BartPE saves the day…

A while back we got a laptop, which has since become my primary station. It was a cheap Gateway MX6958 that we got with some money that my in-laws gave us as a wedding present.

Imagine my confusion when after getting it home and setting it up that I found that on the 120gb hard drive, there was an empty 60gb partition. The first partition, mind you, not the second. Foolishly, I decided to just format it and skip mucking with things… all was good until I shut the computer down and it did not want to boot… since the boot loader was on the 2nd partition.

Cue a large d’oh sound.

I did some research and ultimately said “screw this”, popped in the rescue cd and reinstalled. I was hoping that the XP cd would give me some options, but the rescue CD is exactly that… no ifs ands or buts. It did let me save the existing files and only overwrote the Windows installation, which was nice, but that’s the only choice I got.

So, then afterwards, I cleaned things up and moved the files over to the primary partition. Looking around, I found that there was a command to resize a parition but you could not do it on the primary parition while Windows was running.

Insert BartPE. BartPE is a Windows version of Linux LiveCDs. It’s meant as a rescue disk that you build yourself (I’m assuming to avoid legal issues with redistributing Microsoft’s files) and burn to a CD. Took me a bit to get my ISO right– after a coaster or two I dug out my one CD-RW– as the MX has an internal SATA drive and the XP CD I was using to build the PE disk didn’t have the SATA driver (I ran into an issue building it from the Gateway rescue disk and just grabbed my other XP cd to save time). But once I got that up and running, I was able to boot from BartPE and resize the partition easily.

I recommend BartPE to any sysadmin who might end up tinkering with their Windows box at some point. You never know when a rescue disk will come in handy, and it’s a lot easier to deal with than trying to work with the Recovery Console on the XP cd… assuming your XP CD even has that.

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