Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Partitions. Unable to shrink. And what is this ?

  1. #1


    Posts : 562
    W10 x64 pro and W8.1 x86

    Partitions. Unable to shrink. And what is this ?


    I'm trialling W8.1 Enterprise and have run into something I don't understand regarding partitions.... here is what I did.

    1/ I run the W8.1 installation and decide to format ALL partitions from the install disc.

    2/ This seemed a good opportunity to rearrange things so I then went on to DELETE all the partitions so that I had 300Gb unallocated space showing.

    3/ I install W8.1 onto this single unallocated space and all seemed OK. I have W8.1 on a C drive of 300Gb.

    My plan was to then shrink the partition using the disk management console to something round about 70 or 80 Gb but I find it won't let me. The most it said I could shrink was down to a value that gave a 50:50 split. I'm guessing some unmovable files are the problem but I don't understand why they would be there in such a location. The install disc showed the full 300Gb as unallocated before the install commenced.

    Also, there is the small partition at the start of the drive. What is that ? and what and why has it been created ? What lives on there ?

    This shows the drive as it stands now. This is all a learning exercise (for me anyway ) and if/when I install W8.1 for real, then I would like to understand where I've gone wrong a bit better.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Capture.PNG  

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    If you wanted to make whole disk available, you should have deleted all the partitions at the beginning of the installation and then lett windows install. You would be left with only a small "System reserved" partition (no letter) and one large C: partition which you can shrink later and make another after it. D: partition is your old one and so is Recovery partition. Windows puts System reserved partition in the beginning of disk so it would not interfere with partitions you create later. That "Recovery partition" was from computer manufacturer so you can restore computer to factory state.
    Cleanest state of disk you can make is to repartition, erase and format disk by booting with another bootable disk or USB, or by placing drive in another computer and do it from there. You could use a Live Linux on USB or cd/dvd, Hiree'ns boot disk or anything that has some kind of OS on it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 562
    W10 x64 pro and W8.1 x86


    Hi Mike,

    I've created and named all of the partitions that you can see from using the disk management console in W8.1 after installing W8.1 The recovery files are my own Acronis images. All the original manufacturer partitions are long gone from when I clean installed W7 a couple of years back.

    I did delete all the partitions (my W7 layout) using the install media right at the very start. It looked like this but said 300Gb unallocated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Image.png  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    In that case you did everything right, Windows made that System partition for it's own use.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 562
    W10 x64 pro and W8.1 x86


    Yes, I can't really understand why its not allowing me to do the shrink to below 150Gb. Just trying to glean bits of info and I realise I didn't attempt the shrink from <administrative tools> <disk management> but rather I just right clicked "This PC" and then "manage". Not sure if that would make the difference or not.


    What I'll do I think is make sure when I install again (because this trial expires anyway in 90 days) is to make the partition smaller than I want using the install media, and then hopefully I can expand it afterwards.


    Thanks.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    System partition is always easier to expand than to shrink, just have to work with two partitions next to each other.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    there is the small partition at the start of the drive. What is that ? and what and why has it been created ? What lives on there ?
    The 350MB hidden reserved partition serves two functions. First, it holds the Boot Manager code and the Boot Configuration Database. Second, it reserves space for the startup files required by the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature. Without it, your system won't boot. If you will never use the Bitlocker feature then you can install Windows without it, in that case Windows will put the Boot Manager and the BCD together within C: drive.

    My plan was to then shrink the partition using the disk management console to something round about 70 or 80 Gb but I find it won't let me. The most it said I could shrink was down to a value that gave a 50:50 split
    Your guess is right. When you install Windows, it does not install everything sequencially, so data is scattered all over the disk. What you could do is before shrinking it, turn off hibernation, and defrag your C Drive, so that it will consolidate all the free spaces then you can shrink further more.

    EDIT: In addition, You could also temporarily set Pagefile.sys to no pagefile before running defrag.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Or use third party partition SW, like EAsus Partition master, it transfers files that are in the way to the partition you are trying to shrink. Just got to watch which partition is which, I always give them distinctive names to differentiate between them.
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  9. #9


    Posts : 562
    W10 x64 pro and W8.1 x86


    Quote Originally Posted by CountMike View Post
    System partition is always easier to expand than to shrink, just have to work with two partitions next to each other.
    I'm beginning to see that I'll probably make the partition small, say 30Gb when I next install and then expand it.

    Quote Originally Posted by topgundcp View Post
    The 350MB hidden reserved partition serves two functions. First, it holds the Boot Manager code and the Boot Configuration Database. Second, it reserves space for the startup files required by the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature. Without it, your system won't boot. If you will never use the Bitlocker feature then you can install Windows without it, in that case Windows will put the Boot Manager and the BCD together within C: drive.
    Ah... bitlocker. I never thought of that ! Now that is something I will never use tbh.

    Your guess is right. When you install Windows, it does not install everything sequencially, so data is scattered all over the disk. What you could do is before shrinking it, turn off hibernation, and defrag your C Drive, so that it will consolidate all the free spaces then you can shrink further more.

    EDIT: In addition, You could also temporarily set Pagefile.sys to no pagefile before running defrag.
    I'll remember that, thanks.

    (I'm actually quite liking W8.1, more than I thought I would if I'm honest although I've a couple of minor issues to solve yet)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    You might have some problems with a partition that small, just Hibernate and swap file will fill that up in a hurry, ad to that restore points, updated system files and other hidden stuff and needing 5 - 10 GB empty. I wouldn't go under 60 - 80 GB partition.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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