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I have a dual-boot setup with Ubuntu and Windows Vista. I need to shrink the partition that Vista is installed on. (It's an NTFS partition.) I tried using Vista's own disk manager, but it didn't work.

I heard that GParted can resize NTFS partitions - is this true? Is it a safe tool for resizing partitions? Are there any potential issues I should be aware of if I use it?

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gparted is a great partitioning tool - I have used it to resize FAT, NTFS, EXT[2..4] and haven't run into any issues as of yet. However - with all disk operations there is always the possibility of failure and that should always be weighed during resizing.

Make sure you have nothing mounted to the drives you're attempting to resize, ensure that you have ample CPU and RAM to perform the operations. If you're on a Laptop make sure it's plugged in and that it won't suspend or hibernate while performing these operations. Lastly this can be time intensive - my last tip is, while gparted is running it may appear unresponsive or frozen. Just let it finish.

  • Absolutely, also I read somewhere that it is a good idea to let a windows boot run chkdsk on a newly resized partition. I do as a matter of procedure so don't know if skipping it would be ok, but it's easy enough. Mentioned because usually I do this in conjunction with a dual boot installation, and the point is, don't install the second OS until Windows marks the first partition clean. – Dennis Aug 10 '10 at 2:08
  • Added the rational for the comment since many people would just automatically boot Windows next anyway. – Dennis Aug 10 '10 at 2:10
  • @Dennis: Well, gparted forces chkdsk to run after resizing the partition anyway :) – Nathan Osman Aug 10 '10 at 4:14
  • Yes that is true, but if I remember the point of the article I read (wish I had saved it because it could be out of date) it was don't make major changes to the NTFS partition, then immediately install a second system without letting the chkdsk happen from within Windows first. Which if anyone could confirm that this is wrong, I'd also like to know it. – Dennis Aug 10 '10 at 12:12
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    @George - when dealing when Windows you can never be too careful :P – Marco Ceppi Aug 10 '10 at 18:54
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GParted works great for that. I used it to resize my Windows 7 partition without any problems at all. However, in order to avoid problems, you will want to uncheck the "round to cylinders" option when you resize the partition. That can cause booting problems for Windows 7 or Vista.

  • It seems to have worked... except it won't let me shrink it beyond about 8 GB even though it has > 45 GB of free space. It just reports an error. – Nathan Osman Aug 10 '10 at 18:38
  • @George Edison: You may need to degragment the disk? – Marco Ceppi Aug 10 '10 at 18:54
  • @Marco: I tried a partial defrag... would it need to completely defrag the disk? – Nathan Osman Aug 10 '10 at 19:56
  • As gparted uses ntfsresize behind the scenes, and ntfsresize automatically relocates sectors when necessary (and possible!), normally no defragmentation is needed. – JanC Aug 21 '10 at 22:43
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I can only speak from personal experience, but I have used gparted on NTFS partions several times and never encountered a problem.

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Indeed - my first introduction to Linux systems was using a GParted 'image' to boot from and resize the my VMware Fusion virtual PC's hard drive. I've since used it maybe a dozen times for doing this, on different VMs, for XP and Win2k3 (both NTFS). No problems at all.

If you haven't done it before, just take your time and carefully read all the pop-up dialogs and messages before pressing 'Yes'. :-)

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