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Which takes more time to do (given that all other hardware are the same), shrinking or expanding a partition and why?

This is using the Disk Management utility within Windows 7. I have no idea either way - asking on behalf of someone I know.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Conceptually, shrinking a partition usually means moving files around, i.e. the files that are past the new boundary of the partition have to be moved within the new boundary. Expanding, however, does not require such moving, and would therefore be faster.

However, if the partition is empty, the difference would be negligible, since no files would have to be moved around.

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Makes sense from a conceptual standpoint. Expanding a partition into free space would definitely take less time since you're basically just assigning free space (which is contiguous). I'll let the question stay around for a day or so, but it looks like your explanation is pretty straightforward. –  White Phoenix Feb 11 '12 at 18:59

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