a W7 disc that I could install from.

Keep the 200 MB system partition. I believe that even 100 MB would be
plenty.

The Windows partition of 280 GB is more than enough. I've run Win 7/64
for a year and my Win partition contains only 44 GB of files.

Make the 280 into a Win 80 GB and a 200 GB for playing with.

I can't speak about the Recovery & Tools partitions but I'd hang onto
them for a while, especially if that's the only way to recover from a crash.

I'd also immediately create partition images on external drives for
another kind of backup.

I've played with several image softwares on my Win 7/64 and the two that
actually work well are Acronis paid and Macrium Reflect free, i like
Macrium the best.

Both have allowed me to image and successfully restore Win 7/64. The 200
MB system partition is restored first, as the active partition.

My favorite free partition software is Partition Wizard.

Maybe you should simply install a second hard drive, they are really
getting cheaper.

Wilby



 
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