If you have some free space on one of your drives and the partitions on it are too small, you might want to resize them to make them larger. Or maybe you want to resize one of the partitions on your drive to make it smaller and create a new partition in the space left unoccupied. Although you might think that you need third-party tools to do these tasks, the good news is that you do not need any. Windows already has everything you need. Here are two ways to resize a partition in Windows, using only built-in tools:
NOTE: This procedure works the same in all modern versions of Windows: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.
1. How to resize a partition in Windows, using Disk Management
The first thing you must do is to open the Disk Management tool. If you do not know, this guide will help you: 9 ways to open the Disk Management tool in Windows (all versions). If you are in a hurry and do not have the time to read that too, a fast method that works in all recent versions of Windows is to use the search. In Windows 10, enter the words "disk management" in the search field on the taskbar, in Windows 7 type them in the search field from the Start Menu, and in Windows 8.1 write them directly on the Start Screen. Then, in any of these operating systems, click or tap on "Create and format hard disk partitions."
In the Disk Management window, locate the partition that you want to resize and right-click or tap and hold on it. Note that you can do this both in the list of volumes from the top area or on the graphical representation of the disks and partitions from the bottom.
To resize the partition that you selected, in the contextual menu that opens:
- Click or tap on "Extend Volume" if you want to increase the partition size, or
- Click or tap on "Shrink Volume" if you want to make the partition smaller.
Note that, if there is no free unallocated space near the partition, then you cannot enlarge it. In this case, the "Extend Volume" option is greyed out. Similarly, if the partition you want to shrink is full of data, you cannot make it smaller as there is no space left on it to take away. In this case, the "Shrink Volume" option is greyed out.
If you want to make the partition bigger and there is free space near it to take, after you click/tap on the "Extend Volume" option, Disk Management opens the "Extend Volume Wizard." In it, click or tap Next.
Next, you can see how much space you can add to the partition. The amount you can add depends on how much free space is available near the partition. By default, the wizard selects all the free space it can use, which you can see in the Selected list.
If you want to add less space to the partition, you can specify it in the "Select the amount of space in MB" field, at the bottom of the window. Once you have made a decision, click or tap on Next to continue.
Finally, the "Extend Volume Wizard" shows a summary of the settings you made. If you are satisfied with them and want to continue, click or tap the Finish button.
The wizard closes, and you can see that the partition is extended, back in the Disk Management window. Depending on your drive's speed, this process could take a second or a few minutes.
What if you want to make the partition smaller than it currently is? In this case, in the right-click menu, you chose to "Shrink Volume." That action triggers the opening of a dialog window called "Shrink X:" where X is the letter of that partition.
In the first two fields from this dialog window, the Disk Management tool tells you the size of the partition right now and how much space you can take from it. This value is displayed in the "Size of available shrink space in MB," and it is calculated by Windows based on how much free space there is on the partition and the location of any unmovable files found on that partition.
The only field that is editable is called "Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB," and this is where you must type the space that you want to take from the partition. The value you enter cannot be larger than the one specified in the "Size of available shrink space in MB." In the fourth field, the last one, Disk Management automatically calculates the size of the partition after you shrink it.
Once you have made up your mind and decided the amount of space you want to take from the partition, click or tap on the Shrink button.
Wait for a few moments for the partition to be shrunk by Windows. Then, you can see its new size in the Disk Management tool.
The space you took from the partition should now be available next to it, marked as unallocated. If you want, you can use this space to create new partitions.
2. How to resize a partition in Windows, using PowerShell or Command Prompt, and the DiskPart tool
If you love using the command line, you might prefer the Command Prompt or the PowerShell to resize your partitions. Start any of these two apps as an administrator, and type the following commands, followed by Enter:
- diskpart - the command starts the disk partitioning tool.
- list volume - lists all the volumes (partitions) that exist on your Windows computer or device. Identify the volume number of the partition that you want to resize. Look for it in the Volume ### column.
- select volume # - replace # with the actual number of the partition that you want to resize. In our example below, we typed "select volume 3" because we wanted to resize the partition with the letter E and the volume number 3.
- The next command differs depending on whether you want to make the partition larger or smaller:
- If you want to extend the partition, type extend size=customsize. The customsize value must be entered in MB (megabytes).
- If you want to make it smaller, type shrink desired=customsize. The customsize value must be specified in MB (megabytes).
Unfortunately, the DiskPart tool is trickier to use than the Disk Management. That is because DiskPart does not tell you the amount of available space that you can add or remove from a partition. You have to know that beforehand, or you might have to do some trial and error.
When you are done with resizing the partition, you can close the Command Prompt or PowerShell, depending on which you used. If you want to know more about the diskpart command-line tool, and how to use it in Windows to manage partitions and disks, read this tutorial: Command Prompt - 6 disk management commands you should know.
Which method do you prefer for resizing your partitions?
Now you know that Windows has everything you need for resizing your partitions, and there is no need to buy or try any third-party tools for that. If you shrink or extend partitions on your Windows computer, which of the two methods is your favorite? Do you like the Disk Management tool with its graphical interface, or do you prefer the geekier DiskPart command-line tool? Do you have anything else to add or ask? Use the comments section below to let us know.