I just bought a new computer with a 2TB hard drive that has only a single partition. I would like to divide this into at least 4 partitions, but when I try to shrink the current partition, it says the total size is 1888171 MB and that the size of available shrink space is only 939075 MB. The used disk space is at 40gb right now - why can't shrink it to somewhere around that?

I read here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/working-around-windows-vistas-shrink-volume-inadequacy-problems/ that this is because of unmovable system files. I doubt this is the only problem though.

I would like to get this partition down to 500GB. How can I do this?

edit: So I've learned that 4 partitions is the max allowed on MBR. I realize this makes it sound silly that I said I wanted "at least 4". Time to learn how to use GPT :/


5 Answers 5


GParted should be able to change the size of the partitions as you want, it can be downloaded from GParted Live CD

BTW, you can have only 4 primary partitions, but if you create one extended partition you can have more logical partitions.

  • 1
    If Windows Disk Management says I should only shrink by some amount, is it safe to use GParted or just plain parted to shrink it more than that?
    – Burrito
    Aug 6, 2017 at 18:31
  • use gpt partitioning and everything is a primary partition
    – masterxilo
    Dec 19, 2018 at 19:46
  • What about using DiskPart? Will this safely shrink the partition further when Disk Management won't?
    – eaglei22
    Jan 14, 2019 at 13:37
  • Gparted is not going to shrink more than windows' own partition manager. The 50% is always the limit. Because windows always put some file in the middle of the system disk. There is no way to shrink further. Unless you delete the partition.
    – Wang
    Apr 12, 2019 at 16:34
  • The really problem is there are some issue records on your NTFS which haven't cleared out. Run the chkdsk several time at boot time, even when it says OK. Chkdsk will clear out some marks on the disk. Then you are good to go.
    – Wang
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:40

I had the same problem, 500GB harddisk and the shrinking process didn't shrink less than 230GB.. I did the below steps and I was able to shrink to exactly the space allocated by the windows files itself.

Do the following...

  1. Remove C:\hiberfil.sys file (by disabling Hibernation, e.g with powercfg /h off).
  2. Remove C:\pagefile.sys file (by disabling page file for drive C).
  3. Defragment your C volume.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Open disk management and see the magic. ;)

Do not forget to reenable a pagefile after shrinking the volume.

  • 3
    Deactivating system restore, and deleting temporary files should be mentioned too in your list. Then it is complete, I would say.
    – JasoonS
    Jun 19, 2016 at 14:55
  • This worked for me! Oct 16, 2017 at 22:19
  • Today I was helping a friend with this problem. The main issue he had was the HDD drive being too fragmented. Even after a factory reset we were not able to shrink the drive. We then used the native windows defragmentation tool which didn't help at all. Then we used ULTRADEFRAG tool after which we shrank the drive down to 42GB! Perfect! May 19, 2020 at 22:09
  • Doesn't it make much more sense to find out what's in the way and act accordingly? Rather than disable everything that comes to mind. Apparently your steps wouldn't have helped me.
    – x-yuri
    Jun 19, 2020 at 1:35

WARNING: Re-sizing partitions can also delete your partition (since you are trying to re-size your root partition, this can happen only if you try to re-size externally (without booting into OS)).

Usually Disk management inside Windows won't allow re-sizing the partition because of unmovable system files. But if you try to defrag your partition, you can shrink it beyond the previously limited size, but of course to some extent. But, third party tools can let you re-size the partitions beyond that too. So, you might want to try one of them. I'd recommend Acronis Disk Director / MiniTool Partition Wizard if you are trying to re-size from inside the Windows, else, GParted Live CD is always the best option.

Make sure that you defrag the drive before trying anything. Also, though GPT scheme allows to create more than 4 primary partitions (128), it also requires that you have to switch from BIOS to UEFI booting. So, if you are going to setup multi-OS system, then you must choose the OSs that support EFI boot.


I figured the same problem and finally came to the conclusion: deactive system restore by going into control panel.. system protection and then reduce the hard disk to your desired requirement. once that is done active system restore again.

in case this still doesnot work delete windows & internet temporary files and you will be able to succeed.

  • 1
    Apparently you didn't face the same problem, because OP's comes from the NTFS metadata backup always stored at the center of the partition, not from any Windows or user files. Jan 22, 2015 at 2:50

I would recommend following the procedures given in the article you cite to temporarily eliminate most of the problematic system files, and then use the Perfect Disk program mentioned there to do a boot-time defragment with free-space consolidation. I have done exactly that in the past, and it worked very well. As others have noted, you can have far more than 4 partitions if you make an extended partition and create logical partitions inside it. Don't forget to re-enable changes.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .