Re-partitioning HDD - where'd all my gigabytes go?!

My (very) old Dell (Windows XP Home) has been getting progressively more slow and unwieldy, and I decided to try and wring a bit more life out of it by reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows - haven't done it for at least 3 years and it normally helps a lot.
I upgraded the HD last time in fact, to a 250Gb one, which I partitioned with a 20Gb drive C (which carried just the O/S) and the rest as drive D (for data). There was a small drive E which IIRC mopped up a few spare Gb left over. For the reformat, I decided to put the whole lot as a single partition (especially as drive C was chock-a-block, thanks to all the MS patches over the years).
I stuck in my Windows set up disk, deleted the existing partitions, and formatted it (NTFCS). However, I was left with only 135 Gb (7 Gb formatted). ??? What's going on?
My first thought was that the HD is in a poor state, and about 50% of it has been flagged as knackered and unformattable. Is that likely? But the thing is, although the HD was pretty noisy, I never got data errors, and had about 160 Gb of data on it, so that doesn't make sense ( - does it?)
How can I check what's going on?
Thanks David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

[...]
Hi David,
Have you upgraded the new (re)install to at least Service Pack 1? I seem to recall the original XP release did not support 48bit logical block addressing hence could not address partition sizes above 137GB.
Once you upgrade you can then resize the partition with something Easus Partition Manager (http://www.partition-tool.com /)
Mathew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

[...]
Have you upgraded the new (re)install to at least Service Pack 1? I seem to recall the original XP release did not support 48bit logical block addressing hence could not address partition sizes above 137GB.
----------------
Hmm - that sounds plausible: yes I've just done the install using the OEM disks so far, which are just the original XP release. However, that said - I came up with the problem using the MS-DOS format/partition utility built in to the OEM disks, before I even started the Windows install; also, when I installed the new HD about 3 years ago I don't remember anything like this (could be wrong though)...
Thanks David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Matthew Newton was right. Windows XP (before SP1) cannot do partitions greater than 128GB (137GB in decimal IIRC).
You either need to install from XP with SP1 (or later) integrated; or (IIRC) partition the disk the way you want it and then install XP without repartitioning
--
Robin
PM may be sent to rbw0hotmailcom
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Last time you would have created the 20GB partition as the primary. The remaining chunk was probably ans extended partition which, I seem to remember, was not subject to the same limitations.
--
Tinkerer



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Brilliant thanks - I now know that (a) that's the problem and (b) I'm not going nuts...
Before I go on to sort this out (will have a look at John's slipstreaming!) - do people actually reckon it's worthwhile installing the OS on a separate partition as I did last time (I'd make it 30 Gb, rather than 20 Gb this time!) or is it a waste of time and effort?
Thanks David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Use an old 30G HDD as C:, and put your 250G hdd on the secondary IDE cable. Now the PC can access both discs at full speed at the same time, result better performance.
And do yourself a favour and stick a Mint 7 CD in there, win just isn't a good choice any more. Only 7, not a later version.
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lobster wrote:

Yes, and while you're at it, arrange for your Documents folder to be on the data drive, not where XP puts it by default, which is in a sub-sub-sub-folder of your Windows directory. I'd also make the C: drive about 40Gig on a 250Ggig drive, to leave room for all the cr@p and a decent size swap file. Then again, I've got a couple of programs that have gigabytes of data files they need to have in their home directory.
"My Documents" is off the root of D: on this machine, and when I have to re-install Windows, all my data is sitting there untouched.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
and a

And, if you use an email client rather than web mail, arrange for the mail files (inbox etc.) to be stored in a folder within My Documents. Otherwise they get squirrelled away in all sorts of odd places, usually buried somewhere on C: drive. You can usually relocate them from within the email client - Outlook Express for example you can change via Tools/Options/Maintenance/Store Folder. makes for easier backing up as well.
--
Tinkerer



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Default is C:\Documents and Settings not a sub dir of the windows directory.
MBQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 26/03/2011 14:43, Lobster wrote:

Personally I stick the OS on a separate partition, and the virtual memory page files on another, then have various other partitions for data and specific purposes. Move My Docs onto the data disk as well.
Makes your backup strategy simpler as well.
For the best performance you really want the OS, Data, and swap files on physically separate drives.
--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well it's a been a fun day - spent virtually the whole day on this and am still going... Took me several hours to work out why, having installed two 'new' empty HDDs why I couldn't get the PC to boot off the CD drive to install windows - continuous boot errors, with dismantling and reassembling everything - before I finally realised that I had the wrong OEM Dell CD in the drive (ie the one with drivers and apps, rather than the bootable installation one)... duh.
So, as advised here I've now fitted a spare 60Gb HDD and installed Windows on that; and the 250Gb drive is also installed, and courtesy of EASEUS (nice bit of software!) now up and running. I set it up with an 8Gb partition first, for the Windows swapfile and temporary files, with the rest as another partition for My Documents and all other data. All now looking good!
What about the swap file location though - have I done right? I note John's suggestion above to have it on a physically separate drive... now, I do have an old 8Gb HDD I could use for that. Currently I have two HDDs running on one IDE channel, and two DVD drives on the other - only really need one, so is it appropriate/beneficial to replace one with an HDD - if so, which? I thought mix'n match on one cable wasn't a good idea?
If not, was I right in putting the dedicated swapfile partition drive at the front of the data HDD, or would it be better on the C: drive?
Finally - swapfile size etc: I've read so many opinions on this online today my head is spinning. My PC RAM is now max'ed out at 1Gb, so the smart money seems to reckon that 1.5Gb is about optimum size? And there seem to be equal opinions on whether the min and max swapfile size should be set as the same, to prevent fragmentation, or not?
Thanks David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lobster wrote:

A drive that small is likely to be old, and therefore slower, and potentially waiting to die soon (not that losing a swap file would matter much).

have the hard drive you expect to access most on a channel by itself, and the other hard drive sharing with the optical drive, That's one of the beauties of using SATA instead of IDE ... no shared controllers.

With only 1GB, I'd say another 1GB or 1.5GB of swap is probably enough, if you regularly use much of the swapfile you ought to be upgrading to a machine that can handle more physical memory ...
I'd definitely fix the swap size so that it doesn't cause fragmentation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ignore all that. Just tick the box 'System managed size' to let Windows manage it for you. It's quite competent.
I wouldn't recommend installing an 8Gb HD just for the pagefile - at that capacity it'll be a shite old and slow drive. Run the HDTune benchmark on your two drives (think you said you have 30Gb for OS and 250Gb for data) and put the pagefile on the faster drive.
www.hdtune.com
--
(\__/)
(='.'=)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes

Its not that clever actually. Messages about shortage of virtual memory are quite common and are normally cured by removing that tick and setting the virtual memory size to at least 50% above actual memory size.
--
Tinkerer



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
validaddress.invalid> writes>Its not that clever actually. Messages about shortage of virtual memory

If the system is hitting the pagefile to any great extent, the best thing to do is to add more memory, not fart about with the pagefile settings.
--
(\__/)
(='.'=)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike Tomlinson wrote:

IIRC he said his MB was crammed to the gills anyway - 1GB.
I wouldn't run any kind of any windows on that frankly. Is dog slow with more than a single GUI app running on even Linux.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Natural Philosopher wrote:

You might get away with Win2000. I'd doggedly stuck with WinXP on my work laptop (never intended to install the Vista it was supplied with) and didn't really expect to like Windows7, turns out that 64bit edition flies with 8GB of ram and a sandforce SSD, OK there's one or two things I wish it didn't do, but overall I'm impressed, only had to track down one or two device drivers for the more obscure devices, everything else worked out of the box.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 28/03/2011 19:08, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Indeed...
It's not that bad actually; at least for my purposes, which is mainly web stuff and M$-Office. It's certainly improved no end for having been reformatted (and having introduced just a new physical drive C: and a new dedicated swapfile partition, maybe).
I know it's on borrowed time, but I reckon this will happily stave off the purchase of a new machine for another year or so! Interestingly, as part of the reinstall, I logged on to Dell's website to check drivers; they have a system where you enter a service tag and it pops up with your machine and its exact spec at the time you bought it. Turns out I bought mine as long ago as 2002(!) which I find hard to believe, and it had a whopping 128Mb of RAM, with which it ran Windows XP (equally hard to believe).
Still none the wiser about optimum swapfile settings though! Seems to be a mystery AFAICS.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One thing I noticed about windows is no matter how much memory you give it, it still uses the ****ing swap file.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.