Vista Primary Partition Too Small



I am running Vista Ultimate. I have a 300 Gig hard drive divided into one
primary and four logical partitions. The problem is that when I created the
primary partition, I made it too small for vista, only 20 gig. The computer
ran fine for a long time, but now it is running out of space on the primary
partition. Windows will not allow me to resize the primary partition, though
it will allow me to expand and contract the logical partitions. Consequently,
I have plenty of space, but none where I need it. I have tried the following
solutions without success:

1. Windows Disk Management
2. diskpart.exe
3. Partition Magic
4. gParted Live CD (external bootable CD)

None work on the Primary boot partition.

Any idea how I can solve this problem?


John Barnes

I would recommend using Vista compatible BootItNG. You can download and use
it as a trial for 30 days, then decide whether you have enough need to
purchase it.

R. C. White

Hi, Kevin.

My experience might not help you - but it might, so...

Vista DOES keep growing, doesn't it? :>( In the Vista beta, we started
with 10 GB partitions, then had to up them to 20 GB for later builds. When
RTM finally arrived, I put Vista Ultimate x64 into a 30 GB logical drive,
with Vista Ultimate x86 in the second 30 GB logical. This worked fine until
a month or so ago when something (was it SP1 beta?) wouldn't fit, so I had
to do some shuffling. Fortunately, I once again have "more disk space than
I'll ever need" (just like when I got my first humongous 1 GB HD!), and
there was 40 GB unused at the end of that physical drive.

So, I used Disk Management to create a new 30 GB logical drive in that 40 GB
and used Xcopy /c /h /e /r /k to move ALL of Ultimate x86 to it. Then I had
DM delete the old x86 logical drive and Extend the x64 volume into it. Now
my x64 volume is 60 GB, of which about 23 GB is still unused, so maybe I'm
safe for a while.

A couple of points to note: First, my System Partition is the first - and
only Primary - partition on that drive; all the rest are logical drives.
The System Partition contains only the startup files (less than 200 MB) and
no OS files. So my machinations did not involve the System Volume at all.
Second, Vista's DM WAS able to Extend the Boot Volume. In past versions, I
would have had to boot into another OS to manipulate this OS's Boot Volume,
which would have been "just another volume" to that other OS.

My strategy, ever since starting to dual-boot about 10 years ago, is to use
only ONE primary partition on each physical drive, with all the rest in
logical drives. That one primary is small, because it holds only the
startup files (NTLDR, BCD, etc.); it is marked Active and formatted FAT for
maximum compatibility. (My original one was 8 MB FAT16 because it had to be
read by Win95 and WinNT4; now it's FAT32 - just in case.) Logical volumes
come and go, grow and shrink, as my needs change. I'm currently running 4
SATA drives (120, 200 and a pair of 300s in RAID1). But each of my HDs has
the single active primary partition. I've installed Vista at least once
with each physical drive designated in the BIOS as the boot device, so that
the startup files are installed on each HDD and I can, in an emergency, boot
from any one of them to repair the others.

I hope this helps.

R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
(e-mail address removed)
Microsoft Windows MVP
(Running Windows Live Mail beta 2 in Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 beta v.275)

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