Disk Management - Shrink Partition

How to Shrink and Create a Partition with Disk Management in Vista
It is possible in Vista to repartition your hard disk by using the Shrink feature in Disk Management. You can shrink an existing partition (volume) to create unallocated disk space, from which you can Create a new partition (volume).
How to Shrink and Create a Partition with Disk Management in Vista

information   Information
It is possible in Vista to repartition your hard disk by using the Shrink feature in Disk Management. You can shrink an existing partition (volume) to create unallocated disk space, from which you can Create a new partition (volume). For more information, see: Windows Help and How-to: Partition and Understanding Disk Partitioning

Partition Type


Primary Partition

A type of partition created on a hard drive that can host an operating system and functions as though it were a physically separate hard drive. Also called a volume. Only up to four primary partitions, or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition can be created on a single hard drive. Primary partitions can be used to install and start an operating system. If you want to create more than three partitions, the fourth partition is created as an extended partition. See: Windows Help and How-to: What are system partitions and boot partitions? and The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog : Understanding the error message "There is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation" when you create a volume

Extended Partition

A type of partition on a hard drive that should be used if you want to create more than four Primary partition. Extended partitions can contain multiple logical drives that can be formatted and have drive letters assigned to them. An extended partition is a container that can hold one or more logical drive. Logical drives function like primary partitions except that they cannot be used to start an operating system. This option has been removed in Disk Management for Vista. For how, see: The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog :How to create an extended partition in Windows Vista (Click Yes for Security Information)
warning   Warning
You will not lose any data on the partition (volume) that you are shrinking. You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.
Tip   Tip
The default location for Disk Management is C:\Windows\System32\diskmgmt.msc.

EXAMPLE: Before and After with a New Partition Volume

To Shrink a Partition

1. Open the Control Panel. (Classic View)​
A) Click on the Administrative Tools icon.​
B) Click on Computer Management.​

2. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
3. In the left pane, click on Disk Management under Storage. (See screenshot below step 4)​
4. Right click on the volume (EX: C:\ ) your want to shrink and click on Shrink Volume.​

5. You will now see this for a moment. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: It is verifying that there is enough free space on the disk to create a new partition.

6. Enter the amount of space in MB (1024 MB = 1 GB) to shrink by, from the available free space on this volume, for the new partition and click Shrink. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: The value in the Total Size Before Shrink box indicates the current size of the partition and the value in the Size of Available Shrink Space indicates the maximum size that you can allocate to the new second partition.
warning   Warning
The size of the available space can be restricted by the amount of space currently allocated to on the hard drive for the virtual memory page file, System Restore max size, and hibernation files. The location of the files on the hard drive plays a big part here because these files are marked as unmovable, and Disk Management is unable to relocate them. As such, if these unmovable files are located in the middle of the total amount of free space on the disk, then only the amount of free space on the other side (to the right) of these files will actually be available for the new partition. This will result in you showing that you have x amount of free space, but not being able to use it for your partition. The only way around this is to use a 3rd party hard drive partition management program, or setup the partition when installing Vista.
warning   Warning

If you wish to force the partition to shrink, then see: the How-To Geek: Working Around Windows Vista's "Shrink Volume" Inadequacy Problems

7. After a few minutes, you will see the new unallocated (unformated) partition. (See screenshot below)​

To Create a New Partition from Unallocated Space

8. Right click on the new Unallocated partition and click on New Simple Volume. (See screenshot below)​

9. The New Simple Volume Wizard will now appear. Just click on Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: This wizard will make the new unallocated partition usable when finished.

10. Enter the volume size you want for the new partition and click Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: Unless you are going to shrink this new partition, you should use the Maximum disk space in MB.

11. Dot Assign the following drive letter. (See screenshot below)​
A) Select a drive letter for the new partition.​
B) Click on Next.​

12. Dot Format this volume using the following settings. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: This may take a while to format the new partition volume.
A) Enter a name for the new partition under Volume label.​
B) To save time, check Perform a quick format.​
C) Click on Next.​

13. Click on Finish when the Succesfully Completed window pops up. (See screenshot below)​

14. You will now see the Disk Management console with the new partition volume ready to be used. (See screenshot below)​

15. Close Computer Management.​
16. Click on Computer in the Start Menu and see your new partition volume. (See screenshot below)​

That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


after spending many hours formatting and re installing vista and software iv just ran into a bit of a problem....
i was going to install 7 beta on my D: drive (dual boot) but i got a message saying windows couldn't be installed on the drive....
so i booted back to vista on C: and went straight to disc management looking at my drive configurations
for some reason my D: drive is showing as dynamic type
so how do i go about turning D: back to a basic volume?

Ah ok i found something in the M$ website telling me to backup all the data the delete the volume.... i did so, made a quick format and its now back to a bisic drive:geek:
Hi Brink.
I have a problem.

I have
Seagate 1TB HDD (1 partition 931.51GB, with 729.58GB free (78% free))
12 in 1 internal card reader
I have Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 x64
3Gb ram

I tried to shrink my Hard drive

my plan is:
c: = 500gb
new partition = 100gb
" " = 100gb
" " = whats remaining

when I try to shrink, it successfully shows me how much I can shrink, which is 22MB o.O :huh:

I tried disk cleanup, it cleaned 3GB
Tried again, and it's still 22MB o.O :confused:

What can I do? Besides formatting and reinstalling vista x64
Thanks Brink.
I disabled Restore points and I was able to use the available 729.58GB

On one of the partitions I now have Windows 7, so I now dual boot Vista, XP (as some games and apps dont work or not compatible with vista), Windows 7.

Why am I trying Windows 7? (some may ask.)
Because I enjoy testing operating systems. Been doing this since windows 95 ;)
You're welcome Guy with a Colt. I'm happy to hear that you got it sorted. :)

I hear you. I'm testing Windows 7 as well. :geek:
It was fine, Brink. Installed it last night after it downloaded (took a while) and all partitions showed up fine :)

Cant you make the Size of Available Shrink Space any bigger?
I have 700Gb. I splitted HDD into 2 partitions using your method Shawn[Brink] (thanks by the way)
Now I got C: 450 D:250
But I wanted C: 150 D:550

Please Help. I will delete 2nd partition (D) if needed to.
Hello EFI027, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Unless you use some 3rd party partitioning program to make the change instead of using Vista's Disk Management, then you will need to delete the D: partition and extend C: into D:, then shrink C: again for the correct size. (1 GB = 1024 MB)

Hope this helps,
Hi Brink,
Was hoping you could give me some advice. Have been trying to shrink (OS) C: to about 160GB so I can increase (Data)D: to 300GB or so, have followed this tutorial and changed the recommended settings but still no joy.
When I got this desktop (Dell i530) the first day I added a partition from drive C, the max it would allow was C: 292GB and D: 163GB, leaving the Dell recovery now F: at 10GB.
I use the C: drive for the operating system and D: drive for data.
When I click shrink on drive C it gives me 1.2GB available to shrink, Drive C is 292GB total with 43GB used.
Have done the following as recommended:
Changed the System Restore Space Usage amount, C: drive only checked
Changed the System Restore Automatic settings
Changed the Virtual Memory Paging File min/max size
Ran Disk cleanup to reduce number of restore points

I have Paragon Hard Disk Manager and it won’t let ‘Redistribute Free Space’.
When I select D: to enlarge I get “Operation failed, No free space (can’t create partition of requested size). Not sure why it’s doing that. It says you can use the ‘Redistribute Free Space’ option if the partitions are next to each other. These are when I look at them in Vista Disk Manager but, when I look at them in Paragon Hard Disk Manager I see this info, check the attachment (sorry about the file).

There is a small volume between C: and D: with no drives letter (unallocated), size 843 KB type 'Free Space', strangely it shows Used as 2047.9GB on the numarical window, in the lower window (graphical) it shows 'Used 0 bytes'. Can't do anything with it, tried to format it, tried to assign a drive letter so I could delete or merge it.
Do you think this is the reason it won't let me ‘Redistribute Free Space’?
Any other options I might try?
Thanks for any help,


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Hello Dave,

Looking at your image, about the only thing you can do that would be easy is to delete the D: partition, extend C: into the deleted D: partition, then shrink C: by how much you would like for D: , and create and format D.

Hope this helps,
When the computer was new I did that and ended up with C: 292GB and D: 163GB. With out finding the underlying issue, can't see how it would be different this time?

Found this from the MS site just a few minutes ago. It's a reply to the question of why you only get 1-6GB available to shrink for a partition with 250GB of free space.

“This is probably a function of how the disk was partitioned and setup by the maker of the system. Many OEM system makers will establish a recovery partition as the first partition physically on the drive. Then they create the "C:" partition second, making their first partition appear to be "D:" in most cases. This prevents the built in repartitioniong software from resizing C:. If D: was removed (not recomended, and would void your warrantee and support), you would probably find more than 6 megs to play with."

Partitoning Vista (c) drive with built-in Vista tool

First time I have seen this issue, Does it sound reasonable to you?
Any ideas?

Any ideas why Paragon Hard Disk Manager won't do anything with it?
What's that small 'partition' in front of the D: drive?

Would the command prompt approach work for me?

Thanks again,
The small 63MB partition is used to restore the drivers and applications that came with your computer.

I'm not exactly sure why Paragon cannot change anything for you other than the message it gave you.

The post at the link you provided does make sense though. Do you have a Dell Vista recovery disc?
Hello Brink,

Thanks for the reply.
I do have the Dell recovery disk, the Dell re-installation disk and the drivers installation disk. I asked for the complete set when ordering the desktop.
Correct me if I'm wrong but, I thought the 10GB partition which came installed labeled 'Recovery D:' was the recovery partition.
I know only a little about computers but am trying to learn.
Thought I read somewhere that this 63MB was a boot partition. I'm probably wrong about that. It must be holding the current drivers and programs, seems to be a small space to hold much of anything. Might be the 'boot disk' that your link to Dell talks about.
The Recovery D: (I changed to Recovery F:) has a 'Factory.wim' 4.6GB file and what appears to me to be other installation files, again, I may be wrong on exactly what this is for.
I've read on the Dell community site that a lot of Dell users delete that partition and use the recovery CD and re-installation DVD instead. Not sure if that would cause warranty problems. Wouldn't think so as long as you have a way to re-install the OS.

Paragon says it can 'Redistribute free space' if the two partitions are next to each other. First you click the partition you want to enlarge, thats when I get the 'Operation failed' message, then you click next and click on the partition you want to take the 'free space' from, but won't let me get that far.

From what I saw on the last link sent, about the recovery partition being the first one on the Disk0 will cause the second partition to not be able to give any shrinkage, could I move or copy then delete the recovery partition? Then adjust the C and D partitions, then add another partition at the end and make it the recovery partition?
If I understand this right, I won't be able to do anything with the 10GB of now unallocated space that's in front of the C partition. Not the best senerio but, would I be able to adjust both C and D partitions then?

I just went to Paragon Hard Disk Manager and selected C: to expand and then it let me go to the next window and I selected Recovery F: to take the free space from, it will let me take all of the 4.5GB of free space.
Do you think If I delete the Recovery F: partition that I can add that unallocated space into the C: partition?
With this first partition removed can I then resize both C and D to my desired volumes?

Do you see any problem with copying the Recovery (on my computer I changed it from D to F) drive F: 10GB partition, then delete it, extend C: into the unallocated space.
This would make the C: partition the first partition on Disk0. Then, hopefully, I could adjust C: and D: partitions to my desired size.
Then add the 10GB F: partition after the D: partition and copy the recovery files back to there.

The current order on Disk0:
63MB small partition, EISA Configuration
10GB Recovery F:, Primary Partition
292GB OS C:, Primary Partition, System, Boot, Page File, Crash dump
163GB Data D:, Logical Drive

What I would like to have:
63MB small partition, EISA Configuration
150GB OS C:, Primary Partition, System, Boot, Page File, Crash dump
305GB Data D:, Logical Drive
10GB Recovery F:, Primary Partition (or?)

I'm hoping not to lose any files on the C drive. I can copy/backup and restore the D and F drives if needed.

Any thoughts?
To be safe should I just leave it alone until I'm ready to do a clean install?

Thanks for any feedback,
Well, it's up to you, but since you have both sets of recovery disks (Vista & Drivers/Applications), then you could delete both the 63MB (twice) and F partitions to save more space. Afterwards, see if you can extend C: into the one's you just deleted to now only have C and D partitions. Now, see if you can shrink C to extend D into that.

If you still can't, then delete D as well and extend C until it is the only partition left. Next, shrink C by how much you want for the D drive.

To be safe, I would recommend that you backup anything that you do not want to lose.
Hello Brink,

Well, I think I solved it.
Decided to get Easeus Partition Master and try it.
Shrank C (OS) partition to 160GB and put the 140GB into D(Data) partition.
Everything is running great as before.
Then just to check it out a little more I shrank the 10GB recovery drive to 8GB, has 5.6GB used, and added it to the C(OS) partition, worked with no problem.
Not sure why Paragon wouldn't do it.

Hope this helps anyone that has the same issues, It can be done.


I'm happy to hear that you got it sorted out. Not sure why Paragon didn't work for you either, but it would have been nice to have been able to do it from within Vista using Disk Management instead. Microsoft probably couldn't do it without getting another antitrust lawsuit on them again though.