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In the past when you needed to resize a partition in Windows you had to use a 3rd party utility such as Partition Magic, Disk Director, or open source utilities such as Gparted and Ranish Partition Manager. These 3rd party programs, though, are no longer needed when using Windows as it has partition, or volume, resizing functionality built directly into the Windows Disk Management utility.
You may be wondering why someone would want to resize a Windows volume. One reason would be if you want to install another operating system such as linux, but do not have enough free space to create a new partition for it. By shrinking the Windows volume, you can free up enough space to create a new partition that can be used to dual boot into linux. Now lets say after trying linux, you decide its not for you. Now you are left with all this leftover space that is not being used by Windows. To reuse this space, you simply need to expand, or extend as Vista calls it, an existing Windows volume so that it uses all the available free space that was previously being used by linux.
When resizing volumes in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 you must be aware of the following criteria:
This section will show you have to shrink a Windows volume, or partition. In order to do this we must open the Windows Disk Management tool. The following steps will walk you through this process.
You have now finished shrinking your partition and have the extra space available to use as necessary.
This section will show you have to extend a Windows volume. In order to do this we must open the Disk Management tool where we can resize our volumes. The following steps will walk you through this process.
Windows provides the ability to resize volumes directly from the command line using the Diskpart utility. The Windows Diskpart utility is a command line program for managing the disk partitions, or volumes, on your computer. Some of the tasks you can do with this utility include repartitioning drives, deleting partitions, creating partitions, changing drive letters, and now shrinking and expanding volumes.
To access the diskpart utility follow these steps:
Before you can expand or shrink a volume using Diskpart you must first select the volume you would like to work with. To do this you need to use the list volume command to find the IDs associated with each volume. When you type list volume and then press enter, diskpart will display a list of Windows volumes on your computer. Next to each volume will also be a numbers that can be used to identify that specific volume. An example of what the list volume command looks like can be found below.
After determining the ID of the volume that you would like to work with, you need to select that volume using the select volume command. To use this command you would type select volume ID, where ID is the ID associated with the volume you found using the list volume command. Now that the volume has been selected, diskpart knows that any further commands will be associated with this particular volume until you enter another select volume command.
To shrink a selected volume you would use the shrink command. The shrink command has two arguments that you can use to define how you want diskpart to shrink the volume. The first argument is desired= which will shrink the volume by the desired amount in MB if possible. The second argument is minimum= which tells diskpart that it should only shrink the volume if it can shrink it by the specified amount in MB. If you do not use either of these arguments, diskpart will shrink the partition by the maximum amount possible. If you would like to determine the maximum amount of space that you can shrink a volume, you can type the shrink querymax command.
Shrink examples are:
What it does
|shrink desired=2048||This command will shrink the volume by 2 GB if possible.|
|shrink minimum=2048||This command will shrink the volume as much as possible, but fail if there is less than 2GB available to shrink it by.|
|shrink||This command will shrink the volume by the maximum it can be.|
Shrinking a volume from the command line
To extend a selected volume you would use the extend command. For the extend command the most common arguments are size and disk. The size= argument will extend the selected volume by the desired amount of MB. The disk= argument allows you to specify the disk which has the free space you wish to extend a volume with. If no argument, or no disk= argument, is provided when using the extend command, diskpart will use all the available space on the current disk to extend the volume. As said previously, we strongly suggest that you do not use the disk= argument to extend a volume onto another disk as this increases your chance of losing data if one of the two drives has a hardware failure.
Extend examples are:
What it does
|extend size=2048 disk=2||This command will extend the volume by 2 GB using the free space from disk 2..|
|extend size=2048||This command will extend the volume by 2GB from the same disk.|
|extend||This command will extend the volume as much as it can be.|
With the ability to extend and shrink a partition using Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 you no longer need to worry about installing a new drive in order to dual-boot to an alternate operating system. Now you simply find a drive that has some free space on it, shrink it, and use it as necessary. As always if you have any questions you may have in of our Windows forums.
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