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How to Shrink a Hard Drive Volume in Windows 7

This guide will talk you through the steps necessary to shrink a hard drive volume in Windows 7. There are a few methods you can use to carry this out, but this guide gives you the simplest. Before following the instructions, please note that you must be logged in on an administrator account to be able to perform certain actions. Also, be sure that you haven’t disabled the Disk Defragmenter program in Windows (you must set it to manual). If you have, then you will get an error when you try to perform any action in Disk Management.

Before you begin, remember to read through all of these instructions clearly and make sure you understand what you need to do. If something isn’t clear then don’t follow through with the procedure. Your hard drive is a very important component as it stores all of your data. However, in saying that, the procedure is relatively simple and should go smoothly.

Probably the best option available to you to shrink your hard drive volume is to use Disk Management. This is probably the easiest method and is recommended for the majority of users.

First, load up the Control Panel in icons view. Then click on Administrative Tools and, in the window that opens, click Computer Management. On the left pane, under the category Storage, click Disk Management. In the middle pane you should then right click on the partition you wish to shrink and select Shrink Volume. You will then be asked how many MB of the available shrink space you want to shrink the volume by. Once inputted, click the Shrink button.

Note that there may be on a limit on the available shrink space. This is because the hard drive may have some files marked as unmovable and the Disk Management tool is not able to relocate them. Depending on where these unmovable files are depends on how much shrink space you have, since it will allocate all the free space to the right of them to be used. To get round this you have to use a third party program. Something like EaseUS Partition Master will do the job. This will let you shrink a partition regardless of where the unmovable files are. This program is similar to the Disk Management tool that comes with Windows, but has a few additional features. There are other programs available to download too.

When you have finished, you will then have a new unallocated partition. Some of the space is taken up by the Windows file system, so don’t be surprised if it is a bit less than what you asked for. You can view the allocated space by clicking the newly created partition and viewing the bottom pane.

Hopefully this guide has provided useful in shrinking your hard drive volume in Windows 7. The procedure is slightly different depending on your operating system (or how you access the Disk Management tool could vary), but the action it performs remains the same.


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