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How to Resize Partitions for free without loosing any data in Windows

How to Resize Partitions for free without loosing any data in Windows

If you are a Windows user and run into a limited Disk space problem wherein your C Drive is running out of free space and other partitions have plenty to spare, what do you do?

There are two ways to counter this problem:

  1. Resize your partitions using Windows Disk Management Utility found in Control Panel under Administrative Options
  2. Resize your partitions using a Live CD of any good Linux CD/DVD eg Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE etc

Here, I’ll talk about both the methods, although, The first method is fairly simple but may not work in all situations.

Method 1 : Using inbuilt Vista Utility

Windows Vista includes a built-in functionality in Disk Management to shrink and expand partitions. No more 3rd party utilities needed!

Resize Parition Vista 1To get to this utility, open up Control Panel, and type in partition into the search box.. you’ll immediately see the link show up.

Shrink a Partition

In the Disk Management screen, just right-click on the partition that you want to shrink, and select “Shrink Volume” from the menu.

In the Shrink dialog, you will want to enter the amount you want to shrink by, not the new size. For example, if you want to shrink your 50gb partition by roughly 10gb so that it will now be roughly 40gb, enter 10000 into the box:

Resize Parition Vista 2_shrink

Extend a Partition

In the Disk Management screen, just right-click on the partition that you want to shrink, and select “Extend Volume” from the menu.

Resize Parition Vista 3_Extend

On this screen, you can specify the amount that you want to increase the partition by. In this case, I’m going to extend it back to the roughly 50GB size that it was before.

Note that the extend partition feature only works with contiguous space and therefore may not work if you have a Primary Partition and would like to extend it to the free space of the Logical Drives. Hence, you’ll have to use the second method i.e using a Live CD/DVD

Method 2 : Using a Live CD/DVD

One of the more advanced options for resizing your Windows Vista partition is to use the 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.

First make sure that you have a bootable Windows Vista installation DVD, as you will be unable to use your computer if you don’t. Next, download the GParted Live CD and burn it to cd or use Ubuntu.

Boot off the GParted CD, and you will see your hard drives in the drop-down list. The first drive is typically your boot drive, but you can check the Flags column to make sure. In case of Ubuntu head to Applications->GParted under System.

Resize Parition Gparted1Next you’ll need to right-click on the partition and choose Resize/Move from the menu.

Resize Parition Gparted2Now you can either use the New Size textbox, or just click and drag the partition to make it smaller (or bigger). When you are done, click the Resize/Move button.Resize Parition Gparted3

This doesn’t immediately apply the changes, though.

You can make other changes to your partitions and then when you are finished click the Apply button.Resize Parition Gparted4

Depending on the amount of data and the speed of your computer, it can take quite a while to resize the partitions. On my computer it took more than 30 minutes.Resize Parition Gparted5

Once it’s done, quit, remove the live cd and then reboot your computer. Insert your Windows Vista installation DVD and make sure you boot off it. At the welcome screen click the Next button.

Vista Repair1On the next screen, click the “Repair your computer” link in the lower left hand corner.

The system recover options dialog will show up, and will ask you if you want to Repair and restart, which we do.

Vista Repair2

If you happened to click the View details link you’ll see that the error is “Windows Device: Partition=Not found”, which indicates the problem is the partition that we resized.

Your computer will reboot, and you’ll see Windows Vista in the list although it now has a different name indicating that it was recovered.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Siddharth July 15, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Great info, i used 7tools manager to get back the lost partition when i used linux with windwos.