Can I merge unused partition into C: ?

  Pineman100 10:29 28 Feb 12

My wife's laptop is about 5 years old. It originally came with Vista preloaded but I upgraded this to W7 Home Premium a couple of years ago.

I checked the C: drive today and found that it only has 6GB of space left unused. This surprised me, as my wife's computer use is light - no music, no photos, no videos - just emailing, Word documents and so on.

When I looked at the hard disk in Disk Management, I was surprised to find an apparently unused partition, occupying something like 1/3rd of the HDD.

Here's what I saw for Disk 0 (the only HDD in the machine):

8.00 GB Recovery Partition

HDD (C:) 67.55 GB NTFS System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition

36.23 GB (Primary Partition)

The recovery partition will undoubtedly have Vista in it, which seems redundant. The 36.23 GB partition, to the best of my knowledge, is doing nothing, and I have no idea why it's there or who set it up!

I believe that Windows 7 contains all the necessary partition management tools to allow me to merge both the Recovery Partition and the unused Primary Partition into the main C: partition. Is this correct? if so, please could you guide me through the process? I will of course take a complete image of the C: drive before I start (using Acronis TI).

  onthelimit1 10:32 28 Feb 12

The first answer here has worked for me in the past.

  robin_x 11:06 28 Feb 12

Should be straightforward with Disk Management.

If you ever get problems with functions being greyed out or whatever, Easeus Partition Master is better.

The free version supports Merge.

It can be argued that the Vista Recovery partition is no longer needed. However, it may be useful if you ever sell the computer.

Also it contains a known working set of manufacturers (old) working drivers and perhaps some original, basic boot diagnostic tools and utilities.

  Pineman100 11:22 28 Feb 12

Many thanks to you both. I reckon I can tackle the job with the information you've given me.

First I have to image the drive, then wait for my wife to be out of the house, so I'm not constantly badgered with "You won't do anything to wreck it, will you?"


Once I've tackled it, I'll report back.

Thank you again.

  lotvic 12:01 28 Feb 12

"I will of course take a complete image of the C: drive before I start (using Acronis TI)"

Make more than one image, just in case of corruption even though it may verify ok. That means not copying the first one you make. Also separate copy of all personal docs etc.

Will you be booting up with the Acronis CD when you make the image?

  Pineman100 15:33 28 Feb 12

Hi lotvic

Your sage advice will be followed! I was planning to run ATI from within Windows - is that not a good plan? I can boot from the CD if that's better.

  lotvic 18:12 28 Feb 12

Don't know if it's better or not, I usually boot from CD saves Acronis having to lock the drive because Windows, antivirus etc is running. Also you can see the other partitions on Drive and 'do stuff' with them should you want to.

(I am using ATI home version 11)

  Pineman100 19:06 28 Feb 12

OK, thanks again. First image done. I'm banned from the computer until Thursday now (she has committee work to do), so I'll have to do the second one then.

I put the first image on her backup drive, I plan to put the second one on mine, to be belt-and-braces about it.

  lotvic 19:40 28 Feb 12

May I suggest on your pc, you mount the backup image that you have on Ext HDD and explore the contents, so that you can be sure you've got everything (don't forget to UNmount it afterwards). You can also show your better half so she will be reassured :)

  Pineman100 09:21 01 Mar 12

That's worth thinking about, thanks lotvic. I've never actually had occasion to do this with ATI - does mounting the backup image actually transfer the image on to the computer's HDD, or does it mount via USB from the external drive?

  robin_x 10:35 01 Mar 12

Mount an image from wherever it is stored (usually on ext drive).

Effectively it just 'opens' the image file for viewing and copying files or folders to your main drive.

You have to tell it to copy, it doesn't do that automatically. It saves making a full restore when you only want a few files.

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