I have a Solid State Drive with 24 GB of free space. I want to shrink the volume by 20 GB to create a partition to install and dual-boot Linux Ubuntu OS. The problem is Windows disk management tool says that there is not sufficient space in the disk to perform the operation although there is plenty of free space to do so. I believe this has something to do with SSD fragmenting files and spreading them throughout the drive to even out the wear-and-tear effect of NAND gates with increasing write cycles. I thought about defragmenting the disk to get a continuous chunk of free space for partitioning, but I hear from a lot of people in the online community that de-fragmentation will reduce the life span of the NAND gates in the SSD. Does defragmentation really take up more than a few (2-3) erase-write cycles on average per NAND gate? If this is true, and given that benchmarks of SSDs guarantee 10,000 write cycles, why should defragmentation be such a big concern? If this is indeed a problem, then is there any alternate solution for getting more unallocated space for partitioning?
First thing: Windows didn't spread things to all corners of the drive because it is an SSD. I had the exact same problem with a HDD. (And I think the wear-levelling you are thinking of is the kind done by the controller built in to the SSD (and the real actual SSD capacities are higher then usable capacities)).
The solution for me was to defragment---actually with a third-party program---actually with multiple third-party programs run multiple times each.
- I defragged with each of the two or three programs, and one of them managed to dislodge latter-disk-area files that the built-in Windows defragger could not, and then I could shrink the Windows volume.
- Then I defragged all over again and was able to shrink the Windows volume further.
- ...and then I did it a third time to get Windows into as small a box as I wanted it in. Success!
I suggest going ahead with that even though you are dealing with an SSD. The thing about defragging on SSDs (at least the legacy defragging meant for HDDs---I've heard there is a new beast for SSDs) is not so much that it is hard on SSDs, but that it is pointless on SSDs, so continuing to do it as on HDDs would definitely not make sense. In your case, though, there definitely is a point! Also, you would only be defragging a few times at most. Even if (HDD-style) defragging is hard on an SSD, doing it a few times should be fine.
(a) You have neglected to include the small msdos logical boot partition, without which you would be back in the business of an MBR style block device and that is not exactly what the new 'BIOS' replacement is expecting.
(b) I have found it a worth while exercise to get a mechanical HDD set up exactly the way I prefer, and then I use a USB-3 external dual SATA "hot swappable" drive bay that includes "duplicate drive 0 on drive 1" logic that can be used even when no computer is present. In other words, my device makes a byte by byte, sector by sector RAID Mirrored Pair. The fact that one of the two drives happens to be an SSD is not a relevant consideration in this scenario, as the copy device does not care one bit what is being copied, nor does it care where it is copying to so long as the original copy resides in the Drive 0 slot and the destination drive resides in the Drive 1 slot. Since you are likely more comfy working with a mechanical drive, get things set up just as you'd like them on a mechanical drive and then lock it away in a fire safe. It takes less time than writing a post on some message board asking for assistance to print a fresh copy using the external SATA duplication device. By the way, I purchased my USB-3 dual-bay (externally powered) SATA interface via Amazon.com, where I found 30 or so variants of essentially the same item all priced in the $25 to $50 range.
(c) The "Mirrored Pair" solution also happens to be the only guaranteed antidote for the "Oh ye godz! Windoze 7 --> has undergone some strange digital metamorphosis and now resembles Winderz 10." Simply get a functioning Windows 7 drive using your various recovery media, and then set it up with only the software you actually use. Remember to save all work to removable media, or to NAS storage volumes, or other external drive. Each time you need to use Windows 7, simply begin by imprinting your Archival Image of Windows 7 that you cleverly saved BEFORE any harmful, totally unnecessary updates are applied. In other words, why not boot into a "factory new image" every time you boot Windows? That logic saves a lot of time, prevents a lot of wasted energy, and makes Jack a substantially happier camper than he might have been while spending all-day-long trouble-shooting to learn why his favorite software title no longer functions the way it did prior to the most recent "urgently necessary because, you see, the sky is falling" Windoze "Update."
Go ahead. Leave "Automatic Downgrades" turned on, they can't hurt you any more . . . provided you have that Archival Image in a fire safe. This method will enable you to get that "Factory Fresh Start" every time you boot Windows.
(d) Those who prefer living closer to the edge can utilize an on-board RAID Mirrored Pair set up such that Drive 0 is totally write protected (thereby preserving the Archival copy.) Drive 1 is maintained as an exact duplicate of Drive 0, and for now anyway, there doesn't appear to be much MikeySoft can do to frustrate my special solution for the "Windoze-10 Downgrade." Knowing how they think in Redmond, I'd still like to have a backup copy of Drive 0 locked in a fire safe and not connected to anything the Redmondites are capable of manipulating!
Your EULA specifically entitles you to (1) create and (2) reinstall an archival image of your operating system as it existed the day you acquired the hardware platform. You may reinstall Windows 7 from an archival image 10 times a day if you like; no harm, no foul, no law suit.
Be sure to bcc these instructions to the gentleman in Redmond who dreamed up the idea of "pushing" Windows version "upgrades." They can "push" all the garbage they like. I start Windows fresh and clean and without any harmful Windoze Updates. Every time I boot up, it's exactly like I have brought home a new computer, except that the activation is already done!
I wonder why Microsoft didn't think of this? Must be too easy!
Nearly all of my list of "10 Reasons Why Windows Wastes Too Much Of My Time To Be Seriously Considered As A Commercially Viable Operating System For Mission Critical Applications" will have been eliminated if I simply remember to "flash" the OS immediately prior to booting up. I start fresh every session, and Windows usually manages to take about 30 days before they have annoyed me to the point of writing scathing, sarcastic posts like this one condemning the "MikeySoft Way" because, after all, WHO DO THEY THINK HAS TIME FOR THAT CRAP???