Did some upgrades on my girlfriend’s Windows PC today… The techs who originally set up her computer gave her an unconscionably small C: drive, a tiny 10 gig slice of an already-modest 40 gig drive. Even with careful discipline trying to put things on the D: partition, 10 gigs doesn’t go very far. Shared DLL installs, gobs of temporary files, cached updaters for all manner of software, etc all fill that stuff up and it was running out of room constantly.
My secret weapon to fix this was to be an Ubuntu Linux live CD, which conveniently comes with GParted.
I took a 200 gig drive left over from my dear departed Linux box and hooked it up, figuring I could back up the old data over the network, overwrite it with a raw disk image from the 40 gig drive, and then resize the NTFS partitions to a livable size.
Well, sort of. :)
It turns out I could have saved myself some trouble at the command line by copying the partitions across drives with GParted itself instead of goin’ at it all old-school with dd. (Neat!)
I had two sticking points, though.
First, it didn’t seem to let me move the extended (D:) partition to a different place on the drive. That meant there was no room to expand the C: partition, which was the point of the exercise.
I ended up having to create a copy of the D: partition, which it let me put in the middle of the drive, and then delete the old partitions. Kind of roundabout, and it changed the partition type from extended to primary, but Windows doesn’t seem to care about that so keep those fingers crossed…
My second snag was due to Ubuntu’s user-friendliness. As soon as the new partition was created, the system mounted it — which caused the NTFS cloning process to abort, warning that it can’t work on a mounted filesystem.
Had to go into the system settings and disable automatic mounting of removable media… luckily that’s easy to find in the menus. If you know it’s going to be there, at least. :)