I’ve written a number of times about storing data on different drives or drive partitions than the one on which Windows is installed.
That’s not too easy, when Microsoft’s preference for system builders is to set up the hard drive as one big C: drive.
Of course, some of them set up additional hidden partitions to store system testing utilities and/or "restore" images to rebuild hard drives to "factory defaults".
One of the programs I found recently is Partition Wizard. Actually, there are several versions of Partition Wizard — and two are currently free! Partition Wizard Home and Partition Wizard Business are free (Business requires registration, though), although the company does accept donations. Partition Wizard Server Edition, Partition Wizard Enterprise Edition and Partition Wizard Technician Edition are not free.
You can use Partition Wizard to resize partitions, e.g. make that big C: a much smaller size; create new partitions (add a D: drive partion); move partitions, format partitions, and a lot more.
I used Partition Wizard Business to move and resize my Windows 7 C: partition after I installed Windows 7 into a second partition on the drive. I needed to delete my Windows XP partition, which I did, but which left a big hole of unused space.
The free license for Partition Wizard Business allowed me to move my new Windows 7 C: partition to the beginning of the hard drive, and to resize it to make it a little larger.
What’s the big deal? We’ve always been able to do this kind of thing by backing up, deleting partitions, reinstalling Windows, reinstalling programs and restoring data.
Sure we could. We can still do it that way.
But, with Partition Magic Business (free) I was able to let the program do the work — which it did without destroying my data.
Of course, I made sure I was safe. I used Acronis True Image Home 2010 to make a backup of my C: immediately before making the changes. If anything went wrong (it didn’t), I’d be able to recover.
According to the Partition Wizard web site, Partition Wizard works with Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit), Windows Vista (32 & 64 bit), Windows XP (32 & 64 bit), Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Server 2008 (32 & 64 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32 & 64 bit), and the Windows 2000 Server family.