• Identifying *And Shrinking* Only The Windows OS And Its Boot Partitions

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    #2502968

    R-DriveImage_VdozZDI0Mt-3

    My specific question/confusion is how to know exactly how to identify and then shrink only the Windows partitions and its required boot partitions on only the (C) system drive — so that just the right partitions contain only the bootable Windows OS and any other partitions Windows needs to function happily and smoothly.

    The new OS partitions must be no larger than is needed to smoothly and reliably run Windows. What is the step-by-step process to do that, please?**

    Thank you!

    Since Windows is known to sometimes go completely into the porcelain facilities without warning, I will be doing regular but fast imaging on only its specific OS and booting partitions. That way if something happens (a bad Windows Update patch, or a corrupted driver, or an inexplicable Windows’ lupus sets in) I can easily and quickly restore only the OS image partitions from a backup.

    ** I’ve already heard about many different drive partitioning softwares. But I am not familiar with how to use them. They run at machine layers beneath the Windows OS where I hang out. The usual softwares I’ve heard about lately include R-Drive, AOMEI, and Macrium Reflect. These are all DIY softwares. They often have slow, or sketchy, or functionally glacial, or incomplete (or even useless) technical support. So I prefer experienced advice from an expert end-user.

    Thank you for your help!

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Mr. Austin.
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    • #2502973

      The new OS partitions must be no larger than is needed to smoothly and reliably run Windows.

      You can’t know what is the optimum size needed for no larger than is needed to smoothly and reliably run Windows. An upgrade can create a 20GB+ of Windows.old. Add to that 9GB ‘Storage sense’…
      Check what you have now on C: and double that.
      You can always upgrade to bigger storage in the future (2TB NVMe SSD is about ~$130)

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2502979

        TreeSize Professional tells me:
        1.24 TB free space (~68% free) on the 1.81 TB (Western Digital) SATA SSD, and
        446 MB User data, and
        32.5 MB System Volume info, and
        25 MB Windows, and see snapshot:

        TreeSize_Q0zPRxWAGq

        Currently from Disk Manager on the computer’s ~1.863 TB Basic Disk:
        549 MB System Reserved (System, Active, Primary Partition), and
        1,861.97 GB (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition), and
        522 MB (Recovery Partition)

         

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        • #2502991

          Your numbers are off:

          1.24 TB free space (~68% free) on the 1.81 TB (Western Digital) SATA SSD, and 446 MB User data, and 32.5 MB System Volume info, and 25 MB Windows, and see snapshot:

          32,421.6MB System = 32.421GB
          24,872.6 Windows = 24.872GB
          Etc.

           

    • #2502993

      Mr. A.,

      Moving/Resizing partitions is technically easy. However, knowing which partitions to move/resize is a whole nother story!
      DiskPartitions
      As you can see above the output of the Windows Disk Management program shows that on my system Disk 0 is the Boot drive. It contains the UEFI boot partition (Must be FAT 32 formatted) and the C: partition holding windows and Program Files on my setup.

      I have moved my Documents, Pictures, Music, and Video Folders to Disk 2 (G:) identified as Data. This is accomplished using the Location option on the folder properties tab in File Explorer.

      Now to do what you want you’ll have to move the Program Filess & Program Files X86 folders off of the C: partition, as you can see this is getting a little more complicated as you’ll either have to reinstall all your programs or reset their locations in all the Registry entries that reference those files/programs. This is no easy task. I strongly suggest that you read bbearren’s wonderful blog on Unleash Windows blog. This will give you a clue into both what you can do vs what your personal technical skills will allow you to accomplish w/o pooching your system. I’ve personally studied this wonderful information and decided that even though I’ve been doing this stuff for40+ years I won’t tackle this level of sophistication, as much as I’d like to. Of course the decision is up to you.

      That said basic re-partitioning is easy using tools like Mini-Tool Partition Wizard and EaseUS Partition Master both have free and paid versions.
      Although you can do some resizing of partitions with Macrium Reflect Free it is not the best tool for the job and that’s from a user and promoter of that product!

      BTW: I noticed that your Boot drive is MBR! If you’re running 64 Bit Windows I’d highly recommend that you convert it to GPT and implement Secure Boot.

      I hope this gives you sufficient information to help you make the decision that is right for you.

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

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    • #2503019

      Now to do what you want you’ll have to move the Program Filess & Program Files X86 folders off of the C: partition,

      Thank you. But *why* do that?

      • #2503042

        If you want to shrink Windows to its smallest footprint that will be part of the process.

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        • #2503046

          Thank you. By posing that question I was asking for the specific, written, verifiable reasons why that should be done that way.

    • #2503021

      So far, the answer set I favor is the one suggested from user dtallee on this Reddit post.

    • #2503043

      “The new OS partitions must be no larger than is needed to smoothly and reliably run Windows.”

      <Snort>  I used to buy PCs with a 120ish Gig hard drive.  Now it’s nothing less than 250 gig.

      This way I don’t have to revisit that hard drive and constantly worry about it running out of space.

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

    • #2503051

      BTW: I noticed that your Boot drive is MBR! If you’re running 64 Bit Windows I’d highly recommend that you convert it to GPT and implement Secure Boot.

      Good idea. I’ve been looking into it because of your suggestion. The already-GPT drive is storage-only which came with the box. For an unknown reason the boot drive (C) was made MBR, but it wasn’t me who selected it that way. The box’s motherboard has a UEFI BIOS.

    • #2503068

      The 549MB partition contains the initial boot files.
      The 1.8TB partition contains Windows, apps and data. This is the one you need to shrink.

      Given your 500GB, Alex’ figure of at least 30GB for an upgrade, space to work, spare for additional software etc, I would not shrink below 700GB. Using nice round figures I’d go for  an 800GB/1TB split.

      Check what your boot method is before you do anything – like convert to GPT.
      How to find boot type

      cheers, Paul

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2503125

      Merci. That’s helpful about identifying the partitions, and the specific reason why I created this and other posts. The OS was recently reinstalled so all the usual system files like the paging file are at whatever default values Windows mysteriously decided. But it would make most sense that Microsoft would have those number ranges defined somewhere accessible on-line.

      Although I haven’t found any number size ranges recommended by Microsoft, I did find this from it/them about shrinking volumes. And also this older article about shrinking/extending volumes. Both R-Drive and Macrium shield completely away from supporting shrinking volumes when I queried their techs via e-mail.

      So what I have been developing is a hybrid approach to this, and finding out what the most reputable, although anonymous users think, combined with the most reputable software publishers. It seems possible I will be purchasing R-Drive Image to do my daily (C) drive imaging:  Because they have not only e-mail support but also telephone support, and their company is an English speaking country in which the rules of law are still (mostly) intact. But until the shrinking/extending/conversion bits are complete it takes 5 hours to image the existing (C) drive, which was *the* catalyst for this whole thing.

      What you’ve written also tends to corroborate what others have written, including the GPT/MBR bits, especially Aomei’s Partition Assistant documentation, which is so far the most thorough and helpful. Last night when I noodled that through it occurred to me that I should, like you suggested, first convert the drive to GPT. I’ve been running nightly images using an R-Drive trial edition so if something happens I will have ways to backtrack.

      One aspect which some of my on-line correspondents seem to be missing (other than Alex) is that it seems to be smarter to let Windows and OneDrive think that their directory structures are intact. Just leave them alone but move my docs out of them. The first sensible advice about this was offered by dtallee on Reddit, who suggested this simple, native-to-Windows 10 remapping strategy for me which is posted on Windows Central.

      And you could take the thorough length of this installment as a thankful nod to your steady, thoughtful presence on Susan’s fora. I dig your good attitude. I prefer to have pen pals (people I’ve never met) who aren’t just hit & run types. And that’s from high-mileage, hard-mileage guy whose parents were among the co-founders of a Sister City program between my home town and a city in Mexico. I was my parents’ interpreter beginning around age 10. I give special attention to whatever you write. Like I do with Alex, RetiredGeek, and a few others around these virtual parts.

    • #2503141

      I would give MiniTool ShadowMaker free a run. I have tested it and it seems to do everything you need at no cost.

      cheers, Paul

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2503599

      BTW: I noticed that your Boot drive is MBR! If you’re running 64 Bit Windows I’d highly recommend that you convert it to GPT and implement Secure Boot.

      Thanks RG 😁

      After a few days of looking into it, I selected Aomei Partition Assistant and converted the computer’s drives to GPT. That will also allow me to have more partitions than four on the drives if I choose.

      In thinking back on why the (C) drive might have been MBR, I’m guessing that in 2018, when the Windows 7 machine from which the computer’s documents and files were transferred was MBR. So the Windows 10 setup process might have assumed things should be MBR.

      But it’s also possible that when the computer received its 2 TB SSD, replacing its 500 GB SSD, the 2 TB (C) drive somehow got set to the older MBR format. With either the cloning software I used, or by my own mistake. Because at that point I wouldn’t have known why I’d even want to think about GPT.

      Thank you again 🙂

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