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I have a 400gb drive with 40gb of free space. I need to reinstall windows (32 to 64-bit, so it's a clean one), but I'd like to put the data on a new partition instead of wiping the entire drive.

Can I add a partition in the empty space and resize it to include the data in the primary? E.g. could I resize the new partition in one burst to be 300gb, bringing data I specify with it?

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You have the right idea allocating at least 100 GB for Windows, updates, and other software. I allocated 60 GB for my system partition and am constantly fighting to free up enough space, even though I've already moved most of my data and any games (which I rarely play any more anyway) to a separate partition or disk. –  rob Jun 10 '13 at 18:14

2 Answers 2

Close, but not quite. If you have enough free space, you can create the new partition and move your data as outlined in Option 1 or 2 without offloading to a separate disk or online service, but it will typically take an extremely long time compared to temporarily transferring to a secondary hard drive. There's also a possibility that modifying your partitions will result in data loss, so it's always recommended to backup your data first.

The more typical procedure outlined in Option 3 below is much easier and faster, and you'll be protected against data loss.

Option 1:

  1. boot from a Parted Magic Live CD
  2. delete all the files except the data you want to save
  3. shrink the 400 GB partition to 300 GB and optionally shift it to the end of the drive (recommended)
  4. create your new partition for Windows at the beginning of the drive
  5. reboot and install Windows

Option 2:

  1. reinstall Windows
  2. delete unneeded files
  3. shrink your existing ("system") partition
  4. create new partition
  5. transfer data to fill new "data" partition
  6. shrink your system partition
  7. expand your data partition
  8. repeat steps 5-7 until all data is moved

Option 3 (recommended):

  1. back up your data--ideally, make sure you have at least 2 backups of any important data
  2. wipe the drive and delete partitions (can be done from within the Windows installer or from some other bootable disk utility such as Parted Magic)
  3. create partitions and install Windows
  4. restore data to new "data" partition
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Did this two weeks ago to install Windows 8. Highly recommend option 3, as the others can easily take hours. –  Darth Android Jun 10 '13 at 19:22

No, you can not by any method that I know of. Partitions editors work independently from filesystems.

You would be better off, backing up the data to another drive and then wiping the disk. Plus, its always a good idea to have a backup of your disk, before editing your disk layout. What if something goes wrong and you lose all your data?

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