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I have a 320GB hard drive currently partitioned as below:

enter image description here

A long time ago, a computer expert formatted my hard drive like this because I wanted to install Ubuntu. I'm now ready to do this, but I'll never need so much free space (103.09GB). I want to enlarge the D:\ volume because it already has lots of data on it.

I know that when I open diskmgmt.msc, I could possibly enlarge the D:\ volume using some free space from the unformatted 103.09GB volume, because the program offers me the option to enlarge. However I'm afraid that I might lose data doing this.

Is it possible to enlarge the partition with this Windows 7 tool or am I better using GParted via "Try Ubuntu" on my Live CD? Would either of them cause data loss in this scenario?

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I have seen way too many people here use the Windows Disk Manager, and have problems requiring much more troubleshooting. I would not since there are better tools that run flawlessly. I would go with @Mehrdad on this one. I have also never seen a tool like this fail in 17 years, but it is good that you realize the importance of backups (based on your comment below). +1 for that. –  KCotreau Jul 24 '11 at 21:18
    
okay, I'll have a look at partition master. Thanks. This tool never failed in 17 years? –  Kirinriki Jul 25 '11 at 8:29
    
What I meant was this tool or tools exactly like it. But no, I have never had a similar tool fail in 17 years, but I have seen people here have nightmarish problems with the Windows Disk Manager. –  KCotreau Jul 25 '11 at 10:21

4 Answers 4

Both GParted and Windows 7 diskmgmt are able to shrink and extend NTFS partitions without data loss. The risk is always there, but very small – in particular, extending is a very simple operation, compared to shrinking or moving.

I've used GParted for this myself several times and it worked perfectly. As for diskmgmt – it's part of Windows, so it surely should know how to deal with its own filesystem.

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thanks! That takes my fear away. –  Kirinriki Jul 24 '11 at 20:02
    
+1 for "As for diskmgmt – it's part of Windows, so it surely should know how to deal with its own filesystem". –  TFM Jul 24 '11 at 20:03

Repartitioning always introduces a risk of data loss or corruption during operations, but from my experience it's pretty rare. To be sure, make a backup first; and then use either method (personally I'd use GPartEd).

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thanks! Yes, backups are always a necessary step before trying out something :) –  Kirinriki Jul 24 '11 at 20:04

Since it's not your system partition, you can use whatever tool you want. Both GParted and diskmgmt.msc are reliable tools.

The important thing is that your drive is not converted to "Dynamic", not all partitioning tools can (could?) handle them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_Disk_Manager#Basic_volumes_and_dynamic_volumes

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa363785%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

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okay, because I never bothered about this subject. But it seems like most of the disks are basic disks by default...? How to see if my disks are basic or dynamic? –  Kirinriki Jul 25 '11 at 8:45
    
On the left side, under "Datenträger 0" it says "basic" (basis). –  TFM Jul 25 '11 at 8:48
    
ah, stupid me. Thanks! –  Kirinriki Jul 25 '11 at 10:58

Try Easus Partition Master, it's awesome.

The disk manager has some bugs where, if you click in the wrong order, it can delete the wrong partition. (Edit: I couldn't reproduce this on a new virtual machine, but it happened to me on my real machine. I'm not going to try to reproduce it there!) Be careful what you do there.


Note:

It's worth mentioning that extending a partition with Disk Manager has never been problematic for me (or anyone I know). Don't worry about data loss. Just be careful to avoid deleting anything with Disk Management.

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Any sources on these "bugs"? There may be several bugs in various Windows tools, but if the diskmgmt bug is even worse now, why not throw a link or two about how "severe" it is? After all, it would become a major subject for discussion by now. –  TFM Jul 24 '11 at 20:31
    
@TFM: In XP, when you right-click a partition on the visual panel and click Delete Partition, it selects a different partition accidentally before asking you, and then asks for confirmation; if you continue without noticing this, you delete the wrong partition. (If you don't believe me, try it. Install XP on a virtual machine, try this, and see what happens.) In Windows 7, I remember encountering a similar bug, though it was a while back -- IIRC, it doesn't show you that the selection has changed, but it has. If I reproduce it I'll list the steps. –  Mehrdad Jul 24 '11 at 20:34
    
@TFM: Another bug I've noticed is that if you're unlucky and have some logical partitions and try to delete one of them with Disk Management, the last partition will suddenly extend to beyond the end of the disk. (E.g. I get a 700-GiB partition at the end of a 500-GiB disk.) It's happened to me a couple of times now, and it needed some pretty serious recovery. If you'd like, I can try to reproduce that too, and give you the steps. –  Mehrdad Jul 24 '11 at 20:36
    
+1 This is the tool I would use also. –  KCotreau Jul 24 '11 at 21:16
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@Mehrdad - There is no evidence the user didn't select the wrong partition. Infact there is no evidence you didn't either. There is no evidence this bug even exists, you never told us how to reproduced the results, and even point out, you couldn't reproduce it. –  Ramhound Apr 26 '12 at 12:32

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