My dad was having trouble with his laptop – for some reason whoever installed the OEM version of Windows XP Pro on it (I don’t know if it was Acer or NCIX) decided to divide the disk space into two equally sized FAT32 partitions.
That created several problems. FAT32 is not known for its resliancy when Windows is not shut down nicely. It was impossible to even back up from one partition to the other because FAT32 can only store files up to 4G. The main partition where “My Documents” was located filled up so much it was impossible to defragment the drive.
And anyone can attest that it is a total nuisance for most people to try and store their data on a second partition, because most programs want to store files in “My Documents”. Tools like TweakUi only work so well.
It was a long process to convert the partitions to NTFS and merge them into one.
Step 1: Connect to a network drive (my mac) not running FAT32 so that a file greater than 4G can be stored.
Step 2: Backup the two partions to the network drive in case something goes wrong.
Step 3: Safely move the MSOCache data of the second FAT32 partition to the first one. . This was some data that came preinstalled on the second partition to discourage ACER users from merging the two partitions. If you don’t safely move this data, you may have trouble with Microsoft Office.
Step 4: user convert.exe to convert the primary partition to NTFS. That will require a few reboots.
Step 5: Create a BootitNG Install disk.
Step 6: Install BootitNG (let it choose the partition), extend the primary NTFS partition to use up free space.
Step 7. Reboot to Windows and make sure everything works.
Step 8. Set bootitng to boot Windows, then uninstall BootitNG.
That was a lot of work to deal with getting Windows set up in a reliable and easy to use and maintain configuration.