Procedure to expand system volume XP Pro


J

Jim Horvath

Last year I installed a new OEM licence XP Pro on a 80GB hard drive with
a new motherboard. Since then, I've installed SP2, and many programs and
data files. Unfortunately, I made the boot/system volume drive C: too
small (8GB) and now it's full even though there's plenty of room on the
rest of the drive. Rather than reinstall everything from scratch, I'd
like to either expand the existing NTFS system partition (it's a basic
volume primary partition), or copy the existing partition to a new
larger hard drive.

I tried using the DISKPART utility, but unfortunately it's not possible
to extend an active boot or system partition.

I tried (many times) making an Automated System Recovery disk and backup
set (to a Backup.bkp file on an alternate hard drive, since I don't have
a tape drive), but when I try to recover, the ASR procedure just
reproduces exactly the same too small partition I already have.

Is there a procedure that works to expand a system partition without
reinstalling? This seems like it should be a simple maintenence
procedure, but it is certainly not.

Jim
 
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C

Carey Frisch [MVP]

The only way you can create, delete, resize or merge existing partitions,
and not harm your existing Windows installation, is to use
a third-party partitioning program such as Partition Magic 8.
http://www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/

Otherwise, a "clean install" of Windows XP will be required
since you'll have to delete all the existing partitions and create
a new single partition.

Clean Install Windows XP
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

[Courtesy of MS-MVP Michael Stevens

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows XP - Shell/User

Be Smart! Protect Your PC!
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.aspx

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

:

| Last year I installed a new OEM licence XP Pro on a 80GB hard drive with
| a new motherboard. Since then, I've installed SP2, and many programs and
| data files. Unfortunately, I made the boot/system volume drive C: too
| small (8GB) and now it's full even though there's plenty of room on the
| rest of the drive. Rather than reinstall everything from scratch, I'd
| like to either expand the existing NTFS system partition (it's a basic
| volume primary partition), or copy the existing partition to a new
| larger hard drive.
|
| I tried using the DISKPART utility, but unfortunately it's not possible
| to extend an active boot or system partition.
|
| I tried (many times) making an Automated System Recovery disk and backup
| set (to a Backup.bkp file on an alternate hard drive, since I don't have
| a tape drive), but when I try to recover, the ASR procedure just
| reproduces exactly the same too small partition I already have.
|
| Is there a procedure that works to expand a system partition without
| reinstalling? This seems like it should be a simple maintenence
| procedure, but it is certainly not.
|
| Jim
 
J

Jim Horvath

Carey said:
The only way you can create, delete, resize or merge existing partitions,
and not harm your existing Windows installation, is to use
a third-party partitioning program such as Partition Magic 8.
http://www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/
I did, if fact, manage to copy my system partition using a 3rd party
"partition image" utility (not partitionmagic), but after I was done, it
didn't *quite* work right, so I was looking for the "proper" way to do
it. Here's what I did:

After the 3rd party image copy of the system partition to a slave drive,
I booted into my original installation of XP, and used DISKPART to
extend the copied partition to the size I wanted. After removing the
original drive and making the slave drive a master, I was able to use
the System Recovery Console to make the new partition "SystemRoot", and
make the partition bootable.

It boots, I'm able to log in, and most things seem to run normally, but
now the XP Pro Backup utility doesn't work correctly - it simply reports
"Failed Backup" any time I try to do any of the "System" backup tasks
(like ASR creation). I assume this is because my non-Microsoft transfer
method failed to update some magic key file and so the Backup utility is
crippled.

Granted, PartitionMagic MAY be able to do what I want without causing
similar problems, but I really don't want to pay $69.99 to find out.
After all, the ability to do backups and restores, and partition
resizing are among the feature that sold me on XP Pro instead of Home
edition. Nobody mentioned that, "Oh, by the way, you have to buy
something else if you actually want to back-up, restore, and resize
partitions."

Of course, I can back up, restore, and resize my data partitions however
I want - but so what? It's easy enough to just drag and drop copy those.
Having a way to restore the system volume is the only thing worth paying
extra for.

Otherwise, a "clean install" of Windows XP will be required
since you'll have to delete all the existing partitions and create
a new single partition.
Sigh - for minor issues, reboot - for major issues, re-install. I guess
that's what I'll have to do.

Thanks for the advice.

Jim


Clean Install Windows XP
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

[Courtesy of MS-MVP Michael Stevens
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

:

| Last year I installed a new OEM licence XP Pro on a 80GB hard drive with
| a new motherboard. Since then, I've installed SP2, and many programs and
| data files. Unfortunately, I made the boot/system volume drive C: too
| small (8GB) and now it's full even though there's plenty of room on the
| rest of the drive. Rather than reinstall everything from scratch, I'd
| like to either expand the existing NTFS system partition (it's a basic
| volume primary partition), or copy the existing partition to a new
| larger hard drive.
|
| I tried using the DISKPART utility, but unfortunately it's not possible
| to extend an active boot or system partition.
|
| I tried (many times) making an Automated System Recovery disk and backup
| set (to a Backup.bkp file on an alternate hard drive, since I don't have
| a tape drive), but when I try to recover, the ASR procedure just
| reproduces exactly the same too small partition I already have.
|
| Is there a procedure that works to expand a system partition without
| reinstalling? This seems like it should be a simple maintenence
| procedure, but it is certainly not.
|
| Jim
 
G

Guest

I remember I managed to extend an active boot system partition on the
fly twice on different computers with DISKPART. I think it was
necessary to convert the partition to a dynamic volume first, though I
am not sure - it was quite awhile ago.
 
J

Jim Horvath

I remember I managed to extend an active boot system partition on the
fly twice on different computers with DISKPART. I think it was
necessary to convert the partition to a dynamic volume first, though I
am not sure - it was quite awhile ago.
I finally succeeded in transferring my system volume to a new hard drive
and then expanding it using a combination of the Automated System
Recovery process and DISKPART. The steps are:

1. Create a backup and ASR floppy using the ASR wizard in the backup
program.
2. Remove the original system hard drive, replace with the new target drive.
3. Boot from the XP CD, select F2 for ASR recovery, and follow the steps
to recreate the system volume.

At this point, I had an exact duplicate of the original system volume.
My whole reason for transferring to a new drive was to get a larger
drive C: system partition, but you can't change the size of an active
system volume, and the ASR program gives no options to alter the
original drive layout, so I had to do some more steps.

I re-installed the original drive as master and the duplicate as a slave
and rebooted. When I ran disk manager, I saw something like this (ASR
had recreated the complete partition structure of my original drive even
though it only restored the system partition):

Original Drive | C: 7.81GB | D: 27.3 | Extended partition 40GB
New Drive | E: 7.81GB | F: 27.3 | Extended partition 40GB

I deleted F: and the Extended partition, so that I just had free space
after drive E: on the new drive, then I ran diskpart from a command window.

DISKPART
list volume
select volume n - where n is the volume number for drive E:
extend size=xxx - where xxx is the number of Megabytes to add

I now saw something like this in disk manager:

Original Drive | C: 7.81GB | D: 27.3 | Extended partition 40GB
New Drive | E: 25.4GB | (free space)

I then created and formatted a new partition (F:) in the free space,
copied all the data files from drive D: into it, and shut down the
computer. I removed the original drive, set the new one as master, and
rebooted with a new and expanded system drive!

On the first boot, Windows said that it found new hardware (the new disk
drive I assume), but otherwise all was normal. I had to change the drive
letter of my data partition from F: back to D: .

The key to getting all this to work was making the ASR backup TO A
SEPARATE HARD DRIVE. If you have a tape drive, that probably works too.
You CAN NOT store the ASR backup file anywhere on the original hard
drive nor on the new hard drive. In the former case, the ASR process
just restores the system partition right back to the original drive and
does nothing with the new drive regardless of which one is master or
slave. In the latter case, the backup file is just wiped out when ASR
formats the new drive, so there's nothing to restore from. So, when
doing step 1. - the ASR backup - you need to install a DIFFERENT slave
hard drive for the backup file. If I had one, I probably would have used
a USB drive for the backup. I've about worn out my IDE cables and
master/slave jumpers from all the disk swaps I did.

This process probably took about 2-hours - not too bad. Unfortunately I
had burned two days in failed attempts to do the transfer before I
figured it out. In retrospect, it probably would have been faster to
just reinstall from scratch.

Jim
 
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According to Microsoft, you cannot extend any volume that contains the system page file. So if your page file is currently in use on a volume, that volume cannot be extended. However, you can connect that hard drive up to another computer (or in a USB enclosure if working with a laptop).

On this other computer, that volume's page file is no longer in use. You can use standard Diskpart to extend the volume using the following steps (obviously the author knows how to do but this is for everyone's reference).

- Click Start > Run
- Type in cmd and hit enter.
- When the black command prompt window appears, type in diskpart and hit enter
- The command prompt is replaced by diskpart prompt
- Type in list volume and locate the volume you want to extend (you can view conents of the volume in My Computer to make sure you have the correct drive letter).
- Remember the Volume # listed beside that drive letter.
- Now type in select volume # and press enter (where # is that volume number from the last step)
- Now type in extend and press enter.

It should then successfully extend the volume, assuming there is empty unused space on the drive directly after the volume (as far as I recall, there cannot be a volume in use between the volume you are trying to extend and the empty space).

Optionally if you have a LiveCD such as UBCD4Win (http://www.ubcd4win.com), you should be able to run Diskpart from there with the same effect since the volume's page file is not in use. However I have not tested with UBCD4Win.
 
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Since my need was to expand the volume for hyper-v, I just attached the main XP disk to a Windows 2008R2 VM I had and used diskpart after originally using Hyper-V's tools to expand the disk. The post that said XP could not expand a volume that had the swap file and the note explaining people using it in another PC gave me the idea to try this. It worked like a champ for me!
 

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