CherryPal Pie, Re-cut

Posted on Thursday 13 May 2010

So another problem that I just fixed with my CherryPal Bing has been overcome. This one needed a lot more prep work in advance ( in case things went wrong ) compared to the actual fix, which was pretty straightforward.

The problem was the hard drive. The bing comes with a great little 160GB drive. Which is plenty of space for email, and a lot of other stuff. The problem was that when Windows XP Professional was installed, someone had partitioned ( cut up ) the hard drive into smaller drives when they installed it. Specifically 26GB 50GB 50GB and 34GB ( roughly remembered .) Which in essence for most people turned the 160GB hard drive or pie into something less than a 30GB one. Also since Windows insisted on putting everything into it’s C: drive ( usually where it is installed ) it would quickly fill up as one added programs, updates and other paraphernalia. I needed to re-cut this 160GB pie into something that would work better and longer on Windows or better yet, turn all four small drives into one large one!

I have to tell you that this is pretty simple and straightforward in Linux land, plus it isn’t even really an issue with Linux because I can always mount ( dynamically add ) drives together to make the computer think it’s one big drive. Unfortunately Windows hasn’t anywhere close to anything like that, nor does it even have a tool that will let you resize a disk or partition ( that part of the drive that thinks it’s a disk by itself ) without losing the information on the disk ( and since my wife has been using the Bing for about 4 months now, it isn’t advisable to lose anything on her. 😯 )

The removal of empty partitions and the growing of the active partition ( making the C: drive that had all her current programs and information on it larger ) was easily handled by a linux program called GParted (or Gnome Partition Editor.) Which is found on any Ubuntu installation disk, as well as it’s own livecd ( a disk that will boot and just give you GParted. ) The process to do this is laid out quite clearly on their own website on Sourceforge.net. You can find all the steps here: gparted.sourceforge.net/larry/resize/resizing.htm. Make sure you scroll down and read Part 2 on the NTFS file system to see how to recover the disk and all it’s information. The process is quite simple and painless.

The challenge that required all the prep work, was a what-if scenario that I had to be ready for. Namely…. What if something went wrong and I needed to use a Windows XP Professional Rescue Disk or Installation disk to recover possibly lost data. The concern here wasn’t so much that no CherryPal comes with a CD/DVD drive ( external ones are easily connected via the USB port ), but rather the CherryPal was not shipped with any installation disks AND it contained no C:\i386 directory from which a new disk could be built!

This meant, essentially that if, for whatever reason, the CherryPal was to suffer a catastrophic failure, I could not reinstall Windows XP Professional even if I wanted to!

This needless to say sent me scurrying and searching for a couple of days looking for a solution, which of course, I finally found on a great little site called How To Haven: www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml. I was able to do this because, luckily enough I had another much older laptop, which also did not have an installation disk, BUT did have the C:\i386 directory that allowed me to rebuild an installation disk.

I have to tell you the work in putting the installation disk together was not easy, there are a lot of convoluted steps and specialty programs that need to be downloaded and installed, but the bottom line is that How To Haven’s solution worked and I now have an Installation disk for Windows XP Professional and more importantly I now have a CherryPal Bing that is configured the way it’s supposed to be configured with a valid operating system ( see my previous post for that one .)

Next article will be a wrap-up of my CherryPal experience – ALL of it. Including the story on why I had to do this all myself – so stay tuned!

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