Shrink your drives partition
Monali Gaikwad | 31 October 2008
New computers usually come with a single partition (mostly the 'C' drive). But at times you need to manage your important data in other partitions too. This involves backing up existing data, repartitioning the drive and reinstalling the entire operating system. What if you need to install an additional operating system (such as Linux or another version of Windows) on your computer? You would need another partition, right?
Usually, to partition the hard drive without reformatting it, you need to use special disk partitioning tools such as Partition Magic or Partition Manager. If you're a Windows Vista user, this can be done effortlessly. This option is only available in Windows Vista.
Make sure that the partitioning process is not interrupted in any way (power failures or accidental resets), as that would cause permanent damage to your data. Also, if possible, experiment with the process on a spare drive before you attempt it on the main drive.
Step 1: Computer Management
To begin the resizing process, right-click on 'My Computer' and click 'Mange'. A Computer Management window opens up. To the left of the window expand the 'Storage' section and select 'Disk Management'. This displays all the drives and volumes available on your computer.
Step 2: Select your drive
Select the drive to be resized, right-click on it and select 'Shrink Volume' from the context menu. This will display information on the total disk space and shrinkable amount of space available on the drive.
Step 3: Shrink the volume
Now, select the capacity you need to shrink by and add the remaining free space to another volume. Note that the available shrink space will always be lower than the amount of existing data on the disk. Therefore you can resize the volume depending on the amount of free space. Select the amount of space that needs to be shrunk, and then click 'Shrink'.
In some cases, the amount of shrinkable space is limited as Windows Vista needs a minimum amount of space to perform.
Step 4: New volume
Shrinking the volume might take a while, as this depends on the amount of data and the size of the partitions that exist. After the process is complete, a new partition is created on the drive. Now, create a new volume and format it or use it for Linux.
The procedure can be reversed by extending the volume too, if you want to merge the two partitions again. But before you begin, remember to play it safe; make sure that you back up all your important data to an external drive and try this workshop at your own risk!