Enlarge Usable Disk Partition after a HDD upgrade on My Vista Laptop

I have been annoyed by the limited disk space on my Lenovo T500 laptop. It has a scant 150GB SATA drive and just 140GB space left after subtracting the boot partition (~2MB) and the pre-installed rescue OS partition (~10GB). So I bought a new Hitachi 2.5″ 500GB SATA drive from Amazon to replace the existing one.

First I back up the entire disk of 3 partitions to an external USB2 HDD (> 150GB space) using CloneZilla. I have been using CloneZilla as a regular disk-image backup on a monthly basis.

Then I replace the old HDD with the new HDD. After unscrewing just one screw on T500, I remove the HDD cover. Use the hidden black pull tab to pull the old HDD out. Remove all the screws from the carry case and place the new HDD in the carrying case, screw in all four screws, and insert the entire case back into the slot.

Next, I restore the contents from the external HDD to the new HDD using CloneZilla. This is the reverse of the first step. It takes about one and a half hour to restore it. When it’s done, the new HDD now has 150GB occupying the entire 500GB drive – not good enough.

The trick now is to enlarge the middle ‘C’ partition which is sandwiched between the first boot partition and the third pre-install rescue OS partition. Click on Start then right-click on the Computer and select Manage. This invokes the Management window. Select Disk Management on the left panel. Then a map of the disk space shows up. Since Vista would not allow you to enlarge the ‘C’ partition with the 3rd partition still there, I first need to delete the 3rd partition. It’s OK because I have a backup copy on the external USB drive. Then I am now free to enlarge the ‘C’ (2nd) partition. Right-click on the ‘C’ partition and select Enlarge. Make sure we allow ~11GB (slight larger than the 10GB disk partition needed to restore) for an unused partition.

Lastly, we need to restore the pre-install rescue OS partition from the external USB HDD to the unused partition using CloneZilla’s local_partition_to_local_partition feature. Then it’s done. Enjoy your big disk drive. Be sure to get an external HDD big enough to back up your new big HDD on a regular basis (every two to four weeks).