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When I install Windows 7 on my hard drive, it makes three partitions. One with the OS itself, one with bootmgr inside (that is 100 MiB), and one with the factory image (all the crapware from HP).

My final goal is to have the OS on a partition of 100 GiB and keep the rest (900 GiB) for storage. I thought it would be easy using gparted, but it is taking so long. It will take hours. There must a way to partition the drive before installing Windows. Yeah, because what I think makes the shrinking/moving of the partitions take so long is because they are not empty (am I wrong?).

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Consider using non-OEM installation media (i.e. MSDN Windows 7 ISOs) with the license key you got with your computer. This will allow you to skip all of the HP "crapware", and is a legitimate way to partition your hard drive in the fashion you want quickly. So long as you hold a legal Windows 7 serial number, I would recommend this over using the bloated OEM disc. – Breakthrough Mar 11 '11 at 18:36
@Breakthrough: COA (OEM) license key won't work with Retail version media downloaded from MSDN. You need OEM media to work with that key. – JohnB Dec 12 '11 at 20:44

gparted is surface-scanning by default, which you can disable. This should take a few seconds then.

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Did you perchance select the Move/Resize button in GParted?

Shrinking a partition is a rather slow operation. It is designed to make the partition smaller, without deleting the data on it. If you don't need the data on it (e.g. it is backed up or just the OS you plan to reinstall), it is safe to cancel the operation. Then, just delete all the partitions on the drive first, and afterward create your partition layout like you want it. It will be much faster, because it will not attempt to keep your existing data.

However, if you do need the data on the partition, do not cancel the operation or you will probably lose all data on the partition. Unfortunately, you'll just have to wait.

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Hmmm. This is not how I interpreted his question. I assumed the drive was empty. If I'm wrong, I'll delete my answer and vote you up. – user3463 Mar 11 '11 at 7:53
@Randolph: The questioner said the shrinking/moving of the partitions, so I thought he might have clicked the Resize/Move button in GParted instead of recreating his partition layout. I clarified my answer to make sure that was the case. I'll do likewise if it turns out I guessed incorrectly, though. :-) – Patches Mar 11 '11 at 7:59
I like seeing another perspective on questions. It's what makes SE great :-) – user3463 Mar 11 '11 at 8:00

If you want make partitions before install any OS you can use for example System rescue CD boot disk. It is live linux distribution with GParted included. Creating partitions on empty disk is a fast operation.

If you have data on the disk there is no fast operation. If you want change a partition size after you fill that partition with data you can use resize and shrink or you can backup all your data (it is always good idea), delete partitions, create again with correct size and then save your data back.

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But, let's say I have three empty NTFS partitions on my drive, then I boot from Windows Seven's CD. How do I tell it where and how to install, as it is a factory CD and is quite deprived of all the good and useful options (that the "original" CD probably has) ? – Sam Mar 11 '11 at 14:30
Is it a system recovery disc or a Windows install DVD? A system recovery disc with have an HP branded install process on it, and will probably destroy your partition layout as it just rewrites a hard drive image to disc. A true Windows 7 install DVD will bring you to a screen like this. In that case, you can select the partition by performing a "custom" installation. If you have the former, you will need to order a true install DVD from HP. As a commenter above stated, it's perfectly okay to use any other DVD as long as you use your product key. – Patches Mar 11 '11 at 21:31
@Sam I am not sure now how to set in Windows installation, but I think it is possible to select only one of these partitions to install or leave on the disk only one partition and install Windows to that partition. – Tomas Mar 15 '11 at 22:57

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