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I have just bought HP laptop with Windows 7 (32 bit). It has 500 GB hard drive with three partitions: small hidden system partition, 12 GiB HP recovery partition, and 450 GiB C: boot partition.

I have split this large C: partition into two partitions, Although Windows built-in Disk Management utility has an option to shrink the bootable partition, it only allows me to shrink it roughly by half, even though only 20 GiB on the partition is used. after that I got system failure which had me to reinstall Windows 7 using the recovery partition, I discovered that it merged the new partition (created earlier using the built-in Disk Management utility) with the c to become one partition again. So, is there any way to shrink C: bootable partition and preserve the new partition in case I had to reinstall Windows some other time without merging them? thank you.

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Short answer, No

Long answer, Hp Recovery will wipe the drive and all partitions.

If you look in disk management there are 4 partitions already (Laptop, Desktop may have 3) this is the maximum allowable for Windows, so shrinking the C partition may turn some of the other partitions into dynamic, and this is not good.

Partitions on a newer HP laptop:

  1. Windows recovery environment (This is your Active Boot partition, do not delete/modify it or the system will not boot)

  2. System C partition

  3. HP factory restore (Recovery) This is where the restore image is stored and is a bootable partition.

  4. HP hardware diagnostics

No good way to do what you want unless you delete one of the 2 last partitions, merge the space back into C partition, then shrink C to gain back a fourth partition, but if you ever use HP recovery you will lose that partition you made and all data on the hard drive.

Did you make you recovery discs yet? These will restore the Laptop to factory condition if the restore partition gets broken by changing the partition structure and the proprietary HP Master Boot Record.

Make this disc also, label and store them in a safe place Now.

You will need these discs at some point in the life of that notebook, sooner if you mess with the factory partition structure and MBR


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Last I checked, HP Recovery does not wipe all the partitions, only the one that it detects to contain Windows. – Hello71 Oct 24 '10 at 19:52
You would be wrong, on newer HP's with Windows 7 or Vista, it wipes the entire drive all partitions, I would appreciate you removing the down vote. I own a new HP and used HP restore on it last week, See this link and show me the option to only restore the C… – Moab Oct 24 '10 at 19:55
More proof, did you read what the OP said?? merge but a wipe clean and start over scenario " after that i got system failure which had me to reinstall windows 7 using the recovery partition, i discovered that it merged the new partition (created earlier using the built-in Disk Management utility) with the c to become one partition again" – Moab Oct 24 '10 at 20:04

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