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  1. #1
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    Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Premium)

    Hi everyone,
    In a week or so I'm going to help a relative reinstalling Vista (Home Premium) on his laptop.

    The reason is: the laptop has two partitions (and maybe still a small recovery partition for the old OS (WinXP), see background), and he would like one partition only. He says he has tried to reinstall to change this, but the partitions remains. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Background: it is an upgraded Acer 4005 and it came with Windows XP preinstalled and the HDD was divided in two partitions, apart from a small recovery/"service" partition which was used, somehow, to burn a recovery CD when he started to use WinXP. After some month he used a Vista Home Premium upgrade DVD to upgrade the laptop.

    After initial setup problems; old file system being FAT32 (probably due to the method Acer uses for recovery partitions etc.), disabling/uninstalling AV software installed under WinXP; the laptop has, as it seems, been running fine.

    When he initially installed Vista he didn't take the opportunity to re-partition. It is an upgrade DVD and he took the "normal" route. So Vista replaced XP on partition labeled C, and the partitions remained. Under XP they were:

    120 GB HDD
    ([PQSERVICE] some kind of recovery partition ~5 GB)
    C: ~53 GB
    D: [Acerdata] ~53 GB

    My question(s): I have not installed Vista myself, though I think I have a quite good understanding of XP setup, and I have no doubt that Vista setup can do the same as XP. An initial quick search tells me that during setup on the "Where do you want to install Windows?" page there is an option "Drive options (advanced)". The typical use is for those who want to add more partitions during a clean install, but since his laptop was partitioned from Acer, skipping this (add/remove step) installed Vista on the first partition every time he tried. Correct?

    When I talked to him today he said he has two partitions and wants one. Using third party tools isn't an option this time. I guess he still has the small PQSERVICE partition; in XP it was only visible under Disk Management, so I guess he has forgotten that.

    Can you see any problems removing all (three) partitions and make one single of the HDD? The only method would be to use the "Clean Install with upgrade media" method (mentioned by Thurrott et al). I don't know if installing (downgrading) XP would work in the future with only the burned recovery CD and no service partition, on the other hand that is not an option.

    Of course he has to take care of data backups before, and maybe burn some drivers. Apparently he has problem with Bluetooth/mouse, guess I'll have to look at that also.

    Any comments appreciated!

    Now where was I, back to reading and writing.

  2. #2
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Premium)

    Hi Argus,
    >>>>>>>>>Using third party tools isn't an option this time
    -------------------------------------
    Is that a real problem or just a wish NOT to use them?
    Arconis Disk Director would do it all for himyou very easily.
    BOB
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    Today it is called golf!

  3. #3
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Premium)

    I have seen a LOT of issues with these Acer machines. Think you are going to have your hands full on this one.

    All one needs to do is visit several of these Tech help forums where there are a lot of Acer users and you will find these issues. This includes lack of help from Acer.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  4. #4
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Hi Bob,
    It isn't a problem. I mentioned it just to say that I know there are such tools. However, they are not free (the good ones). For this person (who never have seen the need for several partitions) such program would be a one time use. Combine that with that he doesn't see a reinstall as something dramatic, maybe does it every now and then, though maybe not so often nowadays (since I sometimes help him to solve the problem (without a reinstall or major hassle)). And such software isn't to much use for me either, or lets say I have other priorities, so not a first buy.

    I really appreciate your question, but I guess that he do not want to spend more money now; and I guess that there maybe still can be some issues with the old AV software left (Norton) but not a problem, more like left traces that are disabled. I know that I didn't mention this in my lengthy post, but that would maybe be a cause to reinstall (at least when added to the other).

    I don't take reinstalls lightly; at the moment, with my own projects, a reinstall at my own PC is the last thing I would do or wish. (Maybe after XP SP3 a slipstreamed install, maybe not.)

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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    As long as any data he needs from D: is backed up you should be fine going to one partition. You should be able to do that easily as part of the install.

    Joe
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for comments. I did a little reading last summer when he installed/upgraded to Vista, also had a thread here in the Lounge (thanks <!profile=Rebel>Rebel<!/profile> & <!profile=joeperez>joeperez<!/profile>).

    Well, laptops can sometimes have more problems (due to odd solutions, drivers etc.); upgrade installs can be more troublesome than clean installs. So I was maybe more concerned then, his upgrade, also knowing it was FAT32 and Vista don't like that (he did the upgrade then without waiting my advice and had to contact MSFT for advice on converting FAT32 to NTFS, since setup balked). Put an AV software change in to the mixture, and I am almost surprised he got it running.

    I think (hope) the situation is different with a clean install (using the "Thurrott-upgrade-in-place method"). Still there can be driver issues or something else I have missed, thus my questions.

    As to support from different OEMs, I think Ed Bott did a survey or gathered info about uppgrade/driver kit availability (XP-->Vista) from different OEMs. I looked and found that Acer had for some models driver packages for those upgrading to Vista, so you didn't have to do several downloads.

    I haven't yet analysed it all, but obviously (to me, maybe not him) he will miss what is left of preinstalled software such as NTI CD/DVD Maker, Cyberlink PowerDVD/PowerProducer and Acer Arcade. But he has Vista Premium and maybe other programs.

    Still Acer says, in this scenario custom, not upgrade install, you should use the Vista,zip (driver/BIOS updates) and application.zip (patches for *preinstalled* software). But in this scenario there will be no preinstalled software left, odd!

    BIOS was obviously taken care of the first time (together with application patches).

  7. #7
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Thank you, Joe!
    Yes, compared to his other laptops etc. this has a DVD burner so backups shouldn't be a problem.

    I just hope the drivers will behave and install.

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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    <post:=697,055>post 697,055</post:>
    Changing my partition configuration (in my case from 1 to 2) makes Win XP activation "see" a different machine; it's no longer a 100GB drive, it's a 15GB drive (with another 85GB drive).
    I now appear to be in an endless series of telephone calls and rude call non-support, painting me as taking advantage of MSoft, whenever I choose to make a clean re-installation of Win XP.
    If you/your friend don't plan to re-install every 9-12 months, this ought not to be a problem for you, but at my end I see it as yet another obnoxious claim by MSoft ("You have exceeded the number of times you can install that program" ...)

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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Why not burn a image of the partition when you have it cleaned up, and reimage the drive each time you FEEL that it needs to be cleaned up <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    I do it all the time, as I am beta testing the different OS builds. A image takes about 20 minutes or 2-3 hours to do a clean rebuild <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  11. #11
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by chrisgreaves on 07-Mar-08 12:20. fixed link)</P>Using, presumably, acronis.

    >Why not burn a image of the partition ...?
    Because I've not had much sucecss doing that in the apst.
    I tried last week to make a boot CD/DVD, but after going through the process the CD/DVD failed with a diagnostic "can't recognise hardware" or similar.
    I threw up my hands (again) and went back to VBA, which sometimes works.

    OK.
    I'll d/lo acronis and give it a try.

  12. #12
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    You ought to read the threads starting with <post:=670,726>post 670,726</post:> and <post:=694,939>post 694,939</post:>.

    Joe
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  13. #13
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Joe et al,
    An update. It took a while, but the other day I (and the owner) had an opportunity to take a short look at the laptop and together do a clean install.

    Yes Joe, he had more than one backup. The "D" partition, by the way was never used. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> My Doc. etc pointed to the usual place I guess, and he just kept installing things ( <img src=/S/whisper.gif border=0 alt=whisper width=29 height=17> mostly games I think). No matter what I said, he don't understand why some think more than one partition can be useful (just in general terms, I'm not saying one must use several). Acer of course does it that way to make it easy to recover "C", I can't confirm but it would have been great if they instructed people to change My Doc. goal folder to D. Oy!

    Some feedback; My concern before was and is to find updated or working drivers. But also, since I'm on XP I haven't followed so close, the updates for Vista. I thought that if install goes OK, and drivers are stable, Vista probably should be enough stable and happy until he gets the (maybe needed) pre-SP1 updates etc.

    The process, to use upgrade media, worked very well, i.e. the two-step clean install. Reason why it didn't work for him earlier was he started the install by booting from the original recovery CDs, WinXP, (this laptop comes with both recovery CDs and a recovery partition, D2D, disk-to-disk, he did not burn any CD when prompted, as I understand), thus he did an upgrade and didn't remove the second partition. However, he knows very little about what drivers are etc. and I guess that he didn't see any direct device problems during his attempts earlier, as well as efter the first upgrade 8 moths ago, so I had to stress that this is a completely different scenario.

    One early "problem" was and is that the small recovery partition could not be seen by the Vista setup. I knew it was there (though the owner had forgot about it since it only show up in Disk Management, Explorer showed the two main partitions). But, since I have had only one look at the laptop 8 months ago (quick show), and, my fault, I didn't research that area; I had no knowledge during the short time for install etc. to troubleshoot it.

    There were no problems to use the Advanced settings (partition, format etc) in Vista setup to remove the two main partitions. The setup showed:
    Disk 0 Partition 2 ~53 GB (but in MB)
    Disk 0 Partition 3 ~53 GB
    before, and after:
    Disk 0 Partition 2 ~107 GB (but in MB)

    The small, 4-5 GB (# 1), recovery couldn't be removed. And no, right-clicking on it in Disk Management, showed only Help.

    So, pressed by time, we moved on and left it in place.

    At final log on, Vista showed prompts for unknown sound and Mass Storage Devices. Now time was short and he would like to borrow my Internet connection. Told him about AV/FW. He had his F-Secure 2007, plus some upgrade to 2008 and installed it, at the same time we checked Firewall settings. But we could not get a connection. Of course did Off/On on the ADSL modem; diagnose, repair didn't help, neither set up a new connection to a public network.

    (I remember it was a little bit tricky 8 months ago when he showed it to me the first time and used my line. At home, he said, it took less than 5 minutes to setup and connect (but he don't know how to do it so it must be a miracle plug and play). Also, I know a bit but not much about the changes in Vista Network settings, so that time it was almost trial and error, I should have researched the area more.)

    And then he had to pack and go. Period.

    As for devices; he has a burned CD (I did at earlier visit) with drivers, but I looked on the net [Acer] also and can't find any sound drivers there; for this model: Bluetooth, ATI VGA, some launch Manager, Pointing driver for the touch pad (which was extremely "nervous" at final log on) and some small zip (FIRQ) with a registry patch. Probably an infrared "driver".

    So no sound, and I don't know about the Mass Storage Device, if it was a Vista update that fixed it (BIOS should be OK since it was running Vista OK before). I have a lot of other things to do, and is a bit reluctant to put more effort to it, since he didn't give it much time.

    However, the main feedback (and since I did ask about removing all three partitions previously in the thread <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>) is that the "hidden" recovery partition is an EISA (Extended Industry Standard Architecture) partition. It works as I described in Windows. How to, if desired, remove it, I just taught after he left, heh. But I have never heard of Diskpart in XP discussions, and I don't usually do laptop "surgery". <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    For a little general info. see:
    Problems Managing EISA Partition on Dynamic Disks [MSFT See More information etc]
    and
    Delete and Remove to Unlock EISA Hidden Recovery or Diagnostic Partition in Vista

    and there are several others. Both mention Diskpart.

  14. #14
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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Seems as though you got a lot accomplished. <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23> As far as the sound device goes if you can identify it try the OEM site for a driver. Did you go to device manager (right click Computer and select Manage) to try to identify the device?

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Reinstall & change two partitions to one (Prem

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks. I'm a bit disappointed, since I'm a true troubleshooter and don't give up until something is solved. But we wasted some time before I started first install, and at final log on, time was short. (I had given him an approximation about install time, which was close to actual time (shortest would be around 30+45 min. two steps, or similar, but later on he told me he had planned other things also ...)

    Why do I tell you this? Because I'm embarrassed to tell you that I didn't go to DM. When the mass storage device and sound prompts came at final log on (everything else seemed to work) there were some alternatives (don't remember exact wording) but obviously among them was to search online, point to some place etc.

    At this point he thought, how about going online (using my line). Well OK, I said some drivers can wait a while, meanwhile I checked again at Acer from my PC (to see if I could d/l and move to his laptop via CD etc. but as mentioned no sound there or mass storage /USB whatever), and told him to install F-Secure. Normally I would like to finish an OS install with all drivers, then AV/FW software is the first. Apparently when he did his upgrade from XP to Vista 8 months ago, he had some scanning problems with F-Secure 2007, but their support sent him some sort of upgrade to 2008.

    So, the rest is mentioned, we had problems getting it to connect, and after that he had no more time to stay, so I couldn't look at DM etc.

    The Ferrari 4005 has an ATI Radeon Xpress 200P chipset. I don't know yet but it could be AC'97 Audio Codecs at Realtek, that seems to have new Vista drivers. As for the Mass Storage Device I have no clue, but haven't thought much of it.

    And BTW, leaving the "hidden" recovery partition also keeps the "Ferrari" picture during BIOS POST intact, maybe a good thing for him, not to diminish the "air" of the laptop. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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