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Partition live hard drive.

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#1 Guth

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 17:23

Basically, I want to know if I cant partition my current(live) hard drive without booting from a CD/USB.

IE. a software that will cut off a part of the HDD i am working on and create a new partition.

What I want to do is, create a new small partition. Install windows onto it from a mounted ISO. Boot onto that partition, format the original one. Then merge the two back together.

Its the only way I can think of.
Basically what I want to do is format and install windows on my laptop without a CD or a USB drive. (laptop has no CD drive and my largest USB stick is 2GB which isn't big enough for windows 7 ISO)

I am sure I have seen a software before that can create partitions on your current HDD. But I may be wrong. I cant seem to find anything.

Lastly, open to suggestions if anyone has a better method

:EDIT: I have just thought that, although my USB isn't big enough to take the windows ISO. I could still make a bootable USB with a partition manager on it. This way I wouldn't need to partition the HDD whilst I was booted on it. Still looking for suggestions though.


#2 lars77

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 18:20

What OS is on the laptop now? I'm assuming Win 7, you just want to do a re-install sort of thing?

It'd be much, much easier to just buy (or borrow) a larger USB drive IMO ;)

But, otherwise, try this:

1. Try resizing the partition in Windows' Disk Management utility. Specifically, try to right-click your current partition & select "Shrink Volume". (Before resizing, it would be a good idea to fully defrag the partition first! You might also need to temporarily disable pagefile/hibernate if it still doesn't let you shrink the partition)

2. Once that's out of the way, then try extracting the Win 7 ISO (using 7-Zip, for example) & run the setup.exe from within Windows. I *think* that should get the installation started, which will eventually restart the computer & let you install into a new partition.

If all that doesn't work, I'd suggest trying to get GParted working off USB stick, then you'll be able to boot off that & resize/create/delete any partitions you want.

I've never needed to install Win 7 this way, so maybe someone else can chime in to confirm if that would work.

#3 OP Guth

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 20:03

I have managed to shrink the C: partition and create a new partition called win new.

I am downloading win7 ISO now, and will try the setup. Rather than unzip it, I thought I would be best to mount it as a virtual drive and run it that way?

If all goes well, I have found that I can also merge partitions as I wished. So providing the installation goes as planned, I can then format the C: partition and merge it with "win new". Then I will have my full HDD capacity with a clean install

Also, yes the laptop is already on win7. My dad has bought anew one and given me his old one but its full of crap. So i just want to re-install and start a-fresh.

#4 OP Guth

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 01:43

Update.
I have downloaded the ISO, Mounted it via PowerISO and started installation to my newly created partition.

Setup has copied and expanded files. Is now restarting to continue install.

This seems like its going to work!
If so, after its installed, I will boot to new install and use the same partition software that I used to create a new partition and format C: then merge the two.

#5 moloko

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 02:08

You need a 4gb usb drive to make a bootable drive. You do not have a 4gig?!!!! Its cheaper than a coffee. :p

#6 OP Guth

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:07

You need a 4gb usb drive to make a bootable drive. You do not have a 4gig?!!!! Its cheaper than a coffee. :p

Yeah I know lol. Have just never needed a USB before to be honest.

I have windows installed in the new partition.
But its also created another partition called "System". Seems that all it contains is a restore CD though.

Also, i tried to format the C: but it said it is in use? I don't see how, because I am now booted into my new partition. I tried to format it with windows built in format tool. I didn't use the partition tool I used to create the partitions as I don't have internet access yet.
Will connect to LAN and try with that first. It rebooted to format so hopefully that will work.
Fingers crossed I don't break the whole set up by formatting the other two. (I don't think it will as I pointed windows installation to the new partition. So surely the other 2 are unused?)

Also I now have a dual boot. If I format the other two partitions and merge them, I will still have the dual boot option on start up wont I? Even though one of them will no longer work.

#7 skilithead

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:33

Windows names whatever partition it installs on as "C" . If you boot into the older install , you will see that it also says it is installed on ""C" . Also , you may not be able to merge to a partition listed to the left of the the partition you are booted into .

#8 lars77

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:43

By default the Win 7 installer will create a "System Reserved" partition, this is normal.

You might have a slight issue, the new install may be booting off your old partition. This would explain why it won't let you delete it. When you're in Disk Management which partitions are listed as "Active" & "Boot"? If the old partition is in fact active, or boot, then you're definitely going to need a bootable USB to fix.

(Deleting/formatting a partition while it's still marked as the active partition on the disk will cause Win 7 to not boot up anymore, but it's fixable if you run a repair from a bootable Win 7 USB.)

#9 OP Guth

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:10

Thanks for your replies guys, think I got myself a little confused.

Here is where I stand now;
I managed to remove the "old windows" partition (C:). I used a partition manager to format it an merge it with my "New Windows" partition.
I still have a 10GB "System" partition. @Lars77 this is normal? My desktop PC has only C: with my full TB drive and windows on there. No system partition.

Going by what I have read here
This is the cause of my System Partition:

During the installation of Windows 7, a previously created primary NTFS partition was not specified as the destination. Windows 7 Setup created the 100MB System Reserved partition containing the booting files and a second partition containing Windows 7.


And this is why I cannot remove the System Partition:

These instructions assume that the Windows 7 partition is a primary partition. If Windows 7 is installed to a logical partition, removing the System Reserved partition will most likely result in a non-booting system


When I created my new partition, I set it to logical instead of primary. Now I cannot change it back.

Regardless, 10GB of a 250GB HDD isnt too much of a loss. I did MS config and removed the dual boot so now it boots straight into the new windows install without the useless dual boot. (useless because I removed the old install)

So, as long as I am keeping the 10GB System partition. I am finished and have managed to do what I set out to. Without a USB/CD :)

One last thing. My main partition is now E: How do I set it back to C:?

Windows names whatever partition it installs on as "C" .

Obviously not :laugh:

(For anyone interested, I used this program to partition, merge and format the HDD from within Windows. Great program. Its free also!)

#10 skilithead

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:35

Thats probably because you set it as logical . You can probably just rename it to "C" . You could have done the deed alot simpler with Unetbootin .

#11 moloko

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:26

you can put in a win7 disk and do a repair. This will rebuild your win7 machine on C drive. I do this often with an ISO on a virtual mount.

#12 OP Guth

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 07:30

Thats probably because you set it as logical . You can probably just rename it to "C" . You could have done the deed alot simpler with Unetbootin .

Yeah probably. I have renamed it but that's just changing the label. not the letter. IE: my user file is still at E:/Users/me
Also, I know it would be alot easier but I don't have a big enough USB. Which I also mentioned earlier. I have no patience to get a USB drive tomorrow. I wanted it done straight away and this was the only way I could think of. I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. I am typing this from my freshly re-installed laptop :-)

Just found this online:

Note: You cannot change the drive letter of the partition that Windows 7 is installed on. In a normal Windows 7 system, this is the "C" drive.

Seems I am stuck with E:

you can put in a win7 disk and do a repair. This will rebuild your win7 machine on C drive. I do this often with an ISO on a virtual mount.

As I said in the first post. My laptop doesnt have a CD drive. Also doing this without a bootable USB.

#13 skilithead

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:33

Glad to hear it's up and running . I'm curious as to whether running sfc/scannow from the f8 recovery/system repair would change anything , but probably not .

#14 lars77

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 17:43

I used a partition manager to format it an merge it with my "New Windows" partition.

That's strange, why not just delete the old partition & then extend your current partition over it? That would have been cleaner, no leftover weirdness from the old partition. No big deal since it's already done, just curious.

I still have a 10GB "System" partition. @Lars77 this is normal?

No way, a 10GB System Reserved partition is not normal! But, did you mean 10MB? System Reserved partitions are usually about 100MB, give or take.. my current Win8 install has it at 350MB for some reason. But still, it's not something worth stressing over when hard drives nowadays are pretty huge, even SSDs can handle that tiny System Reserved partition.

Either way, you normally can't delete System Reserved paritions b/c Windows stores its boot files in it. (unless it decides to boot off another drive somewhere). You can find out in Disk Management & seeing what the System Reserved partition is marked as.. e.g. if it's "Active" & "System" then you normally won't be able to delete it w/o some crazy hackery, & you'd likely need to repair the Windows installation afterwards (off a bootable USB drive).

One last thing. My main partition is now E: How do I set it back to C:?

You can't change drive letters on system partitions (e.g. your main Windows partition).. well, not without having to re-install Windows. The reason it probably did this is b/c it detected the old installation & left that at C:

#15 OP Guth

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 17:48

That's strange, why not just delete the old partition & then extend your current partition over it? That would have been cleaner, no leftover weirdness from the old partition. No big deal since it's already done, just curious.


No way, a 10GB System Reserved partition is not normal! But, did you mean 10MB? System Reserved partitions are usually about 100MB, give or take.. my current Win8 install has it at 350MB for some reason. But still, it's not something worth stressing over when hard drives nowadays are pretty huge, even SSDs can handle that tiny System Reserved partition.

Either way, you normally can't delete System Reserved paritions b/c Windows stores its boot files in it. (unless it decides to boot off another drive somewhere). You can find out in Disk Management & seeing what the System Reserved partition is marked as.. e.g. if it's "Active" & "System" then you normally won't be able to delete it w/o some crazy hackery, & you'd likely need to repair the Windows installation afterwards (off a bootable USB drive).


You can't change drive letters on system partitions (e.g. your main Windows partition).. well, not without having to re-install Windows. The reason it probably did this is b/c it detected the old installation & left that at C:


yes 10GB!!
I dont know how the hell that happened!?

As for merging the partitions, It never occured to me to extend my current one lol. I just saw the option for "Merge" and thought "Thats what I need!"