Resize Your Vista Partitions
Prior to Windows Vista, the ability to shrink and extend disk volumes has only been available through third party tools, such as Partition Magic. Although it’s not as full-featured as some third party partition management applications, the Windows Disk Management console allows you to shrink, extend, create and format your hard drive partitions. The new resizing features also enable you to shrink a single partition with unused space and then create a new partition in the resulting free space. Along with all of that, it also allows you to extend a current partition if there is enough available free space after everything else is done. Sounds nice, huh?!
To access the Windows Disk Management console, right click the Computer icon on your desktop and select Manage from the context menu. That will then open the Computer Management console (alternatively, it may also be accessed from Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management).
From the Computer Management window, click on Disk Management, which is located under the Storage section in the left hand pane. To shrink a current volume, locate the partition you want to resize from the Disk Manager, right click on it and then from the context menu, select Shrink Volume.
A Shrink dialogue box will then open. From there, you can enter the amount of space, in MB, that you want to shrink the partition down to. This dialogue box will also show the current size of the partition, the size of available shrink space available and the total size after shrinking. Once you have selected the amount of space to shrink the partition by, click on the Shrink button.
Note: The size of the available shrink space can be restricted due to page files, restore files and hibernation files.
Once the Shrink operation has completed, you will immediately have the selected amount of unallocated free space available to you.
Now, to extend a current volume, locate the partition you want to resize from the Disk Manager, right click on it and then from the context menu, select Extend Volume. The Extend Volume Wizard will then open. Click Next to get started. You will then be given a dialogue box you can use to select the disks you want to extend. Select the amount of space, in MB, to extend the volume and then click Next. The selected partition will then be extended by the amount of MB you have chosen.
Note: If the partition you want to extend is a boot, a system or if it cannot be converted to dynamics, you will only be able to extend the volume to the immediately adjacent free space.
Once the volumes have been resized, a new partition can be created and formatted in any unallocated free space. All you have to do is right click on the unallocated space in the Disk Manager, select the type of volume you want to create and then complete the New Volume Wizard.
With the new enhancements made to the Windows Vista Disk Management console, shrinking and extending partitions is now easily accomplished. As always, when making changes to your partition structures, you should always ensure that all of your important files and data are backed up.
~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami