08-15-2008 02:43 AM - last edited on 08-25-2008 11:34 AM by Mark_Lenovo
Good day to everybody.
This post is a result of great amount of debates and discussion on HDD partitioning in IdeaPads and some Lenovo 3000 systems. I wanted to share my experiences here, and believe this applies to all models with NOVO recovery system shipped sometime before August '08.
Usual partitioning scheme is that disk C is set up around 30 GB, hidden service partition uses something like 12-15 GB and the rest of thespace (90-200 GB depending on model) is assinged as disk D.
The following explains why this was done and may help others in making decisions on partitioning - whether to repartition your HDD or just free up some space on C. Methods of freeing space will be also described.
This is long, but I tried to be comprehensive - I'll try to be not too boring and think it is worth the read....
Some background on Windows and partitioning :
1) Windows uses internal shortcuts (list of them). Usually they look like a word between two % signs. For example, %systemdrive%. Usually %systemdrive% is C. Most of these shortcuts could be edited through user interface of Windows or via registry tweaks.
2) What happens when you install any software?
It unpacks some files on disk %systemdrive% in directory %programfiles%. Usually it is disk C and folder Program Files.
But that's not all. Every program registers itself in registry. Registry is a place where tons of settings of Windows and software are held. You can see it by running regedit. Registry (which is divided into amount of parts) location is C:\Windows\System32\config and the key thing is that registry location can't be changed.
Registry is a very complicated thing and it the thing that mostly causessystem failure. One bad key inside can crash all system, so it must be handled gently.
3) What happens when you reinstall Windows?
Files of Windows are unpacked on HDD and new registry is made. If you format C drive, you lose your old registry with all settings for old software, also Program Files is deleted with all programs. If you reinstall Windows not formatting C drive, old folder Windows is kept with old registry and new folder named Windows.0 is made with new registry and folder Program Files is kept with all old programs.
Knowing all this leads to following:
If you reinstall Windows you will lose your registry. It doesn't matter whether you format C or not - in case you keep old Windows folder with old registry it will not be used any way - new registry will be used.
Now we can see that changing %programfiles% location, for example, to D:\Program Files, or just installing any soft on D, actually will not help us to keep software working in case of Windows reinstall - losing registry makes files of programs to be useless and leads to their reinstall. So, they just use HDD space.
Besides, changing %programfiles% leads to some unexplainable errors in Vista - Microsoft officially doesn't support that way.
If you simply install some soft on D , in most cases it will not run after Windows reinstall. Strangely, it is not related to many games. For example Warcraft 3, Diablo, NFS:MW, TES4BILVION and others can run properly without reinstall after Windows reinstall.
So. As we see, no use to keep programs in case of Windows reinstall (unless you know that this exact software keeps its settings in *.ini or *.xml files and not in registry - usually portable apps do so). The only way to keep them operating is backup in right time and restoring from image. Restoring from image erases all contents of target disk. This is the way NOVO system works - it restores C from an image. Image contains Windows, including some Lenovo software instaled and drivers.
What are the advantages of this kind of restore?
You can have a fully operational system in 5-15 minutes and you can be sure that all drivers are installed properly. You do not have to know how to install Windows, how to install drivers and greatly reduce time to retun to operational system.
What are the disadvantages of this kind of restore?
You lose all you have on C - programs (as we know, they are anyway become unavailable in case of any reinstall), settings and tweaks, files in Documents and files on Desktop.
Let's see how we can reduce negative sides of this situation and free space on C at the same time.
We can redirect Documents folder to D. Steps:
1) Create folder MyDocs on D.
2) Click Start-> rightclick on Documents
3) Go on tab Location and enter there D:\MyDocs
How this action benefits us?
In case of restore (reinstall) we have all our docs saved on D. Repeating same procedure after reinstall doesn't wipe documents in Documents and you again have your files accesible.
The same thing we can do with Desktop - it's original location in Vista is C:\Users\<your user>\Desktop
Settings and tweaks you can save by exporting registry keys. As there are a lot of points to cover in detail, I'll save that for another thread.
How else can we reduce space consumption on C ?
1) Fixing swap file (page file, paging file). What is a swap-file? It's a file which is used as a virtual memory when RAM is not enough. Well, it's in theory. Practically it is used much more often then it's needed. Basicly, it's more used than RAM and you can have RAM almoust free but aswapfile fulled. it slows down the system a lot, it reduces HDD life and it eats up great amount of space. Usually swapfile size is 150% of RAM - if you have 1 GB of RAM your swap is already 1.5 GB at start. Why do I say at start? That's because of default settings of swapfile that allow it to be increased after time file with no practical need of it.
XP needs 1 Gb of RAM to operate gladly without swapfile (2 Gb if you're playing games or use Photo/Music editing). Vista needs 2 GB of RAM to operate correct without swapfile (3 GB if you're playing games or use Photo/Music editing). There are two reasonable questions - what is to operate means and what happens if RAM is not enough? To operate means to load properly and to run browser, movie watcher, music player, messenger (skype also) and in most cases - not professional music and picture editing. All at the same time. If memory is not enough special warning appears in tray and then most memory-eating application is killed. System will not crash, as well as other programs.
What are your risks? You can lose all your unsaved data in games and other applications. It's in theory. In my practice I had only once such a crash after three hours when I launched heavy game, photoshop, browser, music player and wasencoding video in background. I had 2 GB of RAM at the moment on windows XP.
So, how can you change size of swapfile or relocate it to D? Here is Microsoft official solution.
2)Clearing hibernate file. Hibernate file equals your RAM amount. Find out what is hibernation and your need of it (Microsoft).
I always use hibernation instead of turning off.
3)Relocating %temp% and %tmp% folders. These folders contain temporary files used by programs. They're supposed to be cleaned after work of program is over, but it is not always so. You can clear these folders from time to time while none of program is running - it's harmless. To relocate these folders go to Start-> Control Panel-> System Properties-> Advanced-> Enviroment Variables.
4)Reduce Shadow copy sizes. Here's a guide.
All these operations take less than 5 minutes summary.
At the end of them you have C free more than enough to install any applications and in future it will not be garbaged rapidly and unexpectedely. Also in case of restore you don't lose important data as it is stored on D.
If you want to dramatically reduce the size of Vista (up to 1.4 GB) and it's operational speed, use vLite.
These are my thoughts and experiences, and I realize they may not apply or meet the needs of all.
I agree that it is more effective to make a backup by yourself including all your settings and software. You can perform it by non-free progs like Acronis and by great amount of free progs like Drive image XML.
Also I saw OKR toolkit on Lenovo support site (for example, one for U110) - it can be used also.
But anyway, using NOVO makes your restore time to be 20-30 minutes (including all programs install) instead of 90-120 comparing to clean reinstall of windows.
To repartition HDD I usually use PartedMagic - it's an intuitively-understandleable free boot CD. I remind you that repartitioning HDD leads to NOVO restore unavailability.
I hope that this article helps you both in case if you want to use NOVO or make up your mind to use another way of backup.
Described principles are general and I hope to have provided some value in determining the best course of action for you.
I'll gladly answer any of your questions in this thread.
Thanks for your time and attention.
(Minor admin edits for readability)
12-02-2008 01:35 PM
"I remind you that repartitioning HDD leads to NOVO restore unavailability."
My Y430 was built in mid-August 2008 with large disk "C" and small disk "D", partitions which apparently is how Lenovo builds them these days. I wanted my documents stored on D:, so I redirected the various documents / music / photos etc. folders to there. Then I became concerned that D: was filling up quickly and would soon be too small and C: too large. So I repartitioned to create a smaller disk C (60MB) and larger disk D. I did not touch the hidden partition, and the OKR recovery button (not labeled NOVO on the Y430) continued to bring up OKR when I pushed it at the end of the process; I did not actually try to restore. Are you saying that if I tried to restore now, it would not work?
12-03-2008 12:06 AM
12-12-2008 09:32 PM
I am having Y530 model with 320gb HDD.. It came with a C drive with vista and space, D drive labelled lenovo for recovery. If i want to install linux on my system having its own partition, how can i do it without affecting my One Key Recovery and Vista??? Having linux is really important to me as i work on it half the time....Please help me out..
12-16-2008 12:42 AM
santhinen, you'll have to perform some skill to do it.
First of all you will need to reduce size of disc C keeping your NOVO functionality. Guide is here, thanks to it's creator.
After that you must install linux not touching C size and everything will be fine.
01-11-2009 06:08 AM
i've just got my IdeaPad with Windows vista home premium. And it has got 2 disks(partitions) C 30Gb and D the big one. i have not installed anything yet but system start complaining then there is not enough space on disk C:
01-12-2009 11:28 AM
This may happen due to system restore points, swapfile growth, temporary directory garbaging.
Check these three things and if this doesn't makes sense - change partitions sizes and use OKR 6 software to create bootable recovery disks.
02-02-2009 11:27 AM
I followed your instructions about the relocation of swapfile from C-drive to D-drive, but the web page you gave Here , Microsoft is only describing how to resize the amount of swapfiles on disk.
Can you help me with this ?
Also I use hibernation instead of shutting down,so if I remove hibernate ( 2GB on C drive ) will that remove this option so I can't use it no more ?
02-03-2009 03:32 AM
Thank you skripatch for your reply,but still not sure about this:
1.Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
2.Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change..
3.Click Custom size, type a new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK.
Increases in size usually don't require a restart, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. We recommend that you don't disable or delete the paging file.
My Question is,if I set D drive, what shall I add as a size of swapfiles since option for Automatic managing is left unchecked ? Will after restarting my laptop all this swapfiles go on D drive or I must check that Automatic managing option after adding certain amount of size in the box ?
As I read upper, it's recommended not to disable this option. Not sure what's happening after restart? How my swapfiles will be relocated then?
My other question was about deleting hibernate files witch are taking 2 Gb of my space on C drive.
If I delete this files and I use hibernate option instead of turning off, what will happen ?
Will my laptop be able to go into hibernate without any problems? And if it creates again as option and use still 2 GB of my C drive,what's then purpose of deleting them?? Can this be allocated too on D drive ??
I know that pain in the ass,but very carefull with every step I take on my lappy or PC. Don't want to do something in rush and regret after.