I have a single hard drive split into 2 partitions:

  • Drive C: 16 GB for Windows installation
  • Drive D: 580 GB for Programs Files and Media

The C drive is now almost full. Using TreeSize, I see that the main offenders are:

  • c:/windows/winsxs
  • c:/program files/common files/adobe
  • the page file and hibernation file

Is it naive to allocate only 16GB to the C drive? What's a recommended size given a 600 GB drive? And more importantly how can I resize the C partition without losing data on either?

Extra info: Windows 7 32 bit, NTFS on both partitions, system restore points and backups don't exist on C drive, I'm installing Visual Studio 2010 (and need more space on C drive than the drive I'm indicating it to install to -- darn common files)

  • 2
    16Gb? It's not XP ... lol. :) – Shiki Jun 28 '10 at 15:24
  • lol guess I was a little naive – Jay Jun 28 '10 at 22:11
  • Have you also tried [Spacemonger][1] for tracking space usage? Even v1.4 (the free version) is very useful. [1]: sixty-five.cc/download – Umber Ferrule Jun 29 '10 at 16:05

Been there, done that, didn't like it...

You can move the common files to the D: drive with NTFS Junction points, you could also decrease the page file a bit as that won't hurt either and give up hibernation if the difference between a normal boot is not that high. WinSxS might decrease by uninstalling software and removing the 'ehome' things if you don't use the Windows Media Center.

If your using one disk you shouldn't be using partitions in the way you are doing now, it decreases the performance if it needs to switch between the two partitions a lot.

The 16 GB should be fine for above suggestions, but then I would rather take 20 GB just to be sure. 50 GB as suggested by Cheesebaron is too much (if you keep my first alinea in mind) as Windows will never grow to that size. A suggested size would be one partition of 600 GB as partitioning would only be useful if you want to move files you barely use away to the slower end of the disk, like big ISO files...

You shouldn't be thinking of separating in the terms of your system folders, but in terms of everything contained in your user folder. Just ignore everything that's outside of your user folder as you end up running out of space like now and into performance issues. The user folder and the permissions outside of it have been invented so people don't place items outside of it and mess around with the system itself.

Extending the partition is tricky and dangereous, be sure to have a back-up to be sure. It will be very hard as you need to move the start of the second partition which isn't supported so you will have to remove the partition and create it again.

  • Thank you this is very good advice, especially about performance and large image file isolation. I'll most likely format soon, but right now I'll just stick to a resize. – Jay Jun 28 '10 at 14:06
  • Good luck on the resize... :-) – Tom Wijsman Jun 28 '10 at 14:12

I would have to say that 16GB is rather small for a modern Windows based operating system.

From the Microsoft Windows 7 Requirements page, the minimum recommended specifications are the following:

  1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

  1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

  16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

  DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Which suggests that that is what is required before you start installing your own programs. I would give windows 50-100GB to give myself space to install whatever programs I might consider useful, and also keeping in mind that temporary internet files and other rubbish will get stored on that partition..

Windows 7 has a pretty cool partition resizing ability, but I'm not sure how easy it it going to be to enlarge your system partition...

You may end up having to use a GParted live cd or one of ChrisF's suggestions.

  • 1
    The idea behind using a separate partition for Programs is very dated and hardly used anymore. It was never a good idea to begin with. The purpose being to make re-installing Windows easier by not having to re-install the programs, but people quickly realized you'd still need to restore the registry to it's previous state and the majority of the time, the registry was your problem. Bad practice & hardly ever worked. Your best bet is to have Windows & Programs on one drive and your Windows profile (C:\Users) on another. That way you won't lose any data if you have to reinstall Windows. – churnd Jun 28 '10 at 15:26
  • I don't see why it's a dated idea and I'm sorry but I see no reason to restore the registry after a reinstall. The purpose of a reinstall is so that you start with a clean slate and restoring the registry is opposite to that. I can see that moving the User profile directory is a good idea, but if anything that is reinforcing the idea that you should use a separate partition, or better yet, another drive. I have over 400GB of various media, and putting it on separate partitions gives me data segregation and the possibility of reinstalling windows without having to back it all up first. – Mokubai Jun 28 '10 at 17:04
  • I install most of my applications on a partition separate from where Windows is installed (apart from biggies like Office/DevStudio). Some are genuine portable apps, but most are normal installs and I've moved between installations without problem. I didn't even consider messing with the registry. – Umber Ferrule Jun 29 '10 at 15:56

Your first and third offenders you can't do much about, But before you repartition you can definitely do something about Adobe (which is a HOG). Just uninstall it, delete the offending folder, then reinstall it somewhere else. It's an option to try before you do a partition resize.

  • +1 Good idea. Adobe usually keeps the installer somewhere in Application Data as well - another good removal candidate. – Umber Ferrule Jun 29 '10 at 16:03

There are several tools that claim to be able to resize partitions without losing data.

Partition Tool is one, this page has a list of others.

I haven't used any myself, so you'll need to do some more research on the ones listed. With some names you should be able to get more information.


Firstly, I recommend you to shrink Volume D and create some space (let's say 50 GB) to be added to Volume C. To do that, you need to defragment Volume D first. Then you can use Windows 7's "Create and format hard disk partitions" feature. Right click on Volume D and select "Shrink Volume". Then enter the amount of space to shrink in MB. This window will also show you the size of available shrink space. You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located. If you have trouble here, you can use a 3rd party disk partition tool. After this process is done, right click on Volume C and select "Extend Volume". Now you can increase the size of your primary drive adding the extra space you just split from Volume D without losing your data.


Get a live linux such as ubuntu and resize the partition with the included Gparted(free}. Partition magic and Acroonis Disk Suite will do you justice also ($$).


I would probably have 50 GB for the Windows OS and just allocate the rest for programs and other stuff.

WinSXS folder will always be very large because it stores multiple versions of DLL files and other system files in order to be compatible with most applications.


if you choose only 16GB for c:/ try to install programs in another path than c:/program files/

  • 1
    Good advice, but don't forget that some programs don't let you choose. – ChrisF Jun 28 '10 at 13:42
  • 1
    Every program I did have a choice for is on the other drive. It's the common files that get ya – Jay Jun 28 '10 at 13:56

Well, I would use 1/2 for C: and 1/2 for D:

To resize partitions, I would use Qparted from a Linux Live CD.

But you can also use your partitions as is: - installing only "default" programs (like MS Office, Adobe Reader...) in C:
- redirecting your "My documents" to D:\documents
- redirecting your desktop to D:\desktop (use TweakUI)
- installing simple programs, games etc. in D:\programs
- setting Thunderbird, Firefox, Trillian etc. to redirect its Application data to D:\appdata
- creating D:\portable and putting your portable apps there
- using more portable apps :)

So when you do some frequent Windows maintenance (like a 3-month formatting task), your documents and apps will be safe. And you will be ready to use cloud computing ;)

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