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I got a 1 TB disk a year or so ago and loaded it with some hundred of GB of data. I somehow neglected to check the file system, which turns out to be FAT-32 and thus too small for files bigger than 4 GB. So now I want to change it, without deleting the data. I thought I'd just make a new partition in the so far unused space. Then with the new partition, copy/move the data into the new partition, and then delete the old FAT-32 partition, and make the new partition bigger again... or just make a few more partitions. The critical step here is, can I make that new partition without ruining the data? The data should be fairly sequentially added to the start of the disk, but what do I know... so that's why I'm asking. Can I safely use Disk Utility for this? Any recommended file system?

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it should be possible to do this. shrink the current partition, make a new one in the unpartitioned space, move the files, delete the old partition and then resize the new one. as for a particular utility, i would have suggested Partition Magic but i do not believe it it supported anymore. hopefully another member can suggest something more current – Xantec Dec 24 '10 at 17:29
I'm finding "iPartition" now, but it's not free :-P – Jonny Dec 24 '10 at 18:12
Is your disk the system volume? (i.e. is it the one you installed OS X onto?) If so, you'll have to back it up and then reinstall the OS (and then use Migration Assistant to transfer your files/settings). If not, then you can just use Disk Utility. It will let you know if it's going to erase the data or not. – jsejcksn Dec 27 '10 at 6:28
@pattern86: There's no way the system volume could exist on FAT-32. It's likely a secondary/external drive. – fideli Nov 8 '11 at 3:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Open Disk Utility, click the drive, then click the Partition tab. Resize your current partition and create a new one by clicking the + sign. DO NOT click a new Partition Layout, or that will erase your current partition.

Disk Utility

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For what I remember this is what I ended up doing. I had no problems but still if data would be all over the disk physically then you'd have to use some defragmentation tool. – Jonny Nov 8 '11 at 4:31

Use a Gparted boot CD from here. I'm usually a skeptic, but resizing a FAT32 partition should go well. However you can never be sure as there is no partition tool on old ma' Earth that won't present you with horrible "you may loose all of your data" or "you are on your own" warnings.

So the list would be:

  1. save your data, or skip this part
  2. shrink the existing partition
  3. create a new partition, preferably hfs+ as you are on a Mac (Gparted supports it)
  4. remove CD, reboot
  5. move the data up to the new partition
  6. restart with Gparted again
  7. delete FAT32 partition and resize hfs+ partition

If everything is working fine upto entry #5, I wouldn't delete that FAT32 partition but resize it to a mere 50-100 Mbytes (As I'm super skeptic).

Plan B: Borrow a 1 TB external HDD from a friend, save everything and do a "format C:\"

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the guy said Mac OS X so this solution is useless for him – jet Dec 25 '10 at 1:49
He won't be running Mac OS X at all. It is a live boot CD I'm writing about, just like Ubuntu Live CD. – karatedog Mar 16 '11 at 20:52
@karatedog: I agree with jet for Plan B, though. – fideli Nov 8 '11 at 3:52
That's why it is in quotation marks. It is an IQ test. – karatedog Nov 9 '11 at 13:13

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