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I have a 80 GB disk with Windows 7 taking up the entire space. It's just the OS files, no personal data, but still. I'd like to know if it is possible to make that partition smaller (about 10 GB smaller) and what are the chances of losing the data.

I know I should always use backups, but that's not the point.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows 7 has the native ability to shrink the volume. Go into Disk Management, right click the volume, and select Shrink Volume. Windows will then analyze the volume for available "shrink space" and present you with the option to shrink it and by how much. IMHO, this is the safest way to do it in Windows 7.

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if you free up some space, changing the partition size (shrinking) with onboard tools or 3rd party programs (e.g. GParted) is fairly safe, but even a 99.9% sucess quote is hardly any consolation to you, if you happen to be amongst the 0.1% ... without a backup. )

i recommend to to image the drive before tampering with the partition table.

some freebies: Clonezilla, Drive Image XML, EASEUS Disk Copy.

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Data loss will not be a HUGE problem, since I can always reinstall, and I'm doing this so I can install Linux, so... – Javier Jan 7 '10 at 3:19
sure, reinstalling and restoring files from a backup is another option if something doesn't go according to plan, but it's slower than deploying a drive image :) – Molly7244 Jan 7 '10 at 12:02

It is possible, with the right tools. I've used Partition Magic in the past for exactly that sort of thing. Splitting the current partition into two and the like. No data was lost.

I'm not saying nothing can go wrong ... it just didn't in any of the times I did it.

Unfortunatelly, it is not a free tool, although I'm certain such exist. Google around for "partitioning hard disc", and there are bound to come out a few examples.

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