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  1. #1
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    Refurb Laptop with missing 2nd drive letter--questions

    Dear Readers,

    I recently splurged on a refurb ASUS G74 laptop to dedicate entirely to graphics and possibly video work. I'm looking forward to NOT having it be my primary computer so it can escape my desktop clutter, email, etc.

    It has 2 twin 500 GB hard drives. After following instructions on creating recovery disks and doing other setup tasks, I suddenly realized that the 2nd HD wasn't showing up in My Computer. However, it does show up under Computer Management-->Storage-->Disk Management. (picture attached I hope) The "missing" disk is Disk 0, listed as Simple, Basic, Healthy, Online, Primary Partition, and 100% free space. It also shows no file system listed. The problem: the popup menu that should let me format it, etc. is completely greyed out except for 2 selections: Delete Volume and Help.

    I don't really understand hard drives & partitioning well, so please pardon these newbish questions:

    1) For Disk 0, am I right to assume it's a blank, unformatted drive? What am I supposed to do so I can make it available for file storage? This 2nd drive is also where I would normally stick a Windows backup image along with my other non-program files.

    2) The remaining 3 items on the list of drives appear to be partitions of the other hard drive (in the picture also). There's a 25 GB partition that is similarly data-free and without formatting or drive letter (I suspect this was originally an ASUS restore image but I'm assuming it's not any longer); a Data D: partition that is NTFS formatted, also free; and the C: drive that seems to be functioning fine. For what reason would I want to leave these big empty partitions lying around? Can I remove them without jeopardizing my OS & programs on C: that I have been busy installing?

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Yours,

    J. Hensley
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "I'm never in denial." -- D. Rhine

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Since this drive does not contain an OS, try right clicking the drive in Disk Manager and set it to logical rather than Primary. If that option is N/A try using a 3rd party partitioning app such as Partition Wizard to do this chore. I have found the 3rd party partitioning apps are more full featured than the built in apps.

    By the way, you can reclaim the 25 Gb partition, but you will NEED to use a 3rd party app for this. You would use Partition Wizard to delete this volume leaving unallocated space, then simply drag the left border of the OS partition and drag it to the left. When you select apply your PC will reboot and Partition Wizard will move your OS to the beginning of this now larger partition.

    Also there is really no reason the OS partition need to be this large. After you include the 25 Gb into the C Drive, you can then make this drive smaller (to say 75 Gb) by grabbing the right border and dragging it to the left. When you hit apply the action will occur without rebooting. You can then increase the size of your data drive to include the unallocated space left when you made the C Drive smaller. This will also have to occur by rebooting the PC.

    PartitionWizard.jpg

    This screen shot just shows examples of how you grab the edges of a partition to drag them to larger or smaller sizes. The app then does whatever is needed. This is really slick!
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-09-06 at 05:39.
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    jaynine (2012-09-06)

  5. #3
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    I recommend that you get MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD Home, which is free of charge and available from the linked page (it's the last item on the page), and install it on a CD and use that as a boot disk. Yes, it is completely free of charge for home use, and you can use it with any and all of your computers.

    The reason any low-level operations such as partitioning or examining drives is best done by using a system (which need not be Windows or even DOS) with a specialized program on a boot device (you can put it on a flash drive instead of a disk) is that you don't really want a disk trying to operate on itself. That, incidentally, may be the reason the Windows utility is giving you the grey 'hands off' treatment. With a different boot device your disk is a slave device, and can't interfere with what is going on. Viewing the drive(s) with this setup should tell you a lot more about what the situation really is. If you decide to change things, proceed with caution (and post more questions if you need help).

    From the sound of it, this is a recent acquisition, and whoever sold it to you may be the best person to ask what is really going on with the drives.

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    jaynine (2012-09-06)

  7. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Great minds think alike. Partition Wizard (I should have included the Mini Tool as well) is an excellent free tool. EaseUS Partition Magic also has a free tool similar. I started with Partition Wizard so I use this for the most part.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  8. #5
    4 Star Lounger
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    That was indeed fast - your post wasn't there when I started writing, and I was a little shocked to discover it when I posted. Since then I have installed the boot version on a 256 MB flash drive, and it's a great use for an old but fast (Verbatim) drive.

  9. #6
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    LOL--that WAS fast; here I am, waking up, with several very useful ways to start. When I come back this evening, I hope to start working on it.

    Thank you all so much.

    Yours,

    J. Hensley
    "I'm never in denial." -- D. Rhine

  10. #7
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    @dogberry: Makes sense about the "greying out." BTW, laptop was purchased thru Newegg. The flyer included from ASUS says this: "To protect any potential customer data, your hard drive was completely wiped during the refurbishment process. This process includes wiping the recovery partition. As such, the Asus recovery disk creation process no longer works..." Apparently, this is their standard notice that comes with many refurb models, as I've seen it referenced on the 'Net. There is a generic ASUS laptop .pdf on the desktop along with the recovery program and other more mystifying programs (but that's what DuckDuckGo is for!).

    Clearly, anyone buying a refurb laptop (well, this one anyway) requires more than the minimum level of expertise. Things seem to be done a bit shoddily. Thank God for you people in the Lounge, and I mean it.
    "I'm never in denial." -- D. Rhine

  11. #8
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    @Medico: Thanks for the advice. Again, I am a little naive about all this. About the OS partition: Are you suggesting that the reason someone partitioned Disk 1 into C: and D: was originally to keep the OS completely separate from pretty much all other data, including My Documents, etc.? I'm also assuming that the data space left to become the expanded partition D: on that drive and the upcoming E: from Drive 0 would indeed have to remain at least 2 separate volumes (because they're physically separate).

    I'm just curious, because in the past I've always used the default Windows structure with Users-->My Name-->My Documents, Downloads, My Pictures, and all the rest. I did want the data separated, so I'll need to really change habits and create a separate group of content folders on D: and above.
    "I'm never in denial." -- D. Rhine

  12. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I would suspect that is exactly what someone did, although having that large of a C Drive is a waste of valuable space in my opinion. I have ALL my data in a separate data partition and used the approved method to move all the default Windows data folders to the separate partition. This changes the pointers in the OS to the new location. Doing this you would use maybe 30 Gb in the OS (I have full office and other apps and this is about what I use) I have my C Drive set to 75 Gb and have a lot of unused space.

    DiskManager.jpg

    What I will probably do when Win 8 is released is install Win 8 in my present Win 7 partition, delete the present Win 8 partition, perhaps put a portion of the unallocated space back into C Drive, then add the remainder to the D Drive. You can see some of the various folders I have moved to the Data Drive. Of course many of these folders contain subfolders, etc.

    DDrive.jpg
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-09-06 at 12:02.
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  14. #10
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    'Graphics and possibly video' programs come in large packages, and even more so does their data. If that is your intended primary use then you may want to allocate drive space very carefully. Installed programs tend to grow in number for at least some of us, you want a healthy amount of free space on your boot drive for both performance and possible expansion, and it's a lot easier to reclaim free space from that partition at a later time than it is to try to expand it.

    Wiping your drive probably had more to do with removing the OEM version of whichever version it was of Windows that was first installed, and the registered owner of it or something like that. It may be a requirement from Microsoft for all I know. In other words they're forcing you, or whoever you bought the machine from, to install another copy of their or another OS. On the other hand it may be a means of protecting whatever the previous owner had on the drive, and above all of wiping any drive errors that may be on the drive. The possibilities are endless - if anyone knows the real reason ye are to declare it unless prohibited by prohibition as per section 3 subsection 7 para etc..

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  16. #11
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    Update on the hard drive situation: I downloaded Mini-tool Partition Wizard and used it to boot the laptop. 1) The hard drive that wouldn't show up: I discovered that the "missing" drive was simply hidden, so after I discovered that was the setting, I was able to just "unhide" it. 2) The partition Disk Management thought was empty: I also discovered that the 25 GB "Recovery" partition is likewise hidden; it does have data written to it, about 10 GB's worth. Perhaps I should assume that this is, indeed, the factory recovery partition. However, I don't know how to boot to it or whether I should even try. If it is usable, shouldn't it be un-hidden? I did make recovery disks, so do you all think I should get rid of it anyway, even tho' the partition isn't blank after all?
    "I'm never in denial." -- D. Rhine

  17. #12
    4 Star Lounger
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    That sounds like good news all 'round. Typically, there is a means at the first screen you see to perform the recovery operation, simply by hitting a function key. That, however, would make your first hard drive a boot drive and the operating system would be the system it shipped with, which you might have to learn from reading the specifications. (There may or may not be a green Microsoft label on the bottom of the computer telling you what system it is, complete with 25-digit number.) In other words it may be an older system than you now have installed and functioning on it, and if you decide to try it, I think I'd do it without the second 'known good' system drive in place. You would also have a truckload of updates to apply. The one benefit you might see is that Asus has an assortment of its own goodies that are part of the installation, plus a trialware version or two. With luck you may be able to download the latest version of the Asus goodies independently, using the system you already have in place.

    One further note on MiniTool: they also have a free (for home use) Partition Recovery utility that you might download to have available: to my great embarassment I inadvertenly deleted an entire USB drive when using the partitioning tool, and I already had the utility and it recovered it in full in very short order. Things are seldom as simple as that, but I was lucky that day.

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  19. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I see this is available on the free edition. Very nice. Comparison of different edition. I have both Partition Wizard and EaseUS Partition Magic but seem to always use Partition Wizard, perhaps because I had it first.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  20. #14
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    Here is at least part of the collection of Asus-specific software that came bundled with my Asus:

    Backup & Restore; Entertainment; Multimedia; Network; System tool; Word Processor; Asus Vibe Fun Center; Asus Sonic Focus; Asus Web Storage; and Asus AI Recovery Burner. They also have four or five additional Power Options, and of course a manual.

    That looks like a lot, and that or something like it may be tucked away in the mystery partition (along with a trial AV program).

  21. #15
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    That mystery partition could very well be a factory Recovery Partition which would take the PC to the condition it was from the factory. I have deleted these partitions on my PC's as I have no plans to ever take them back to factory, especially since I use Imaging for system backup.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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