This article explains how to shrink a partition or volume on a Windows computer. You can split the single partition to make it two (with few conditions). Most of the new laptops which come with pre-installed Windows 10 have only one partition which is C drive. If the laptop hard disk is 500 GB or 1TB, your C drive will consume the entire space and you will see plenty of free space on it.
It is always better to have another partition than C drive. Then how to get a new partition on a new laptop/desktop which comes with Windows 10 installed?
Formatting, creating two new partitions and re-installing Windows 10 will do the job, but that is unnecessary when you have the built-in disk management tool called ‘Shrink volume’. It makes life easy without installing third-party software to split the disks or formatting disk and losing data.
Built-in Disk Management to Shrink a Partition/Volume in Windows 10
Shrink volume option in Windows 10 and earlier versions can be found in Disk management under Computer management. Shrink volume will work with NTFS formatted or raw disks (without any file systems) disks only. The option will be disabled in FAT32 drivers as shown below.
In this example, let me split the Disk 1 (10GB) into two 5GB two partitions. 10GB NTFS partition is already created on Disk 1 and having data on it. Without shrinking the volume it’s not possible to split this disk without losing data or destroying partition and recreate it. Follow the steps to shrink and split a partition in Windows 10.
1) Right-click on the partition you want to split. Select the shrink volume option.
2) Wait for some time. It calculates the maximum space you can shrink on this partition, it depends on the data.
A pop-up screen will appear as below.
No -1 shows the current size of the partition
No-2 shows the maximum size you can get from the existing partition for the new partition. This depends on the existing data and OS allocate some working space for your existing partition. So, in this example, I can take maximum 7115MB disk space for my new partition.
No-3 is your input for the new partition size.
No -4 is the size for the existing partition after the shrink.
Total size after shrink = Total size before shrink – Size you enter to shrink
The size of the new partition will be what you enter in space to shrink the field.
I entered 5120MB (5GB) in the field, so it returns as below.
3) When you are ok with the options, press the Shrink button and let it complete.
4) Now, you can see one unallocated 5GB space available on the same Disk 1. It means the shirk process succeeded.
5) If you want, you can create more partitions on unallocated space, otherwise, you can do it later with this space. I created a 5GB full partition and formatted with NTFS.
Our main goal is to shrink the volume and get some unallocated space from C drive on a new laptop or desktop before start using and copying more data on C drive.
6) That’s it. We have created two 5GB partitions out of single 10GB partition without losing data or recreating disk. Anyhow, it’s always advisable to backup your data on the partition before you try to shrink the volume/partition. Depending on the available space on partition E and F, you can create more partitions out of it by shrink volume option.
The shrink volume process is irreversible. So, make sure you have proper backup and follow the steps cautiously. If you need to revert back the process or merge the split partitions, then you must delete the 2nd partition you created. In this example, it is an F drive. Once the F drive is deleted, space will be considered as unallocated space on Disk 1. Then there is one more disk management feature in Windows OS called ‘Extend Volume’. The existing E partition can be extended (merged) with the unallocated space. Read more about extending partitions/volumes on Windows 10.