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I want to move the MFT to end of contiguous used space. Right now it is placed at the middle: enter image description here

I want to move it to the beginning. How can I do that?

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3  
??? MBR is not the same as MFT. – sgmoore Jul 16 '12 at 10:58
    
Why exactly do you want to do this? – Ramhound Jul 16 '12 at 11:16
3  
That looks like it might be the MFT mirror, which holds the most important (beginning) parts of the MFT and is often located fairly far away to allow for recovery in case of corruption. Or it could be a fragmented MFT, it's impossible to tell from that screenshot. – Bob Jul 16 '12 at 11:33
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As far as I know, you can't move the MFT without risking a reinstall if things go wrong. I'd recommend leaving it where it is.

You can't move MBR, full stop.

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Sysinternals Contig is able to defragment the $MFT file.

When the filesystem is NTFS, contig can also analyse and defragment the following files:
$mft, $LogFile, $Volume, $Attrdef, $Bitmap, $Boot, $BadClus, $Secure, $UpCase, $Extend

Source

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Contrary to other answers, this IS possible, but can be challenging.

Why might you want to do this? Windows often places the MFT in the middle of the disk for historical performance reasons - this can prevent shrinking of a volume as Windows won't shrink the volume beyond un-movable files (of which the MFT is one).

Here's the steps I've just used to move my MFT to allow me to shrink my system volume:

  1. Run Disk Cleanup
  2. Disable System Restore
  3. Disable the page file
  4. Disable hibernation
  5. Run PerfectDisk (free trial is fine for this purpose) - make sure you do a boot-time defrag - this will move the MFT
  6. Run a defrag utility (my preference is Piriform's Defraggler) - after defrag the drive map should now show plenty of free space at the end of the disk
  7. Shrink the volume using the Windows Disk Management utility
  8. Enable hibernation
  9. Enable page file
  10. Enable system restore

Hope this helps!

References:

PerfectDisk

Piriform Defraggler

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UltraDefrag (Open Source Defragmentation tool for the Windows) have MFT optimization, which processes the MFT only.

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