Upgrading an ASUS EeeBox PC EB1006 Hard Drive (and Copying Partitions)

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I still had about 70 GBs of free space on the ASUS. However, I needed more free space to add movies, or more likely, add my wife’s music to its iTunes library.

Rather then spend money on a new hard drive this month I decided to re-purpose an external, portable drive. Typically, the small portable drives are nothing more than a drive enclosure with a 2.5″ SATA hard drive. The ASUS drive was somewhere around 150 GBs. The USB external drive was 250 GBs.

I didn’t take photos of the process, but the actual drive swapping isn’t very complicated and I’m sure there are already numerous guides available on the Web.

The ASUS drive is accessible from one of the edges of the case. It’s attached to a section with vents, two screws, and a small metal handle. All one needs to do is remove the two screws, pop up the handle, and then pull it out of the case.

The portable drive was an older Seagate Freeagent USB 2.0 drive. To open the case I used a flat tip screw driver to pop the top off, which is attached by nothing more than a snap-on cover and glue.

In this case I wanted to keep all of the data from the ASUS drive, including the recovery partition. My copy of Partition Magic is rather old so instead of attempting to use it I decided to download a free tool, which I’ve previously used a few times before. It’s called EaseUS Partition Master (Home Edition).

With the destination drive connected via USB I loaded Partition Master. The first change I made was to copy the source drive to the destination drive. Note that when using Partition Master, once you’ve selected the changes to make, you must click Apply before any modifications will actually be made. Some changes can be made in Windows but others require that Partition Master reboot the system and execute changes before Windows is loaded.

Unfortunately, after the copy process finished the extra space wasn’t available to the primary partition. The recovery partition was between the primary partition and extra space – non-adjacent, which meant I couldn’t just resize the primary partition. Instead, I had to first move the recovery partition to the end of the unallocated space. Once I made this change I was then able to resize the primary partition.

Everything started up properly the first time I booted the new drive in the ASUS.

Updated 08/29/2011: This update doesn’t change the information provided above. However, it does put a damper on the upgrade of the ASUS system. Earlier today I noticed that I couldn’t connect via Remote Desktop to the ASUS system. Curious, I walked into the living room and heard the familiar “click of death” coming from the new hard drive. When I turned on the TV I saw a boot failure message.

Fortunately, I hadn’t wiped the original hard drive so all I had to do was swap the drives out and everything was working again. This is the second Seagate Freeagent drive I’ve owned that has failed (and actually the same capacity as the other one). I placed the drive back in its enclosure, but I may not be able to get the drive replaced. It’s still under warranty, but Seagate’s warranty information states that removing a drive from its enclosure voids the warranty. Personally, I think this is a cheap way to get out of warranty claims – there isn’t much to a drive enclosure. The drive itself is the critical component.

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