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I am happy to pay. It is for a client so needs to be simple to use and have a GUI? Do acronis do something?

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what do you mean by "merge", can you give specifics? –  Jeff Atwood Mar 24 '10 at 9:54
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5 Answers

Yes it's a process I like to call Backup, Wipe, Reload ^^ ...I can't see the use as you wouldn't want any tool to do that without first backing up the files - and, if they're backed up - simply delete the volumes and create a new one and restore the data?

I could possibly see the use if the system had an uptime requirement, but as the question is about Windows XP - I figure there is no such requirement.

A simple solution would be to use the built-in tools, move all the data to one of the volumes, delete the other one and then extend the first one. Obviously only works if there's enough room.

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Not possible. What you try to do? PARTITIONS can not be merged as they contain file systems (but knwo nothing about them). Not knowing how the file system is organized..... a merge would produce garbage.

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I found this "What’s new in Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0? • Splitting/merging partitions You can split a partition in two, moving the selected folders to the new partition and leaving the rest of the data on the old one. This operation can also be used for creating an empty partition from another partition’s free space. You can merge two partitions, as well, even if their file systems are different. All data will stay intact and reside on the resulting partition. • Exploring and managing partitions contents" so maybe that should do it? –  Gram Mar 24 '10 at 10:03
    
Ah, but that makes assumptions of the file system (i.e. it only works on specific ones). What DO you use? –  TomTom Mar 24 '10 at 10:07
    
I'd point out that anything that plays with partitions should not be attempted without full backups if the data is at all important, thus I'd cringe at the implication that a simple, easy to use GUI makes this child's play for end users that don't know what a partition is. It's not a safe operation. –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 24 '10 at 11:29
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One of Paragon's tools might well do what you want.

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You could copy out data from the secodary partition, delete it and grow the primary partition to cover the disk (assuming there were only two partitions). Then copy back the data.

Low difficulty, low cost solution, but requires a second disk, or several DVD-R etc

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thanks guys I went for Acronis Disk Director in the end. –  Gram Mar 24 '10 at 13:07
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You should check out the GParted Live CD, I'm not sure if it inlcudes this feature but at least you could grow a Partition using it, so if there is enough room just copy the data to one Partition and grow it afterwards. I hope you got a good Backup so, otherwise I would not recommend trying anything messy with Partitions. GParted is free so just give it a shot to see if it works.

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