Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Elbow Room

I purchased Sony's newest MMORPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes™ only to realise that I don't have enough HDD space (20GB ouch!) to install it.

I own an iMac running Apple's Boot Camp in order to play PC games.
(This is effectively a dual-boot scenario, whereby I can choose whether to boot into MacOSX or WindowsXP each time I turn the computer on.)

Windows is able to run due to these new iMac's having Intel Core 2 Duo processors inside them. It's nothing like Parallels, which is a virtual OS; Boot Camp simply creates a partition on your iMac's hard drive for you to install an actual copy of WindowsXP onto, plus provides drivers for Windows to talk to the Apple hardware. It's the real deal - no emulation.

Anyhow, as I have read is the case with many other Boot Camp users, I set it up initially with about 40GB of HDD space for Windows, from a pool of around 500GB on the iMac hard drive. I figured I would only need that much, given that my main OS is the Mac.
Little did I realise (back then) that I would be installing so many games onto Windows and, as such, I have run out of room to install any more.

Here's the thing: Because Windows totally blows as an OS (imho) there is no legit way to increase the partition size on the fly. Sure, there's a couple of dodgy shareware apps out there that claim to be able to do it, but I'm not trusting all my data to some thinly veiled excuse for haplessly installing malware.

So, my options? Essentially there was only one choice: wipe the partition, set up a new (larger) one with Boot Camp and start again.

Oh the pain - yeowch.

A trawl of teh internets showed up.. well.. not much at all really. Aside from a shitload of other Boot Camp users asking how to do the same thing.

Enter my friend Annaleigh.

She did some searching and came up with the concept of imaging my current PC setup, deleting it's partition, creating a new (larger) one, then writing the image back. Bravo!

The only fly in the ointment was whether or not placing a smaller image onto a larger fresh partition would work. In other words, would writing a 40GB image onto an 80GB partition space merely result in a 40GB drive again? Hmm.

More searching turned up mixed results, but mainly bad. There were various accounts of how to do it in Linux, but not many successful tales of it happening in Windows.

Which got me thinking..

Perhaps I was looking at this from the wrong angle - maybe some bright spark had already created a MacOS application specifically for this purpose? Wouldn't it make sense to be able to image the Boot Camp Windows partition onto your Mac hard drive, wipe the Windows partition, make a new one (larger) then write the image back, all from MacOS?

I mean, you can see the Windows files from MacOS (unlike the other way around - 'go Windows') so theoretically it's totally possible.

And guess what:
Ta Daaaa! Yes, Winclone is exactly what I described above. Unbelievable.
What's more, is that it's totally 100% FREE.

So, for those of you desperately scratching your head for a way to increase your Boot Camp partition on your iMac or Macbook Pro, look no further.

I'll update this post with my (hopefully successful) results soon.
/hug Winclone

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At 12:24 am, June 10, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

Well - I've come out the other side just fine! Yay!

In summary:
- Purchased a Maxtor OneTouchIII 320gb FireWire400 External Hard Drive
- Booted up into MacOS
- Used Winclone to make an image of the current WinXP partition, saved to the new Maxtor
- Deleted existing WinXP partition
- Created new (much bigger) WinXP partition
- Wrote the (smaller) image of the original WinXP onto the new (bigger) partition
- Winclone automatically resized the image when it wrote it back

I now have 54gb free space!
Time to install Vanguard.

/thank Winclone

At 4:52 pm, September 19, 2007, Blogger Luke said...

I would have used gparted (GNU partition editor), but sounds like you weren't going to go the Linux route (although it may have been possible to run it in an OS X terminal). That's of course assuming that it supports resizing a partition formatted HFS+.

Long and the short though, it would have expanded one partition and shrunk the other without the need for a backup (ok, you should still backup anything you want to keep anyway).

But that I guess is the price of using Windows part time on a Mac :)


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