Thanks again Lottiemansion!
I may well have to do as you suggest (backup + partition-define + restore) and I have questions about that, but first would gparted be able to move the D partition out of the way so that C can be extended on Vista?
I have an Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD with the gparted partition editor on it and I have used it several times to successfully adjust partitions of dual-boot Window XP + Ubuntu. Specifically, I have used it to shrink (following defragging) drive C holding Windows XP to make room for Ubuntu and I have also used the gparted move, extend and shrink operations to adjust Ubuntu ExtN partitions. Gparted worked fine and also the resulting dual-boot. As far as I can remember the largest partition move finished within an hour or two.
As a last fling I am thinking about doing the following for Vista:
1. using Vista: defrag drive D
2. using gparted: move D to end of unallocated space effectively swapping positions of unallocated space and drive D space
3. using Vista disk management: extend C into the created unallocated space to the right of C
4. might also save some unallocated space for installing a small Ubuntu 10.04 dual-booting
Will this way of extending C work for Vista or will I have to make some Vista repairs too? I am asking because I found this on Geek talk:
Using GParted to Resize Your Windows 7 or Vista Partition - How-To Geek
with the first paragraph:
'One of the more advanced options for resizing your Windows Vista partition is to use the GParted Live CD, a bootable linux CD that takes you straight into GParted, the great linux utility for managing partitions. The problem is that if you resize your boot/system partition, you will be completely unable to boot without repairing windows.'
The last sentence may well be a show stopper for someone like myself with no experience of installing or using Vista.
There are many user comments to this article. Some say repairing Vista is not needed and that Vista would start in normal fashion following restart.
I don't know what to believe. Is it doomed or worth trying?
Coming back to Lottiemansion's advice....
I don't understand the first sentence 'The only way you can do what you are trying is to backup (Image) the drives & restore to a wiped disk.'
Does backup (Image) mean creating an iso for each drive? If so how? Where would I put them? A DVD (4.5GB) or my largest usb memory stick 8GB would be too small and we don't have an external disk drive.
Actually there is no user information to save...
There is no space left for saving user data on C. The total space remaining is about 400MB that is eaten by the browser (Firefox or IE) within 5-20 minutes when watching streaming video. Also there are not many programs in the Program Files folder. I can see Microsoft.Net runtime support, Firefox, Movie Maker, Windows Calendar/Collaboration/Defender/Journal and a handful of small programs like bittorrent client and 7-Zip. Maybe some of these could be deleted but the released space would not make much difference.
Drive D contains folders: cabs, Document and Settings, Drivers
, Intel, movies, Program Files, WINDOWS and one file BOOTSECT.BAK. Looks like most of these are normal folders created by someone 2009 at different dates long before we received this netbook. Is the Vista Recovery data in any of these folders? Or is it hidden?
Wife and children only know about drive C, so for them there is nothing to save on drive D.
We do not have an install CD/DVD. Will one be needed?