Re-partition MacPro HD without erasing?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DJinTX, May 19, 2011.

  1. DJinTX macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    #1
    So I am trying to help my wife with her work computer, but need your help so that I don't screw things up.

    She has a Mac Pro running leopard at work (she is a graphic designer, and the only Mac in her building), but the IT dept at her company knows very little about Macs. The genius that setup her Mac partitioned her hard drive and made the boot partition 80 GB, and left an overflow partition of 250GB. Of course now, the boot drive is about 2GB from being full, and the overflow drive only has like 20GB of used space.

    The problem is that with all the OS system files and applications she has about 2 GB free on the boot drive, and so she is getting frequent error messages about scratch disk being full, and things seem a bit slow. I am thinking that we need to change this to be more like 200 GB for the boot drive so that she has room to grow. I found an article that says with disk utility we should simply be able to erase the overflow partition, and then we can increase the size of the boot drive without erasing it.

    Is this true? And are there any pitfalls to avoid with this, or is it pretty straightforward?

    Recommendations would be most appreciated.

    Thanks all~
     
  2. interslicer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #2
    its very easy. disk utility is very straightforward, but let me ask you, is there a reason you dont just remove the partition entirely and have a 250gb drive?
     
  3. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #3
    Very simple. Get an external drive, large enough to clone your main drive. Clone to external drive using carbon copy cloner or super duper (free). Once cloned, boot from external to insure it's good. While your in there, repartition the main drive to whatever you need. Clone it back. Word of advice, never go beyond 80% drive capacity in any OS.
     
  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #4
    bearcatrp's instructions answer your question of how to resize the partitions. You need the external clone because Disk Utility doesn't allow you to change the system (boot) drive. Once you boot from the clone, the internal drive is fair game.

    It sounds like the partitions weren't set up correctly. I would think that 80 GB should be plenty for OS and Apps. It seems like apps should be configured to use the larger partition as their scratch drives. Also, User directories should be on the larger partition. It sounds like your setup has allocatted a bunch of 'user space', but hasn't moved the default locations over there.
     
  5. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

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  6. interslicer macrumors member

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    Oct 14, 2010
    #6
    im fairly certain that if you were deleting all the data off one partition, even on the boot drive you could remove the non boot partition and then make a new partition of a different size, without cloning the drive.

    also is there a reason the storage needs to be in a different partition if its all on the same drive?
     
  7. DJinTX thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    #7
    Sorry for not replying sooner, just been busy at work today.

    As for the carbon copy cloner or super duper suggestion...I have used them for personal use in the past, but since this is her work machine, I am not interested in going this route. It would take longer for everyone involved.

    As for the need of having it partitioned into two or more volumes, I'm not really sure if she needs this to be honest. We could probably just rearrange and have everything on one big volume.

    The main thing I wanted to make sure of, was that if we move the 30GB of files off of the secondary partition, that we could use disk utility to erase this partition and then easily change the size of or get rid of the partition without erasing the boot partition. I have never done anything like this before, but it seems to me that about 5-10 years ago I remember hearing that you cannot change a partition scheme without erasing the HD altogether first. I just don't want to screw up her work machine. The down time would be detrimental to her workload.
     
  8. interslicer macrumors member

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    Oct 14, 2010
    #8
    i am like 95% sure you can delete a partition, and then resize the boot partition without deleting the content. apparently some people in this thread disagree.. i know for a fact on my computer i have created, and then deleted a bootcamp partition on my boot drive, and once it was deleted my drive was resized to take up the whole thing. i did this while running off the boot drive, not an external boot disk or anything. i cant imagine it would work differently with a storage partition as apposed to a bootcamp partition.

    disk utility wont erase partitions without telling you, and if you go into disk utility and hit the minus on the partition you want gone it should pop up with a little window that says "this partition will be erased "storage partition name", this partition will not be erased "boot partition name". this will pop up before it does anything, so its safe to try but do not hit the "remove" button unless you are sure you want to remove that partition. if thats what it says when you try it, it wont erase the main partition and when the storage partition is erased you will then be able to extend the boot partition to take up the full disk.
     
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #9
    You can buy a program that will do it. But if that 80 GB is the boot drive, you can't just move all the software including OS to another drive, repartition, and copy it back. Either you buy a program that will work by adjusting the partition without moving anything (still wouldn't trust it), or clone it. But if you do try using disk utility and do this, hope your insurance policy is up to date. She will kill you when you nuke all of her data. Hope she has a backup!
     
  10. interslicer macrumors member

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    Oct 14, 2010
    #10
    disk utility can delete a partition on the boot drive that is not the boot partition and then extend the boot partition once the disk is clear without deleting anything on the boot partition.

    im like almost positive. can no one confirm this?
     
  11. barmann macrumors 6502

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    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #11
    Afaik since Leopard you can indeed do that, but I've never tried it myself .
    I assume to do this with the boot volume you'll still need to do it by starting from a different boot volume, but why not just try ?

    Of course, you must have a bootable backup ready either way (Super Duper etc.).
     
  12. interslicer macrumors member

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    Oct 14, 2010
    #12
    im pretty sure you can do it to the boot volume you're currently booted off of. no need to boot off another volume
     
  13. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
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    Boon Docks USA
    #13
    Give it a try and let us know if it works. Have a back up in case your wrong.
     
  14. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #14
    Swap partitions

    Since the 250 GB partition is barely used, just temporarily move the 20 GB off of it and CCC/SuperDuper the 78 GB boot drive over to empty 250 GB partition. Chances are that if you look in Disk Utility the 80 GB is listed first, which is the slower part of the disk, so you'd actually move to the faster portion of the disk too.

    The safest route is using CCC or Super Duper. And cloning 78 GB twice would not take a ton of time nor would copying the 20 GB so that you can safely repartition the main HD. Sound like no one has done what you're asking, myself included and probably for good reason.

    And even if her IT people know little of Macs they should know that if she doesn't have a full, bootable back-up of her system to boot from immediately when a disaster happens then she's hosed just the same. Maybe have them get her a back-up drive and you two create the clone on it and repartition the main drive when it's confirmed to work. Partition it for a good sized back-up and use rest for scratch space.
     
  15. barmann macrumors 6502

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    Oct 25, 2010
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    Germany
    #15
    Actually, the first partition is faster .
     
  16. MacSince1985 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #16
    SuperDuper can clone the drive in the background and not really affect her work (minor slowdown). You can even schedule it at night.

    In Snow Leopard (an probably all others), you can't resize a partition on the boot drive. You'll have to boot from another disk/DVD.

    As everyone else mentioned, you MUST have a good backup before attempting resizing partitions. I most likely will work without a hitch, but is it worth the risk?

    The cloned backup in this case would be just a backup. So unless something goes wrong, you won't need to wait for everything to be cloned back before using the computer. Although you may get slight performance improvements if you clone the drive and reformat it.
     

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