I am trying to shink Windows 7 OS partition C: but cannot shrink as much as I plan due to unmovable files. I have tried Windows own defrag tool before but it does not move files that are unmovable. Here are some ideas I have learned from previous posts, and I hope at least one of them will work and wish to know the detail how to do:

  1. Inspired by this post, which suggests backup C:, then delete C: , create a smaller partition, and then copy the backup to the smaller partition. I was wondering if anyone here can confirm that Windows 7 will still work in this way? What reliable tools can be used for backuping the system, and deleting and creating partition, and then copying back the backup in this method?
  2. I am actually trying another way suggested in this post. I have identified what unmovable file currently stop further shrinking:


    If I understand correctly, the file belongs to Windows Search. Can I set up somewhere in Windows system settings to temperately eliminate the file and similar ones (because there are many similar files under the same directory which I guess will also stand in the way of shrinking and unmovable by defrag)?

  3. Any other idea that might work will also be appreciated.


Do it offline (not off the internet, out of Windows), because only Windows respects stuck files.

Either in DOS, or probably much easier to do it in Ubuntu, in a program called GParted. I believe a live DVD/USB would be most useful for you. Gparted will be able to shrink, or remake the partition.

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    Thanks! In Ubuntu, will using GParted to move Windows unmovable files cause Windows not to be able to work? Are you sure it is a safe way? – Tim Feb 8 '11 at 15:49
  • I honestly don't know. My guess is that Windows only refers to the file system, and not the hard drive location. This is how disk cloning works. – tobylane Feb 9 '11 at 9:50
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    After using GParted Windows will do a chkdsk during the first boot. I've used GParted quite a few times and have never ran into any issues with Windows afterwards. – dkwiebe May 5 '11 at 18:11
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    Yes, it will work. I've used gparted on Windows OS partitions many times. It works because the files are only "unmovable" because Windows is accessing them. When you're running gparted booted from a CD or USB, Windows is not running, so it isn't accessing anything. When Windows comes back up it will happily find all the files, including ones that were moved. – Jamie Hanrahan Dec 24 '14 at 13:56

In Windows 7's cmd box, search for "index" or "indexing". So you will get the Microsoft indexing service (which is essential for Explorer search to be quicker).

Now in that window, click on "modify settings" or "modify preference". Uncheck all folders in it, which are the locations marked to be indexed. If all folders can not be unchecked (finding the marked ones may be difficult!), at least make sure that number of files indexed is very low (<200). Also delete and rebuild the index (this option will be available).

Once you do this try de-fragmenting or shrinking the volume. A sad thing is that Microsoft index service always causes files to be fragmented and far apart.

  • Have you tried this? Did it work? – AIB Feb 17 '11 at 8:54

I think you should first toggle off (and later on again) the function of what used to be called "restore points" in WinXP. The name changed in Win7 and I can't remember this now (I'm still on XP), but you'll find it somewhere around your system-properties. Maybe it's called shadow copy service, or has to do with some kind of "system security". When installing and testing Win7 I found this out viewing my disk with PerfectDisk, which is a graphical defrag-tool. This showed me clearly groups of unmovable files, which disappeared from their location after disabling the Win7 "system restore". So; off, shrink, on again.

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