Shrinking a Windows Partition: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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Shrinking a Windows Partition: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
Shrinking a Windows Partition: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
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The first step in creating a new partition in Windows is usually to shrink an existing partition to free up space. Unfortunately, Windows XP does not have a tool to do this. Fortunately, there are third-party programs that allow you to shrink partitions directly from Windows.

Steps

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 1

Step 1. Back up your important data

Windows XP doesn't have a function like "Shrink Partition" so you need another program. This means that there is a greater chance that your data will be lost or damaged. Back up all your important data to another location before you change the partition, just in case something goes wrong.

See wikiHow for detailed instructions on quickly backing up your important files

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 2

Step 2. Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard

The free version can handle most standard tasks. There are a number of free partition managers available that can do the same. The advantage of MiniTool Partition Wizard is that you can use it from within Windows.

You can download MiniTool Partition Wizard for free from partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 3

Step 3. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard

You will see a list of installed hard drives and the partitions you have. At the top of the list you see a layout of the partitions on the disk. The layout determines how you can shrink the partition.

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 4

Step 4. Select the partition you want to shrink

You can shrink any partition that has been formatted, even the Windows boot partition. Shrinking unallocated space or unformatted space on the disk will not work until it is formatted according to a particular operating system.

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 5

Step 5. Click "Move/Resize Partition" in the left menu

This will open a new window with a bar indicating the storage size of the partition. Partition data will be indicated in a slightly darker color.

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 6

Step 6. Drag the slider bar on both sides to make the partition smaller

You can make the partition smaller on both sides. Unallocated space will be created on both sides of the partition depending on how much you want the partition to shrink. You cannot shrink the partition beyond the amount of free space.

Choosing the right side is important if you want to add that space to an existing partition. For example, you have a C: drive for your Windows installation and a D: drive for your data. To add space to the Windows partition (C:), you will need to shrink the D: drive on the left. This creates unallocated space between the C: and D: drives. You can then add this to the C: drive

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 7

Step 7. Create a queue of additional changes

Partition Wizard allows you to make multiple changes at the same time. You can use this feature to perform multiple tasks at the same time.

The first shrinking procedure from our example created an unallocated space between the C: and D: drives. Select the C: drive, click "Move/Resize", and use the scroll bar to allocate additional space on the right side of the C: partition. You now have two tasks in the queue

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 8

Step 8. Click "Apply" at the top of the partition wizard window when you are done with the customization

Partition Wizard will warn you to close any open programs and back up your data first.

  • Partition Wizard is able to perform the action immediately if the partition to be modified is not in use. The shrinking process shouldn't take more than a few seconds, but older computers or larger partitions may take longer.
  • If the partition you want to change is in use, such as a Windows partition, you will be presented with a few different options. Select "Restart Now" to restart your computer and complete the tasks. Partition Wizard will start up in a special interface and start performing the task automatically. Windows will continue to boot as usual.
Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 9

Step 9. Do something with the unallocated space

Now that you've shrunk a partition, you can create a partition from the unallocated space or add it to an existing one.

  • See wikiHow for instructions on how to create a partition.
  • See wikiHow for instructions on extending a partition.

Resolving problems

Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 10

Step 1. I cannot create a new partition from the disk space freed up after shrinking

You will encounter this error if you have 4 primary partitions. Each partition in the list will be labeled "Primary" or "Logical" in the "Type" column. You won't be able to create new ones if you don't set one of the primary ones as logical.

  • Select a partition that does not need to be primary. This is usually a partition where you store data or programs. Any partition that serves as a boot partition, such as the one containing an operating system or a recovery partition, must be set as the primary partition.
  • Click the "Set partition as logical" button in the left menu.
  • Now try to create a partition from the unallocated space. You should now be able to create a partition.
Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 11

Step 2. Partition Wizard won't allow me to shrink a partition

This can be caused by errors on the hard drive. Running the "chkdsk" command will attempt to repair your disk so that you can shrink the disk.

  • Click Start and select "Command Prompt".
  • Type {{chkdsk c: /r}} and press ↵ Enter. Replace c: with the drive letter you need to scan.
  • Wait for chkdsk to do its job. You may be prompted to reboot so that chkdsk can begin its repairs.
Shrink a Windows XP Partition Step 12

Step 3. Windows XP will not boot after shrinking the boot partition

The master boot record (MBR) is probably corrupted and will need to be restored. See wikiHow for detailed instructions on how to repair Windows XP.

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