How to delete an O/S but leave all the other files

  starlet 05:28 12 May 2006

I have installed a new hardrive and used the older 40 gig hardrive as a slave it has 3 partitions that are 78% full of files I need to use and save, I would like to take off the O/S and program files but leave everything else intact.
Can anyone advise the best and safest way of doing this.


  Taff™ 06:42 12 May 2006

The crude way of doing this on the old slave drive is simply to delete the files using windows explorer.

You need to be careful though because some programs may have kept your data in places other than your My Documents. Camera Photo software for example notoriously retains pictures in their own folders. For example c:\program files\sony\pictures. If you delete the folder program files on the old drive the pictures disappear as well.

You need to make sure that all your old data is stored somewhere safe. For example have you transfered your e-mails under the new sysytem?

The best way to get the most out of your spare drive is to move all your data temporarily to folders on your new "c" drive. Once you are sure that it is all safe, simply format the old drive, create your data folders on it and transfer your files back.

Before you do the format I suggest you do a search on the old drive for all files and folders putting *jpg, *.gif, *.bmp (Pictures) then *.doc, *.xls, *.ppt (Office Files) and any other file extensions for other progams you use. This should make sure you pick up any data that has been hidden away on the old drive.

  xania 09:14 12 May 2006

I always partition my drive so that only the operating system and hardware drivers are on the C:\ drive in the primary partition. All other files go on other partitions (D: for data, E for programs etc) in the extended partition. You will always get some remnants of program files installed on the C:\ drive in the registry and in Windows\System (which is why you will have to reinstall them every time) but at least all your data and settings will be safe. Oh, yes - also redirect My documents to D:\.

How do you use this information now? Well, the simplest thing would be to use a partition manager (Partition Magic is still the best), reduce the size of your existing C:\ to the smallest possible and copy this to the far end of either drive. Now delete the C:\ drive, recreate it and set it as active. You can now safely install a new operating system without having lost any of your files, and can copy what you need to where you need it at your leisure.

  starlet 10:18 12 May 2006

My old drive was partitioned "C" "D" "E", they have now changed to E,F,G, E is holding the old o/s and programs and is 9.75gb, files are on the others F an G.
I have on the new hardrive my working O/S (win 2000) and all the programs, and can read and write to the files on F and G, what I would like to do is clean off E and leave F and G as they are if that is possible.
I don't need to install another o/s on that partition, just use it for files.

  xania 12:30 12 May 2006

Partition Magic will do this, and there are one or two freebies that will also do it but they are not as reliable. With PM, your old F will become new E etc and you can even ask it to split all the space betwqeen the two drives. Or you can merely reformat E:\ and leave it as a spare virtual drive.

  Taff™ 10:03 14 May 2006

If you want to follow Xania`s last suggestion use Disc Management. To start Disk Management, open the Administrative Tools folder from Accessories and select Computer Management, Storage, Disk Management, as click here Be careful that you select the correct drive!

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