How to partition a hard drive that has files on it?
Question by Rajeev Dandu /

When I got my laptop, I gave 400 GB for C: drive and I installed Windows in it. Now I don’t want to give that much amount of GB, so I shrinked it under MyComputer ->Manage ->Storage ->DiskManagement ->Shrink C:

I am able to shrink it up to 200GB and C: is now of 200GB. My problem is, I want to give only 100GB for C:

How can I do that without formatting? Can that happen? I already used defragmentation of C: and it didn’t help me.

Please help me. Thank you!
waiting for your reply!

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Answers (16)
  • guthagowtham

    Use EaseUS Partition Master. You can download it here.

  • Cancel

    minitool partition wizard also can resize partition, it is free, i used it before,. anyone needs. can have a try.

  • f0ae6f97b6c219b19b6cd27e6684b9aa

    I have used EASUS Partition Manager a number of times to resize partitions. My system came with 2 partitions, which I quickly changed to 4 partitions. When I upgraded from a smaller several hundred gig drive to a 2 TB drive I now have additional partitions for intermediate backup and backup staging, big ISO files including install disk images, a Knoppix partition for quick CDROM boot and related files, etc. Mostly NTFS with a few FAT partitions. The only things on the C drive that I need to keep, and are frequently backed up, are the Outlook pst files, Pictures, and music. Any document development and anything else that needs to be kept is done on the “family” drive in directories associated with each family member. “My documents” is only used for scratch that can be thrown away.


    • For a Laptop: PLUG IN THE LAPTOP so the battery does not die in the middle.
    • If a UPS is available, use it.
    • Delete unnecessary files. Use a tool such as Wise Disk Cleaner or CCleaner. Or manually delete files in the following directories for each user:
    o C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp
    o C:\Windows\Temp

    • Empty the trash: (Windows Explorer, right click on Recycle Bin, and Empty Recycle Bin.)
    • Highly recommend a backup, either a full system backup, or as a minimum all critical files. Note that “My Documents”, music, pictures, Outlook and some other files are generally hidden under the user’s directory, along with many temporary files.

    Some tools such as Microsoft Disk Management can only shrink a partition if files don’t have to be moved. That may be why you could only shrink it partway. Some files, like the swap file and hibernate file can’t be moved by Windows.

    EASUS and some other tools can usually move most files using a process that includes rebooting and running a stand alone application to perform the move, and then rebooting again to use the new partition information. (Hint: figure out your optimum layout, juggle as necessary and then if there are multiple similar steps operating on the same area save the numbers and restart EASUS [or clear the list] and enter the information for each necessary step, otherwise it will go through each step even if it includes multiple resizing and relocation steps.

    Hint: if you can’t shrink a system boot partition or another partition with a swap file that has plenty of unused space, try turning off your swap file (Performance Options, Advanced Tools, virtual memory). Record the current settings in case you want to use them instead of my 4 GB suggestion below, then change to no swap file. You can also disable hibernation, (deleting the unmovable hiberfile.sys): Vista admin command prompt: powercfg -h off. Later you can restore hibernation using powercfg -h on. XP: use the power options in control panel, hibernate tab. Windows 7: admin command prompt powercfg.exe /hibernate off and powercfg.exe /hibernate on. Reboot, then try the partition resize, remembering to leave space for swap file and hibernate files.

    Before you restore your swap and hibernation files, you might want to consider defragging your disk. This makes it easier to allocate a non-fragmented swap file. If you don’t mind the time, use MyDefrag Monthly Data defrag on the system disk [to make a big hole near the boot and MFT areas for the swap file], set up your swap file [see below], then use MyDefrag Monthly System defrag or your favorite defragger to move system files to the front of the disk. [Anybody know of another defragger or tool that can make a hole for the swap file near the front of the disk?] You could always do this later.

    Now restore your swap file settings, or use a fixed swap file size. Most “experts” recommend 1.5x of installed memory, but that hasn’t ever worked well for me because I tend to keep many applications and windows open. Given that disks are quite large, I would recommend a fixed swap file of 4 GB for Vista, regardless of the installed memory size. [Vista probably won’t use it all, as there is a 2 GB boundary for user and system memory areas. It is easier to specify too much and let Vista use what it needs instead of trying to guess how much is actually required.] A 64 bit OS can actually use an even larger swap file. A swap file is the “virtual memory” that is allocated for program use, and swapped into and out of real memory as needed. A larger virtual memory makes it easier for the OS to find a chunk of contiguous virtual memory for program use.

    Finally enable you hibernation file if desired (Don’t care where this is, but it is a waste to have it at the front of the disk and have to seek past it all the time).

    The other tool that I sometimes use is Linux’s gparted from a bootable CDROM or DVD. Various bootable Linux ISO images are available for burning your bootable Linux. I generally use Knoppix, which has many tools including gparted. Using a CDROM or DVDROM image means that any file system locking that happens when running Windows won’t be locked.

    There are a number of other partition manager options available from a number of vendors. I would not pay for a partition manager when so many free ones are available.

  • ann stilatus


    transfer your files and documents to a separate partition f.e. drive D

    Open Properties for My Documents// change drive letter to store the documents.

    It will not change the content but the storage area in this case drive D .

    Thus you gaine some space on C and you can try again.
    Depending on your system you might need more than 100 GB.

    If C still needs the GB for other applications or programs then you can not shrink it any further.

    There are several programs available to help you but I suggest that you first backup all to prevent data-loss.

    Programs : Partition Magic
    Easeus Partition Master

    they are easy to use but as I said BACKUP FIRST also your programs!

    In case you are familiar there is also a Linux possibility
    Here is the link



  • Shebin Sheikh

    use partition tools like Gpart,magic part is simple to use those tools.
    And Gpart is a free tool available with linux distribution live CDs.

    • Rajeev Dandu

      can we make partitions of ntfs format using Gpart, mat

    • shebin sheikh

      sure we can, I have tried this many times. I have a dell studio laptop which came with all the hard drive space allocated for C: drive…
      I used Gparted Usb n reallocated the hard disk Space… :)
      u can get Gparted in the Above link

    • Rajeev Dandu

      Thank you

  • muotechguy

    Not wishing to state the obvious, but have you actually made sure the drive has less than 100gb of data on it?

  • Bruce Epper

    Many defragmenters classify some files as “unmoveable”. Because of this, simply defragmenting a drive will not enable you to shrink a partition beyond the point where those files or fragments of those files exist. There are tools that can get around this limitation. Paragon Partition Manager is one of them and I have always had good results with it. It will allow you to select multiple operations to happen successively as well so it only requires 1 reboot to do it all. So you can shrink the first partition on the drive, and expand the second partition to consume the newly freed space (actually 3 operations as a shrink of the first partition, move the second partition forward to occupy the newly freed space, and expand the second partition to run to the end of the drive). It looks like they currently have this on sale for $10. It is also part of the Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite that is a current giveaway on this site. (

    I am not affiliated with Paragon Software, just have always had superb results with their products.

    • Rajeev Dandu

      Is there any software that’s free? (I’m student and I don’t have money!)

    • Ray

      I have used Partition Magic in the past and it worked fine for what I had to do.

    • Rodney Fiddaman

      Easeus have a home edition that is free. It has never failed me yet.

    • Rajeev Dandu

      Yes I downloaded it. I wanted to create a partition from unallocated space and it’s throwing the message that ‘we should convert a primary partition to logical.’ Now by right clicking the primary partition I’m not able to see the convert to logical option. now what should I do?

    • Ray

      This is because there is a limit of 4 partitions unless you have what’s called a Logical partition which can contain lots more.

      I don’t remember the actual terminology but you can google it and learn. The 4 partition limit has to do with the format of the first block on the drive which points to all the partitions.

      Microsoft is adopting a new standard that will address the issue in a different way.

  • ha14

    If you your 200GB is almost full, you can relocate some files to the other partition then shrink the 200GB;

    How to move a partition?

    Change partition size in Windows 7 with Aomei Partition Assistant