My hard disk has a partition (D:) for restoring, but it is very old and I keep my own image copies. How can I free up D: for general use? I use Windows Vista.
First, good on you – really – for maintaining your own set of image backups.
That’s typically much more useful in the long run than a recovery partition will ever be, especially if you take an image immediately after getting your machine.
But it does leave you with that silly partition.
A partition that you might not even realize is there, taking up space.
I’ll show you how to get rid of it using a tool that works on both Windows Vista and XP.
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First: Back up
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: backup your machine first.
Take an image backup that includes the partition that we’re about remove.
You know – just in case.
Finding that partition
Much like Windows XP before it, Windows Vista does not come with any useful partition management tools for a situation such as this (although Windows 7 does). So we’re going to have to look into a third-party application.
I’m going to use EaseUS Partition Master. Be sure to download the free version that’s available for home use – it’ll do the job quite nicely.
After installing and running the program, Partition Master displays the current drives and partitions as found on your machine:
In the drive & partition list, you can see that the first drive has three partitions:
- System Reserved – This has no drive letter assigned and is often put there by Windows Setup, particularly Windows 7. This is not the partition that we want to remove.
- C: – This is the drive with Windows and our installed applications on it. We certainly don’t want to delete this.
- Secret Recovery Volume – This is an example of a recovery partition added by a computer manufacturer. You can see that it’s taking about one gigabyte; space that we’d like to recover and be able to use.
You can also see in the graphical display below the list that the Recovery Volume is a small item at the right end of Disk 1.
Deleting the partition
Right-click on the recovery partition in either the list or graphic display.
Click the Delete Partition option.
Click OK to confirm that you do indeed want to delete the partition.
EaseUS does its thing and the result is that the partition becomes “unallocated,” which is exactly what we need for the next step.
Expanding a partition
To make use of the space that we just freed up by removing the recovery partition, we want to expand the partition that is adjacent to it – in this case, the partition that contains C:.
Right-click the C: partition:
Click Resize/Move partition.
There are several ways to expand the partition in the Resize/Move partition dialog. One of the easiest is to click and hold on the end of partition indicator and drag it as far right as it will go.
Alternately, you can click on the little up-arrow that’s part of the Partition Size entry field and hold it down until the partition size has increased to its maximum value.
As you can see, the C: partition is now larger, having been expanded to include the space freed by deleting the recovery partition.
It looks like you’re done, but you’re not.
Applying the changes
Most partition tools operate by collecting a series of changes to be made, and then applying them en-masse.
EaseUS is no different.
So far, all that we’ve done is give it a set of changes, but those changes have not yet been applied to the hard disk.
Click the Apply button in the upper-left corner of the EaseUS interface:
Click that button to actually have EaseUS write the changes to disk.
EaseUS will present a confirmation dialog. Click Yes.
You may then see this:
Click Yes to reboot your machine and apply the changes.
Before Windows boots, you’ll see EaseUS do its thing:
You may need to reboot the machine manually if EaseUS doesn’t reboot the machine when it’s complete.
Now, you’re done.