On my MBP 2011, I had a dual-boot setup with Snow Leopard (that originally shipped with my laptop) and Lion Developer Preview GM that I had installed later, using Disk Utility to appropriate modify the SL partition. Each partition occupied approximately half of the 750 GB hard disk.

I wanted to get rid of Snow Leopard (which was obviously the first partition in the logical sense), but I mistakenly assumed that I would be able to merge the ensuing free space after deleting its partition into the remaining Lion DP partition. However as it turned that apparently isn't possible with Disk Utility (it seems only possible to resize from the bottom of the partition) and so now I have a chunk of 325 GB free space on my HD which I'd like to get back.

What would be the best course of action? Just create a new blank partition out of the free space and leave it at that, or clone (if that's the right term) my Lion DP partition into the free space, then delete the second partition and resize the cloned one? Or something else entirely?

  • Yes, the easiest option (less headache and less likelihood of data loss) is to install Lion on the first partition and then use Migrate Assistant to transfer your profile over. Cloning straight up won't carry over the Recover HD (causing future problems) and takes quite a while to deploy (compared to a clean install, though depending on your Internet speed). After that, Disk Utility will be able to remove the trailing partition and resize it. Make sure you verify the file system after the resize and repair it if required. – user10355 Oct 8 '11 at 15:34
  • Thanks for the suggestion... I did as you suggested and I have Lion on both partitions now, and have used Migration Assistant to transfer my account, applications, data, etc. to the first partition. It might be worth mentioning that to re-download the Lion Installer from App Store, I had to click the "Purchased" tab while holding the Option button. – Aky Oct 9 '11 at 9:58
  • I haven't removed the trailing partition yet though. It's because Disk Utility (the graphical app) doesn't list the Lion Recovery HD - although it does get listed when I run "diskutil list" from the terminal, and I want to make sure that getting rid of the trailing Lion partition will not affect the Recovery HD for the leading Lion partition. I'm guessing the best course of action would be to erase the trailing Lion partition using diskutil on the terminal? The reason I'm concerned is that when I'd initially erased the Snow Leopard partition, the Lion Recovery HD had somehow gone missing too. – Aky Oct 9 '11 at 10:02
  • No use the graphical Disk Utility to manage the deletiond and resizing. The recovery HD is hidden from OS X (unless you use terminal) so that's normal. Boot into the Recovery HD (hold ALT key during boot). Then fire up Disk Utility and resize and theb repair the partition to make sure there's no problems from the resizing. – user10355 Oct 9 '11 at 10:08

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