Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Problem With The Web....

... is currency!

I have a Windows 2003 Server VMWare image within which I build demos and test environments. (I do have a SUSE Linux v10 demo environment for real stuff but sometimes customers want to see applications running happily inside Windows). The latest installation I attempted chucked a hissy-fit when it came to calculating disk space. It wanted 10GB and I only had 7GB on my C:!

Resolution 1
I thought, no problem... I'll add a new virtual disk, give it 20GB and call it my D: drive. After just a few moments, my disk was available and I restarted the installation. But guess what... it refuses to install anywhere other than C:

Resolution 2
Disappointed, I figured I'll just resize my primary partition. And the fun began...

VMWare Workstation 6.5 comes with vmware-vdiskmanager.exe which allowed me to resize the virtual disk. (For information, I took it from 15GB up to 30GB). But, of course, that doesn't help unless I resize the partition as well.

Time to boot Windows 2003, bring up a command prompt and type diskpart in order to resize. But diskpart will refuse to resize a bootable partition! Doh!

That's OK though - I have a copy of Easeus Partition Manager! Try to install it and it said "You've got Windows 2003 Server! Please purchase the Server Edition of EPM".

hmm.... seems my EPM version is for non server based Windows installations. Off to the Easeus website then and I found that the server edition will set me back $150!

Google Time
I'm not paying $150 for a one-off resize! Someone must've done this before so let's give Google a bash.

It seems that people have had this problem before and I study their techniques for resolving the problem. I find 3 possible options:

Option 1 - Knoppix with QTParted
I download 700mb of a Knoppix Live (as instructed) and boot my VM using the ISO image. But... the latest version of Knoppix doesn't ship with qtparted any more. The instructions I've found on Google are, sadly, out-of-date.

Option 2 - Knoppix with ntfsresize
Fortunately, my version of Knoppix does have ntfsresize so I give it a go. It says that it will resize my C: but only if the partition has been resized first so I have to use FDISK. I launch fdisk and tell it to increase the number of cylinders to be used on that partitioni and it point-blank refuses. More Googling tells me to delete the partition and recreate - but that just merely destroys all my data (I know - I did it - but only after I'd backed up my partition - phew!)

Option 3 - vmware converter
Next, I follow the procedure sfor vmware converter. I say follow... I did download the converter (which took a while) and installed it (which took longer) and then ran it. The screens didn't offer up the options that were describe by my Google search! It seems that my version of converter is a lot more recent than the one described in the web article and the functionality I'm looking for no longer exists.

Option 4 - GParted
My final options was GParted - a live bootable ISO image that claims to do the job. I searched for it, found it on Sourceforge, hit the download button and..... NOTHING. Doesn't exist or at least it's offline for the time-being.

Time to give up and go to bed

Next morning, though, I tried to retrieve GParted again and thankfully it was now available. Downloaded it, booted, clicked a couple of buttons and my partition was resized perfectly.

The Moral
This was a very simple procedure and it did not require too much effort to achieve it... in the end. The problem is that this is just the latest example of the web sending me off on tangents because the information that I found is no longer relevant or out-of-date. Unfortunately, the information has been round long enough to find itself high up on the search results yet the up-to-date, relevant stuff was actually tricky to find.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Google but as the web clogs up with more irrelevant information, I'm finding it more and more difficult to get the information that I need.

It would be great if the custodians of information would clean-up their act. Maybe a "Best Before" date ;-)
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