Did you know you can resize a NTFS volume/partition in Windows 10 without any additional software using the built-in application called Disk Management? Later in this article, I'll show you how but what if the partition you want to resize uses ExFAT, FAT32 or EXT4 file system? Well, there's a great free tool that can help.
The best free software for resizing a partition in Windows 10 is Partition Wizard by MiniTool. The free version can be downloaded without needing to provide any personal information. It comes with a ton of additional, handy features, and the interface is simple and straightforward to use.
In this article, I'll walk you through how to reduce and increase the c:\ partition on your PC using Partition Wizard, or if you prefer you can watch this video.
Reasons For Resizing A Partition
Reducing the size of a partition allows you to create a second partition on the same disk. While there isn't any technical benefit for doing this, it can be a useful way of delineating between system files and personal data. All the files relating to the OS are stored on one partition, and all your own files are stored separately on a second partition.
If you use both a PC and a Mac, you can backup both machines to a single external hard drive by creating two partitions. An NTFS partition for Windows Backup and an OS Extended or HFS+ partition for use with Time Machine on your Mac.
You may also find you want to do the opposite. You may have a drive with two partitions but would prefer to keep things simple and just have the one.
Why I like Partition Wizard
Resizing an existing partition, especially the C:\ partition where Windows is usually installed can be risky. You need to ensure essential OS files and your own data are not deleted or corrupted in the process. This is especially true when reducing the size of a partition.
Before applying the changes, Partition Wizard analyses the data on the drive to prevent accidental data loss. In the time I've been using Partition Wizard, I've never lost any data or experienced any errors resulting from resizing a partition.
As mentioned in the introduction, the free version of Partition Wizard also comes with several useful additional features. For instance, you can use it to migrate your existing OS to a new faster disk. Useful if you want to swap your clunky old magnetic hard drive for a faster Solid State Drive. You can also use Partition Wizard to do a full disk to disk copy, creating a mirror image of your existing disk.
Here is a complete list of all the features available in the free version. It should be noted that there is also a paid version called Partition Wizard Pro, but honestly, there's not much difference in functionality between the two. However, I like that the Pro version a one-off purchase rather than subscription-based, which seems to be the new norm.
My last reason for recommending Partition Wizard over the competition is that the free version is exactly that - completely free. Many of the alternatives that I've tested are either freemium - allowing you to get so far before annoyingly asking for your credit card details. Or they require an email address, so they can bombard your inbox with spam. Partition Wizard doesn't ask for any personal information. Simply download, install and away you go.
How To Resize a Partition In Windows 10 using Partition Wizard
Start by downloading and installing Partition Wizard.
The install process is completely standard except for two steps that require your attention.
The first asks what components you wish to install and whether you want to be part of the improvement program. The first option is the actual Partition Wizard program, so this must remain ticked. The second component is for Data Backup and Restore software which I don't use therefore I untick it. I also untick participating in the improvement program.
Continue through the steps until you are asked whether you wish to install Avast Anti-Virus software. I understand it's quite good, but I'm not interested in using Avast, so I also untick this option.
Once the install process is complete, the application will open automatically, and you are presented with the splash screen. This screen provides shortcuts to many of Partition Wizard's features. However, I prefer the app to open straight into the interface, so I untick the box to show this window and click Launch.
On the main interface, menu options and shortcuts to the app's features are displayed along the top and down the left.
The main and bottom areas provide details of the disks attached to your computer. Any external drives you have connected will also be shown here. You can see from the image my computer has just the one drive (the internal disk drive), which holds the main C:\ partition where the OS is installed.
There are several smaller partitions or volumes. These smaller volumes are not assigned a drive letter. They are hidden by the OS because they are used for administrative and fault recovery purposes. They are important, and you shouldn't be tempted to delete them but, for our purposes, we can ignore them and focus on the primary C:\ partition. This is the one I'll be resizing.
I highly recommend backing up all your data before resizing any partition but especially the OS partition. I've never had an issue using Partition Wizard but its better to be safe than sorry.
You can see that my partition is roughly 60GB in size and I've used 23 per cent. It is important to note how much space you've used. You should not reduce the size of the partition by more than the unused space you have available. For example, if I were to reduce the partition by 80 per cent (which would be very silly), I would inevitably delete some of my data. For the same reason, I would also recommend leaving a healthy buffer to allow for data growth, such as Windows Update files.
For this example, I'll stay well within my limits and only reduce the size of the partition by 10GB.
The easiest way to reduce a partition and create an additional one is to right-click and choose, 'Split'. Use the sliding scale to allocate space between the existing partition the new one. The Split option automatically creates the extra partition using Window's standard NTFS file system, the same as the original.
If you wanted to use a different file system, one recognised on a MAC, for example, you can re-format the new partition after the Split has completed. As before, simply right-click on the new partition, choose Format and select the new file system.
The changes you make are only pending until you hit Apply in the top, left corner of the main screen. This allows you the opportunity to review what you've done and discard any change you're not happy with.
In my example, because I have resized the C:\ drive, which holds the OS, a restart is required. The app cannot make changes to a drive that is currently in use.
Partition Wizard will make the change after the restart before the OS starts up. Depending on the size and type of your drive, this process may take some time. Do not interrupt the computer while it makes these changes! To do so could easily corrupt the drive and your data.
Having restarted, you should see your new additional partition and your smaller C:\ drive in Windows Explorer.
Extending a Partition
The reverse process is just as simple. First, you need to make the additional space available. I'll do this by deleting the partition I just created. Without a partition, the area is displayed as unallocated space on the disk.
I'll then right-click on the C partition and choose Extend. Again, use the sliding scale to determine how much of the free space you want to use to extend the partition. I'll use it all.
Finally, remember to click Apply to confirm the changes. Extending a partition does not require a restart, so you should immediately notice the difference in Windows Explorer.
Resizing A Partition Using Disk Management in Windows 10
As touched upon earlier, it isn't actually necessary to use Partition Wizard for resizing partitions unless you wanted to re-format the partition as something other than NTFS.
If you're happy with NTFS, then you can forego installing Partition Magic and use Disk Management, by right-clicking on This PC in Windows Explorer and choosing Manage.
The Computer Management console has several features, but we'll be using Disk Manager. In the main window, you'll see a similar layout to Partition Wizard. To resize your C partition, simply right click on the partition and choose Shrink or Extend.
Similarly, if you want to create a new partition from the free space, right-click and select New Volume. Follow the wizard to complete the process.