What happened next was frustrating for the friend. There was a nice big unallocated space just waiting to become a shiny new drive; but we couldn't bring it about. We'd right-click it, Create Volume.. select all the options, and finally couldn't do anything.
Here's a screenshot from a very similar laptop. (posted on forums.techguy.org)
The reason for this was the Dell Laptop's pre-configuration : It's already made a whopping 4 primary partitions! Of these, first and last ones are stupid small ones made for the laptop. And then there's C Drive and the Recovery Drive.
Don't blame just Vista for this - you can only have 4 maximum primary partitions on a hard disk. No matter what OS you're using. To break that barrier, what you need to do is to make the 4th partition not as a primary one but a logical one, wherein you can put in as many logical drives as you want. This is related to boot sector hanky-panky stuff, not worth DELLving into here...
So, it seems all Dell laptops - at least the Inspiron ones - come with 4 partitions created, leaving literally no room for multiple partitions. And that is why it's now a brand on my Blacklist! How can they do that?? How DARE they do that??
Anyways, the last partition - pre-set by DELL and invisible with no name - is 2.5GB's and it's for MediaDirect feature - playing DVD's without starting windows.
So, you want to sacrifice the multi-OS, multi-partition potential of 1000s of laptops for the sake of a "play DVD without booting!" feature. Very nice.
You can read more about it here.
Anyways, since all 4 partitions are DELL-made, my friend is currently very reluctant to delete any partition. With that, with 4 primary slots taken, there's no way we can use all that nice unallocated space. No backup, no alternate storage, no dual OS.
But, I'm advising my friend to DELETE the annoying last partition - the 2.5GB MediaDirect one. There are debilitating fears of impending doom... "Nooo, don't mess with the established order! I might lose everything!"
Well, thankfully now I've found someone who went ahead with it, deleted off the annoying bugger, and had a system stable enough after that to create a brand new drive, and lived to post the screenshot!
This post is a tribute to all those not afraid to mess with the status quo. No Guts, No Glory!!
And now, to all my friends investigating new laptops for purchase, Please, make this little check:
1. Right-click My Computer
2. Click on Manage
3. Click on Disk Management in the left pane.
4. Check if you see 4 dark-blue-topped blocks next to Disk 0.
If yes, WALK AWAY!!