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In the old days, I used Partition Magic which can support up to 80GB hard drives.

But now it seems needing to buy a copy that will support 1TB drive or 2TB drive and pay $60 or $70 for it... (the newest version on is a 2003/2004 version)

Is the free GParted very reliable?

It seems that the Vista or Win 7 Disk Management Tool can shrink a partition but if there is data already on a 200GB partition but the data is everything in a 160GB region, even though the data is only 70GB, then the tool can only shrink down 40GB to create a new partition. It cannot shrink down 100GB and create 4 more 25GB partitions.

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

I've used GParted for ages and have never had a problem, using the LiveCD edition to be specific. As for comparing it to Partition Magic, I'd say GParted has the upper hand. There is a huge community behind it for support since it's open source, and it supports a multitude of filesystems. Partition Magic is also kind of old, it's last release was 5 years ago, about when GParted had it's first release, so it's safe to say GParted is more up to date. It has handled my 1TB drives with ease, performing more than 20 operations in a single reboot sometimes.

For partitioning NTFS I'd strongly recommend reading their guides. Since you're using Vista, The How-To Geek's guide is also essential reading.

GParted is a great tool ever multi-booter should have in their toolbox.

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I can confirm this, I used it also to resize Windows Server 2003 system partitions with the live CD. It verifies everything before "committing" the changes. The newer version is even called Parted magic, I would upgrade to that one :-) as it is free – jdehaan Oct 22 '09 at 23:06
I've used gparted since its early days (and I think it's a fair bit older than 5 years). I think the only time it failed me was when I used on a mostly dead drive. It's an incredibly valuable tool in my warchest. – Doc Jul 8 at 19:43

Some discussion here on GParted and Partition Magic.
I have been happily using GParted without reading these comparisons.
You may want to take a look at Parted Magic too (it is nicely packaged).

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Common problem in Windows Vista / 7 Disk Management is enabled hibernation. This file can limit the resize range as you desribed. Try to disable hibernation

powercfg -h off

Also from my experience the disk management never allowed me to shrink partition by more than 50% of overall disk space.

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Your problem is not the partition manager : you won't find one that can reduce the system partition better than the Vista/Win7 built-in one.

The reason you're having this kind of problems, is because some files are placed in such a way as to block the reducing of the partition. The usual criminal in this case is Windows, that has the annoying habit of placing unmovable system files at the end of the disk partition. The partition can't then be reduced in size to less than a certain amount.

You can try to defragment the system partition using a defragmenter that moves all files to the beginning of the disk, in the hope that this will improve the situation. But don't hope for too much : most defragmenters won't touch these system files, and when I tried one that could it ended by destroying my hard disk.

If you really need to shrink the system partition, you'll most probably need to re-reinstall windows.

And one last warning: Resizing the C drive may cause Windows to become unbootable.

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Remark for the down-voter: Please read and understand first. Following blindly the advice given by the other answers can easily destroy the system. Many users think it possible to "force" the resize of the system disk refused by Windows, by using another product. This conception is entirely false and very dangerous. – harrymc Aug 7 '10 at 7:47
Not sure I agree with you fully about moving unmovable files. When the windows partition manager stops me downsizing because of unmovable files I use GParted and it has always worked for me. I'm not the down-voter by the way. – BJ292 Mar 17 '12 at 11:49
@BJ292: The mistake people do is to imagine that they can resize down to a size that does not take into account the invisible system files. In any case, the Windows partition manager has improved enormously since Vista to a point where it rivals 3rd party products, and it will never ever break the system. People don't understand the difference between defragmetation and resize and how to work with both, and also the need to turn off these special Windows files before. – harrymc Mar 17 '12 at 12:14

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