Gaining more volume on your hard drive and better stability for your files through partition shrinking is always nice. What many may not find so nice is that the tools out there – Acronis Disk Director Suite, Paragon HD Manager, and the rest of the gang, aren’t free. These tools cost anywhere from $40 to $50 depending on where you get them.
For users on a budget, it’s not a viable option.
So what to do?
Fortunately, there’s the freeware tool that gives you the same functionality and partition-shrinking capabilities as the paid ones – Gparted.
A Quick Note And A Word Of Warning
GParted is a Linux program. That said, you can get away without installing the Linux Live CD to get it to work. The only problem is that it doesn’t work on all systems. The creators of the freeware stated that this Linux program should never be used on HP Pavilion computers as it can cause instability.
If you’re not using an HP Pavilion computer, then you’re all clear. Read on!
Although GParted is a reliable and proven tool for shrinking partitions, there are certain risks you should be aware of. The possibility of damaging a partition is beyond repair is a very real possibility. However, such cases are remote and isolated. Moreover, this can be easily remedied by backing up all of your important data before shrinking.
If you have your backups ready, here’s how to use GParted:
Step 1: Defragment NTFS partition
If you want to resize an NTFS partition, you should check Windows first and defragment in any case. To do this, click on Windows in the context menu of the drive; go to “Properties”; go to the “Tools” tab; and select “Defragment Now”.
Step 2: GParted Boot
Boot the GParted Live CD/DVD. In the boot menu select “GParted Live (Default settings).” Shortly before the end of the boot process, three questions are asked to configure. Now, the first two selections isn’t really crucial – it will only ask you to select the keyboard profile and language. On the third selection, you can simply press “Return.”
Step 3: Shrink Partition
On the right side of the toolbar, you will see a drop-down menu with the drives the program has detected. Click the disk / drive whose partition you want to resize. In the lower part of the window, you will find information about the available partitions.
Click with the right mouse button to select the partition you want to shrink, and select from the context menu “Resize / Move.” This will open a dialog box in which you specify the new size. This is either via the slider in the bar graphs or by typing in the new values directly. Confirm the “Change / Move Size” with the button. Next, go to “Apply” to “Shrink Partition” to get the ball rolling.