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I lost half my hard drive space after reinstalling XP. How can I recover?

After installing a new 60GB IBM HDD, I stupidly used a Windows ME startup disk to FDISK it, and then installed XP Home on the new HDD. There were no problems initially, but after a few major problems with XP, I decided to boot from the XP CD and reinstall XP. Again, I didn't notice any problems right away, but somehow I have lost half of my HDD!

My system info shows 33GB as C: drive and 28GB as free space -- it's really not that simple, as this latter space is invisible and no program will even recognize it! I have tried Partition Magic and every other utility I can think of, but it is simply is not there! There has to be a way to kill this entire HDD and get my 60GB back! Any help is much appreciated.

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Try booting with a Windows 98 bootdisk and see if you can perform a command-line FDISK to create a second partition from the free space on your drive. If this is successful, you can then use the Partition Magic GUI to merge the two existing partitions. Of course, if other conventional methods are not working, you can always back up your data files and "re-pave" the entire drive, re-installing the OS over the whole 60GB.

This was first published in September 2002

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