In my post last week I spoke about a third party utility called GParted Live. I quickly thanked my fellow Microsoft Subnet comrade Mitchell Ashley, but I really owe him more than a quick thanks this utility was a life saver in many ways. I was knee deep into getting my system ready for OCS 2007 R2. I had created an image of my Vista install, backed up all my documents and favorites and then I went to use the shrink volume utility from within Vista. Problem is it was only allowing me to shrink the volume by only 38GB’s. Now I went through all the steps of defragging the volume and turning off the system restore, etc. But it would not allow me to have the space I wanted.
Now for the OCS 2007 book I am writing I need to build at least 4 different Virtual Machines to handle all the roles and features. Each install of Windows 2008 needs at least 10GB of drive space (this is minimum). So 4 virtual machines inside of a straight Windows 2008 (with Hyper-V) install and you can see the problem already.
Then I remembered an article Mitchell wrote about dual booting Vista and Windows 7 . I vaguely remembered his mention of a third party partition utility. Now I have used quite a few commercial packages before and I knew there would be an open source tool that would work, bit this saved me a bunch of time and trouble. I could not wait to go to the local CompUSA and I was pretty well fried already so I appreciated not having to dig through and do the research.
I downloaded GParted and burned it to a CD and just rebooted my system. It took about three minutes for it to run through everything and come up with the opening screen. When it did I was not disappointed, GParted Live was simple to use. It has the ability to shrink, grow, copy, move and create partitions. It also supports most file systems in use today and can be booted from a CD, USB device, PXE Server or on a Hard Drive . It might take a Windows person a bit of getting used too since this is basically a Linux based utility. Therefore the usual C:\ drive D:\ drive format does not apply. However, The visual display makes it easy to figure out which volume is which. The menu is also easy to understand as well. Resizing a partition with data on it will take some time (my drive took 4 hours), but the new partition was formatted and ready to go without any problems.
After the new partition was ready I installed Server 2008 (64-bit) and when it was done I had a dual boot system with Windows Vista (32-bit) and Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) and no issues with booting into Vista. I used another utility for manipulating the boot order and renaming the Windows installations. But we will talk about that tomorrow.
If you want to dual boot Windows XP/Vista, Vista/Windows 7 or perhaps Windows/Linux. Try GParted today. An easy to use, solid utility for repartitioning drives. Download the latest build from their project site gparted.sourceforge.net .
Ron Barrett has been a technology professional for over a decade, working for several major financial firms and dotcoms. Barrett is a specialist in network infrastructure, security and IT management Ron is also the author of several books including: Office Communications Server 2007 R2: How-To , Windows Server 2008: How-To and The Administrator’s Guide to Microsoft Office 2007 Servers. Ron has been a co-author or technical editor for several other books on Windows administration. Along with book writing, Ron has contributed to several industry magazines such as Redmond, Datamation and Windows IT Pro. Beyond writing, Ron has spoken at several technology conferences for CPAmerica, AICPA and TECHMENTOR.