Optimizing Laptop Drive

By now, I’m sure most people have heard of the release of Windows 7. Those more in the loop know that the final releases were placed on TechNet on Thursday morning. Fortunately, I got on the downloading wagon before most people on that day, so I now have the Gold edition of Windows 7 Ultimate running on my laptop.

The road has been long and hard, though. First I had to backup all my data from the installation of Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC). This was placed on the Vista partition. Then came installing and configuring. Then moving all those files back over, as well as the data I wanted to keep from Vista. The last step is removing my Vista partition and expanding my Windows 7 partition to fill the drive. The only problem is that the boot manager was on the Vista partition, and the Microsoft tools are incapable of moving a partition, only expanding and shrinking them.

My solution? Use GPartD (from an Ubuntu LiveCD I had lying around) to remove the Vista partition and expand the 7 partition all in one pass. After that, it’s a simple matter of using my install media for Windows 7 to install a new bootloader onto the Windows 7 partition, since the previous bootloader was on the Vista partition. This should give me access back to Windows 7, and allow me to use the full drive as one continuous partition – something I haven’t been able to do since I bought the computer in February 2008, as it shipped with four partitions on the drive (thank you, Acer!).

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: Yes, I do have the discs on hand to restore to the original configuration. But why would I do that when Windows 7 is far superior to the shipped configuration of the unit?

EDIT: Apparently it’s not going to be that simple (it should be, but hey, what do I know…). Instead, the process is going to include a full reinstall – I just plan to use an offline file editor to move all the various Windows system files, program files, documents, etc. back over to their previous locations right after the first reboot. With any luck, it should work.

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