Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hard drive upgrade season


After having passed all the subjects one of my kids was asking for a hard disk upgrade. He wanted to double his 120GB harddisk. I have written before about tools you can use to get this job done, but I am not wise enough to follow my own advice, so I decided to try new approaches to the problem. I will tell you first what did not work:

I started partitioning the drive using fdisk and formatting the new partition using FAT32. My kid's data was stored on an NTFS partition but I thought FAT32 will be ok. Well ... it wasn't: While I could copy all the data the system refused to boot. Rescue disk and FIXBOOT or FIXMBR did not fix the problem, so I ended up thinking XP is not happy booting a large (240GB) FAT32 partition, so I did a conversion to NTFS using CONVERT.EXE having the new drive as a slave one. Conversion was successful but the booting problem was not going away.

Installing Ubuntu and GRUB in a small partition did not help me getting WinXP to boot, though Ubuntu did boot without a problem. I think the problem may be that a system file is not located where it should be so boot process stops.

It was time to try a new approach (not really new ...), so I resized the Windows primary partition (boot partition has to be a primary one) to the same size the one on the old disk and then I did a dd if=/dev/hda1 of=/dev/hdb1 which basically created a one-to-one image. It usually takes a long time no matter how full your filesystem is, however this time was 99% full. At 34MB/s it took less than one hour to get the partition copied to the new disk.

This time the copy booted and worked as expected, but my kid was not happy having a larger disk with a same size partition as before. To fix that I booted the system with Knoppix 5.0.1 (as I did before to copy the partition using dd) and I used Gparted program to get the NTFS partition resized to fill up the hard disk available space. Now it's a 240GB NTFS partition which is less than 50% full and my kid will start the process of filling it up with dubious content. Mission accomplished.

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