How to Partition a Drive Without Destroying Data

This week, I’ve been working on a donated laptop and getting it ready to go to the mission field of Mozambique, Africa. The laptop I got was loaded with Office and had XP Professional on it with no backup disks provided. The missionary wanted to have Ubuntu put on a partition of the drive, so my task this week was to figure out the best way to do that without having to wipe the drive and then make partitions. The more technical term is to partition a drive without destroying data.  Oh, yes, and did I mention, I wanted to be able to do it for free!

Off I went to do my web research. I found a great wiki article that was quite helpful. It indicated whether the software was proprietary or not and if it was being maintained and by whom. So I was scrolling through this list.

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I didn’t know from the list whether or not the software would partition an existing drive or not, so that needed further research. I found EaseUS and saw that it would be able to partition without having to wipe the drive, but you can see it is a for-pay program. Investigating further, I saw that for home use, it is free! In addition to making a partition, it can resize existing partitions, merge partitions and copy them. This software works for XP, Vista, Windows 7 and WIndows 8.

When I’m investigating software, I like to see how others have used it and actually how to use it. Are the directions clear, is the user interface friendly, have there been any adverse effects from using it, does it include any spyware – things like this.

I saw that CNET had rated it very highly and in fact, I was doing some of the research on their site, so I felt reassured using this program.

Next, I headed over to YouTube – font of much knowledge and great for those visual learners (that’s me, when it comes to software). I found this video from Butterscotch.com (a great tutorial and tech information site), that walked me though the process in less than 3”.  A side note – there was a video from EaseUS, but since this software was not developed in the US, it only had text overlays on it, no speaking. I’d rather have someone talking and showing me at the same time, that’s why I found a video to meet my needs.

After the EaseUS software was installed, I just started following the instructions, referring back to the video for certain settings and it took less than 10” to make a new partition, name it and have EaseUS do its work. An automatic reboot was done and then during the boot-up process, the new drive was being created.

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When it was finished, I saw my new U Drive (U for Ubuntu). My next project is to figure out how to get Ubuntu installed in the drive and how it will boot up – will I need a dual boot system for it, etc.

I do recommend EaseUS. They have for-pay version for people who are in business – if you have a need to partition a drive, re-partition or make changes, give this a try.

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