I needed to change the size of a disk partition on a Windows Vista
machine the other day, but I didn't want to reformat the drive. In
earlier Windows operating systems, such as Windows 95/98 and XP, this
was an almost impossible task with completely wiping the hard drive,
reformatting the drive, and reinstalling Windows. With Windows Vista
and Windows 7, many times this is a simple procedure since this ability
is built into these operating systems. In order to change the size of a
partition, you need to go into Disk Management. Follow these steps in
order to do this:
- Click on Start
- Right-click on Computer
- Click on Manage
- In the left column under Storage, click on Disk Management
- You'll see your hard drive partitions (C:, D:, etc) listed there
you have any unallocated space you can use it to expand the particular
volume, if there is no unallocated space you'll need to shrink a volume
- Right-click on a volume to shrink, and then click on Shrink Volume. A screen will pop up with the amount of available space and you can adjust that to create some unallocated space.
- Once you've adjusted the space, click Shrink to decrease the size of the particular partition
- Now, its time to use that space to increase another partition size.
- Right-click on the partition you wish to increase, and click on Extend Volume.
where the situation can become difficult, if you are lucky, the Extend
Volume option will be available and you can continue the process, all
without reformatting your computer. However, if you're like the
majority of people you aren't that lucky and the Extend Volume option
will remain greyed out.
Why is the Extend Volume option greyed out?
trick is the space that is created or unallocated MUST BE continguous
adjoining space behind the volume you wish to increase, or the
procedure will not work.
How Do I Work Around This Limitation without Reformatting?
Windows Vista/7 has its limitations in changing a partition size, you
may want to look into some alternative options. One of those options is
an open source program called GParted
You can create a Bootable GParted Live CD that will allow you to boot
the computer, repartition and resize the drive, and reboot all without
reformatting the computer and losing data.
However, I have had a
few errors with GParted in the past. When GParted would not work for
me, I would get a very nondescript error - failed. That's it, no
explanation, just failed! For these reasons, I have been using another
program for the last few years to change the size of a partition. That
program is EaseUS Partition Master Home Edition
Its a free program that is fast, troublefree, and has done the job of
repartitioning a drive every time without fail. Best of all, the home
edition is free.
There is a professional edition that will do a
bit more and can be used in commercial environments as well. In fact, I
will be giving a copy of the professional edition away in the next
couple weeks in my newsletter. So if you have not joined, please
subscribe in the sidebar to the newsletter and be on the lookout for
the drawing for a free copy.