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  1. #1
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    Do I need these extra partitions?

    I run W7 SP1 on my new laptop. Here's a picture of the partitions on my Dell system:

    Partition-Capture.PNG

    I used PCMover to migrate from my older desktop to this laptop. I use Macrium Reflect to "religiously" take images of my system partition and my data partition.
    I don't ever see myself restoring this laptop to its factory settings.

    So, my question is:
    Can I safely delete the 2 extraneous partitions without causing any harm?
    I don't need the space but I'm kind of anal-retentive, and like the simplicity of the set-up I had on my desktop ( a C:\ partition and a D:\ partition).

    As usual, thanks for any help offered,
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick-Y; 2016-09-10 at 08:48. Reason: typo

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    In a word, no. The Recovery partition is the system partition and without it your machine won't boot. The space at the front is just Windows format not being able to use small spaces.

    If you don't mind having to re-build the machine you can remove the partitions and try to fix the boot. You'll need a Windows 7 recovery/install CD and a partition modifer - I like Mini Tool Partition Wizard free. After deleting/moving the partitions, re-boot to the Windows CD and repair the boot sectors.

    cheers, Paul

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    Thanks Paul T. I'll leave well enough alone.

    Dick

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    They exist for a reason and may be used. I was unable to upgrade a test Win7 machine to Win10 because it was missing a partition.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick-Y View Post
    Can I safely delete the 2 extraneous partitions without causing any harm?
    I don't need the space but I'm kind of anal-retentive, and like the simplicity of the set-up I had on my desktop ( a C:\ partition and a D:\ partition).
    I know the feeling. So at a minimum I would change the drive letter of your data partition from E to D. That will probably require changing the drive letter of your optical drive (which is probably D at present) ... but I prefer my optical drives to be out at the end of the alphabet anyway. (Mine are W and X.) Since the first two partitions don't show up in Windows Explorer, that may be satisfactory enough.

    If that's not enough to keep you happy, understand that it is possible to delete partitions that are in front of the OS partition, but as Paul intimated it's not a trivial task. You can't simply delete them and extend the front end of the OS partition to fill the gap.

    If you choose to undertake this task, then the most straight-forward strategy will be to wipe the hard disk (IOW, delete all partitions) and restore the OS partition from your backup and put it at the front of the disk. You'll still need to repair the boot configuration, but in lieu of the Win7 recovery DVD Paul suggested, I'll point out your Macrium rescue CD has an easier to use, one-click button that will do the same thing.

    One small correction to Paul's info: the 39MB space at the front of the disk is actually a partition, not just empty space. It is Dell's proprietary "DellUtility" partition, an ancient artifact leftover from the Win2K/XP era. During the Vista/7 era it was still being put there by Dell's automated factory build routines, although it had become of very little use by then. The DellUtility partition was finally ditched altogether with factory Win8 installs because it wasn't compatible with GPT partitioning.

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  9. #6
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    I vote the way you voted earlier -- leave everything alone; with, one possible exception, maybe consider changing E to D as posted earlier.
    Last edited by RolandJS; 2016-09-11 at 19:56.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    dg1261:
    I would like to follow-up on the steps in your response, but I need a "dummy's guide to doing so."
    Btw, I'm the dummy, and I wonder if you could lay out a step-by-step approach to follow.
    I have the images. I have the Macrium rescue cd; but I can't envision ( in my "dumminess") wiping out all the partitions and starting from scratch.

    When you get the time, could you lead me by the hand how to do this, please?

    Also, if this belongs in a new thread, I hope a Lounge VP would be so kind as to move it.

    Thanks,
    Dick

  11. #8
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Dick-Y, if you're going to reDo your partitions on your hard-drives, be sure to make, using Macrium Reflect, full images of your OS partition and of your Data partition on trusted external media before engaging in partition management.As long as there is enough room on the "new" OS partition [which is often called "C drive"] and on the Data partition [which is often called "D drive"], Macrium Reflect can restore your full images.
    Last edited by RolandJS; 2016-09-12 at 06:11.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  12. #9
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    Okay, Dick, here 'ya go.

    Let me preface this by echoing the cautions of Paul and Roland. This is a project not to be taken lightly. But if you understand the risks and still wish to proceed, it's not really that difficult. If I'm correctly reading between the lines, my guess is you have a new computer and are willing to spend the time to set it up the way you want from the get go, even if it isn't strictly necessary. With that said, I'd do exactly the same thing if it were my computer, so who am I to say you shouldn't?

    In lieu of gumming up this thread with a bunch of large screenshots, I've posted a quick-and-dirty webpage here, with screenshots of the steps.

    To get these screenshots, I created a VirtualBox virtual machine with a 1TB virtual disk partitioned exactly as shown in your opening post. Then I booted the virtual machine with an iso image of a Macrium Reflect Rescue CD to walk through the process, taking screenshots as I went along. No animals or real partitions were harmed in the demonstration.

    Since you stated so, I'm starting from the premise that you already have a Macrium image of your OS partition. As part of your "due diligence", though, I'll remind you that you should do a Macrium verify operation to make sure the image is viable, and should test your rescue media to make sure it boots and make sure you know how to use it. In fact, I would practice booting and going through steps 1-7 a few times until you feel comfortable and thoroughly understand what's going on. You can always back out before step 8 without messing anything up, but going beyond that is passing the "point of no return" and you'll be committed.

    In my demonstration I added the extra disk space to the OS partition and left the data partition as is. If you want the space added to the data partition instead, there would be additional steps to move the data partition as well. Not that it matters, but by not moving the data partition I could avoid wiping the entire disk of all partitions, and I was able to take advantage of it as a place to store my image of the OS partition rather than using an external drive.

    FTR, I'm using Macrium Reflect 5.2, I used an image of my VirtualBox Win7 partition, and tested that it successfully booted after completion of the process.

    Some may question why one couldn't simply use a partition manager to delete the two unwanted partitions and resize the OS partition to fill the gap. There are two areas of concern with that approach. First, you don't want to be performing "without a net", so to speak, so you'd want to make that backup image, regardless. Thus, dynamically resizing partitions on the fly isn't going to save you that investment of time.

    Second, adding unallocated space to the front of a partition is not a quick operation. Depending on the size of the partition, it's a time consuming process. This difference seems to be poorly understood by a lot of people. Adding space to the back is quick and easy, but adding space to the front is not.

    To understand why, consider this analogy: think of a partition like a train, which consists of a locomotive and a series of rail cars behind it. It's easy to make the train longer by adding additional cars to the end of the train. But if the cars are in front of the train, you need to move the entire train forward so the locomotive is still at the front, then attach the extra cars at the back. That process of moving the entire train, locomotive and all, is what is time consuming.

    In the case of a partition, the partition's boot sector is like the locomotive, and must be at the front of a partition. So adding space to the front of a partition involves moving the entire partition forward, sector by sector, until the unallocated space is at the rear. Then the back end of the partition can be extended to enclose that space.

    Hope this helps you understand the process.


    Dan

  13. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to dg1261 For This Useful Post:

    Bambinoo (2016-09-12),Dick-Y (2016-09-12),mledman (2016-09-12),RolandJS (2016-09-12),ruosChalet (2016-09-15),satrow (2016-09-12)

  14. #10
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    Wow Dan! Nice work.

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Excellent work as always, Dan. Neat train analogy too

  16. #12
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Acronis True Image [ATI], Macrium Reflect, Image for Windows, and others, can take a long long long time to reCar the train. ATI, for sure, will make a quirky directory containing the cars that had to be moved. End-user ends up moving the train cars where desired.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    I have always been in awe, and most grateful, for all the help freely given at this site. This, though, goes well beyond that; and merits an Oscar or some other kind of award, Dan, for the help you have given me here.

    Today, I will be helping my daughter with a computer problem she has been having. So I will not be moving forward on this repartitioning project of my own.

    Hopefully, though, I will report back soon with the successful completion of this project, thanks to your help, Dan.

    best,
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick-Y; 2016-09-12 at 06:55. Reason: another typo

  18. #14
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    A four-bagger! The Red Sox and Patriots won yesterday. I was able to fix the problem with my daughter's computer; and . . .wait for it:

    I was able to follow Dan's helpful procedure and get rid of the 2 extraneous partitions.

    Life is good!

    Best,
    Dick

  19. #15
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    Glad to hear you didn't run into any difficulty, Dick. It makes my effort to document that worthwhile if it kept you out of trouble.

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