How-To Geek

How to Get Around Windows’ “Shrink Volume” Inadequacy Problems

The Shrink Volume feature in Windows Vista and above has some serious limitations, which we’ll try and explain and then suggest a few workarounds that might help you out. Be careful when following these steps, because they could leave your system unable to boot… advanced geek level required.

I would also suggest that if you are trying to configure a dual-boot system, your best bet is to backup all your data, and setup a fresh new dual boot system, remembering to install the oldest OS first. (XP before Vista, and Linux last)

Problem Explanation

The main problem that we encounter with the shrink volume feature is that you can’t shrink the volume even when there is clearly free space.


You are unable to shrink the volume at all, since according to Windows you have no free space to shrink:


The reason why Windows won’t let you shrink the volume is because there are immovable system files at the very end of the volume, as this screenshot from Auslogics defragment utility shows us. In this case, the immovable file is actually the MFT, or Master File Table for the volume.


Making Shrink Volume Work

To absolutely ensure that you can shrink the volume, you should disable as many of the system files as you can, at least temporarily. Here’s the list of steps:

  1. Run the Disk Cleanup Wizard, making sure to remove the hibernation file and all restore points.
  2. Disable System Restore
  3. Disable the pagefile ( Open up System in Control Panel, then Advanced System Settings \ Advanced \ Performance \ Advanced \ Change \ No Paging File.
  4. In the same Advanced Settings, go to Startup and Recovery \ Settings and then change the Write debugging information drop-down to “None” to disable the kernel memory dump.
  5. Disable Hibernation mode in your power options \ advanced power options screen.
  6. Reboot the machine, and then delete your c:\pagefile.sys file, following these instructions if you are having issues.

Now that we’ve deleted almost every system file that we can, you should run at least one of these free defrag utilities, but preferably all of them, in order to move all of the files to the beginning of the volume, so we can force the Shrink volume feature to work.

  1. Power Defragmenter(GUI interface for sysinternals contig)
  2. Auslogics Disk Defrag

If you are encountering the MFT problem, then you won’t have too much luck even after running those utilities. What you’ll need to do is use one of the non-free defrag utilities that is able to move the MFT files. If somebody can suggest a free way to move the MFT, leave a note in the comments.

  1. You can download a 30-day free trial of Perfect Disk and then uninstall it when you are done. Or not.

At this point you should be able to shrink the partition, at least a decent amount. Once you’ve gotten the partition shrunk, you should re-enable those important files:

  1. Re-enable the Pagefile (Reverse instructions above)
  2. If you have issues re-enabling hibernate, follow these steps.
  3. Enabling System Restore or kernel debugging information is entirely up to you.
  4. Reboot.

Again, your best bet for dual-boot is backup, wipe, and reload, but these steps did work for me during testing.

Using Linux to Resize

You can also use the gparted live cd to resize your partitions. The problem with this is that it will definitely cause your system to not boot anymore unless you follow some very specific steps, because Vista can’t handle it.

Using Commercial Utilities

There are a number of commercial software utilities that can handle this type of thing for you, like Partition Magic. We prefer free software here whenever possible.

In summary, If you are lucky enough for Shrink Volume to work for you, great. If not, I’d recommend backing up, wiping, and installing fresh.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/8/07

Comments (243)

  1. Martin Olsson

    This medod did not work. Later I tried “gparted live cd” at first it did not work either but it did instruct me to use chkdisk and rebbot 2 times. Then gparted did a great jobb

  2. temausz

    I had problems with 160 GB HDD and about 150 GB partition C: (HP cleaver idea create one big partion + a recovery partition,which I also removed), I could not shrink in Vista bellow 147 GB
    It worked when I used of Perfect Disk 8.0 to move MFT files, I could shring to 75MB

  3. Fittersman

    idnt wok for me either, followed directions word for word and my disk still has files scattered around it, they are kinda in 3 different groups. one group at the beginning (large) one group in the midle (small, but in the way) and one at the very end (small but in the way)

  4. Raghvendra Singh

    It did worked for me. I used Perfect Disk 8.0 and was able to shrink up to 15 GB. Thanks

  5. Gene

    Brilliant thanks! Various steps along the way cleared up some room but needed Pefect Disk 2K to get the partition to where I wanted it to be. Thanks again!

  6. Steven

    Just wanted to let you know that, using this method, I was able to change the max size of my partition from 400MB to 25GB. Worked wonderfully. Thanks!

  7. joaquin

    I change my old PC running XP for a new one Pentium D with 1 GB. Vista merely could run! So, I returned the machine and bought a more powerful Athlon 6000+ 3GB of memoryt and 500GB disk. Then I tried to shrink the Vista partition. It did work but did not want to go below 250 GB while I wanted to give it 20GB. Fortunately I found your site :-)

    I ran the two recommended defragmenters and in the shrink pop screen I could see an improvement it said I could go down to 60 GB which is more than I wanted but, I said, ok let’s shrink it to 60 GB. Then I got an error:
    “Unexpected error happended.Check the system journal for additional information. Close de disk management console then restart the disk management, or restart the computer”!
    Pure Microsoft !
    Does someone has an idea of what the error could be?

  8. Bad Tim

    Read _all_ of the instructions: “ADVANCED GEEK LEVEL REQUIRED”. If you don’t understand what the function of the Pagefile is, don’t attempt this; you are in over your head.

    Thank you for the instructions Geek, worked very well.

  9. Dave Navarro

    Thanks a ton! You saved my bacon.

    Was trying to take a new laptop with a 120GB partition (20 GB used), and vista wouldn’t let me bring it down past 90GB.

    Got it down to 40 and change with your help.

    Stumbling you now!

    – Dave

  10. The Geek

    Thanks for the Stumble!

    I always wondered who the great people are that submit us to Stumbleupon =)

  11. Ankur

    Very useful


  12. Vilhelm

    Thank you!

    I couldn’t get it to work until I used PerfektDisc 8 – we’re the other steps really necesarry? I’d recomend someone who haven’t started yet to start with PerfektDisk 8 – defragment and offline defragment (which moves system files).

  13. Josh

    PerfectDisk is also what worked for me. I did everything in your guide but couldn’t get anywhere, then downloaded the trial of PerfectDisk and now I can shrink my partition to a size larger than 596 MB. Thanks for the guide!

  14. Matthew

    Thank you! This completely solved my partition shrinkage problems!

  15. Arthur Archnix

    The problem is that (from what I’ve read) you can’t shrink a windows partition more than 50%. Try this, it worked for me:

    1. Shrink as much as possible using Vista’s tool.
    2. Reboot, and defrag using Vista’s defrag.
    3. Create a free space at the end, unformated, unmapped.
    3. Boot Gparted Live CD and resize to (no less than) 60% of present size.
    4. Reboot, and add free space to unmapped, unformatted space. Defragment using Vista.

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve achieved the desired size.

    I found I had to add the free space to avoid Vista going all “Borg” on it (resistance is futile).

    Oh, and I follow the same tips as the Geek recommends, this is just if you want to avoid installing any third party stuff and just use Vista’s tools and Gparted.

  16. Mayank Singh

    amazing solution guys…perfect disk 8.0 is a real gem and the solution given above is just fabulous.
    it has helped sort out my problem so easily on which i had been banging my head for hours…. thanx guys u rok


  17. BandageWood

    I used PerfectDisk, which allowed me to shrink 120GB down to 75GB… in theory only! In practice, The Disk Management tool, despite allowing me to such this new limit, wouldn’t go through with it, always saying “There is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation”.
    Which is pretty funny, really. Despite just freeing up 50GB, and having most of 100GB completely unused on my 120GB disk, it doesn’t have enough disk space… riiiight.

  18. Avinash P

    Thanks man!!!!

  19. Shelded

    I hit the MFT (I think) when trying to shrink less than 100GB. I used BootIT NG ( ) which gives a 30-day trial, $35 well spent if you keep it. BING was able to resize the partition, slide it, and make a backup images of it on DVD and on HDD. I did two systems on it, making one dual-boot XP & Vista. BING walks on water.

  20. helinho

    Perfect Disk8 did the job after the previously mentioned methods failed. I was able to move system files and thus shrink my Vista partition to approx. half its size

  21. John

    Your solution worked. Thank you. I was trying to get a 500GB down to 60 and could only get to about 260 with Shrink and hours of turning things off, rebooting, Microsoft’s Defrag and Check Disk.

    While I stopped paging and rebooted I could not find pagefile.sys to delete it. (Haven’t figured out how to see the system files yet.) However it was there and got replaced when I eventually restarted paging. Still it must have been below 50 GB line. Otherwise did what you suggested. I only tried the Auslogics Defrag, not the other. Auslogics showed your dreaded yellow clusters at about 50 GB. Whatever was hanging me up at 260 was gone. The Vista Shrink then ran fine.

  22. Simon

    What a disaster, Windows Vista. I need a shrink after trying to use shrink. Finally I made an image with Acronis TrueImage 11, used GParted to shrink the partition, restored Vista using Acronis. That worked.

  23. Brandon Thomson

    PerfectDisk solved my problem, none of the other tools were able to.

  24. Vishaka Datta


    I think you are overdoing it with disabling the system files…PerfectDisk 8.0 has an Offline defragmentation tool which unmounts your drive and can defragment your pagefile, hibernation, metadata and MFT files. Disabling may not be necessary…simply right-click on your drive, choose offline defragmentation and choose the system files you want to shift..

    Thanks anyway…your ideas worked fine too..

  25. rjaxps

    Well, this method worked for me, but it also rendered my Norton Save and Restore useless. In my case I have a 338 GB partition with Windows Vista on it that I wanted to reduce down to 60 GB so that I could create other partitions for my data. I was only able to shrink the partition down to about 222 GB using the partition manager that comes with Vista.

    I followed the instructions to delete the hibernation file, turn off the pagefile, etc. I then defragmented the drive using Perfect Disk 8, which moved the MFT files away from the end of the partition. When I tried to shrink the partition, the partition manager told me that I had room to shrink it 112 GB, but when I tried to shrink the entire space I received an error message that there wasn’t enough room on the hard disk. When I tried to shrink it in 10 and 20 GB increments it worked. I then defragmented the drive again, so as to move the MFT and shrink the partition down to 60 GB.

    Vista worked fine after I did this, so I thought it would be a good time to backup my PC using Norton Save & Restore, which came with my Dell XPS 420. When I tried to perform a backup I got an error message, stating that a system integrity test had failed. I then tried several utilities to fix the problem including loading a new MBR, but they didn’t work. I also tried to restore Vista from my previous backup only to get a similar error message halfway through the restore process. After doing this I couldn’t boot up the PC.

    I spent several hours over the next two days trying to fix this, including several chat sessions with the tech’s at Symantec. The Symantec advisor told me that the error was due to changing the size of the operating system’s partition, and the only way for Norton Save & Restore to work was to completely reinstall Vista from scratch. When I expanded the size of the operating system partition back to its’ original size Norton Save & Restore worked and I had my original PC back! However, that didn’t get me the smaller partition size that I wanted.

    Now that I had my original 338 GB partition back, I removed Norton Save & Restore according to their removal directions. I then went back and shrunk the operating system partition down as I had before, and then reinstalled Norton Save & Restore. When I tried to perform a backup it again failed! I guess the tech at Symantec new what he was talking about.

    I am going to start over by setting up my disk partitions to the size I want, and then I will reinstall Vista. Anyone using Norton Save & Restore should be aware that changing the size of their operating system’s partition may make their Norton Save & Restore backups unusable. Further, they may not know this and render their PC unbootable after trying to perform a restore. I should also mention that my two hard disks are setup as RAID1, which possibly affected Norton as well.

  26. mercybreaker

    Is there any way to see what Vista is defrag-ing, like you can with XP?

  27. Sen

    I have a problem with Perfect Disk 8.0. I’ve run it so I have roughly 60GB free out of 106GB on the hard drive. I tried to get it to defrag PageFile, but it keeps saying ‘loading failed’ but it scans the others fine. Anyone got any suggestions?

  28. Margus

    Perfect Disk 8.0 is great!! Vista is still work in progress ….
    I had the same problem not being able to shrink my C: volume from over 200 to 20 Gigs. I followed partially the instructions. Specifically, I did not:
    – Disable the pagefile
    – Disable the kernel memory dump
    – nor, Delete the c:\pagefile.sys
    I did use the defrag from Vista, which gave me just a few gigs room, but the main gain came from Perfect Disk! I just had to run it a couple of times with reboots in between (check the defrag on boot feature to make sure it moves the MFT, etc).
    I got C: now at 20 Gigs. The problem I have now is that I cannot add this space to an extra partition I had for data (shown on the right). I tried to create a new volume, move the data there and add the space from the old data partition to the new partition but it did not work. Any suggestions?
    I have now C(20G)//New Part(180G)//Old Data Partition (45G)//OEM System Recovery Partition(7G).

  29. Shelded

    to Margus, if you are wanting to have a 65GB drive which is bootable and has your data: Resize C(20GB) to 65GB, then copy the data into it. If you are short on space do it in steps. I will assume Perfect Disk can slide the 180GB out of the way but if it cannot you will slide using BootIT NG ( ) which gives a 30-day trial.

  30. Aj

    worked like a charm now I can dual boot multiple operating systems thanks

  31. Ken

    I followed all of the steps and the method worked perfect. I have one 750GB hard drive in my system that only had Vista installed on it. Learned about the shrink capability but I could only shrink the volume to create an additional 75GB partition. However after following all of these steps and (a LOT ~8 hours worth~ of defragmenting and file consolidating with Perfect Disc 2008) I was able to break the 750 into three drives: 175GB for Vista, 175GB for XP, and 350GB for data/backups. Only note from me about this process is that I did not have to manually delete the pagefile.sys after I disabled it. I guess that Vista automatically deleted it.

  32. aquafresca

    Great help!
    Arthur Archnix suggestions worked great in partnership with perfect disk 8.0. followed his directions and was able to create 90GB from a 120Gb disk with vista preloaded. When I started out vista would only let me create 30GB, major help

    thanks everyone!

  33. Woody

    Great help!
    My purpose was to create an additional partition (but not for dual-boot). Your very complete and clear description worked without problems.

  34. Nando

    Just to say that I tried Arthur Archnix’s comment and it worked. I tried to do it first using this tips, but couldn’t pass the 50% barrier when shrinking.

    Then, I used PerfectDisk offline defragment and shrinked several times until i reduced it to 50G in a 250G disk.

    Thanks for this page! It really helped me a lot

  35. Churrascus

    Hi. Really nice guide! Unfotunately I still have a problem. I own a VAIO laptop (this is not the problem…I hope), it came with Vista preinstalled (I’ve already made the recovery DVDs) and I am planning to install XP and Linux also. The thing is that even though I’ve followed this guide (including defragmenting with Perfect Disk) I can´t reduce Vista’s partition as much as I want. I would like it to be only 25-30GB big, but Vista only allowed me to reduce it to 55GB. I ran GParted LiveCD and it shows that Vista’s partition has 37GB occupied, but Windows says that only 12-15GB (I don´t remember now exactly) are under use. I tried then to shrink using Paragon Partition Manager 9, but after it reboots to apply the shrinkage nothing happens (Vista boots normally and nothing has changed). Any suggestions are welcomed!

  36. Datkilldme

    I made a blunder! I was using the Vista feature to shrink some space on my C drive, and it looked sort of stuck, so i closed the window mid-way!
    Now the space i was trying to shrink (around 15 GB) doesn’t show in C nor in Unallocated Space!
    What can I do? It seems to have got lost somewhere in between!

  37. Churrascus

    Me again! Solved the problem thanks to Arthur Archnix (three times I thank you!) post. Open source developers have made great tools (GParted Live and SupergrubDisk, only to mention two of them). Now, after searching and reading quite a lot, I’m triple booting in my laptop without problems!

  38. A Menon

    Hello and many thanks for the methodically written guide. Like some others who have posted here, I finally had to run Perfect Disc 2008 for the shrinking to work…. possibly, there were system files that were simply not getting moved otherwise. After which, the whole thing went through like a charm.

    Now I need to figure out how to bring hibernation back :o)

  39. Brian Arechiga

    How do you use perfect disk

    did it once and it went from 1400MB to 217MB

  40. Cyndee

    Omg, thanks to all of you guys!!!
    I was all day breaking my head…and yes, Perfect Disk 2008 made the trick, but I had to follow all the steps from the article. I love the webpage…

    Keep Up the Good Work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. ben

    Thanks guys! I followed the instructions mentioned above and got the job done. I used the trail version of PerfectDisk2008. I have another problem. After shrinking, I’m unable to format the unallocated space. I get “there is no space” error message. The size of the new Volume is around 35 GB.. please help.

  42. Rene Fennet

    Big thanks for nicely driving me in the right direction.
    As the Geek mentioned it is the MFT bit that is blocking us.
    However, by experience, I noticed the following:
    – the MFT is roughly placed in the middle of the volume and therewith allowing you to shrink your volume by half its original size at a maximum;
    – if you don’t reuse the free-d up space, a factory restore will give you the same result
    – if you do reuset the free space, a factory restore result in a new factory install with the MFT in the middle of 50% of your original volume size.

    So, without all hoops, tricks, extra software etc. this is what I did:
    – half my 480 GB C volume (shrink does not allow me shrinking below half)
    – create new partition in free space
    – factory restore in remaining 240GB
    – half my 240 GB C volume to 120GB (again shrink limit, checked MFT now to be in the middle of the volume again
    – create new partition in free space
    – factory restore in remaining 120GB
    – shrink to my target of 75GB

    Hope this is of any use to anybody. Viva Vista :-)

  43. Evildave

    If you are shooting for a dual boot machine with Vista/XP, if you can get just enough room to install XP, you can use its defrag tool to defragment the Vista partition. Then you can shrink the vista partition, and use some other tool (like a GParted Live CD – no version of Patition Magic CD boots if Vista is installed) to grow your XP partition, or just delete it and reinstall the XP partition.

    Or you can do like I did and boot an XP virtual machine under Linux, mount the physical partition, and defrag the Vista partition while you do other work.

  44. Roderik

    This information was really helpfull, i was able to shrink my harddrive by about 60 gb after fllowing some of the tips on here. Thanks Alot!

  45. SlamDunk

    Rene Fennet nearly had it down pat (I’m happy as I was not keen on messing with the other stuff suggested here). It took a while – hint, do not create a logical partition until you have iterated down to the size you are happy with for the C: drive. Then, create any logical partition(s) you like from the space remaining. Also, use quick format, or you’ll be there forever. I had 1TB on a Dell XPS 420 with Vista Ultimate. The Recovery partition was set at only 15GB, as the D: drive. The rest was the C: drive – one giant one. I now have a 50GB partition for programs and the rest for a data partition.

    Another point. I tried to reorder the disk drive letter – i.e. moving the Recovery partition to N:. Running a restore will return it back to D:. Maybe someone knows of a tweak for that?

  46. Daniel

    No deal here. After using PerfectDisk, Vista says I can shrink the partition by 30Gb. Great!
    When I try to shrink it by 10Gb, it says “Access id denied” after a few seconds.
    Then I’ve tried the Vista’s restore DVD, using diskpart. Same history: “Access is Denied”.
    Ok, let’s try a linux Live CD, then. Gparted live CD tells me my drive is all “unallocated”, and PartedMagic live CD tells me “no devices found”.
    Please, someone help me…

  47. Daniel

    now I’ve tried the XP installation disk, and it too tells me that there is no disk found.
    The creepy part is that the disk works perfectly booting vista. Any idea?

  48. shelded

    1. sounds like now you should ask how current your backup is.
    2. are you logged in as administrator (I’d recommend that)

  49. Daniel

    Yes, I’m logged as administrator, and I’ve checked all permissions and so on.
    The problem is my S-Ata HD. As it seems, all this programs are unable to load the correct drivers, even XP. I’ve got to partition using Paragon’s Partition Manager, and then running a boot fix from vista’s DVD.
    I now have room to install XP, but it doesn’t recognize my disks. Maybe I need to download some drivers and slip them into xp disk…
    Thansk for your help!

  50. shelded

    I hope you have a backup? BING will boot and talk directly to the hardware and handle image backup, partitions and boot fixes. If you are stuck try it, it has a 30-day free trial. You would gladly pay the price if it fixes your problem, and you will know today whether it is working for you or not. BootIT NG ( )

  51. Mulz

    Thank you. I should have to search for this solution for several days. Your tip has helped me a lot. I have a 750GB hard Disk with only vista and other applications installed on it. Vista could allow me to shrink it to only about 50% of it. Now I was able to shrink it to below 90 GB. Perfektdisk 2008 has also helped with the defragmentation. Thank you again for your help.

  52. Snoop

    Great tutorial, thanks a lot! Damn Vista, nothing but trouble so far.

    P.S. – if you don’t understand why the steps prior to using Perfect Disk are “usually” necessary, you’re probably below the skill advanced geek level required…

  53. Steve

    I tried the suggestions here but shrink still didn’t work. Eventually I used jkdefrag in Vista safe mode, it logs any files it can’t move. It turned out that the ntfs journal was spread all over my hd and was stopping the shrink. MS provide fsutil which can delete the journal
    fsutil journaldelete /d c:
    After that I could shrink the partition and install linux. Woo hoo!
    With linux I get back all the peripherals that vista refused to play with, a logitech webcam, a pny 2gb pen drive, and my hp5800 printer can now print over my house network. Thanks for the write up.

  54. Jon Navarro

    I have successfully partitioned my disk by clicking the DEFRAG ON BOOT of Perfectdisk 2008.. then restart. In that way, MFT will be moved and Vista won’t tell you that you don’t have space to shrink.

  55. sumit singh

    Hey Geek / Shelded / Vilhelm / Vishaka Datta

    Kindly help

    I bought an HP with 221 GB on “C”. with Vista tool I have reduced it to 140 GB.
    I tried working with Perfect Disk 2008 .the result is that I still cant empty space from “C” drive
    I also tried perfect disk offline defragment and also checked degragment on boot

    The result that Perfect Disk shows me is … MFT- 0% ( excellent)
    Rest all is also fine
    METADATA- 30% ( poor), with 134 excess fragments.. which perfect disk is not able to defragment.

    In the drive map of “ C “ I can see that there are ‘ excluded” sections in the middle and at the end of the drive
    I’m a starter at all this . thus kindly guide me

    Thanks in advance

    Sumit singh

  56. Bryan

    Im having a similar problem as singh. When i try to offline defrag to remove “files that are normally locked by the Windows OS” it says it will perform the operation on the next reboot. I reboot and it boots normally. These immovable files are annoyingly close to the end of my disk (i can only partition out about 4 GB of my C:)

    If anyone has any insight they would like to share, that would be awesome

    Thanks in advance

  57. Sumit Singh

    Hey Geek / Shelded / Vilhelm / Vishaka Datta

    with refrence to my post above…

    i wud like to add that when i run offline defrag on perfect disk 2008..

    i get the following message…

    ” found Hiberfile.sys
    Hiberfile.sys id= 90

    Insufficient free space to defragment file 0 ”

    and the problem remains the same….

    cant shrink my ” C ” drive to less than 140 GB

    META DATA is 30% ( poor)

    kindly help….

    thanks in advance…

    Sumit Singh

  58. Darryl

    I tried Diskeeper to defrag and still left system files at the point which was preventing shrinking.

    Sounds like Partition Magic won’t work…although I didn’t verify this.

    I used Acronis® Disk Director Suite 10.0 ( Create Rescue CD ) to shrink the partition without any problems.

  59. Mike

    K, great guide guys but i still have a major problem, Vista now says that i can Partion 0MB instead of the 892MB that i could before. i have a 250 in my laptop and i want to divide it for my files not for dual boot!

    Help please!

  60. Mike

    OH and in follow up, what is an offline Defrag Supposed to look like for Perfect Disk 08, cuz when i ran one my boot didn’t change at all, it just stayed on the VISTA AERO screen longer (right before u put in your password to log on) so does this mean that it didn’t run?

    How do u make it run ?

  61. Pete

    Could someone help me please!!!! I have problem with shrinkig partition in VISTA. All looks fine, I can choose size of my new partition ect. until the last step of wizard of New Simple Volume. I have info: “there is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation.”
    What’s the hell is this. I have over 200GB free space.



  62. The Geek


    If you want answers to your questions, you need to leave your question on the forum.

  63. cobija

    wow I love you very very much. before this tutorial, the most I could partition my drive was about 34GB when there is clearly 238GB of FREE SPACE. After the tutorial, im at about 113GB and havent even defragmented yet. very good work =]

  64. Lucky

    Thanks for the information, it was very helpful. Rather than use one of the tools that can move the MFT I stumbled upon another method that worked for me. I didn’t read all of the replies so if it has been mentioned before I apologize.

    I followed the instructions to disable everything mentioned and delete PageFile.sys. After that I could shrink about half of the partition. I then allocated the free space (using a Quick Format). I decided to do a System Restore using the restore partition. The restore used the new, smaller, C: partition that I had created, putting the MFT in the middle again. I repeated this process until I had the partition down to the size that I wanted and then did just the restore one more time so that the MFT would end up in the middle of the partition where Windows wanted it. It took a little while but I didn’t have to use any trial software or anything other than Vista.


  65. Ramu

    I found Power Fragmenter did not do very much for me. However JKDefrag worked wonders when run in safe mode.

  66. Sumit Singh

    hey all!!!!!!!!

    i have been banging my head over this problem fofr quiet sm time now…eventually found a solution tht worked

    As i’ve mentioned earlier, my laptop came with 228 gb in ” C ”

    I tried every possible thing in the book but could not manage to get my
    C drive partition below 140 GB.even Perfect Disk’s online & offline defrag dint work

    wht i eventually did was , i restored my computer to factory settings and just after doing so i tried to shrink “C” and i was able to shrink it to 70GB . then i allocated free space to other partitions. then once again i did factory setting restore in ‘C” and again i tried to shrink it and was able to shrink it to 35GB .

    i tell u guyz , i tried almost every solution mentioned here or elsewhere, but nothing worked but for this one….

    if u ppl want u can try this toooo!!!!!!!!1

  67. Craig

    @ Sumit Singh:

    “i tell u guyz , i tried almost every solution mentioned here or elsewhere, but nothing worked but for this one.”

    Heh, that’s funny as your method was mentioned first by Rene Fennet on this very page. :P

  68. Fred

    hey all…

    i had the same problem and found a method similar to that offered by Rene Fennet to work nicely…

    Perfect Disk’s offline defrag also moves the MFT into the middle of the partition so you can shrink as much as possible, defrag w/ PD, and repeat until you’re happy.

    hope this helps.

  69. Sumit Singh

    @ Craig..

    well whts nt funny is dat i was trying to tell others tht this method works 4 sure…

    nd the purpose was not to take the credit for it.. but to make sure that others too can benifit from it….

    n yeah, it isnt “MY METHOD”

    i got hold of it from sm other forum….

  70. mrmooge88

    Worked like a charm. This is one more mark against Vista. It’s nice that I could finally create a partition for Ubuntu. Thank you!

  71. John Wagner

    I really appreciate all the time and effort you have obviously put into this. It’s been very informative. However I have not been able to get Perfect Disk 2008 to move the mft and have tried all three options, Smartplacement, Consollidate, and Defrag only. I’ll check in on the forums to a resolution to this but thought you might see this a lil quicker here.

  72. JonT

    This is an excellent article and was a great help to me in dual booting Vista and Ubuntu 8.04 successfully. I would like to note, however, that I did not use PerfectDisk 2008. Although it’s a great choice I have had problems in the past and did not want to go through them again. It also requires a name and email address to get a copy for trial. To move the $MFT file I used a program called Puran Defrag. I found it to be excellent defragmenting software. It is under 30-day trial, however, but it requires no registration or anything to run. It offers a boot-time defrag that worked excellently although not completely. My $MFT file was split in two with one part on the farthest point on the outside of the drive surrounded by files, and the second closer to the inside of the drive. It moved the $MFT piece near the inside of the drive as close as possible to the other part. It did not move files to join the two. But I still recommend it in case there are no files surrounding the parts of your $MFT file. I also used UltimateDefrag, which is also excellent defragging software that offers boot-time defrag, but does not work for me. Anyways, I hope this helps some. Again, a great article.

  73. Aydin

    Thank you for the article. It worked perfectly.

  74. Chebar

    the perfect disk solution was the able to move the system files correctly. Thanks for your help!

  75. Uncle Spellbinder

    Thanks, Geek! Your tutorial in combination with Perfect Disk 2008 worked perfectly. I was able to shrink “C” from 278GB to 65GB on my Vista Home Premium 64 bit box.

    Thanks, again!!

  76. JAdams

    Thanks for the info, God that’s annoying! Think I’ll just reinstall my OS, I have all my data on a second drive, and having a fresh windows install sounds fine anyway, since I’ll be using Linux primarily.

    Thanks again!

  77. JessyBoy

    Umm, i’m trying to install XP into my DELL inspiron 1420 laptop… My C drive took up all the space available, and my D (recovery) takes onli 10 gb out of my 220 gb hard drive…I tried shrinking and also follwed every one of yr steps, except using the gparted… But all i get is 1947mb space available… and my C has 63 gb free space… But when tried on my D i get 5 gb which is the exact amount of free space there… When defragmented, my Auslogics show only shows ‘allocated’ space on the third last row of boxes and no MFT files anywhere but one right on the middle but the Perfect Disk 2008 shows tht i have some excluded files right at the bottom… Is tht why there’s the problem….? Should i try using gparted or isit some problem whithin my hard disk drive…?

  78. Zam

    How do you delete the c:\pagefile.sys ? ive followed the instruction to own the file, but then i cant find the pagefile.sys and delete it, anyone who please give me a good instruction on how to delete the file i would be very much appreciated!

  79. Jacob

    This worked perfectly for me! Auslogics and PerfectDisk 2008 did the trick – I had problems with Power Defragmenter. It would close as with an error after the scan. I am wondering why I can only shrink my 500gb hd down to 230gb, with 170gb free space. I really would like it to be around 100gb.

    Thanks a lot — Now I am off to find an article on getting these blasted thumb drives to work/ be recognized by vista.

  80. Stein

    Thanks for the advice, Vista claimed almost 500G of a 1T disk. Now it is running happily on a 61G partition. 3 defrags with Perfect Disk did the trick.

  81. JeMIN

    another good defrag program is Piriform Defraggler

  82. seany

    iv had the same problem my hard drive apparently has 80 gb free on a 300 gb hard drive and i cant shrink c at all. i have no idea why not. iv disabled system restore and pagefiles defragged using vista defragger and a 3rd party freeware defragger error checker and cleaned the c drive. its a mystery why i cant shrink the c drive any further. any help would be nice

  83. Jay

    Much thanks for the guide I saved 15 gigs!!! yeehaaww!!! Thanks for the protocol!!!

  84. Ilya

    and one more comment:

    When I tried to repeat offline run/shrink cycle for the 3rd time I’ve got “Access denied” from Logical volume manager.

    I have no idea what it means, but reducing the shrink amount by a tiny bit (so that the remaining C: space is a bit bigger) got me past this issue.

  85. ilya

    Ok and here is my complete story (first post was lost by the browser)

    Initial situation

    I needed to shrink a Vista partition by 90%, but “shrink volume” only offers
    a 50% shrink. Running normal defragmenters does not help. auslogics
    defragmenter shows a lot of stuff in the middle of the disk


    I used perfectdisk (note: it has a 30-day trial) as it has an “consolidate
    free space” mode and it can consolidate system files, MFT, etc (so
    called offline mode which runs before Vista starts)

    Solution which worked for me:

    1. Shrink volume (by as much as Vista allows)

    2. Run perfectdisk defragmenter in consolidate free space mode (requires
    reboot) and include system files. And now Vista agrees to shrink the
    volume by another 50%

    Repeat as needed

    1. I did do the dance of disabling pagefile, hibernation, system restore
    (I suspect that it was not needed)

    2. on 3rd iteration I ran into “access denied” error, but slightly
    reducing amount of shrinkage got me past the problem


    It appears that Vista uses some reserved disk space for some unclear purpose.
    On restart Vista reuses the same space. However if defragmenter moves
    this space, then Vista seems to reallocate it right in the middle of the
    disk. (hence shrink/defragment cycle). This is just a guess.

    A question to those who used Arthur Archnix’s method: did you have trouble
    rebooting Vista? (gparted docs seem to suggest that shrinking bootable vista
    partitions is not very safe)

    Keywords: shrink volume, partition, resize, MFT, Vista, Linux

  86. vasanth


    Its worked for me

  87. Giancarlo

    It works perfect to me. Thanks for the post.

  88. DoubleM

    It did not work with me even though I’ve about 87 GB free in the partition that I wanted to shrink :(

  89. Prashnat

    Tried to partition my VISTA-Harddisk.
    It has 90GB space remaining in C drive and 10 GB in D drive.
    but when tried to shrink C drive,it creates 50GB unallocated volume but when creating simple volume from it, it shows not enogh disk space available.
    I am new to any laptop.
    please suggest how to create another partiton of 90GB using shring method.

    Your help will be very much helpful…

  90. Sciana

    I also had a problem with shrinking Vista partition. It said, I could create maximal 1.5GB partition, despite I had only new Vista and almost no other data on my 230GB disk (and only 15GB were in use).
    Your steps where not enough, because of MFT and Metadata files, but after these steps Vista allowed me to create about 8GB partition. So there was a little progress.

    But Perfect Disk 2008 worked perfectly! And it is free for 30 days!

    After using PF2008 I reduced my partition size from 230GB to 112GB. It was enough for me. Thanks!

  91. Aeris

    Hi, the article is great but it didn’t work for me (but I have learnt something new which is good).
    I used Gparted instead – it’s free and much less hassle as you don’t really have to perform any of the steps above.
    Just create Gparted live CD, boot your computer from it (using default options) and reduce your partition to the desired size (in my case from 465 to 90GB, which took 45 minutes)… Pretty straighforward, really. Then if you’re lucky your computer will boot as usual, if not you just need to use your VISTA CD to boot from it and select option REPAIR. After that you will be able to boot into Vista as before and you can format your new partition. Now you can relax!

    If you want more detailed steps you can find them here:

    IMPORTANT: You can only use the above method if you have bootable VISTA CD!

    This whole website is very helpful – thanks.

  92. Mehran

    My problem has been solved by using PerfectDisk; you should do following steps:
    1)defrag C partition in offline mode to move SMT table from the end of the partition to the middle of it.
    2)shrink the C partition
    repeat these steps to reach your ideal size

  93. Mitar

    I tried all of the steps above used 3 defragment software and I couldn’t shrink more than 600MB

    Then I booted a linux disk and when in the instalation it asked me about the pration I resized Vista (shrank the size as much as I needed) and rebooted my pc.
    I ran Vista but it couldn’t see the empty space so I ran the linux boot disk again and returned the space back to vista.
    Once I booted Vista again I could resize as much as I returned back.

    I think you can perform this by just shrinking vista and returning the memory back, and when you run Vista no more problems.

  94. Anna

    PerfectDisk 2008 worked for me. I tried it without first but it wouldn’t shrink the C drive any further.

    For Perfect Disk if you right-click on the C drive on the defragmentation screen, Drive Properties->Offline defragmentation tab. Check all the boxes and restart your computer then try to shrink it again. It will move the paging file and meta data. I had to do it, shrink it by 50 gb, boot defrag it again and then I could shrink it as low as I wanted.

    Thanks for this guide. I couldn’t even work out what the problem was until I found this page :)

  95. Mark


    I tried to use PerfectDisk2008 but don’t know how. What I did was:
    right-click on the C drive on the defragmentation screen, Drive Properties->Offline defragmentation tab. Check all the boxes and restart my computer.
    What I should do next?

    Can anybody help me?

  96. Lewis

    I’ve got only one question… Can I undo shrink volume once it is finished?

  97. jd2066

    @Lewis: Yes, you can. If you want to expand the volume to the size it was after shrinking it just select extend instead of shrink in Disk Management.
    Note: Of course you need space to expand the volume so if you added another partition after shrinking you would need to remove that partition to extend the first partition.

  98. John B

    The steps in this article got my Compaq CQ-50-215NR from a Vista 150 GB partition to a 60 GB partition. I wanted more. The Perfect Disk 2008 defragger worked like charm. Its free for 30 days. It defragged my system files on reboot. I was then able to take Vista down to a 40 GB partition and could have made it as small as a 30 GB partition.

    Now I can get that Ubuntu install just how I want it! Thanks Perfect Disk!

  99. LG

    Thanks to the tricks mentioned here ( deleting pagefile.sys and defragmenting with PerfectDisk ) , I was able to shrink my C: , but it could not be allocated (got the there’s not enough space error). It took me hours before I read some articles about the max number of primary partitions on a hard disk.

    So because I already had 3 primary and 1 extended partitions, I cannot have another primary. After I deleted one old primary, I was able to make a new primary so I can install XP in addition to Vista that I already had.

    Microsoft clearly has misled us, they should have notified us the actual error.

  100. MisterM

    Hi guys,
    Using the above mentioned method with perfect disk i successfully got shrink volume extended from 600MB to 66GB. This is really wonderful Techie website outstanding over many many forums. You guys did a great job in bringing this website. Thanks!

  101. ocseva

    I tried all above but could not shrink anything less than 190GB on my (500GB) Vista partition (Mac bootcamp dual boot).
    The simple solution that worked for me was boot into Mac, create a blank partition with the exact preferred size (in my case 60GB) and install vista in it, rather than install first and then try to shrink it late.
    Hope this help others with similar problems.

  102. letriste

    used this method and freed up 2.6 GB extra…

  103. Marko

    I’ve spent a whole week trying to shrink my disk (it would only allow 4GB out of 115GB) during this time I tried:

    chkdsk /f
    Auslogics disk defrag
    O&O Defrag
    Diskeeper 2009

    This last one defragmented and conveniently allocated the MFT reserved zone (or space, or whatever), but it left bits of little pieces of system files scattered all over 65GB of free space and still couldn’t shrink the disk.

    I got drunk twice out of frustration…

    … and finally this article seem to be the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I followed each and every step (which I’ve done before in different order), and voila! Perfect Disk did it. It optimized those little chunks from hell and there I go, got my free space to shrink!

    Happy ending! (gonna get drunk to celebrate XD)

    Now to my awaited Ubuntu installation! (hope everything goes fine! you know, wireless issues and stuff)

  104. G

    Grr… Even after using Disk Perfect, the very last sector in my main partition is occupied by excluded files. The Vista Disk Manager won’t let me shrink my partition at all.

  105. G

    * I mean Perfect Disk

  106. Marko

    Do like 5 defrags with diskeeper with the “on boot” option, this same program can apply chkdsk before defrag.

    After that use Perfect Disk, also do like 5 defrags or more.

    Don’t give up, I was very frustated too but I managed to move those little excluded files from hell !

  107. Casey

    Most of the executable files on the end are for the shadow copies that Vista uses to do backups.

    I have a 250 gig disk and after doing all of this I could only shrink down 10% but you can also change the size allocated for the shadow copies from an elevated command prompt
    enter this command: VSSAdmin list ShadowStorage
    this will show the current size
    then enter this VSSAdmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=15GB
    before I did this Vista had 40 gigs set aside I changed it to 15 gigs above and now I can half my disk!

  108. Srini

    Tried the whole deal exactly as specified in this article, including the use of PerfectDisk. One metadata file just refuses to move, which is causing the shrink volume to continue to utilize less than half of the free space.

    Anyone know how to move metadata files with perfectdisk? I tried doing it offline, reboot, etc.


  109. Ryan

    Thank you for this article!
    I was able to go from freeing up 3GBs all the way to 300GBs!!
    For everyone having trouble with Perfect Disk make sure to disable all those system files as well. That’s definitely the part that helped me the most.

  110. J

    thanks a lot for this one. I searched way over useless articles which have no clue how badly Vista Disk Service fails and how the Windows Vista De-Fragmentation tool is a joke. I used Perfect Disk 2 and it worked like a charm. I ran it like twice, it showed proper statistics etc and I got around 10G of shrinkable space.


    Try method 8th up from yours?

  112. Matt

    What should I do if vista is denying me access after I’ve run all these steps – I’m logged in as an admin, and I have the option to partition 30gigs (I’m only trying to partition 20) but after I run the partition utility it tells me access is denied. Any clues?

  113. Shelded

    Post your questions in the forum. It’s the best way we can reply to you and you may find your question already answered if you use the search.

  114. shelded

    It seems we should switch to Windows7 gladly:

    Among the other changes under the hood in Windows 7 are the following:

    Defragmentation in Windows 7 is more comprehensive – many files that could not be re-located in Windows Vista or earlier versions can now be optimally re-placed. In particular, a lot of work was done to make various NTFS metadata files movable. This ability to relocate NTFS metadata files also benefits volume shrink, since it enables the system to pack all files and file system metadata more closely and free up space “at the end” which can be reclaimed if required.

  115. Gino

    It did not work for me either. However using the latest version of Perfect Disk 2008 (30 day free trial) offers the possibility under “drive properties>offline defragmentation” to Defragment the selected system files on every reboot. This result in 50% gain each time you reboot. simply repeat untill desired disk space is reached. (When using this method you can skip the steps on top of this page.)

  116. Matt

    Completely missed the forums link – on my way there now

  117. Jeff

    Just a heads up for anyone that tries this and runs into the same problem I did.

    I have a notebook dual booting WinXP and Vista. I originally set it up with XP on C: (44 GB), a small D: partition (7 GB), and Vista on V: (24 GB). The DVD drive is E:.

    I wanted to expand my Vista partition and shrink my XP one. I had the issues that brought all of us to this post. Using PerfectDisk trial version worked great to allow me to finally shrink the XP C: down to 22 GB. But the Vista disk manager would not let me extend the Vista partition because the unallocated space appeared in front of it. So I used GParted to move and resize the Vista V: partition. It worked, or so it seemed…

    When I went to boot to Vista, it errored with a message that suggested running repair from the Vista install disc. Before doing that I successfully booted into XP and checked the disks. What was my Vista V: disk was now showing as F: — I changed that in XP’s disk manager and rebooted. Vista boot still failed with same message so I booted from the Vista install disc and ran repair. The next boot worked and Vista started to load and displayed the login screen. Upon logging in it got stuck at “Preparing your desktop…” for a long time before changing to a plain blue screen (not BSOD) and just sitting there. I could call up task manager by CTRL+ALT+DEL but couldn’t get a desktop. Launching some new tasks and browsing directories confirmed that the disk was still identified as F: instead of V:.

    After some more web searching I found a thread with a solution. I had to boot back into XP and start regedt32, temorarily load the Vista SYSTEM registry hive found at V:\Windows\System32\Config, select the MountedDevices key, change name of DosDevices\V: to DosDevices\Z:, change name of DosDevices\F: to DosDevices\V:, and then unload the hive.

    Booting back into Vista worked fine after all that. The last step was to run regedt32 on Vista and delete the value named DosDevices\Z:.

  118. Simon

    I’d like to thank you for the best and most developed answer to this question of Working Around Windows Vista’s “Shrink Volume” Inadequacy Problems..
    And it worked just fine… I just bought a new HP laptop of 320 GB but couldn’t shrink Windows partition below 140 GB.. I tried many things and many disk defragmentation software, but none worked, until I followed the process described here consisting of:
    1. Run the Disk Cleanup Wizard
    2. Disable System Restore
    3. Disable the pagefile
    4. Disable the kernel memory dump
    5. Disable Hibernation mode
    6. Reboot the machine

    After this and running PerfectDisk I was able to shrink Vista’s partition to 70 GB..
    Thanks :)

  119. marcusdev

    I had this access denied when trying to shrink volume c on my laptop. the best solution, i found that worked was to use perfectdisk 10 with the option consolidate free disk space. it worked a treat, saw it move all files to the front of the disk. i had 150gb spare of 250gb. when i shrank the volume it gave me 60gb for a new drive. before that it only gave me 21gb, which was not enough for the os.

  120. Srini

    Don’t forget the defrag command line utility in Vista that comes with Windows. I tried Perfect Disk and two other defrag utils but couldn’t get it to move this one adamant file. Windows defrag did the trick for me for that file! Not sure what that file was though, sorry,

  121. Mike

    I want share my experience with u..
    After doing all basic steps for Restore points and Hibernate and PageFile
    and then using all De fragmenters suggested here, Only Perfect Disk did it
    But when trying to shrink the volume, i got ”Access denied’ , and the only thing make it work was to run checkdisk :
    – Right-click on C: > Properties > Tools > Check Now > mark ‘fix’ option > Start
    ,then will tell schedule it> say ok > restart and Scan should start > try shrink again and it should work

  122. leo

    What I did was to delete as much file space as I could and then defrag the drive with the auslogics AND diskeeper software. I went from having 10GB to 50GB (150GB drive, 89 was used up). Also it would be important to note I also deleted my previous windows files using disk cleanup before defragging.

    I am also going to try partition Magic because I found the disk laying around.

  123. madhav

    After shrinking the volume, I got unallocated volume. i chose the unallocated space and then went for NEW BASIC VOLUME. After finishing it i got a error message that my disk cannot be partition as it has already partitioned a lot but i have only two drive

  124. Lee Kimrey

    This worked great for me! I went from hardly anything to the space I needed! Thanks for writing the easy howto. Your time and research is greatly appreciated.

  125. Ceri

    Great article! Thanks :)

    I have a new HP laptop with Windows Vista Business freshly installed and the C partition wouldn’t shrink to smaller than 116GB. The Auslogic defragmenter showed me that there was a file right at the end of the partition which was preventing me from shrinking the partition further. I downloaded the trial of Perfect Disk 10 which took about 15 minutes to defrag the partition and move the file. I’ve now successfully shrunk the volume to the 50GB I wanted.

  126. Bandco

    – Rartition the “C: Drive” with ‘Factory Restore’ … The EASY WAY ! ! !
    – I have ‘Windows Vista Home Premium’ on a ‘HP Pavilion PC’ with ‘One 320GB HD’
    This is what I did
    – From My Actual Hard Drive :
    – “C: Drive” 298.09GB, “D: Drive” 9.72GB ;
    – I Check for ‘FREE SPACE’ on “C: Drive”
    – With the Free Space I Created an ’88GB Partition’ “ASSIGNING A DRIVE LETTER” (MOST IMPORTANT), I named-it “E: Drive” (Principal Drive) (could be any other letters available) ;
    – I then did a ‘Factory Restore’ » “It AUTOMATICALLY RESTORED in the remaining 198GB “C: Drive” (Factory Restore the version as it comes out of the factory) ;
    – After the restore in the 198GB “C: Drive” – I Check for ‘FREE SPACE’ on “C: Drive”;
    – It shows that there is now another 98GB Free Space Available ;
    – So I Created a Volume of 98GB and named-it “F: Drive” (Came out as a Logical Drive) ;

    – If you whant another partition(s) repeat the above.

    – So I Now have 4 partitions :
    – – – ‘HP “C: Drive” 101GB’
    – – – ‘HP Factory Image (Restore) “D: Drive” 9.72GB (Same As When I Started (DON’T TOUCH))’
    – – – ‘For Programs “E: Drive” 88GB’
    – – – ‘For Personal usage ‘Photos & Documents’ “F: Drive” 98GB’

    – Voilà, at present I know it’s possible and very very easy.
    – Freighting to start with, but ‘NOW THAT I KNOW how’ i.e. that the ‘Factory Restore’ LOADS AUTOMATICALLY IN THE “C: Drive,” reduced volume or not (These are ‘INSURING WORDS MISSING’ in ‘Rene Fennet’s Posted: April 2, 2008 10:33 am)

    – Something to think of when creating partitions, Especially in a New Drive because you’ll have to re-install all your old stuff (Updates, programs…)
    May God Bless,

  127. David Lockie

    I found Paragon’s Partition Manager to be the only program that solved this issue by moving system files at boot time. Highly recommended, but you’ll have to buy it – free trial version didn’t let me actually commit the changes :(

  128. Ryan

    Thanks for the how-to and software references. I cleared up 200G on my 1T drive (600G free) and vista told said I had no space left to shrink the partition. Before I started clearing up the HD vista would have allowed me to create a 3G partition oddly enough. Now that I’m getting my defrag taken care of I can prepare for the power of Linux (gentoo is my flavor of choice).

    On another note: Factory Fresh PC? Stay away from Dell and HP if you want control over your hardware. They love their hidden paritions that if you wipe, you are stuck with a brick unless you have a pure copy of the OS (their restore CDs require stuff off that partition).

  129. Andre

    Worked pretty well =) make sure to defrag system files with PerfectDisk ^^

  130. Diganth

    Thanks for the “How to resize Vista partition”. However, once i did the partitioning using GParted Live CD, my laptop doesnt start up.
    It throws me a “Disk Error” and asks me restart the system.
    I tried restarting it several times but to no avail.
    Can you HELP ME solve this problem !!!!

  131. Raja S L

    Gr8! it worked for me ..

    it seems possible to reduce the partition size to almost any tiny extent..
    For instance, my HDD was 285 gb , it was possible using the following stpeps to reduce till 50 gb (and it was possible even more but i stopped here!)

    wat i did was i followed the first 6 steps (until ‘delete your c:\pagefile.sys file’ ) at the top of this page and then i used perfect disk 10.0 .
    In perfect disk 10.0 . ,i selected the offline defgragment option (whih defrags ur system files on boot up) and it yielded me half the size of the free space for shrinking for every run and restart.

    In my case i had 285 gb free space initially ..
    then after running offline defrag using perfectdisk 10.0 during startup , the available shrink space was shown as142gb , i shrunk it and then after restart and running again , the available shrnk space was 72 , and then on to 50 gb (it offerred me 37 laslty , but i rejected the offer ;-) ).

    now c drive is 50 gb only from , down from 285 gb.

  132. rsvr85

    Thanks very much for the tut. Reduced my 320GB Vista partition to 150GB ready to install W7RC1 on the new 170GB partition.

  133. Maros

    Thanks :) worked great for me

  134. SoFla2008

    All very good suggestions. Unfortunately no ONE solution worked for me and I kept getting an “Access Denied” error message when trying to shrink via Vista’s Disk Management as well as via the command prompt version (after defrag, system file fixes, etc.). In the end, what did work for me was simply shrinking in batches under 10GB via Vista’s Disk Management tool. That worked perfectly and it makes me wonder if I could have simply started with that in the first place. But, in the end this forum got me there so thanks everyone.

  135. Bernard Webber

    Thanks to you (and a couple of other online articles), I successfully reconfigured my partitions and got Windows 7 installed today – it took all afternoon but I couldn’t have done it without your help! Thank you very much!

  136. AJ

    Mike left the following comment:

    … when trying to shrink the volume, i got ”Access denied’ , and the only thing make it work was to run checkdisk :
    – Right-click on C: > Properties > Tools > Check Now > mark ‘fix’ option > Start
    ,then will tell schedule it> say ok > restart and Scan should start > try shrink again and it should work

    I finally got a recalcitrant volume down from 300GB to 93GB using Mike’s advice here. Many thanks to all who wrote in, and I wish MS staff would read this

  137. wekebu

    I was having the problem of Vista saying I only had either 0 MB or 200 MB to partition. Used PerfectDisk, got 8 GB, still too small. Did the defrag during reboot from PD and that freed up 50GB, however, now I was getting Access Is Denied when trying to Shrink. Used Perfect Disk’s CONSOLIDATE FREE SPACE, thanks to misterm’s suggestion.

    I am happily exploring Windows 7 RC now. Thank you to the OP and everyone who made suggestions.

  138. twm3

    Just as a data point for those that might be using Google or another search engine to find answers.

    I already had a dual-boot Vista Ultimate with all patches (as of 15 May 09) and Ubuntu 9.04. With Ubuntu writing NTFS drives, made sense to start spending most of my life over on the Ubuntu side of the world. My idea was to divide the hard drive into three partitions: 40 GB for Vista Ultimate (NTFS), 120 GB for Linux, and 160 GB for data (NTFS) starting from a 160GB Vista/160 GB Ubuntu split.

    Vista’s shrink said I could shrink by all of a 116 MB despite having 60+ GB free. Ugh. Went through the various turning off options, deleting files, removing rollbacks, etc. followed by the various defrags (did not try Perfect Disk 2k though) and still only got 116 MB available for shrinking. Ugh.

    Trying using the gparted that came with my Ubuntu 9.04 but had a number of unresolved issues. Finally said the heck with it and downloaded the 0.4.4 ISO from Source Forge and burned it to a CD (trivial as Ubuntu now supports “transparent” or idiot proof burning at least for ISOs). Restarted the system booting off the gparted CD. On my Dell D630, just accepted all the default start-up options. gparted eventually came up. Trivial to use. Actually the split from 160/160 to three partitions flew – less than a minute. Ended up having to resize to the 40/160/120 partitions the drive is now and it took about an hour as data had to be moved around as the Vista partition was shrunk while GB were added to the data and Ubuntu partitions.

    The best thing however was that Vista booted up without any problems even though a drive was new (the data partition) and the Vista drive had been shrunk 120 GB. Sweet.

    Your mileage may vary though.

  139. sohail20

    wooo i worked man thnxs now i can install windows 7 and vista daul boot yeahhh.. but is there any way t delete the windows 7 partition fater i might get bored of it lol…:)

  140. Lawrence

    My experience with this on a new Dell laptop with Vista SP1.

    I disabled pagefile, hibernate etc as described above and shrank the disk as far as possible using Vista’s native disk manager. I defragged using Power Degragmenter and then tried to shrink further but Vista wouldn’t allow any further shrinkage. I then booted into Ubuntu live CD 9.04 and shrank using gparted, first unchecking ‘Round to cylinders’. The shrink took under 2 minutes and I was able to boot straight into Vista with no problems.

  141. Daniel

    I followed your instruction and now the shrink size is even less. Shrink size was 38 Gb on a 320Gb HD now it’s 1810Mb Thanks a mill! WTF do I do now?

  142. twm3

    To Daniel (posted June 11, 2009 8:59 am),

    Which instruction did you follow? All of them or just one and gave up? If you help out of your “WTF” situation, you might want to post a bit more about what you did.

    FWIW, the Windoze solutions did NOTHING for me. The Linux approach ran like a charm for me.

    Good luck with your “WTF”.

  143. Daniel

    twm3, Thank you for replying to my WTF situation. I followed the instruction very slowly and concisely from start to finish. I have given up now as it seems my shrinkage is getting ever smaller. I am going to do a reinstall and do it that way. Hopefully I wont run into any WTF moments along the way.

    Hey, and good luck to you.

    Over and out.


  144. Arsh

    hey i tried ur method but the shrink volume is still showing me 0MB to shrink!!!
    first i tried all the method till Auslogis disk defrag.. i could only get abt 66 GB from about 160GB of free space on C drive..
    bt then i used the perfect disk 10 and tried to drfrag the system files upon the reboot .. it was done in like 5-10mins bt afetr that the shrink volume came to 0MB… :-(
    now i ran the SmartPlacement defrag from it!!! but to no avail it is still showing 0MB left!!

    here are some pics!!
    perfectdisk10 after running SMARTPlacement
    and the disk structure

    Plz help thx!!!

  145. Arsh

    hey guys jus got Gb back in shrik volume!! bt i want to shrink more!!! is there any way i can move this black line


  146. Arsh

    lol!! 141Gb* forgot to mention that! :-p

  147. Mark

    Speaking of defrag, check out this fantastic free open source program. I like it better than just about any defrager free or commercial!

    “JkDefrag is a disk defragmenter and optimizer for Windows
    2000/2003/XP/Vista/2008/X64. Completely automatic and very easy to
    use, fast, low overhead, with several optimization strategies, and can
    handle floppies, USB disks, memory sticks, and anything else that
    looks like a disk to Windows. Included are a Windows version, a
    commandline version (for scheduling by the task scheduler or for use
    from administrator scripts), a screensaver version, a DLL library (for
    use from programming languages), versions for Windows X64, and the
    complete sources.”

  148. Wahid

    Worked for me using Perfect Disk 10. I had to first disable all system files using this method.
    Thanks !

  149. J. Furyk

    Also it’s worth noting that the Power Defrag can take a WHILE – it ran for 36hrs on my machine (and it’s rand new)

  150. ajwaka

    Awesome! Thanks! I was able to squeeze an extra 100 GB out!

  151. shaytron

    installed a trial of perfectdisk10 and went from 6 gb available shrink space to around 120 gb. :D

    my first attempt didn’t free up much, but i went to drive properties and enabled aggressive free space consolidation, and also enable offline defrag on every reboot, which manhandled the MFT files taking up the whole drive.

  152. Kohei

    My new computer, HP, has a 500G HD, and i just got it about a week ago. Anyway, i looked at this earlier when i first got it, and tried using Perfect Disk, and it worked AWESOME, got it down from 250G to 73G with change. Problem is, i loaded Ubuntu 8.04 like a little noob and ended up screwing with some system files on the windows partition -,-, thus having to reload windows OS all over.

    Got rid of most of the trial stuff i could today and reinstalled the basics (antivirus, mozilla, etc.), and when i used perfect disk like i did before with the boot up defragger, i only got it to shrink 2.2G… not exactly the 124 i had gotten when i first did it. I tried defragging while logged in, then another boot up one, and it didn’t free up any space.

    I’m gonna try the walk through above the Perfect Disk cus i hadn’t tried that before, but anyone know why that would happen? I did have the Geek Squad turn off some stuff, optimization and all, but i didn’t think that’s what did it?

    Oh and the break down at the end of my map shows a single “Recently Modified” file, then a “Boot” file a little after that, then a ton of free space. Also at the end is all this “excluded” file stuff but i don’t think that matters?

  153. Anurag

    Awesome.. Worked brilliantly for me.. thanks man…

  154. Rahxephon

    Success!! 220g down to 40g on a toshiba satellite, and it wasn’t all in one shot. After a lengthy trial and error process, here are the main highlights. After several attempts with Vista’s native programs, I tried first PerfectDisk 10 but that alone did not do the trick. I really had to follow the tutorial down to the letter (make that to the BIT of the letters!) which got me about 60g’s more. Right after that, one more offline followed by an online defrag, a few more restarts, and diskpart was finally able to reach the target goal, so one more success story for the books! Thanks a million geek!!! (maybe the word “geek” should be redefined as someone having an IQ in excess of 300!)

  155. Daniel

    Arrrgh – I’m being thwarted by a tiny block of unmovable files (neither the windows defrag, nor contig, nor perfectdisk 10 can move them). They are “event trace logs” in c:\windows\system32\logfiles\wmi\rtbackup

    It seems that someone other than the administrator or administrators group owns these files and I can’t take ownership or change the permissions on them.

    is there any way to delete these files (so that they will be recreated somewhere else on the disk), or to change the permissions so that perfectdisk will be able to move them?

    Surely someone else has come across this issue before?

  156. Bob Fearnley

    Great! I was about to give up when I found this site. Had to do more than listed here to get rid of the unmovable files (Hibernate, Windows Indexing and others) but eventually I shrank my Win 7 install right down from 500G+ to 24G!

  157. Nick Spiers

    Was a real trouble for me, until I found this guide! The key for me was the Perfect Disk Pro. Reboot with a ‘Defrag System FIles’ and I could immediately shrink my 222G partition down to 111G allowing me to have a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro as a dualboot! Thanks Geeks!

  158. lazygeek

    I was about to have a crack at this, having read the site and the comments, when i found a straighforward solution. It works in Vista and should work in Win7.

    First I trashed the stuff I really didn’t need, then downloaded a trial version of a commercial cleaner & defragger (you might want to try which offers a freebie). Cleaned and defragged. that reduced the used part of the 250Gb C drive to around 45Gb.

    Reduced page file by half and uninstalled the trial commercial cleaner. Defragged again using the Vista utility.

    Downloaded and installed Partition wizard

    Ran its checkdisk utility over the C drive and fixed the problems. Then restarted and reduced the C drive by 50Gb (just to see how it worked). Click apply and restart. Zonealarm wanted me to check its alerts but, otherwise, everything was hunky dory. The system wanted another restart, then I was ready to reduce the C drive by half, down to 100Gb.

    It ran like a dream.

  159. Poul

    I forgot something even cooler. It also allowed me extend the VISTA partition to the left, Physically moving the OS files, into the unallocated space (12GB) left behind from removing the factory installed recovery partition after having burned the recovery disks.

  160. TomH

    It worked! Thank you so much!

    All that was necessary for me was to run those two disk defragmenting programmes… which also freed up about 35GB! Thank you very much for this helpful guide!

  161. Skar

    Worked absolutely flawless on a fresh Windows 7 installation that had only a 1 TB size partition. Thank you so much. I now have a 150 GB C: and one more partition for music and movies and stuff.

  162. Ron

    One more step. If hiberfil.sys won’t delete…….
    It may be necessary to turn off Hibernation with a command window. Type: powercfg -h off

  163. Vikas

    Thanks a lot. I could successfully shrink space dual-boot vista and Ubuntu 9.0.4.


  164. shervin

    hi friends
    i have problem with “Install Windows XP on Your Pre-Installed Windows Vista Computer”.i do that on my 64 bit windows 7 & can`t install win xp on partition .i like to back my shrink partition to general partition.but i don`t khow how to do this.please help me to back this partition to general partition.

  165. Calvin

    Gparted successfully shrinks NTFS boot partitions now without stopping them from boot again. After using these instructions for a while, I decided to take the easy way out. I got booted Ubuntu from a cd, shrunk the partition. I then decided to try to boot from the shrunk vista partition out of curiosity. Windows had to do a chkfs or whatever to check the file system, but after that and a final reboot, everything worked perfectly.

    I’d recommend people just skip all these directions and use Gparted to shrink the partition they want.

  166. Leishtek

    hi, please do NOT use Partition Magic. It cannot cope with Vista & can really screw up your system. Google on (“partition magic” vista incompatible) to find the truth for yourself.

  167. Sunil

    Great tip mate, had to use PerfectDisk though!
    Now my Ubuntu can install more updates. Thanks a ton.

  168. perspectoff

    PerfectDisk worked for me, retrieving about 50% of the partition (75 of 150 Gb).

    However, it is very important to reset the PerfectDisk settings back to “off”, to disable bootup defrags after you are finished, and to completely uninstall PerfectDisk before the trial period ends. Otherwise it can act as a virus, trying to continually function with disabled modules. This drove me crazy with the PD10 version. At 31 days, my computer endlessly tried (unsuccessfully) to do boot-up defrags — it took me a long time to figure out it was PD10.

  169. Sridhar

    Paragon Partition Manager is the best tool to partition your hard drive with Vista installed on Primary Partition.

  170. drmtiede

    Cool: tried everything before, vista shrink, partition manager 9, gnuparted, nothing worked.

    Once I understood that the problem was the bunch of files at the end of the partition it was easy. Started Defraggler: defrag free space – and the obstacle was removed. Shrink worked fine afterwords.

    Thank You all!!!!

  171. hpman

    Thanks for the help. I managed to get everything done except deleting the pagefile.sys but I used the trial version of perfectdisc and apparently it moves that too. Apparently it was my lucky day, the disc management program told me I had over 120gb free shrink space. Thanks to you, I now have a 100gb partition to install XP on. Now all I have to do is make those darn sata drivers work…

    Thanks lots!

  172. Ed Jaffe

    This was helpful. The directions are a little bit different for Windows 7. But, after “muddling” through, I was able to shrink my partition to exactly the size I wanted. Thanks!

  173. Pratik

    Thanks a lot. This was really helpful for partitioning. Could only free 40MB before using this. Now its 138GB. Thanks.

  174. ram

    thanks a worked. nice post

  175. Casey

    Perfect Disk 10 – SmartPlacement worked great.

    Free Space 250GB (Raid 5)
    Shrink Max before PD – 22GB
    Shrink Max After PD – 250 GB

    Thank you so much!

  176. Mamaly

    Hi everybody,
    Thank all the people who have had some part in this article. I have a problem. It’s related with shrinking in Vista but somewhat different than the main article. I recently purchased a laptop and there is a pre-installed Vista on my laptop. I really like to install Windows 7 on my laptop but in order for my Vista to be remained, I have to install Windows 7 in a different partition. So I have to divide my hard drive space into several partitions. Fortunately there is no problem with shrinking. I mean Vista lets me shrink but after 30 minutes there was an error. I don’t the exact meaning coz it was a different language but I hope i could clear my point.
    I really appreciate your help.

  177. Loner

    Just one very annoying error.

    It’s not that Vista can’t handle linux. It’s that Linux can’t handle NTFS. When geeks decide to “blame microsoft” instead of their own product, it gets very annoying.

  178. Loner

    Also, why use inferior tools when superior dos tools exist?

    The only reason the MFT is unmovable is because the drive is in use, any dos based partition software will move the MFT, no questions asked, on a resize.

    Which asks, why couldn’t microsoft come up with such a solution? Partition Magic can kick out the GUI (to “lock” the drive) and move the files while windows is still in session. Or, it’ll load at boot to move the files. That “should” be easy enough for a software giant to do… with its own software.

    My point is simple, Vista is for “laymen geeks”. Restricting yourself to what Vista’s inferior tools can accomplish is ludicrous.

  179. BenDerDanDat

    use UltraDefrag to compact your hd, and then you should be able to shrink it.

  180. Luis

    thanks a lot! :D
    I was able to shrink my partition 9gb, and before following your instructions I could shrink it just 111mb

  181. Bren

    Thanks for an excellent article! Perfect disk finally sorted this oen for me :)

  182. IKO

    Thanks Ilya! It worked. Even following the procedure and using Perfect Disk on and offline there was always that unmovable metadata file in the middle of my partition. Did what Ilya suggested and it worked fine. If that works for you, i think it’s preferrable than using gparted on a nfts partition as Arthur Archnix suggested.
    Great page!

  183. Paul

    Thanks a lot, great article. The only additional step I needed was to disable windows 7 search indexing. In Control Panel > Indexing Options click on Modify, then remove all indexing locations. Then click on Advanced and click on the Rebuild button.

    Thanks again

  184. Magnus

    Thank you very much. Very helpful.

  185. Mike

    I was trying to repartition my Windows 7 Ultimate drive from 300GB to 100GB. Only showed 55GB used. I ran through all the steps to, turned off pagefile, hibernate, kernel dump etc but diskpart would show I could only reduce the partition to 165GB. So I did some searching because I knew Volume Shadow Service was flagging those sectors as unmovable. The following steps are what I did to resize my partition to 100GB:

    Open up elevated command prompt.
    Start > All Programs> Accesories > Right Click Command Prompt > Run as Administrator
    Type command:
    vssadmin delete shadows
    vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=400MB

    exit command prompt and try to shrink again. Also, I right clicked on recycle bin and selected the option to “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin…” And that was it. Didn’t need to waste time defraging or downloading and installing third-party partitioning tools.

  186. krisg

    I had the same issue on my new computer with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit with MS Shrink in that my 900+GB C drive could only be shrunk to about 450GB even after defrag, but instead of all these special steps what I did was use the Paragon Partition Manager 2010 Free Edition!
    Just download it, install it, run it, specify your C partition size (I choose 200GB) and let it do its job including a reboot. This tool is great and I would higly recomend this version as it will save you a lot of time!!!

  187. Andrew

    ohh people, after almost six hours of triyng, I finally (I think :P) understood whats the problem with these things. I followed all the steps, with the first two defragmenters but they didnt work, then I installed the PerfectDisk and it was ok, but not what I wanted. The trick here is that in the drive properties you need to check, in online defragmentation “agressivly…” and in offline “EVERY reboot…”. After that, what I did was first, defrag the disk in SMARTPlacement, then put it in consolidate free space. After that, I rebooted my pc, and then right after the loading screen, a white text pops up and the program starts another defrag, and reboots again. Then in Windows, I went to the control panel and started to shrink. I realized that every defrag only allows you to take a half of the free space that you have. So you will have to repeat the process, not with the SMARTPlacement anymore, to take all the space that you want and need, without creating new partitions until you are done. For example, I have a 320 GB drive. The first time I was able to shrink to about 156 gb, then 80 more or less, then 40. Then I started to create the new partitions and I made them the size that I wanted. I hope this helped. BTW as a recomendation, NEVER I mean EVER use norton partition magic or another named Easeus Partition Master. those two, a little ago, fucked me up my Vista installation >:(
    So the process would be like this:
    1. Disable those Windows features (restore points, etc)
    2. Use PerfectDisk as I mentioned
    3. Reboot
    4. Go to the control panel and shrink what you can but DONT MAKE NEW PARTITIONS
    5. Repeat the process until that C partition is the size you want
    6. Go to the control panel and start creating partitions.
    A tip that I have, and maybe some of you dont know, is for every GB you have 1024 MB, so if you want to be very precise, multiply the GB that you want in that partiton by 1024.
    Thanks to this page, now I have the partitions I need :) YOU ROCK!

  188. Wally

    Thank you very much for the tips.

    By following the first 5 bullet points in your procedure, I was able to swiftly shrink the volume of my OS drive to the size I needed within 45 minutes. That’s a lot better than the hours it would have taken to set up the customer’s PC from scratch. Thanks!

  189. Jim

    After reading the steps needed to reduce the C partition I was wondering what is the reason Microsoft puts the Master File Table (MFT) where it does on the C partition???

    If there is a good reason, is there any possible risk to moving it through successive shrinking required to get the C Partition down to a smaller size??

  190. Olle

    Hi. I followed these steps and it worked perfectly. Got from 9gb to 29gb (All i got left on my harddrive). But now when I try to shrink the disk to 20gb it tells me “Access Denied”. I’ve tried to do it again in Safemode but it still give me this message. Plz give me all advices I can follow, and then I write here which one that worked if anyone do. Thank you in advance! :)

  191. Olle

    Hi. This guide helped me perfectly. Got down from 9gb to 29gb (All I got free in my harddrive). Now when I try to shrink and create a new partition I get a message that tells me “Access denied”. I’ve tried to do it in safemode but I keep get the message. Can someone give me all advices that I can follow, and then I write here which one that worked. Thank you in advance! :)

  192. Matt

    Thank you – this worked great for me just by following your steps. I jumped straight to the free trial of PerfectDisk 11, shrunk the drive and pulled 250 GB (from a possible 700GB) from a 1TB drive. Headache solved!

  193. sean

    Ok I have tried most of the things mentioned here. i disabled everything except the pagefile(because thats over my head) and ran those two defrag programs and then Pefect disc 11. I have 175 G free of my 250 G HDD but it will still only let me shrink my partition 4 G. I noticed that in perfect disc there are a group of excluded files right at the end of my HDD. Any solutions?

  194. sean

    nevermind i got it to work, i just had to defragment my system files with perfect disc

  195. tony

    if this is of any help, I had to run PerfectDisc like ten times to be able to shrink my c drive so one good advice ( after following the above HowTo) : don’t give up, this will eventually work !

  196. David

    Great information. I’m using Win7/64 bit. I wanted to shrink my 500 GB drive in order to install a 128GB SSD in the free spot in my Asus laptop. I want to move an image of the C: drive to the SSD then use that as my C: drive.
    I got it down to about 260 GB using the methods here. I couldn’t seem to get it any lower although I did not install the 3rd party defrag utilities.

    I was about to go with a defrag utility, then I found a free partition manager on line called Partition Wizard Home Edition. It allowed me to shrink my C: drive to 75 GB painlessly, it just took a few minutes. It resizes the active partition after a reboot but before Windows 7 loads and it moved whatever unmovable files I had left. The system functions well. After that I was able to use the Windows shrink utility to go as low as I wanted. I settled on 40GB.

    Thanks. The information here is excellent.


  197. Surranó

    With Auslogic “optimize” feature, it worked like charm (143G -> 16G)

  198. Gullydwarf

    Hey there!
    I am trying to shrink my HDD in Windows 7/64 and running into the MFT problem. Luckily they are not at the end of my disk but in the middle so I will be able to free as much af 280g of my 600g HD.
    I installed Perfect Disk 11 but it clearly states (in support/help) it will not move the MFT files and after many a tweaking at the settings of the program I never got it to move the MFT files so no use in trying that program!
    Good thing I decided to mention this here because thats why I saw Davids post and I will try his free partition wizard home edition he is talking about.

    Good luck everyone!

  199. Joe

    Hey guys good tut.

    Here’s a prog I found to move MFT files.

    Originally JKDefrag, it is now known as mydefrag…

    Good luck! :)

  200. M. Möhling

    A very informative article, thank you.

    When trying to extend a partition that Vista wouldn’t allow me to do, I tried gparted with Linux (Ubuntu 9.0.4), after having disabled kernel debugging, page file, hibernation, and defragmenting with perfect disc 11. gparted wouldn’t either and suggested to run chkdsk /F *and to reboot twice* (wink wink, nudge nudge!). Afterwards both gparted and the Vista disc manager did as they are supposed to.

    > You can also use the gparted live cd to resize your partitions.
    > The problem with this is that it will definitely cause your system
    > to not boot anymore unless you follow some very specific steps,
    > because Vista can’t handle it.

    Never had such problems, neither with Vista nor XP, both using gparted via dual install Linux or booting Linux from CD/DVD, whether using the Vista boot loader or GRUB. However, resizing partitions with the Vista disc manager caused problems with Linux. Any which way, backing up partitions via disc imaging is imperative before resizing.

  201. Pashilkar

    This is my experience with ‘Shrink volume’ problem. I’ve a 320GB HDD (with more than 100GB of free space) which I wanted to shrink by 68 GB.
    My first attempt gave ‘available shrink space=0MB’!. Using PerfectDisk (trial ver.) I found out that the space near the end of the disk was taken by system files (hiberfil.sys,metadata, system restore, bootstat.dat) and few fragmented user data files. Fortunately the pagefile was not in my way. So I applied ‘disk cleanup’ to disable hibernation and system restore. This increased the free space by about 45GB and the available shrink space was now 139GB! Somehow controlling my excitement, I first backed up all my data and then entering 69632MB as space to shrink, clicked the shrink button. And within few minutes it came back with amessage ‘Access is Denied’!…Fusss…
    Going back to PerfectDisk and analyzing, it became clear that the culprits were the remaining system files metadata and bootstat.dat. The user data files were defragmented and moved towards the faster region of the disk during the last shrink run. Another ‘shrink’ run didn’t change the situation. To try something new, I restarted the system and run ‘shrink’ once again. This time the bootstat.dat file was moved out of my way! But the metadata files refused to be moved even after another restart and shrink run.
    After a little searching , I found out that PerfectDisk can defragment metadata files during boot-time defragmentation. And it worked! It turned out to be a happy ending to a two weeek long project. Although PerfectDisk almost gave me a heart attack when after the boot-time defrag run the system hung up instead of restarting. I had to cut the power off and then restart it.

  202. smnbss

    or simply use Partition Wizard Home Edition.
    it’s free and works great

  203. spiderman05

    Thanks for the instructions, I was able to squeeze the windows 7 partition from 138GB to 80GB. Only 25 GB in the Win partition are used though. A block of Metadata could not been moved by PerfectDisk. MFT was not initially in the way.

  204. Boris

    What finally worked for me was running diskmgmt.msc in safe mode with temporarily inactivating my pagefile.

    Whether my free Paragon partition program and not inactivating pagefile would have also worked from safe mode I do not know.

    I highly appreciate the article. My next goal is to somehow put a duplicate of my Vista OS in a new partition without totally destroying my darn ‘puter ha ha.

  205. Adrian

    Solved: Free Wonderfull tool to solve the problem

    After some hours of research and workarounds like disable system restore, disable recicle bin, disable page file, index.dat removal, acronis disk director…….
    I finally found a litle FREE wonderfull tool that may shrink volume in windows 7 despite unmovable files.

    The tool is MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition and can be downloaded at BEST FREE Partition Manager Software for Windows supports all 32-bit & 64 bit Windows No-server OS.


  206. Stephanie

    Thanks a ton. These steps and the other provided tutorials, helped me a lot!

  207. adam

    thank you!!!

  208. mvp12

    It worked great in my windows 7. I only did this things:

    1) Disable the system files.
    2) Defrag with asulogics disk degrag in optimize mode.

    Only with taht i was able to shrink all the free space in my dics, thanks!

  209. George

    Ok. Had the same problem with unmovable files sitting at the end of my HDD volume. Tried for hours defragging and to be honest almost gave up.” Operating system is VISTA by the way, says it all”
    This is what I did………………………………
    • Downloaded MyDefrag v4.3.1
    • Downloaded PerfectDisk 11 Home Premium “30 day trial”

    First change some options in PerfectDisk . Go to Drive properties, then click on the SMARTPlacment menu link . Make sure the aggressively consolidate free space option is selected. This made all the difference as some cleaver bloke pointed out earlier in this thread. “Thanks by the way”
    Ran all the defrag options in PerfectDisk and presto had loads of space.

    Unfortunately every time I tried to shrink my drive I kept on getting an error saying “ACCESS DENIED”.
    To solve this problem I simply ran MyDefrag v4.3.1 and selected its consolidate free space option. For some reason using both programs in this order works. I ran the shrink utility and was able to shrink successfully.
    Hope this helps if you have the “ACCESS DENIED” error after trying to shrink volume.

    Sorry for the chaotic layout of this post. I never post messages. But if this saves some poor sod hours then I’ve done my bit.

  210. Starvin

    Not an Advanced Geek. But in Windows 7 Home Premium, I have the option in Disk Cleanup to also erase System files (like restore points). I don’t know if it’s as efficient as the instructions listed, I doubt it is. But I’m sure it does some of the job.
    I used this and avoided doing any manual dangerous deleting.
    Then with Windows defrag I got tired at the 8th pass which was taking the longest (& from my research is probably near the last).
    I earned about 7 more gigs to Shrink.
    Used Power Disk, and got another 20g. Left it on over night though for the Defrag.
    With 90gs available in “My computer.”
    I went from about 24 available for new partition, to 37 (After almost completed Windows Defrag),
    to 69 with Power Disk Trial.

  211. Dan

    I fixed all my Windows Vista problems in one shot…..I BOUGHT A MAC!!!!
    Seriously, Windoze in all it’s forms and incarnations SUCKS BALLS!!!! Get a Mac and quit worrying about volume resizing, viruses, non-functional disk cloning, system hangs, you name it! I am doing my part by only buying Macs for my kids. The baby-boomer generation is hopeless. No point in trying to convert them. Hopefully with iPad, iPod, iMac, iEverything the next generation will see the demise of the dinosaur we call Microsucks! One can only hope….

  212. Angelwerks

    I used defragler installed on an extended drive. I make this on all my drive creations.
    I managed to move the files and compact the drive.
    By starting up in Safe mode, i then used defragler to defrag the drive.
    When it was done, NOTHING seemed to happen, so I changed a setting, told it to move 11 M files or larger to the end of drive. Used defragler again.
    this time, the NON movable files became BLUE.
    Then i reset the Numbers to default and re-defragled.

    The drive became compact and if I wanted to partition it (re-size) i could.
    PS all files were placed back into the upper section and the unmovable files reorganized.
    Whenever you install windows, always start with a drive size for the C: drive, which will use only the windows files capable of updates and service packs follow-ups….then use the other drives for the other programs.
    Your computer will act like a small server unto itself and allow you to use it like you wanted to.
    I just need to figure out how to crate the MY documents file to default to another drive.

    good luck. The safe mode tip helped…


  213. Richard

    I have to disagree with Andrew. Easus, the free partition manager, shrinks the volume by moving files. Just one step.

  214. Ryan

    What on earth happened?!! Before reading this article, I had 35 GB of shrink space available. After I ran power defragmenter now I have 7 MB, yes MB!! Whats up with that?! :(

  215. Ryan

    Ok, i retract my last comment, seems to be 60 GB now :)

  216. Ben

    I encountered this problem while trying to find some space for Ubuntu, and after all the trial, rebooting, error, etc. I have more motivation than ever before to install Ubuntu, and probably never log into windows ever again! Thanks geek. The method works!

  217. thiyagi

    thanks guys ..

  218. Xavier

    Worked! thanks!

  219. Kralnor

    I wanted to shrink a ~300GB partition by as much as possible, but even after running Windows Defrag it could only be shrunk by ~130GB. Auslogics Disk Defrag didn’t help at all, but after running Puran Defrag with all the bells and whistles enabled, I was able to shrink by as much as ~270GB. This was without even having to run boot-time defragmentation or performing any of the other things mentioned in the article.

  220. Nothing

    I found a freeware that does absolutely everything. I didn’t wait to read all the posts but after probably half of them I never stumbled upon a suggestion for MyDefrag version 4. Look into it. It seriously done everything and more and specifically for the problem with MFT files and moves everything to the front of the drive.

  221. Nothing

    A reply against my earlier post. Above George made a post with much better information also recommending MyDefrag as well as Downloaded PerfectDisk 11 Home Premium “30 day trial. Using both of these actually did way more. I don’t think it gets better than this. Please follow the page directions and George’s directions above. NOTE: The first time after my re-boot running PerfectDisk and then MyDefrag for some reason I could not connect to the internet using wireless even though my computer clearly showed and said connected local and internet. But I just re-ran both products and the problem resolved itself. I’m not sure what caused this but it was only temporary. Afterwards PerfectDisk moved all my unmovable and MFT files to the front of the disk. What a lifesaver. Thanks George. Thanks to THE GEEK for creating this forum.

  222. pulya

    guys its very simple. you dont need to disable pegefile etc. just download “perfectdisk”, press “boot time” button and follow instructions. system files will be moved during next reboot.

  223. Ale

    Following the instructions (disabling pagefile, hibernate, etc.), and using standard window’s defrag tool y was able to shrink my hard disk. I’m using Windows 7 Home Premium (Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]). Thank you for sharing this info.

  224. Daniel Middleman

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this program but I found EASEUS Partition Master Home Editon which is free and it worked perfectly for me on my Windows 7 laptop. Couldn’t resize the C partition much below 300GB using Windows shrink option, but with EASEUS I was able to get it down to 120GB. The interface is a little unintuitive. Had to look at the online manual to figure out there is a slider on the screen that you have to slide to adjust the partition to the size you want. Typing it in didn’t seem to work. Didn’t expect to find a free program to solve this problem for me. Highly recommended.

  225. Albert Brady

    Easeus Partition Master 8.0.1 Home Edition is the solution that worked for me. Several of the other programs that were listed including the very nice strategy that is listed above did not work for me. I followed all those steps, and deleted the files that were listed at the end of my directory directly and still I had a main disk 40% full with a clean second half that would not be shrunk by the Windows auto-programs. Perfect Disk 8.0 gets an especially bad review because it took my 250GB main partition Ten Hours to degrag, and it didnt compress all the data into one place.

    Take a look at the Easeus Partition Master Program. It is a little scary because when it boots up, it does so just like the old partition programs: from a black and white DOS style interface. It looks like it will delete your hard disk and its from China, so it also looks like it has viruses. But you know what, my programs are all still intact, and it took one hour for Easeus to direct my partitions where to go, and now I have my computer partitioned parefectly; it doesnt matter if files are in the wrong place, Easeus just moves them at startup.

    Highly recommend Easeus for no hassle one-hour repartitioning. Please comment, others, if there are problems you find with this excellent Chinese program.

  226. antontobias

    damn, all my problem was that I couldn’t shrink C: on my compaq 515 laptop with Seven, just like the screenshot tutorial, everything was in ‘ 0’ of free space to shrink. I followed all your steps and deleted system files,restore,hibernation,etc, and nothing, still not able to do it. I used PerfectDisk 12 and it’s a jewel, man, first like I read the comments, I selected Boot Time defrag and rebooted to start defragging system files, I thought it could work, but later again I went to win seven disk management but still not free space to shrink (still showing up ‘ 0’ on every field) then I proceed to rite-clic on my volume I wanted to shrink and I selected “prep to shrink” it took around 15-20 on my 300gb HDD, then I went back to windows disk management and finally! it lets me shrink it now :D :D thanks for your tutorial but deleting system files and restore points, kernel dumps,etc, didn’t worked for me, I’m gonna enable them IMMEDIATELY

  227. FranzN

    Thank you guys. I used Easeus Partition Master and I was able to shrink my disk C down to 120GB on a Lenovo Y560p. After countless defrags I was at 400GB and after a couple of passes with Auslogic I went down to 240GB but nothing further.

    And I had to use the on line manual to discover that there was a hidden command “Apply”!

  228. Mladen

    !!! Auslogics !!! – can not be installed without setting 2b default search provider.

    Can you offer clean software for defrag? Why win defrag tool is not good enough?

  229. Mladen

    Worked! Thank You.

  230. Keek

    I agree with anton… Perfect Disk 12 is the ticket. Took me a while to get my non-geek head around the process but these steps worked for me.

    As for Windows 7 designers, WTF were they thinking?

    Hooray How-To Geek!

  231. Dave

    I wanted to shrink my 290 GB C: partition, but had no available shrink space.

    I used Auslogics disk defragmenter and selected the option to Defragment and Optimise. This claims to moves all the system files to the fastest part of the disk and is more thorough than the defrag only option.

    It completed in a few minutes, and gave me the option to shrink my partition by up to 188 GB.


  232. Ihsan

    You are great man! Thankx very very much…

  233. Ihsan

    I have 290 GB partition, before this proccess windows just allowed up to 149 GB shrink, however, after this proccess, it allows me to shink up to 290 GB shrink :)

  234. Ihsan

    Sorry I have 297 GB partition and now it allows me up to 290 GB

  235. Anitha

    It was successful for me only after trying to defrag with PerfectDisk. And yes, I followed all the steps mentioned, still shrinking worked only after defrag with PerfectDisk. Anyway it worked, else I would have ended up diong a fresh install. Thank you mr.geek.

  236. moshimoshi

    Tried the PerfectDisc method on my Windows 7 and it doesn’t seem to work. The hard disc is presented in two parts: C:\ + System (Unmounted drive). When you do ordinary defrag on C:\ it leaves ‘excluded files’ at the end of the volume. These excluded files are in 4 blocks: C:\ System Volume Information\ : hiberfil.sys : C:\ System Volume Information\ x 2. When you try a boot time defrag on C:\ they remain there.

    If you turn your attention to the second part of the disc as PerfectDisc (or Windows 7) presents it, System (Unmounted drive), and do boot time defrag on that they also remain there. Basically these files are excluded in C:\ and defragged only within themselves in System (Unmounted drive).

    I realise I could disable hibernation and remove hiberfil.sys, but the real problem is the 3 blocks of C:\ System Volume Information\ which appear just before it and after it.

    If you select C:\ and show excluded drives nothing appears I suppose because System (Unmounted drive) is not actually a separate drive, it just behaves like one. So it doesn’t seem possible to treat the hard disc as a single volume and free up space.

  237. bill

    bought a brand new acer desktop with 1tb… was very bummed the shrink didn’t let me go past 467gb. Like I need windows and the problem files to have half a tb. Tried this method and it was going to allow me to shrink it down all the way to 27gb, i gave it 64gb. So yes it worked great – no trial software needed.

  238. Leo

    brand new Lenovo with 500GB … idiots did the install with 4 primary partitions!! BootIT Bare Metal fixed that, shrank a partition, slid another up against it, deleted two unused & empty partitions, slid everything to front of disk. Now got Ubuntu Linux on there set to default boot.

  239. Charles

    HP DM1Z with a 320GB – Needed to use PD12 on Prep for Shrink mode to increase available shrink space from 1 GB to 120GB. Thanks for this writeup.

  240. Chris

    This worked for me also. Had to disable/delete all those system files mentioned, run a disk defrag with Perfect Disk and a couple reboots then I could do a shrink.

    For my situation, I was on a RAID 0 with 2 1TB drives and I decided I’d rather have the redundancy than the performance, so changed to RAID 1.

    I basically hadf to shrink the C:\ parition down so it would fit on a 950ish MB disk which is what I would have after switching to RAID 1. After shrinking the partition, I did a system image backup with windows 7’s backup and restore control panel, copied the image to a network drive. After that, I rebooted the machine and went into the RAID setup and deleted the RAID and added it back as a RAID 1 set. Then I rebooted again and this time I booted up from the Windows 7 Rescue/Repair console thing. I used the system image restore functionality and connected to the network drive and restored to the RAID 1 set.

    Worked like a dream, no more dead hard drives for me :-)

  241. Olivier


    500GB disk with WIN7. Shrink only allowed shrinking down to 200+ GB.

    Followed the first steps of these instructions (a couple of minutes) and shrink already allowed me to get down to 30GB.

    Soooooooooo HAPPY.

    Before this, I had repartitioned with GPARTED, reinstalled with Toshiba utility, which worked fine a couple of times but also messed up everything one time, and lost so many hours.

    Thank you so much.

  242. Hartza

    If drive is large, $mft backup will be at middle of the drive and you need more than that to shrink drive. Then shrink first to largest amount of available space and run offline defragment and then repeat process until you have free space is enough for desired partition size.

  243. tblu

    ultradefrag can handle the MFT defrag and is under GPL license.

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