Combining two FAT32 partitions....?

Discussion in 'Gaming and Software' started by 4(T), Apr 10, 2007.

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  1. Giving my dads old laptop a service: It is Win XP Home Ed, and has a 20Gb disk that for some reason was OEM partitioned into two 10Gb partitions - and the default C: is nearly full. I therefore want to delete the D: partition and expand the C; into the available free space.

    If it was NTFS, I could delete-and-expand using disk manager, etc. Trouble is, I don't really understand how to do this with a FAT32 system.

    If I convert the FAT32 to NTFS (ie to then use the above procedure), will that risk loss of data in C:? I don't want to have to re-install anything, as my dad has left all the necessary CDs back home in Spain.....

    Didn't really want to go out and buy something like Partition Magic for a one-off use on a PC mostly used for playing Patience....
  2. Changing it to an NTFS system should not habe any effecy on a fat32 system - a simple fat system however could end up corrupted - make a mirror image and try - if it doesn't work just reinstall the image!
  3. I tend to use QParted for any partition changes I want to make. Plus sides ae it's free, it's reliable, and it works directly with most partition types (inc NTFS and FAT / FAT32).

    Down side (in your case) is it's a Linux program, so you'd need to get a live Linux distro to use it.

    A live distro is one that runs directly from a CD / dvd, rather than having to install on your hard drive, so you can "try it out" without risking anything on your drive. It also means you can use it to boot into Linux for maintenance tasks like this. Yet another reason to follow the Penguin :)

    Most months you'll find one on the cover disk of Linux Format, available from good newsagents everywhere, or download and burn your own (totally legally cos that's the point of Linux) - try Damn Small Linux, a complete operating system and desktop applications package that takes up a total of 50Mb (yes, Mb - that's ONE TWELFTH of a CD, Bill Gates eat yer heart out ;) ) :
  4. I use Partition Magic for this sort of thing.

    Basically you create a couple of boot floppies using the software, boot from these and it comes up with any easy interface. Once you've deleted your D partition it will allow you to extend the C partition into the free space. Compatible with FAT32 and NTFS.

    Another couple of possible routes.

    With XP, the 2 partitions can be converted to dynamic volumes, and then the the C volume extended into the D volume. Not sure however whether this is available on XP Home.

    Also, you could use Norton Ghost to create an image of the C partition using multiple CD's. You could then blank the lappy and, using your image, put the C partition image back on using the whole 20gb of space.

    Before you do any of this, i would recommend getting hold of an external HDD and imaging your lappy onto it just in case something goes wrong.
  5. It looks like the FAT32 partition is used as a backup to reset back to Factory settings it wouldnt happen to be a compaq as i had one a while back with NTFS and FAT32 partitions if so if you stuck the disk in and the FAT32 was missing the disk would state you couldnt preform the reset

    However i see no problem if there is no data in the FAT32 partition so use

    Convert FAT32 to NTFS

    Now use the Windows XP convert tool: Go to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt (or, from a Run box, type CMD) and, assuming you intend to convert C:, give the command:

    VOL C:

    Note the name of the disk in the first line, and the Volume Serial Number (for example, 3F4E-2D1B) in the second. Then type:

  6. Thanks for the help chaps.